“I would be so much better at my job if it wasn’t so hard to get information QUICKLY.”
How many times has an employee sat in your office and said something like this? I’ll bet if you got a nickel every time someone did you could probably buy yourself a nice steak dinner. Let’s say that one day you took this feedback to heart and found a solution: a company intranet where everyone can get information in one place. And what happened after the site launched?
(Crickets) No one uses it.
It’s easy to blame staff for not using the intranet, but keep in mind that many companies that are now blazing with innovation started off in the same place you are: Frustrated and discouraged by low user adoption.
How did they manage to turn it around? Here is a list of best practices that will increase your user adoption rate.
Get Employees Involved In Your Intranet Strategy
No one likes having to learn new tools. Learning takes time and effort, and getting people on board always seems to take more effort than it should.
The best way around this problem is to get employees actively involved in the planning process before design starts. You wouldn’t roll out a public-facing website without taking user needs into account, so why approach intranet design differently? The end-users are all around you and their insights can help ensure success.
Assign every department in the company to creating a team that will represent their needs during the planning and design process. Not only will they have a vested interest in the final result, they will have an understanding of how the intranet works and can help you train other employees.
Make Your Intranet Customizable
If technology has taught us anything over the years, it’s that users embrace personalization. Just as you can customize how different departments and office locations get information from the intranet, individual users can personalize their dashboards to reflect their tastes and styles. Employees can manage their own user profiles, participate in message boards, set up bookmarks and subscriptions, and even create their own virtual workspace.
Giving people a few personalization options can go a long way toward making the company intranet a familiar and comfortable space for them.
Create a Search Feature That Delivers Outstanding Results
Search engines have spoiled us all. We’ve all been conditioned to abandon a search if it doesn’t deliver what we want in mere seconds, and your intranet will be held to the same standard.
A search feature that delivers fast, quality results is absolutely crucial for employee adoption. In fact, it often means the difference between a thriving collaborative hub and one that collects dust on the virtual shelf. Staffers need the ability to refine searches to produce better results the same way they do on Google, and many components, like one-click filters, can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your intranet search.
Make Employees Depend On The Intranet
Whether filling out time sheets, submitting reports, or accessing company information, employees should start doing these tasks on the intranet on day one. Make it clear to both managers and workers that emailed documents will no longer be accepted. You might hear grumbling at first, but when they see how much easier it is to update a doc in one repository than emailing multiple versions back and forth they will embrace the new system with open arms.
Set The Stage For Intranet Collaboration
Employee adoption is much more difficult when information is handed down to them with no opportunity to offer feedback. You can increase collaboration on the intranet by creating department or project management sites where people will have a dedicated place to work toward a common goal.
It’s also important to set up discussion forums and idea exchange spaces where employees can submit feedback. Make sure this information does not get ignored. People stay invested in workplaces where their opinions are valued and we all know that keeping good employees happy is less expensive than finding new ones when they leave.
Make Sure YOU Embrace The Intranet
If using the intranet is not a priority at the top, it won’t be for anybody. Trust us on this. It’s easy to lapse into old habits and forget about the company portal for everyday tasks. It’s up to management to keep this from happening. Making it clear that you will track projects and reports on the company platform and then follow through with it.
You can also boost participation by making the intranet about pleasure as well as business. Recognizing employees for outstanding performance, announcing staff parties and posting user-generated photos and videos are all great ways to inject some fun into the process.
Creating a company intranet is an amazing team building experience all its own. When employees get involved they will keep you from making wrong assumptions about what they want and need. This is a tool they will depend on every day moving forward. They should own it every step of the way.