6 steps for building a dynamic intranet—or overhauling a lackluster one

A thriving internal hub is more than just a bulletin board for benefits deadlines and cafeteria menus. Follow these tips for ratcheting up excitement and promoting staff engagement.

6 intranet tips

The intranet is the foundation of your company’s digital workplace.

If you don’t have an intranet—or you have one that is essentially unused—it’s time to put a solution in place. After all, there is no better way to increase employee satisfaction, drive empowerment and optimize productivity.

Where do you start? What considerations should you focus on? Maybe most important, how do you get your employees to care about and actively engage with your intranet?

To create an intranet that becomes essential to your workforce’s daily experience, you must approach the project correctly from the beginning. Consider your employees’ needs, focus on engagement and storytelling, and employ the right tool set for creating and updating the site.

Many organizations already have many pieces in place for establishing a powerful intranet. After all, building an effective internal platform isn’t new; it’s essentially brand storytelling. They just need guidance and the means to put it all together.

Whether you’re creating an intranet from scratch or transforming an outdated one, follow these steps to get started right.

1. Listen to your employees.

Your workers are at the heart of your intranet project, so it’s important to seek their input and feedback throughout the design and build-out. You must understand what they’re seeking or missing. What frustrates them in their workday? What tools and information do they want to access? Talk to leaders companywide to learn what they need to engage and motivate their teams.

Remember that your employees are your most important stakeholders, and they can be your most passionate brand evangelists. If they are heard and feel appreciated, they will become empowered and, in turn, more engaged and more productive.

[RELATED: Download The Modern Intranet Playbook]

2. Focus on what’s important.

Identify the essentials. Employee feedback should play a big part. Your intranet can do many things, such as promoting organizational culture, inspiring and engaging staff through your company’s mission, facilitating communication, providing access to benefits and other HR information, and nurturing an employee’s career growth via one-to-one marketing.

Make it easy for employees at all levels to contribute timely content—articles, opinion pieces, live blogs, livestreams, photo galleries, videos, press releases and more.

3. Determine who does what, when and where.

A well-managed intranet thrives on clear guidelines regarding who should access and update which parts of it. First and foremost, employees expect a secure environment for delivering and receiving sensitive information. Next, enable employees to access content through a single entry point. Then, personalize roles and permissions based on employee needs and functions, tailoring the experience to specific roles and responsibilities.

4. Take stock of your content.

Inventory your existing intranet or other information repositories. Look at the quality, relevance and age of each piece. Create a database to identify who owns what and where it’s stored. Flag content that needs updating, can be combined or should be retired. Identify gaps, and brainstorm ideas for filling them.

When conducting your audit, keep in mind that once your intranet launches, the overall content experience will be paramount. Remember these essentials:

  • Be timely. Share news and stories with your employees first.
  • Remain authentic. Speak in a unified and consistent company voice.
  • Publish efficiently. Reach the right people, with the right information, at the right time.
  • Distribute effectively. Allow access from anywhere, on the employee’s preferred device.

5. Move thoughtfully but quickly.

Once you’ve established your requirements and objectives, defined roles and responsibilities, and mapped out your content, accelerate the move from concept to implementation. You’ve got momentum, so keep it going. Give employees sneak peeks of the new intranet to provide reassurance and generate enthusiasm. By the time the site is ready for prime time, your staff should be not just ready to accept it, but eager to use it.

6. Don’t go it alone.

Great intranets are rarely created solely in house. As a complex, multi-stakeholder project, an intranet overhaul tends to draw many opinions and press various levers of office politics. Take advantage of an outside consultant with targeted expertise and a best-in-class platform.

Once you have your intranet up and running, make maintaining and updating it as straightforward as possible. Like good corporate websites, intranets are populated with continually changing content scaffolded on a solid framework. It will take work to make sure your intranet content is fresh and relevant each day.

This article is in partnership with Perfect Sense.

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