Magazine article Communication World

Five Ways to Engage: Before You Remake Your Intranet, Find out What Your Employees Really Want It to Deliver

Magazine article Communication World

Five Ways to Engage: Before You Remake Your Intranet, Find out What Your Employees Really Want It to Deliver

Article excerpt

The company intranet is kind of like the middle child in a family. We care about it, but its siblings usually get more attention. In this scenario, the siblings are external websites and social media channels. Websites always seem to get the makeover and the budget allocations when push comes to shove. Since social media is the last born, it's the pride and joy of the company, and leaders are focusing on this fun and energizing medium.

What many companies and leaders do not understand is that the intranet connects employees with the company and is an important engagement tool. Engagement equals happy employees, less turnover, increased innovation and savings on the bottom line. These things matter.

Before we dive into ways to engage employees through your online space, let's talk about the eve>popular intranet makeover. We often expect employees to be more engaged just by giving an intranet a little polish and a name change. Delivering a shiny new intranet without first listening to find out what employees need will not deliver real engagement. So as you move forward with changes in your approach and tactics, remember: Listen first, then react.

The following sections represent the basics of the latest intranet trends and aim to get you thinking about how to make your intranet more engaging.

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Organize your content

Organizing your content is so important. If you do a great job here, finding information and resources will be easy and will make sense to most employees. First, organize your content into categories. I've listed a few general categories below to get you started. Be flexible with your categories, and make changes that resonate with your company's content. For example:

* Information about the employee: benefits, perks, payroll information, etc.

* Resources for employees to get their jobs done: forms, policies, procedures, self-service, etc.

* Career advancement: learning resources, jobs, career management tools, etc.

* Information about the company: leadership bios, top-level company information, department structures, etc.

As you shuffle your content around, here are a few tips to remember:

* Minimize the number of clicks it takes to navigate to content. Employees are only willing to click once or twice to get to the information they want.

* Highlight the most important resources as prominently as you can.

* Use common language that most employees will understand. Department names can be deceiving. For example, instead of making "Payroll Department" the link for entering time worked or to view a paycheck, name the link "Enter Time and View Pay."

Tap consumer-based experiences

Your employees' experience with your intranet should be similar to what they experience on the Web as consumers. Your employees use Google, Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, etc., every day. There's no reason to reinvent common experiences. Blend Internet best practices into your intranet. For example, most employees are familiar with the icon that looks like a thumbs-up. At a glance, they know it means "I like this content." Using familiar experiences removes the need to train employees on your most powerful communication tool, the company intranet.

Focus on meaningful content (resources, tools, information)

We all know content is king. But when it comes to an intranet, the right content is king. It's plain and simple: Employees want easy access to tools and resources to get their jobs done. Communicators often fill the intranet with news and announcements. …

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