Launching an intranet? Try these 5 tips to entice your staff

If you build it, they will come—maybe. If they do, will they come back? The first exposure to your internal hub is crucial, so try these approaches.

Launching an intranet is quite the undertaking.

You spend months searching for the best platform, planning your site structure and branding, inventorying the necessary content, and beta testing for quality assurance.

Often the launch itself gets downplayed or overlooked.

It’s crucial that you take advantage of your employees’ initial experience with the new tool. Raising awareness and promoting traffic to the site that first day can be the key to getting your users to form the habit of visiting your intranet.

Increase your potential for a high return on your investment by considering these five ideas for your launch:

1. Trivia or scavenger hunt
Encourage your colleagues to explore the many facets of your intranet by holding a scavenger hunt or trivia quiz featuring questions/clues about the contents of your site. This can be scaled to your company, whether by handing out cards that can be turned in or emailing a SurveyMonkey or Formstack that exports the data directly to Excel.

By including participants with perfect scores in a raffle for some goodie, you will promote participation while avoiding the tax and disclosure hassle that comes with handing out prizes without that random element.

2. Profile-building station
It’s not always easy getting your employees to do anything on their own time when it doesn’t apply to their everyday responsibilities. Instead of relying on employees to build a profile at their desk, set up a laptop bar and encourage employees do so the first time they sign on. Give swag to those who visit the station and put the time in to round out their profile.

3. Professional photography booth
Some companies allow employees to upload any photo they choose to their profile, but many opt for using photos of other things, such as their children or pets.

Other companies use grainy security badge photos and don’t allow their employees to change their picture. Neither has the desired effect of an intranet with profiles, which is to help people recognize co-workers to help make their own job easier. One solution is to have a professional take the photos, which can then be used on the intranet—as well as on LinkedIn or in your newsletters.

4. A message from leaders
It may not be obvious to employees how an intranet might fit into your company’s business strategy. Have leaders communicate how a hub for information and news can bolster your bottom line. You can do so with a simple letter or intranet article, but there is great potential to make that message fun and engaging.

A video is always a great way to capture attention, especially one with an entertaining format, such as a mock movie trailer. Having executives visit various locations to make short speeches can also do wonders for engagement, especially at those locations where people feel they are often left out.

5. Event-in-a-box
Don’t forget your remote employees. Often, it’s telecommuters who get the most out of an intranet, as they aren’t within the typical communications environment. Send each one an event-in-a-box or pouch with the same contents an employee would receive at a launch event. Make it personal by including a message from leaders to home-based employees only, ensuring that they don’t feel snubbed.

However you launch your intranet, make it an event worth remembering. The more engaged your employees are from the start, the more likely they are to keep visiting it.

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

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