Creating an Intranet That Drives Employee Engagement | Gagen MacDonald

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Creating an Intranet That Drives Employee Engagement

Jun 05, 2017

Hate your intranet? You’re not alone. Many organizations are facing outdated, ineffective intranets that drive high levels of dissatisfaction among employees. Making matters even more frustrating for users, companies often invest in additional platforms, apps and channels as workarounds to meet needs the intranet does not.

We believe intranets are the digital nucleus of your organization—a central hub for information, collaboration and engagement. Imagine a platform that gathers in one place everything an employee needs to do their job; where they can connect, collaborate and learn from experiences of colleagues on the other side of the world; and where they can find punchy, succinct content just as interesting to them as what they read over their morning coffee. With the right business case and strategy in hand, we’re helping large organizations do just that.

Improving your platform—whether it’s making enhancements to content or undertaking a complete site redesign—is a smart and efficient way to drive employee engagement and achieve your internal communication goals. Here are six ways to rethink the possibilities for your intranet:

  1. Personalize and customize for maximum impact.

Intranets are moving from one-size-fits-all platforms to targeted and tailored experiences. To make your site truly effective for your diverse employee base, identify each user by their role and location and put news, tools and information most relevant to them front and center. Then allow individual users to customize their environment even further, modifying areas of the site to work better for their unique needs.

  1. Don’t be afraid to give up real estate and control.

Corporate communication teams often “own” their company intranets exclusively. Relinquish some control and put the business at the center of your intranet, giving business units just as much real estate on your home page as corporate. The greater range of content will drive broader employee engagement and your businesses can reduce one-off communications that contribute to the noise.

  1. Use your intranet to connect and integrate.

Competing interests can make it challenging to design an intranet that works for both your employees and your business stakeholders. Additionally, the intranet is often one of many internal digital tools employees use as part of their jobs. Where possible, the intranet should act as integrator, an entry point to the internal digital ecosystem and a hub for all business, communications, HR, IT, marketing and other content.

  1. Be smart with social.

Businesses are buzzing about enterprise social, asking: can it work, and does it really offer business benefits? We think it can and it does, but organizations often approach enterprise social with too narrow a focus. For the employee, the appeal of social media isn’t liking and commenting; it’s having the ability to create a fully customized experience—following the people, topics and groups he or she is interested in. Additionally, disengagement happens quickly if enterprise social is just another application in the digital ecosystem, or if employees are limited in their participation. Integrate enterprise social with your intranet, open it up to all users and allow employees to truly make it theirs.

  1. Make content a priority.

Companies are transforming their external websites into owned storytelling platforms, providing beautiful and engaging content to connect with consumers in fresh ways. Why not do the same thing internally? Establish a strong editorial strategy and team and use strategic story development and activation to feed your intranet with compelling, visually-driven content. It will drive engagement, encourage learning and exploration, and keep employees coming back for more.

  1. Never, ever stop improving.

Companies release mobile app updates monthly—even weekly—but keep their intranets the same for years. As a result, redesigns require significant research, effort and budget. To save time and resources, make consistent, incremental updates to your intranet. Gather feedback from employees and release enhancements multiple times per year.

Your intranet can—and should—be doing more for employees. Putting business outcomes first, we lead an integrated approach to intranet design, bringing together communicators, storytellers, marketers and technologists to reimagine what’s next for your digital workspace.

Also check out 4 Reasons You Need a Leadership Portal for information on creating a dedicated online community portal for leaders with on-demand tools and learning modules.

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