5 tips to rejuvenate an ineffective intranet

To resurrect an abandoned platform, start by making crucial information more accessible. Then, get your users involved, conduct refresher training and review your governance.


Users disengage from an intranet for any number of reasons.

Whatever the reason, here are five easy ways to get your employee hub back on track:

1. Renew the focus on getting things done.

The most common reason employees disengage with corporate intranets is that information is hard to find, out of date or both. If your intranet doesn’t offer the easiest way for your teams to get their work done, they’ll find workarounds.

If your employees aren’t using your intranet, identify ways to improve it. Consider these ideas:

  • Review the design. Does it support the way your teams are using it? Is navigation clear? Are sites, pages and information easy to find? Is the displayed information relevant, or just clutter?
  • Consider using ‘Search Web Parts.’ If you’re using Office 365, Search Web Parts lets you display the latest updated information in an engaging way. Search Web Parts can be used to highlight important information, such as financial reports, news bulletins, meeting minutes or program updates.
  • Add calendars. Use team, company or department calendars in your intranet to keep colleagues up to date on events or deadlines. In Office 365 you can display and overlay up to 10 SharePoint calendars at once, helping to keep your teams informed.
  • Update existing calendars. An empty calendar says your content is out of date. Update your calendars regularly with useful information to keep workers engaged.

2. Get users involved.

Intranet success relies on user adoption. People want to be productive, and employees will embrace tools that make their jobs easier. If your users aren’t engaging with your intranet, ask your colleagues why.

Try these tips:

  • Gather feedback regularly. If your colleagues are involved in developing your intranet, they will be more invested in its success—and far more willing to adopt and use it. Try to identify influential intranet “champions” within your organization who can gather feedback from co-workers and encourage others to use the intranet.
  • Give clear training and guidance. Make sure policies and best practices are communicated clearly across your organization, and ensure that your users receive relevant, timely training.

3. Conduct refreshers.

Intranets are often launched with the expectation that employees will just figure it out as they go. You must provide substantive training on how to use the new platform.

People fear (or ignore) what they don’t understand, so it’s important to make your intranet accessible through regular communication and training.

Here’s how:

  • Make intranet policies and instructions readily available. Consider including short how-to videos covering essential functions such as uploading and sharing documents, version control and using the search function.
  • Ongoing training. To facilitate intranet adoption, identify and tap “power users” to train colleagues in their own departments.

4. Review your governance.

This is crucial to your intranet’s success. For outlining and communicating clear governance:

  • Educate users. Emphasize that governance is about best practices, not policing. If your users feel restricted in what they can do, or that governance has become an obstacle to carrying out their tasks, they will find workarounds outside the intranet. Clearly and regularly outline your intranet best practices guidance, and consider creating an FAQ section to address common issues.
  • Create a scenario map. This should guide your users where to go and show your colleagues which features to use to accomplish certain tasks.
  • Create a change management team. An intranet is not a single project; it’s an evolving tool that adapts with your organization. Try to establish a team of intranet champions who can continually review intranet usability, report on user feedback and assess departmental requirements.
  • Implement a site creation policy. A common problem occurs when multiple users need and create the same site, leading to mass reduplication, site sprawl and frustration. Implementing a site creation policy and request form lets you review whether sites are needed. Then, you can advise users as to whether the requested site already exists. Governing sites in this way makes your intranet more manageable, efficient and user-friendly.

5. Consult an expert.

Don’t feel you must go it alone. An intranet expert can help you avoid common pitfalls, save time and get it right the first time. Instead of trying to solve intranet issues on your own, on the fly, consider letting an experienced partner take the wheel. Creating an intranet that your people will love takes expertise.

Sharon Sumner is the owner of Business Cloud Integration. A version of this post first appeared on Cambridge Network.

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