“Build it and they will come” is no longer an accurate maxim; it’s important to craft online spaces that people want to engage with. In terms of an intranet, that means you need to create something that employees want to use – something that answers their questions and makes their lives easier. After all, you want to ensure that you build an intranet that staff actually want to use.
You know what they say about assuming… (it makes an ‘ass’ out of people!) Don’t assume you know what your employees want in an intranet – ask them! Engage with staff from different parts of the organisation in order to curate a well-rounded view of what your portal platform needs to do and achieve. A successful project needs to bring about an outcome that works smoothly for everyone. There are several ways that you can do this…
Read on for our top tips on how to get staff involved throughout the design and construction process to ensure that every member of your organisation is making the most of the company intranet.
Start With A Survey
A civil engineer always starts a project by surveying the land, so don your hard hat and gather some data. Construct a survey that contains clear and concise questions. As well as finding out what specifications or features are important to them, you can invite constructive feedback about the current intranet solution you have in place. In order to gain honest feedback, which makes for the most useful data, consider making your survey anonymous so that people feel comfortable saying what they really think.
Keep Ideas Flowing
While a survey asks for feedback at one static point, your intranet project will take place over some time and, even after its completed, will be subject to improvements across its lifespan. Provide options for ongoing employee input. Whether you set up a dedicated email account, set regular brainstorming meetings, or put out an old-fashioned comment box, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open in terms of suggestions.
Grab Some Guinea Pigs
Not the actual furry variety! Instead, recruit some of your employees to test the new intranet software and functionality, before it is rolled out to the rest of the organisation. Search as far and wide as you can when it comes to hand-picking guinea pigs, stretching it over all possible departments and job roles where possible. Each employee will be looking at the solution through their own lens, so this will ensure the most varied feedback and get you closer to a successful solution for everyone.
Become A Bird-Watcher
Here you want to observe your existing intranet in its natural environment. Look at how employees are using the current solution; do they engage with it regularly? Are there places they get stuck, or experience bottlenecks? As any good scientist would do, make detailed notes of potential improvements to refer back to later. If you don’t have an intranet already, look at your employees’ workflow and see the spots where an intranet would serve to make their lives easier.
Clearly Articulate Your Needs
Even the best intranet provider is unlikely to be a mind-reader, so you will need to be able to explain to them clearly what you need. An experienced provider, like MyHub Intranet Solutions will be able to work with you to bring you closer to a final solution and deliver the features you need, but it pays to start with the end in mind. Before you even begin to engage in the design process, construct a list or spreadsheet that outlines what your organisation is looking for in an intranet, and any key problems that you need the solution to solve. Information like this, and why you want certain things to be added into the finished product, will give your provider greater scope to use their expertise to craft an optimal solution.
Build An Intranet That Is Future-Proof Where Possible
While you may not be lucky enough to possess a crystal ball (us neither!) it does pay to remember the fact that your solution will need to be able to grow with your business. Your intranet project effectively lays the foundation for software that should be able to meet the needs of your team, and the organisation itself, in time to come. Like any good IT project, nothing is permanent. Think of it as just the beginning of something that can be adapted and improved over time. In this way, it should never become obsolete.
In the ever-shifting online space, nothing remains permanent and you will be able to add and delete content as its relevance to users changes. With a mind to continuous improvements, it pays to schedule regular checks that content that is needed is still easily accessible. Audits can also be a really useful tool to escape dangerous “way it’s always been” thinking and allow for the removal of less-useful features and the addition of new functionalities, like forums and apps, to meet company needs.
Make Sure You’re Mobile
As our mobile workforce evolves, employees are spending less time chained (just metaphorically, we hope!) to their desks and more time out in the field. Wherever they are working, the intranet should be able to reach them. Your team should be able to access the company intranet from anywhere, so it’s important that it’s mobile-friendly and easy-to-use on portable devices.
Making something mobile-friendly doesn’t just mean you need to be able to read it on a small screen (although that helps too!) Here’s another area which pays to ‘begin with the end in mind’ as the best mobile-optimised design is considered from the outset of a project, not just as an after-thought. Make sure that your search function is user-friendly and keep file sizes small so that can load efficiently. Perform regular checks on mobile devices when you are routinely auditing your intranet on desktop machines.
Go Forth From Some Goals
If you’ve talked to employees, sent out surveys, watched workflow in action and invited feedback and ideas, you’ve likely got a lot of data as you begin your intranet project. While these valuable insights should form the foundation of your design and build, avoid opinion overload by keeping some original goals for the intranet in mind. Your software solution should help you grow and achieve the key important objectives you’re working toward for your business, so a chief part of any implementation should be, first and foremost, the features that will support you in reaching those goals.
To build an intranet that employees actually use shouldn’t be too difficult, especially if you’re working with people who know what they’re doing. To create a cloud-based intranet, based on a proven template, simply sign up for a free trial or book a free intranet demo with us. Our knowledgeable and professional team can tailor a solution to suit your needs, while leading the employee engagement process required to deliver a successful project.