The idea that if you build it, they will come might have worked for Kevin Costner in the movie “Field of Dreams,” but it certainly does not hold for Intranet sites. If your Intranet has stagnated and is underused, it is time to work out how to attract staff back, even though creating and maintaining an effective Intranet is daunting. You need to identify what you want to achieve with your Intranet, and you need to integrate your business goals and the needs of each department and its staff. In addition, you need to keep up with the times and with the technology My Latest News.
Even re-jigging the Intranet seems like a huge task. Where do I start?
As with any project, it is best to start by organizing your team and defining the project. To start with, you need to answer basic questions such as:
What is the purpose of the Intranet?
- Relevant to our internal communications goals, what do we want to achieve?
- Who will use it, and how will they use it?
- What will it contain?
- What functionality do we need to achieve this?
Do the big thinking first, and then break up the project into a series of smaller projects. You are likely to get more ‘buy-in’ and gain more credibility if your staff gain a series of benefits and can see a series of improvements over time.
Have a clear vision and do your planning
Start by clarifying your communications objectives. Your objectives should focus on creating value: selling more, saving costs, developing new products/services, attracting and retaining employees, etc. You may need to conduct some research or conduct focus groups to understand the value that different departments hope to derive from an improved Intranet.
Next, put together your team. Having an effective, company-wide cross-functional team is really important. It is a good idea to get a balance between representatives from IT, Comms and HR. Consult with your Intranet team and key stakeholders to define why you are establishing or revamping your Intranet. Ensure your objectives and strategies align with the business goals. Use a template for your planning and write down your plan. This will help you clarify your thoughts. It will also ensure you include all relevant information, and it will keep you and your team on track.
Break the project up into smaller ‘mini-projects,’ then, for each one:
- Discuss what needs to be done
- Identify problems and possible improvements
- Drum up interest and buy-in across the business.
- Plan the first steps and decide how you will track and measure progress.
Try these tools
A desktop staff poll can deliver company-wide surveys to assess what’s working and not with the existing Intranet. It can also gather important information regarding the tools and resources people would like to see included on the revamped Intranet. Desktop polls pop up on employee computer screens, so do not add to email overload. Built-in reminders help drive participation, ensuring that all views are represented in the research, including the important but often ‘silent majority who perhaps do not have extreme views or agendas and are less motivated to participate.
Staff surveys Poll should also be targeted to specific employees, for example, managers and heads of departments. Such individuals can be asked questions such as “what specific business value does / could your department derive from an effective Intranet?”, “How might this be quantified?” For example, a sales manager may say the number of accurate proposals that salespeople can produce.
This research will provide an important perspective to help you make the Intranet effective and also help you quantify the value of the revamped Intranet at a later stage. In addition to quantitative research, an online staff discussion forum is a good way of enabling staff to engage in online discussions. It allows you to tap into the likes and dislikes of staff regarding the Intranet and capture innovative thinking and possible solutions. Use a staff discussion forum platform that is easy to administer.
Easy to use and cost-effective. An employee discussion forum can provide a way to set up a secure Intranet project team discussion group. This is especially useful if timetabling meetings is problematic because key team members have busy schedules. A staff discussion forum allows stakeholders from other centres to be an active part of your team. Your cross-functional project team can ‘meet and discuss the status of certain aspects of the project and share and capture ideas as they crop up.
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