Critical (but Often Neglected) Components of a Successful Intranet

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It’s 2020, the year you’re determined to create and foster a more engaged corporate culture by launching or relaunching a best-in-class, modern intranet. We trust that you’ve done your homework: You know what sets great intranets apart and the specific attributes that your employees will see as a benefit. (And if you haven’t done your homework, catch up with 6 Features Every Great Intranet Must Have and Best Practices for Launching a Modern Intranet.)

When it comes to launching an intranet, at Perfect Sense, we’ve done our homework (and then some). Having worked alongside the communications teams at some of the world’s best-known corporate brands and leading media publishers, we’ve learned valuable lessons that have led us to develop Brightspot in a way that allows companies to create a distinctive intranet site that’s unique to their organization and employee needs, while also working in harmony with their corporate site.

In addition, we’ve learned that the difference between a good intranet and a great intranet are the components that often go overlooked. Are you ready to launch and maintain an intranet that improves communication and truly nurtures your most important and valuable audience: your employees? Then be sure to consider the following crucial—but all-too-often-neglected—steps:

Move Quickly

Just as they understand the power of brand storytelling, industry leaders know the value a modern intranet brings to their business—and it’s likely they already have a powerful solution in place. To remain competitive in this digital landscape, now is the time to act thoughtfully, decisively and with a sense of urgency.

Building or replatforming an intranet can be a large and complicated task—but only if you let it. Set aggressive goals, be willing to fail and learn from mistakes, and push your organization to innovate.

Once you’ve outlined your expectations/requirements and you’ve considered roles/responsibilities, commit to moving quickly from concept to implementation. Alacrity is key to keeping momentum going and driving employee enthusiasm around the project.

Take Stock of Your Current Internal Sites

Before you start laying the groundwork for your intranet, you need to know what exists today. Conducting an internal audit and then consolidating portals into a single intranet saves time, money and resources.

Specifically, you need to review all your current resources—from HR forms to internal message boards—and then identify areas that needs updating, flag any that can be combined with other pieces, do away with any portions that should be retired, and brainstorm ways that your new intranet can fill existing gaps.

In addition, collect data around employees’ current usage of internal sites. If you're replacing an intranet, how is the existing platform being used today? Who uses it, when do they use it, and what are the most/least popular pages, etc.? Use this data to develop a new and improved platform that becomes a valuable hub where all employees can access the information they rely on to start each workday.

Be Transparent and Build a Coalition

To foster a workforce that feels appreciated, heard, empowered, engaged and productive, company leaders should bring in all the stakeholders of the intranet (benefits, HR, executive comms, facilities, affinity groups, etc.) and give them the chance to be heard from the outset.

Throughout the design and deployment process, seek continued feedback from your employees. As your organization’s most powerful brand evangelists, these individuals will feel most appreciated when given the chance to express what’s currently working/not working in their daily work lives. Employees who have a hand in molding an intranet today are the employees most likely to value and rely on it down the road as the backbone of their digital workplace.

Develop an Editorial Calendar

Content is the most critical component of any great intranet. The content experience of your intranet should be powered by the same tools and templates used by media publishers and published with the same commitment to customer experience. One of the most organized and effective ways to achieve this is via the creation of and adherence to an editorial calendar.

When you map out and plan against key events throughout the year, you’re forced to remain timely, sharing news and stories with your employees first. This powerful editorial tool also encourages you to publish your intranet efficiently, reaching the right people, with the right information, at the right time.

Whether you’re sharing details of an upcoming volunteer opportunity or broadcasting the deadline for end-of-year benefits, an editorial calendar is one of the best resources to keep your intranet on track, relevant and humming along smoothly.

Create a Content Plan

Once you’ve set your editorial calendar, create a list of content you need to support the year's key events and the other items outlined on it. This will set the framework for preserving the integrity of your intranet as a supportive and productive digital workplace hub.

Remember that employees utilize the intranet for information that’s specific to their particular role in the company—and their intranet experience should be uniquely personalized to their place in the organization. So when devising a content plan, keep in mind that a modern CMS opens virtually endless opportunities when it comes to creating and disseminating content.

You can, for example, create roles directly in the CMS, or leverage attributes from profiles in your existing authentication set-up. Powerful permissions allow you to control who sees what, presenting a valuable way to nurture an employee’s career growth via one-to-one marketing. In other words, once your overarching content plan is in place, the opportunities for personalized content targeting are tremendous.

Identify Your Content Producers

Unlike the content you produce for your external website, your intranet content will come from a variety of cross-functional contributors—from executive leaders and HR representatives to internal comms teams and perhaps even outside agencies. Whether they're internal hires or an external group, lock down the resources you need to produce informative and engaging intranet content.

After you’ve established exactly who owns what, roll out a clear governance model for department content managers and other intranet contributors. This helps set expectations for each person involved to avoid working at cross-purposes, posting misinformation or mistakenly allowing unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Provide Employees Ways to Provide Ongoing Feedback

What are the feedback mechanisms that you're offering employees (polls, surveys, Q&As, etc.)? If an intranet feature that deployed at launch, for example, is no longer useful on a day-to-day basis, be certain employees have a way to express their dissatisfaction as well as a forum to suggest alternative solutions.

Regardless of whether employees are sharing feedback that’s positive or negative, the critical element is that they are in fact sharing it. After all, an intranet that is active and engaged is an effective intranet—and one that reflects a corporate culture of passionate, forward-thinking individuals.

Determine (and Track) What Success Looks Like

Just as you would with your external website, create a standardized metrics report for your intranet. Set benchmarks for your long-term goals and define reporting periods to track progress against them.

Monitoring things like daily usage, numbers of shares/likes/comments, and article pageviews will give executive leadership valuable insights into the corporate culture, and it will help inform your content producers’ future programming decisions.

Turn Your Coalition into an Advisory Council

You've gotten this far by being inclusive and transparent. Formalize these efforts by organizing an advisory group to participate in ongoing discussions about product changes, new asks and the overall health and wellness of the site.

Again, employees who feel heard and valued are employees who become more empowered, engaged and productive.

Bring in Outside Experts

Whether you’re starting from scratch or overhauling an outdated intranet, knowledgeable outside experts can help you avoid costly, time-consuming pitfalls that you’d likely encounter by going it alone. By identifying an agency with proven expertise and a best-in-class platform, you also benefit from establishing a potential long-term relationship with partners who will not only learn the ins and outs of your business but will also be committed to your long-term success.

How Brightspot Can Revolutionize Your Corporate Intranet

Perfect Sense, the team behind Brightspot has spent more than a decade partnering with hundreds of customers—many of whom have been underwhelmed by the stagnant, outdated intranets they had in place. After learning about pain points associated with these portals and discussing ways to transform them into essential and engaging platforms that are used by employees each day, we developed Brightspot Intranet.

Brightspot’s powerful out-of-the-box intranet platform integrates with your other software and services, requires minimal involvement from your IT department, and comes with all the preconfigured templates and components needed to engage your workforce and increase productivity. The following features help set Brightspot’s intranet solution apart:

  • Seamless authentication with your existing systems and single sign-on
  • Employee profile templates, in which both public and private user profiles are supported
  • Powerful and flexible personalization and permissions
  • A variety of content types, such as articles, galleries, videos (including live streaming with AWS Elemental), press releases and images
  • Commenting and UGC functionality, including moderation of content
  • Third-party integrations with Dropbox, Box, Slack, Google Drive, YouTube, Vimeo, Amazon Rekognition and many others
  • Powerful federated search, allowing busy editors to find exactly what they’re looking for, without having to ever leave the CMS
  • Flexible storytelling templates, including article, listicle, gallery, quiz and live blog

In addition to the set of features outlined above, Brightspot also comes with a team of passionate, expert advisors who will guide you through a step-by-step approach to creating and maintaining this business-critical tool in the most timely, cost-effective manner.

Your corporate intranet has the potential to be the backbone of your digital workplace, providing valuable information that’s relevant to your entire employee base and fostering meaningful and inspiring company-wide collaboration. When you’re ready to engage your workforce and accelerate productivity with a new or reimagined intranet, consider a flexible, cost-effective, out-of-the-box platform like Brightspot Intranet.