Don’t let spin or fluff sabotage your intranet

For content that engages employees, think more like a newspaper editor than a PR exec.

In public relations, you try to push the messages and information that you want the readers to know.

As a journalist, you look for the stories your readers want to know about.

A PR mindset can result in a sanitized, rose-colored version of company news. Employees are sophisticated consumers of content, and they’ll see right through the inauthentic fluff. Perpetual, obvious spin can quickly wreck credibility and erode trust.

Taking a more journalistic approach to intranet content requires thinking through the questions that employees want answered. What matters to them? What might pique their interest or help them out in some way?

Honesty is also important. Telling the whole story—without sidestepping the bits that might not be great news—creates the sort of authentic content that employees crave.

That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t promote company messaging on the intranet. By all means, include content that helps employees align with the company vision. Publish pieces that tout company and departmental accomplishments. Strive to connect and inspire employees to remind them they’re part of something larger.

The intranet is an excellent place to tell the company’s side of any unsettling event or major change. It offers an opportunity to counteract the rumor mill by sharing the reasons behind a change, to clarify a stance on an issue or to refute fake news.

The intranet can reduce employee stress by helping them understand the way management is moving forward. If you want workers to consider the intranet their go-to source for company information, give them an honest summation of what’s happening now and what will happen next. Explain how, when and to whom.

Remember that an intranet is a pull medium. Employees must want to see what’s posted, or you’ll never get them to go there. To make your intranet a must-read for employees, offer the news they want—delivered in a way that gives them credit for being intelligent human beings.

A version of this post first appeared on the Tribe Good Company Blog.

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