1. Set the intranet as your homepage
It’s a simple, and a rather corporate, trick. But it's silly not to check this one off. Ask your IT-department to set the intranet as the default company homepage for all employees. This way, you make sure the intranet is the first thing they see when they log on to their computers in the morning.
2. Add content from your industry
Another way of increasing employee engagement on your intranet is by being the hub for industry news. Instead of employees receiving newsletters from others, you can add the most important news from your industry on your intra net.
Obviously, this demands that the one assigned to this task be on top of things, and know what is going on in your industry. But, doing this may increase the overall feeling of being well-informed by your employees, and help those employees who would not normally look for industry news.
3. CEO News
All content written by your CEO should interest your employees. With a little work, you can create a weekly news post from your CEO that gets tons of visitors. Note that news and stories need to have an interesting angle to them. General company information from your CEO is important, but the CEO's opinion on industry information or visits to other company locations is probably more interesting for your employees. To be successful with CEO updates, it's often fruitful to involve the personal assistant in the project. It is far from certain that the CEO has the time to write weekly updates, so make sure you present him or her with a ready-to-go plan of how this could work out.
4. Company successes and failures
Your employees are interested in how things are going in your organisation. It may all be information that can boost employee morale, since according to Financial Times, successful companies have happier employees. News to include may be changes to the company stock price, new customers, or financial numbers from the last season. You can also use success stories from different teams in the organisation, like new product launches, or reports on lower absenteism after implementing a new initiative.
Just like good news about your organisation can be shared, it is also important to inform about the slightly less good news, to avoid false and insidious gossip. The good and bad news will make people visit the intranet.
5. Stop sending e-mails
If you gather all documents and information on the intranet, it gives a natural incentive to use the intranet. Employees will need to access the intranet to find and work with documents and files.
Be brave . Have you always sent company information by email? See what happens if you stop sending it that way and instead add it to the intranet. Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes to make the intranet the primary source of information. Set up a time-bound time of transfer, to reassure people that they can still access information in other places until a certain date.
6. Add pictures and videos from employees on-the-go
By asking employees who are at conferences, symposiums, or workshops, to make small videos or take pictures on their trip, it may increase engagement on the intranet, in that they share brand new knowledge, or show the surroundings from a big event. Getting to know what co-workers are doing, may create hype around the intranet.
One of the benefits of having employees share their experience with pictures and videos is that they are not alone when they share their experience. Plus, they also share a lot of knowledge with their colleagues who did not attend that workshop or conference.
A great example of a working person doing just that is Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Besides working at Facebook, she also participates in conferences, board meetings, interviews, and much more. She shares her work life with her followers on Facebook, just like you would imagine a coworker doing on the intranet.
7. Talk about food
Food-related content is probably the oldest trick to engage people. Everyone needs to eat at some point, and interesting food content has become rather trendy in the last couple of years. Post the lunch menu every week and make a habit of taking good pictures of the food, and researching where the food is produced or prepared. This will interest several people.
If there is no food court at your office, but several places where you can eat in the area, post the lunch menu from all of those restaurants.
Get inspired by how food bloggers describe and photograph their food, to learn what tricks they use to make their blog posts interesting. You can choose a humorous take on it or choose a dietary approach towards blogging about the company lunch. Food bloggers have several thousand followers by simply blogging about food, so there must be something to it!
Make sure you take pictures or videos of the food. Adding delicious food pictures and making people fancy the food will increase engagement, and it gives people something to talk about during their lunch break.
8. Offer exclusive content
If you want to make sure your employees interact with your intranet, you can offer exclusive content. By offering exclusive content, you can incite FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). Offer content they can’t find in other places. This may be discounts, competitions, certain employee benefits, or free events. If they experience the intranet as a fun or beneficial place to be, it is more likely that they will engage with it in the future.
9. Offer gardening tips from your employees
Is Peter from the logistics department extremely good at keeping his grass green and healthy all year around, or does Elisabeth from Finance have the most beautiful tulips every spring? Many employees will appreciate gardening tips, and probably doesn’t know that Peter or Elisabeth has this kind of knowledge.
Invite Peter and Elisabeth to tell you about their best ideas for keeping their garden. You can ask them to record themselves in their garden while they explain their gardening tips, or simply interview them right then and there. The task shouldn't demand too much of your employees.
This way, you add personal characteristics to your employees, which may increase collaboration in your organisation.
10. Explore your organisation
No matter how big your organisation is, there is a probability that your colleagues don’t know what is going on in the rest of the organisation. Exploring the organisation makes even more sense if the organisation is spread out among several geographical locations, as your co-workers probably don’t know what is happening elsewhere.
Exploring your organisation may entail short stories about what tasks employees perform in other locations or offices. It might also be short posts about the area around the company, for instance, if there is a beautiful park nearby. If you’re able to tell a story about the company in a compelling way, it's more likely that it will improve collaboration and feelings of cohesion, while you get more employees to your intranet.
As an example, the international shipping company Mærsk has asked the captains on their cargo ships to take pictures while they are at sea. It is a simple trick that they use in their social media strategy to boost engagement. If you transfer that idea to your social intranet software, you may be able to increase employee engagement. If your content is exciting, and you communicate it well, your users will come.
11. Staff spotlights
It is said that the most important part of any business is knowing your people. So, what about adding employee interviews to your intranet?
Employee interviews for internal use can be engaging, social, and fun, and they can help colleagues connect with each other in an easy-going, cheerful way. A well-considered employee presence, delivered with a personal, human touch, helps to create a powerful sense of belonging and ownership.
People like looking at people, rather than looking at abstract company info. It may be the story about Susan from Finance who describes her tasks, what projects she is working on, or what is on her mind at the moment. With employee pictures, your employees put a face on the colleagues that they don’t engage with on an everyday basis. That way, employees suddenly become real people instead of unknown faces that you work with, and you fill the intranet with people instead of it just being a cold place where no one wants to interact.
The intranet should look like people inhabit it, and the small stories, interviews, and guides by the people who use that, make it happen.
12. Launch a scavenger hunt to show the purpose of your intranet
To create some hype and a sense of purpose with the intranet, you can launch a competition for your employees to see if they can find information faster on the intranet than in the document files in the office. See what happens. Typically, they will spend more time finding paper documents than finding electronic documents on an intranet. Do the exercise to show employees the benefits of using the intranet, and thereby creating an incentive to do so, in regard to real time savings.
What to do from here?
Remember to post something every day on the intranet, to make sure that there is fresh content all the time. If there is nothing new, people will stop using the intranet.
Post exclusive content on the intranet as much as possible. Exclusive content may very likely increase intranet engagement.
Think outside the box. Does anyone in your company do something special? For instance, someone who makes delicious cakes or speaks several foreign languages? Do a mini interview with that person and post it on the intranet. See what happens!
Give them a reason to visit the intranet. Perhaps this reason is not corporate stuff. If you make the intranet an awesome place to be, with fun activities, your employees will try it out and get to know the software. Once they have accepted your social intranet software, you’re already gone a long way.
So, don't let nay-sayers' hesitation get in the way of a successful implementation of your social intranet software. Prepare for a successful launch, with exciting intranet content from the beginning, and your users are more likely to adopt your new intranet.