As an intranet software trainer my week is an exciting mixture of meeting different people and hearing about different challenges all with one goal in mind: creating a fantastic intranet that people want to use. Sounds like an easy enough task doesn’t it? You buy your product, you train your people up and you launch it. Bingo. So why does it sometimes go a little bit wrong? Why, despite your very best will, does it not become the wonderful tool you hoped for straight away?
In my experience there are 5 common concerns to tackle early on that will make your intranet a greater success.
1) “It’s new so people won’t like or use the intranet”
You can’t please everybody all of the time and it’s important to remember that not everyone will like or use everything immediately. This can be especially the case where social tools are concerned – adoption of a social intranet can be difficult due to misconceptions and traditional thinking. This doesn’t mean they won’t however.
Make use of those early adopters, they are your intranet champions and the ones who will convince the others to follow. As soon as employees realise it’s going to help them do their job, they will keep coming back.
Don’t remove functionality that a few might take a bit of getting used to at the expense of the many that will love it.
2) “People won’t want to own the intranet site, so we’ll just pick ambassadors and tell them they need to do it”
Don’t assume that this mix of staff that have been ‘volunteered’ are going to be ambassadors for your site. Engaged and motivated content authors are the people who have expressed an interest in the role, those natural communicators who are already very active within your organisation.
Advertise the role like a new job without the massive job description. You won’t develop an engaging site with a less than 100% motivated and enthusiastic team behind it.
3) “Users might post something negative on the intranet”
They won’t! Your biggest challenge will be getting your employees to say anything at all. If a member of your staff wanted to send a negative message out to the entire company then they would use that already free and openly accessible communication channel; your email system.
Trust your staff and if ever something untoward pops up then address it.
4) “If we don’t launch the intranet in 2 weeks then it’s a failure”
With 500+ pieces of content to create and upload and no clear launch plan then an unrealistic go live date will just introduce stress you don’t need. Think about when you need to launch and why. Is it imperative to go live the first day back in January when no one has been in the office for 2 weeks? No. Take your time, plan your approach and enjoy it. You have worked hard to get your site live so introduce it to your organisation in the way it deserves to be. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Lots of our customers here at Interact launch with a big bang. There are lots of engaging, but mostly fun ways of doing it. Just like Cross Country.
5) “The intranet is just another job on the list”
Remember to enjoy the journey. You are investing in the future of your company. Your intranet will save you time, save you money and most importantly enable all your employees to communicate and collaborate quickly and easily. It’s worth the time and effort it takes to make it as fantastic as you want it to be. And the more you are enjoying it, the more others will want to get involved.
You can see Jo, along with a host of other intranet, communication and HR experts at Interaction in London on 16 and 17 September. The last few tickets are selling fast, so book now to avoid disappointment.