Ditch these 5 terrible intranet practices

From clogging your internal site to making your content ponderous and unappealing, there are crucial blunders that are turning off your colleagues.

For many intranet administrators, it feels as though we work double time to provide more than enough valuable, relevant information and resources to our colleagues.

Then why are they still not jumping for joy over our efforts? It may be because we have to stop committing these five common mistakes. Heed this advice:

1. Stop overcrowding your intranet.

Content bloat is a serious problem with intranets, especially older ones. There are tons of automation features and archival cleanup processes available to help with that, but the overcrowding effect is hard to avoid. The biggest offenders, doing the most damage, are:

When it comes to your intranet, less is more—especially when you launch it. Don’t overwhelm your employees, and remember we are visual creatures. How you design your intranet will directly affect how well it is received.

Download this free white paper to see how your organization can better measure its internal communication strategies.

2. Stop being so serious.

Your gateway to a great intranet with lots of engagement is those three little letters: F-U-N.

Include employee stories, give out employee kudos and promote events that support the company culture. Add fun and engaging areas that bring employees onto the intranet regularly, including ways they can contribute. If you can tap into emotion with these ideas, you can build momentum.

3. Stop trying to do too much.

There is a large deficit in intranet strategy. Pick a personal goal or a passion—after all, you are the intranet champion, the one who will infuse life into the project. It might be helping people, sharing the culture, spreading HR initiatives—whatever it is, wrap your personal quest into functional areas of the intranet. A great way to do so is by establishing a vision statement.

Keep it simple, especially at first; focus on one or two key passions. You can always build on that foundation down the road.

4. Stop channeling your inner techie.

Stories, not tech wizardry, excite people. How you communicate information on your intranet can make a big difference in how employees feel about it.

Avoid technical-speak, big words and pontificating. Keep messaging simple and succinct, with a dose of personality. Look for funny or engaging “content writers” in your company who have outgoing personalities, and have them share what is important to them.

5. Stop complaining, and start doing.

Not to say we all sit around complaining about how much work goes into our intranet—OK, sometimes we do—but instead of pestering management to get on board or decrying a lack of ownership from other departments, set about putting forth your own passions for the intranet. You might be surprised just who comes around asking to join in the success once they see your efforts take hold.

Carolyn Douglas, CEO & founder of Intranet Connections, has a passion for intranets, culture and leadership. Her commitment in leading the Intranet Connections team toward an empathetic approach in relationship building with customers, combined with a focus on building intranet software where usability trumps technology has led to a globally recognized company with thousands of customers worldwide. Her dedication to simplicity, creativity, empathy and integrity has kept Intranet Connections’ intranets simple and clients happy since 1999. A version of this article originally appeared on the Intranet Connections blog.

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