How to boost intranet engagement

Written by Suzy Dean

Having enjoyed 16 years within the Microsoft eco-system Suzy has an unrivalled and unequivocal understanding of what solutions organisations need to perform at their best and how to meet those requirements on time and in budget. One of the three Microsoft MVP’s within Addin365, Suzy applies her acute understanding of digital possibilities when leading the leadership team and their clients.

16th February 2021

Solve communication challenges, bridge disconnects, centralise information and create a foundation to build company culture; rolling out an intranet is just the beginning of forming a successful digital workplace. An intelligent, well utilised intranet empowers employees to communicate and collaborate efficiently by connecting them and  helping them achieve their tasks. However, a steady flow of exciting and relevant content is essential to keep employees engaged within your digital communications channels.

 

The question is how to communicate company vision, mission statements, values, and corporate strategy to employees without losing their interest in reems of information. Internal communicators are well versed in using the intranet to communicate corporate messaging. However, for many employees, accessing information on the company intranet can be viewed as a last resort; this is often due to unfamiliarity in the platform, poor findability of information or a lack of trust in how up to date the content is. In pre-pandemic times, office-based employees often had easier and physical access to the answers they needed. Recent research from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index reports that over 30 percent of workers say the pandemic has increased their sense of burnout; now more than ever has the importance of digitally available, easily located information and effective two-way communications been highlighted.

 

Design an intranet around the end user 

Businesses planning on rolling out a new intranet should focus on the end user experience. Successful intranets are those designed for ease of use, that look and feel great with well organised, accessible content. Much like corporate websites or social networks, the intranet should be easy to use for all employees, not just the tech-savvy ones.

 

Ongoing content audit and iteration 

For businesses with an existing intranet, its current use should be evaluated regularly to discover which pages employees are using most frequently and which are being ignored. The information architecture of user focussed intranets should support information discovery; smartly located quick links and a powerful, easily found search function can help tackle the issue of hard to discover pages. Bots can also support employees in finding the content they need. Regular site evaluations help prioritise where improvements can be made to increase the usefulness of intranet content. Organisations evolve and intranet content needs to evolve with it.

 

Encouraging user feedback on content will give insight into what the business thinks and help content owners to identify gaps and inaccuracies in what has been published.

 

Know-how rather than descriptive content

Intranet content can often describe various functions, products and services. This is less useful to employees than publishing know-how that supports employees in doing their work. Focusing on the production of know-how content will give employees a reason to come back to the intranet and in turn the intranet will support employee productivity.

 

Architectures that reflect business goals

Intranet architectures can be reflections of the organisational structure, but this is less useful than developing an architecture that aligns to organisational goals and the tasks that employees regularly undertake. By developing a task-based architecture the intranet will support both findability and usefulness of the intranet.

 

Strategic communications

According to research undertaken by IBM in 2020; 74% of employees feel they do not have a full understanding of their company’s strategy. Encouraging highly visible c-suite use of an intranet to inform employees where the company is heading builds workers’ trust in the platform whilst also helping solve the growing problem of leadership to worker disconnect.

 

Using the platform for regular, informative top-down messaging gives the intranet a legitimacy and sets the strategic context for its use. Leadership teams can demonstrate to employees that the intranet is the central communications hub by sharing major events or milestones with the whole business, such as exciting new product launches or announcing that performance targets have been achieved.

 

 

By publishing essential, high level content showcases the intranet’s importance and shows how it fits into wider organisational goals and strategy. As a flow-on effect, involving senior leaders in the intranet launch and ongoing adoption plan helps influence the actions of other managers when choosing how to communicate with their teams.

 

Further employee engagement can be built by utilising a multi-channel approach; within the Microsoft Office 365 eco-system for example, articles and updates can be pushed through Teams, Yammer and the use of Town Hall broadcast functionality. Once an update has been published, managers can follow up by talking through the content with their teams within Chats or Channels and explain further what each initiative means to the organisation.

 

Operational communications

In addition to top-down messaging, the intranet should serve as the tool for horizontal communications and instruction. Overall programme management can be supported by ensuring timely communications in support of team-to-team operational awareness.

 

Business divisions are interconnected; one area often consumes the outputs from another. For example, the logistics team will need to be notified of a factory output. This notification can come via an intranet channel, supporting operational efficiency.

 

A further example would be to implement scheduled notifications for annual budget submissions to the finance teams and the associated timelines for approval.

 

Real time updates allow for the instant deployment for a follow-up task and can be especially useful on large projects where multiple businesses are utilising the same intranet; explore AddIn365 success story Lower Thames Crossing for a recent example. Peer to peer communication helps build user trust in the platform and aids inter-team collaboration.

 

Rich media options

Corporate websites are often beautifully laid out, consistent, visually pleasing shop windows that utilise rich media and strong brand messaging, however, internal intranets are seldom given the same attention. To build platform engagement, intranets too should be kept interesting through the utilisation of different media options.

 

Research undertaken by Smarp last year concludes employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read text. Within the Microsoft Office 365 eco-system for example, Stream videos are powered by the SharePoint files platform, allowing for powerful video messaging to compliment written copy. Live feeds or streamed recordings allow for team members to interact with each other on a more human level and can help alleviate feelings of isolation for remote workers.

 

Creative teams flourish when given the freedom to tell their own stories in their own way; SharePoint also provides the opportunity to make use of infographics, audio and photography.

Truphone

Discover how AddIn365 delivered an Office 365 Intranet solution that would help move internal communications away from email and ensure high rates of engagement for global mobile network Truphone – visit success story.

 

 

AddIn365 helps organisations to maximise their return on investment in the Office 365 platform by enabling employees to work efficiently, using the right applications and functions of Office 365. AddIn Intranet is trusted to streamline the communications of some of the world’s largest and most organisationally complex companies.

 

 

To discover how AddIn365 solutions can improve your intranet engagement book a free demo with a Microsoft MVP using the contact form below or email hello@addin365.com.

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