Electric company’s winning intranet philosophy: Audience first

American Electric Power’s head of internal communications says starting with a focus on what employees want will make everything else fall into place.

“You kind of need a bedrock philosophical foundation,” he says. “Once you have that, grasp that, have defined it, and live by it, you tend to make promising decisions.”

Lots of intranet managers get wrapped up in messages or technology, but they need to remember that the intranet is a tool for employees, not communicators. Remembering that will lead to an intranet that’s cleaner, clearer, and easier to use, Amurgis says.

From that basic philosophy, he suggests three things that every internal communicator should do: inspire, inform, and involve.

Inspire

You and your bosses know that the work your company does is important, but sometimes employees need a little reminder. That’s why your intranet should paint a picture “of the noble and important work your organization does,” Amurgis says. “It’s really hard to get engaged if you don’t think your organization is doing anything important.”

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