The Company Intranet:
Making the Most of a Valuable Resource
By Don Hannaford, Jeff Winton Associates Consultant
It’s no secret that many companies don’t devote a lot of attention to true two-way employee communication. This is unfortunate given all the research on the positive value of an informed and inspired workforce, although a successful (helpful, informative, motivating) employee communications effort does take some work. Intranets have become a popular and almost ubiquitous feature of employee communications. Yet all too often, once the investment has been made in the development of an intranet, leaders consider its mere existence as solving their employee communications needs.
Intranets ARE great tools, but it takes some effort for them to be truly effective. And that takes ICE. (Not a great acronym, let’s admit, but as you’ll see, appropriate for getting the most out of an intranet.)
It starts with INTEGRATION. To be used, it has to fit easily into the employees’ workday. That means that it should not require extra steps in their normal activities to get to the intranet. This is particularly true in today’s COVID-19 environment, which adds some level of stress to the workday. Many companies successfully integrate the intranet as the landing page when employees log in. (A seemingly small – but important - additional point is that the intranet be given a name that personifies it within the context of the company.)
Then there is CONTENT, which takes several forms. Dynamic content is updated regularly: video interviews with staff members (preferably at all levels), company news, blog posts, employee profiles and even virtual gatherings hosted under the auspices of the intranet. Enduring content is a repository for materials that employees need to access, such as HR documents and forms, informational materials and archives of dynamic content.
Finally, and perhaps most important, is ENGAGEMENT. Fresh and useful content will bring employee eyes to the intranet, but the ability for two-way communication will truly draw in the employees. Electronic suggestion boxes, snap polls on timely topics and other feedback elements will let them feel involved. However, don’t forget that there needs to be a mechanism for quickly responding to any employee input.
As it turns out, putting some ICE in your intranet doesn’t chill it, but instead warms it up.
Don Hannaford brings to Jeff Winton Associates more than three decades as a communications and reputation management counselor in both the public and private sectors. Don brings unparalleled expertise and business savvy to effect changes in perception and policy, whether within an organization or to external stakeholders.