‘Build an intranet, and they will come,’ has never been more wrong for intranet software. It's commonly known in intranet communities that user adoption and user engagement can be quite the challenge to overcome.
Bringing a new intranet into your organisation can increase productivity, increase collaboration, and boost efficiency. But, getting every employee on board is often a challenge. What can you do to increase early and rapid adoption?
It is an answer we will try to give you with the following intranet content ideas:
- Set the intranet as your homepage
- Add content from your industry
- CEO news
- Company successes and failures
- Stop sending e-mail
- Add pictures and videos from employees on-the-go
- Talk about food
- Offer exclusive content
- Explore your organisation
- Staff spotlights
It is not given that employees will use an intranet simply because the company has invested in one. With a lot of new tools and technologies, change can be hard for some people in an organisation. Every organisation has at least one naysayer who refuses to adopt anything that may alter their workplace routines, even if it is for the better. These naysayers can be the hardest to persuade, and bear in mind that they shouldn't be ignored.
A key to knowledge sharing on the intranet is that users do, in fact, use it. User adoption and engagement is a continual process, that must be the focus of the top executives as well as intranet managers. There is a need for continued work with motivation and usage.
Your intranet is up running. How do you make sure your employees use it?
There is a need for a clear strategy, goals, and a purpose if you want an engaging intranet. The purpose should answer the question: Why should the employees use the intranet, and what is in it for them? Your employees should understand the purpose of working with the intranet. If they don’t see the purpose, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure user engagement.
If you manage an intranet project and want to ensure intranet engagement, interesting content can be the secret weapon to being successful. And don’t be worried about the intranet eating away at your employees’ time with content that is not company-related. Obviously, social intranets are used mainly for professional purposes. However, you can break up a monotonous intranet by adding elements of fun, which will include typically rapid intranet adoption.
There are several techniques that you can use to increase user adoption in the workplace. Start with the following intranet content ideas, and get creative with how you engage your employees in your social intranet.
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.
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 intranet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 intranet, you may be able to increase employee engagement. If your content is exciting, and you communicate it well, your users will come.
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.
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.