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5 reasons why your organisations intranet is failing you

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5 reasons your corporate company intranet is failing

We’re often called in to organisations who understand the need for an intranet – but who have struggled to get them up and running in the past.

If you choose the right provider, your intranet should be a breeze to install and use – yet so many companies face challenges.

We’ve compiled our top five reasons for intranets to fail – and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen to yours.

1. What do staff really, really want?

All too often, a company will rush in to purchasing an intranet – without proper consideration of the requirements of the people who will be actually using it day in, day out. The intranet is installed – but its of no real value to staff, and so they don’t engage with it.

One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t make this mistake with your new intranet is to hold an internal focus group early in the planning stages. Invite a cross section of employees from each department and use it establish what your team really want – and what they will realistically use the intranet for. Your view may be different to theirs, and it’s important to remember that your intranet several purposes, including social, and helping them to do their jobs more efficiently.

Once you have this information make sure that you take everyone’s views in to account and act on them in the planning stages.

2. It’s old news …

Reading your company intranet should be similar to reading today’s news and lifestyle sites. Hot off the press, with information that is bang up to date. Company news, social updates, guidelines and imagery should be current – as well as easily accessible. Reading about the Christmas party in May or finding that the holiday form is two years out of date isn’t going to engage anyone.

It only take users to read old information a few times to stop bothering logging on at all. Why would they, if there is no new content for them to read?

Archive old posts and make sure that new content is timely and relevant to the needs of your staff. The more relevant the information, the quicker you’ll build that all important employee engagement.

3. Allocate responsibility

We go into many businesses where the failure of previous intranets boils down to one simple reason – no one is in charge of it and no one is driving it from an executive level.

This can lead to confusion in terms of who is responsible if something goes wrong , or who to call to change or upload content. Assumptions are made, and the buck will be passed back and forth until 3 months down the line no one has updated it (see point 2).

Some companies choose the Human Resources team, whereas others will assign the Marketing and Communications department. It doesn’t really matter which area of the business it is – as long as the entire team is signposted to the correct “owner”. Without proper clarification, the confusion that results contribute towards the failure of the intranet to deliver its objectives.

Once you have a team in place then executive level buy in is important, someone to drive the concept, the new culture and the potential new way of working – the analogy would be the king leading his men into battle, you are going to listen to him – same concept here just without the swords.

4. Staff “don’t get it”

One of the biggest challenges with intranet adoption is ensuring that staff are fully trained in how to use it.

By nature, we are creatures of habit and people are often resistant to change. If something is too different from the norm – or perceived to be difficult and time consuming – they can be reluctant to embrace it. With this is mind, it is absolutely imperative to make sure that each and every member of staff is fully on board by educating them in how to use the intranet – and demonstrating how it will benefit them in their day to day jobs.

There are several ways that training can be carried out – via your intranet provider, your communications team, or ensuring all staff take a compulsory tour. Which ever route a company goes down, ensuring that staff are fully aware on how to use the intranet to its full potential should be top of the priority list. There are many ways to train users, the key is finding the ways that work for your organisation, culture and the users themselves, here are some examples

  • Train-a-Trainer – train a selection of Super Users to a high level understanding and knowledge and use them to train the rest of the organisation
  • Classroom – the ol’ fashion way of getting users in a room and showing them how things are done and letting them having a good on their own in a isolated environment
  • User Guides – whether it be paper print outs, downloadable PDF’s or a how-to videos they will all be useful and help users use your new intranet, something they can revisit if they need a refresher.
  • Drop-in Sessions – run a range of workshops where users can drop in, bring their laptops or devices and learn how to do things, ask questions etc. which is a great opportunity to help and educate.

5. They can’t find anything

People are busy. Employees want to jump on to an intranet and find what they need within a few clicks – after all, an intranet is essentially a central storage cabinet, and there to make life easier.

Overly complicated navigation, ill thought out information architecture, poor search experience and finally poor page structure makes an intranet difficult to utilise will turn users right off and will be perceived as yet another challenge.

Work with your intranet provider to ensure a smooth and straightforward user experience – a place for everything and everything in its place should be your mantra. Learn what is important and how you can get them to that content as quickly as possible.

By Sam Dolan

Sam Dolan is a consultant for Attollo specialising in Intranets, SharePont & Microsoft 365.

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