4 best practices for intranets? What we learned at the NYC Ragan Summit

Last week Ragan held their Intranet Best Practices Summit in NYC, and we were thrilled to sponsor the event. In attendance were US & Canada’s top internal communicators to talk about best practices in change communications, engagement, and social – the stuff our intranet is made of!

Themes of the conference included:

  • Connecting dispersed employees: Digital tools to boost collaboration
  • Tips and tricks to spark a dialogue with employees and leaders on your social intranet
  • How to use your social intranet to trigger change and transform your culture

Over the two-day conference, I met attendees from companies like Koch Industries, Con Edison, Freddie Mac, New York Life, Barnes & Noble, Mitsubishi and HBO, and watched several presentations. Based on my conversations, here are 4 best practices that I took away:

1. Employee storytelling: a great engagement tool

Let’s face it. We all want to be part of the story!

Jerry Stevenson from Baylor Scott & White discussed how intranets can have a great impact on storytelling. Intranets make information accessible and shareable. From important corporate announcements to the upcoming holiday party, both employee and employer have stories to tell.

We at Interact know this first hand, and this blog makes the very important point that the storyteller (better known as the communications department) should create a shared narrative that draws departments and teams in. The result is a shared identity and a solid platform to build communications on!

2. Intranet benchmarking data is invaluable (and surprising)

The next takeaway came from our own presentation at this conference. We took attendees behind the data to discuss Intranet Telemetry!

Interact has collected, analyzed, and deciphered what 100 million pieces of intranet data can tell communicators, and provided practical tips to unleash the power of an intranet. The presentation was incredibly well received, and audience questions took us to the very end of our time slot.

intranet best practices daren presents

Daren Jennings of Interact, shares “Intranet Telemetry” at Ragan’s NYC Intranet Summit

The powerful takeaways included:

  • Hosting does affect collaboration
  • Content must be purposeful to aid collaboration
  • It’s not all about millennials

3. The internal communicator is vital… and being threatened

According to conference speaker Shel Holtz, the threat of disappearing internal communications requires us to safeguard this department by ensuring leaders see the department as indispensable.

He suggests that internal communicators ensure the enterprise social network is a key communication channel. In addition, they should map the employees’ journey so communications are crafted to support them.

4. Social continues to dominate

Social is becoming business relevant. An effective intranet will be required to have a balance of business processes and social functionality. The enterprise collaboration space is FINALLY catching up to today’s digital world! Employees expect workplace technology to encompass the social features they are used to in their daily lives.

Laura Grover from Quintiles spoke about the benefits of a social intranet, including problem solving, community building and transparency.

Social tools such as liking and sharing, @mentioning, and forums help remove the traditional barriers and enable unprecedented collaboration and engagement.

Take these best practice ideas and apply them! They were universally popular at this conference and ideas that we at Interact encourage you to use. Use the right tools, collect and analyze data, be sure that you’re telling the right story, and give them social!

A well maintained intranet will grow exponentially. We see it all the time and it’s a result of these and many other best practices.