We work in one of the best markets there is; internal communications. We love helping companies with fantastic ingenuity make brilliant intranets effortlessly; brilliant intranets that ease the pressure of never ending responsibilties and enhance productivity.
During our New York and Washington customer and internal communications meet ups, in partnership with the IABC, it was clear that a lot of companies are doing some amazing work. Whilst our customers have unlimited access to all our events and resources, including our Community, we are aware the advantage is not there for everyone. So we are sharing some of the best intranet ideas and examples we have seen this year which have proved to enhance productivity without the need for a full time intranet manager.
Make your brilliance shine effortlessly
With over 80% of new customers adopting the cloud version of our platform (SAAS), many are realising the benefits that true mobile access, anywhere, on any device, can bring to productivity and engagement. We are finding this trend is even higher for customers in financial services, healthcare, nonprofit and retail sectors.
Once you’ve selected your platform and where it is hosted, the next part is the fun bit. What are you going to achieve and how? Luckily seven of this year’s Ragan Intranet Awards finalists, and a whole host of other award winning part time intranet managers, are going to share their intranet tips and ideas. Whilst Interact focuses on helping our customers create brilliant work effortless, these examples will give you something you can implement instantly.
Many intranets on other platforms require a full time intranet manager. None of our finalists require a full time intranet resource – in fact less than 1% of our customers have an intranet manager, and the majority of those see responsibility for the intranet reduced to a part time role once their site is live, typically within four months. Compare this to the NNG report of 2015 which estimates the average intranet takes 17.3 months to roll out and is likely to require an intranet team of between six and 43 employees; yet Interact customers are consistently beating these intranet armies to the major awards. So just how are these customers defying the odds to compete and often beat some of the largest companies in the world?
How can we access the leading companies’ productivity secrets?
There are two simple rules:
- Keep it simple
- Love what you do
To start your journey to intranet success, try these techniques:
1) Stop being the intranet gatekeeper
The biggest shift we are seeing in the communications world today is who creates the content. Once upon a time it was accepted that content on your intranet would have come from a select group of authors and the homepage was an exclusive billboard for exec driven content. As a result it was only the communications team who received all the likes and shares, putting users off submitting more content, or worse putting them off visiting the intranet at all.
But intranet managers still find it hard to let go completely. Stop worrying about what your users might say if you give them the ability to publish content and start panicking about the opportunities you’re missing by gagging their ability to share knowledge. Learn to trust your employees and communicate that they are trusted, and you’ll quickly see an increase in your own productivity, and that of your employees.
It is with great delight that we are now seeing companies transform to employee generated content first. At Dex Media the communications team communicated the identity of their newly merged business by allowing the employees to share what they do and how they do it. This is reflected on the intranet homepage which is predominantly user-generated content.
What’s the best way to inform your business that you’re the team who conducts market research? Add some fun and food to it of course…
Want your employees to be more than a job title and a few skills? Allow them to share what matters to them, who they are and what they do…
Dex Media is a great example of creating a culture and communication vehicle during and after a merger, Paul Dang gives us a full insight.
As well as taking the pressure off you to produce all the content, this user-generated content first approach encourages employees to feel engaged and creates transparency across your company. When people share content and ideas, we see negative habits breakdown in favour of collaboration based upon needs, skills and interests, ultimately creating easy access to more informed decisions.
This has proved to be a successful approach with Dupaco Credit Union; a company leading the way with user-generated content populating their intranet homepage…
2) Help authors produce great intranet content
It is one thing to say all your frequently needed content is on your intranet, it is quite another to present it in a fashion that your users are going to trust, action and buy into. The key is to make this easy and guide authors towards producing great content that’s more readable, usable and shareable. The better the quality of content on your intranet, the more employees will like and share it, and the more first-time content authors will come back – it will become like an addiction!
Take Sport England. If you make it easy to be brilliant, the chances are people will become brilliant and you too could achieve 92% user-generated content across your site…
The results are awesome…
It’s important that the language you use is positive, so steer user guidance towards ‘you can’ or ‘this is the best way to’ rather than ‘you can’t’ or ‘you must not’.
2014 Ragan Design Awards winner, MSC UK, is a fantastic example of this. In this at a glance guide, they too have made being self sufficiently brilliant simple…
MSC UK has made being great an expectation rather than an aspiration – check out their story.
Whilst we would always love to incorporate rich content, elements such as policies and procedures are less inclined to be image friendly. Don’t let this perturb you, make them easy and engaging following Yorkshire Building Society’s example…
To see how Yorkshire Building Society are revolutionising the usability of their content, take a look at Claire Brenan’s insights.
3) Treat every employee as a new starter
There is a strange psychology rife in companies; we give people an induction period and then throw them in at the deep end. We expect that everyone can wade through our swathes of acronyms, abbreviations and jargon.
In this scenario there are two logical solutions:
- Create a jargon buster explaining the terms specific to your company
- Treat everyday as if it’s everyone’s first day
Speaking personally, if I don’t need to search for the meaning or context of something, I’m more likely to follow it through. This in turn encourages self service which reduces the burden on internal teams fielding FAQs and ultimately increases productivity, allowing them to focus on more strategic work.
Canterbury City Council has created a beautiful site. It looks stunning and it reads beautifully, giving employees all the information they need in one place…
To learn more about Canterbury City Council’s brilliant approach, take a look at David Newell’s blog.
In comparison, Locala has produced a simple getting started area to ensure new employees are quickly ingratiated quickly into the culture and processes…
For a greater insight into Locala’s transition, have a look at Enhancing Patient Care in Five Easy Steps.
4) Email is a productivity hoover – allow employees to focus in a team space
Email is a dreadful way to communicate and share knowledge. Once a conversation has happened it is lost to anybody else who could benefit from it. Meanwhile your inbox, if it is anything like mine, has hundreds of emails an hour flooding in which are all unrelated, generating noise and distracting me from the task at hand.
Close that noise off and increase productivity by adopting team spaces. This allows you to focus on a topic and for all conversations and materials to be centralised. Better still, should it prove useful to anyone else in the future, you can invite them into the team, or if it’s visible and open they can join.
However, in order to encourage adoption, this needs to be easier than email. Oxford Innovation has a stunning site and ensures this look continues all the way through to the team areas so people can literally pick them up and get a project moving instantly…
Wondering where to start? Pick up some tips from Will Burnett at Oxford Innovation.
5. Be brave with your internal communications
To capture your employees’ imagination and inspire their innovation you need to lead by example.
By being creative and inviting discussion, you foster a greater level of freedom to be brave; users will create more content, ask more questions and impart more wisdom. If only all news stories could look like this…
Of course innovation can take many forms. We are seeing an increase in the number of intranet characters used to guide users through their site. Who couldn’t love Magenta Living’s YETI?
To learn more about YETI’s adventures and how he engaged employees, have a look at Magenta Living’s top tips.
6) Give your intranet the ‘wow’ factor
An attractive intranet will not just ‘wow’ your employees the first time they use it; it will continue to make your site look and be loved. If a site looks cared for, it is far easier to overcome any concerns of trust from your users and it will create a sense of ownership, and better than that, pride of ownership.
ASPCA will naturally include pictures of animals to engage their employees, but the way they use those images leaves us wishing this was our intranet…
See what else they have achieved to enhance productivity…
At Interact we have taken a similar approach with our customer Community to encourage customers to share problems and ideas…
These intranet examples have been chosen as they can be applied to your own intranet site or roadmap immediately and have proved to be so successful to the part time intranet managers who have implemented them. Please do share your results with us on Twitter and sign up for our blog on the right to receive intranet tips and examples directly to your inbox.