Whether you’re diving into a company intranet solution for the first time or trying to create an intranet that will work better and improve employee engagement more than the last one, you want to be sure that you’re developing the best intranet solution for your business. Designing and developing an intranet, whether you’re creating one from scratch or using a cloud-based intranet with a pre-existing template, might seem overwhelming at first. With a little preparation, however, you can create the best intranet solution for your business and watch employee engagement soar as a result of your efforts.
Step 1: Define Success
What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish with your intranet? Some sources suggest that an engaging intranet will be in use by 60% of the business’s employees on a daily basis. Others define success by the number of people who are contributing new content through forum posts, comments, and other methods. While those are great rules of thumb for general intranet usage, you might see the success of your intranet differently. Take the time to define what you will consider success long before you start designing your intranet solution. Ask yourself these questions:
Which employees are most likely to use the intranet? It’s also important to understand which employees won’t use the intranet–that is, which employees have jobs that won’t require them to check in with the intranet software on a regular basis.
What type of interaction should employees have with the intranet? If you aren’t posting content that requires a response, you might not expect to see as much content as you would if you were regularly posting material that was designed to enhance employee engagement.
What is the goal of the intranet software? What is it that you’re hoping to accomplish with your intranet? It could be as simple as making it easier for employees to access important documents or as complicated as increasing employee engagement or providing forums to streamline communication throughout the company. Understanding your goal will help you understand whether or not your employees are using your intranet solution the way you intended.
Step 2: Choose Accessibility
If all of your employees work from their offices every day, you might think that you don’t need a mobile-accessible intranet. After all, their computers are right there in front of them every day! On the other hand, being able to access the intranet on the go has a number of advantage for your employees. When you design a mobile accessible intranet, you:
- Allow employees to check vital information, including vacation information and information about important upcoming dates, from wherever they are.
- Permit employees to access important documents or forms when they’re on the road.
- Give employees the convenience of accessing the company intranet from their own device, which is often easier to use than the company computer.
You should also answer the question of security before you begin designing your intranet. You may have portions of the intranet, for example, that are only accessible to specific individuals or levels of access depending on the individual’s security clearance. If you have private customer information within your company, it doesn’t necessarily need to be accessible to all of your employees. While those secure areas should be more difficult to access, it’s also important to make the process as easy on your employees as possible. The harder it is to access important data, the more difficult your employees’ workflow will be.
Step 3: Watch, Listen, and Evaluate
Creating the best intranet solution for your business doesn’t just mean checking off items on a list. It also means understanding the unique needs of each department within the company. For example, some businesses might benefit immensely from a large selection of apps, tons of documents, and plenty of features. Other businesses–particularly those whose employee populations are older or less tech-savvy–may benefit from a simpler intranet design that doesn’t contain an excessive number of features.
Ask employees throughout the business what they need. Take the time to talk with managers in every department throughout the company. What apps do they think the intranet needs? What documents would benefit them? If you’re going to maintain a company blog, what would they like to see on it?
Watch how employees use your existing intranet solution. Are there features that aren’t ever used? Features that are used daily? Even if you don’t have an existing intranet solution, you can observe your employees to see how an effective intranet can improve their workflow and streamline the course of their days.
Ask for employee input. Whether you put up a suggestion box, create an email dedicated to asking for employee feedback, or ask employees individually, take the time to listen to what employees throughout the company have to say. In many cases, they’ll already have great ideas for what will help improve the course of their days.
Step 4: Try It Out in Stages
You’ve created an intranet solution that you’re sure will work beautifully for your business. The next step is to release it to the company as a whole and let employees try it out for themselves. For the initial deployment, however, you don’t want to release the new intranet software to the entire company at once. Even if it’s the best intranet ever designed, it’s likely to have a few kinks that need to be worked out. Instead, deploy the intranet to a select group of individuals and give them time to test it out.
Observe the way they use the intranet. See which pages are getting regular views and which ones are never used. Check out places where the flow is clunky. Make note of anything that seems to be a problem so that you can go back and fix it.
Ask questions. Consider creating a survey that will help answer your top queries about intranet usage. Take the time to read through the survey responses and determine what answers you’re seeing the most often. Positive responses are great, but it’s the negative ones that will really tell you what you need to fix.
Make changes. This is one of the hardest parts of creating the best intranet for your business. You’ve put plenty of time and effort into the intranet design process, and you don’t want to have to do any of it again! An openness to change and a willingness to adapt your design for the employees who will use the intranet every day, however, will help you create the best possible intranet setup for everyone within your company.
Repeat. You might be on a tight deadline, but there are some things that are worth waiting for. You’d rather take a little longer to deploy the best intranet for your company than push it out too early. While you’ll never make everyone happy, you can create an effective, streamlined intranet design that will have enormous benefits for every employee within your company.
If you’re ready to start creating the best intranet for your business, contact us! We’ll work with you to design an effective intranet solution that has all the features that your company needs while remaining simple, easy to use, and as streamlined as possible. You need an easy intranet solution. We’re here to provide it for you.