Free Intranet Advice You’ll be Glad You Discovered
So, you’re in need of some solid free intranet advice. The kind that’ll keep you on the right track to a successful launch, avoiding the frighteningly easy pitfalls and generally that ensures you get the results you expect.
As always, the New Intranet blog has you covered. Some of these free pointers on intranets are from us, (a company that helped launch intranets for businesses with tens of thousands of employees spanning multiple countries, but also from other industry experts around the web.
Let’s start with what some might call the “Father of Usability”, Jakob Nielsen.
1. Give a clear reason why
When people log into your intranet they need a clear and compelling reason why they should be there in the first place. This idea was first realised in website design and it holds true for intranets, too. In the excellent book on this topic, Usability 101, author Jakob Nielsen states:
“On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here?”
One key difference is, with intranets, you’ve got a much more specific idea of who your audience is and why they’re visiting, which should make it even easier to include.
Make sure this principle is woven into the intranet homepage. Use benefit-driven copy explaining why people should stick around and make sure you speak in terms of their interests.
2. Begin with clear objectives
A good way to stay on track for the above principle and your intranet design in general is to start off with clearly defined objectives. For example, what’s important for you:
- Improve communication between managers of different projects or departments?
- Boost the current sense of company culture?
- Take a load off HR and better file and info access for employees?
The sheer versatility on offer with a decent intranet development team and modern smartphones means it’s easy to get lost in the tech and make something that’s more “overly complicated” than “feature rich”. Fall down here and it’s as costly as it is time-consuming to develop, not to mention that you lose track of the reason why people should be there mentioned in point 1 above.
Clarity on what you need most with your intranet is the solution, so don’t make feature decisions arbitrarily.
3. Basic engagement analytics
Include basic, visual engagement analytics. Fail to do so, and you don’t know what kind of results your intranet is pulling in so you don’t know if your objectives are being met.
But, just like with features, it’s easy to get bogged down in data overload. That’s why simplicity is a good rule of thumb in general, but here it’s another reason why you should keep your analytics tool as streamlined as possible.
Measure what matters so you know you’re going in the right direction.
4. Beta launch for usability testing
Next is another point on usability. Select a small number of your team to beta launch your intranet first, giving employees an opportunity to use it and offer your valuable feedback to point out any holes or things you may have missed.
It’s easy to get blind to how intuitive an interface might be when you’re closely involved in its creation.
So, before you do a company-wide launch get feedback first. The easiest way we’ve found to do this is to send a simple SMS message inviting people to download the free intranet app on their smartphone and log in to try it out.
5. Internal branding
Most internal communications and human resources managers will be familiar with the importance of internal branding. But, this is so important, it’s worth mentioning in this list. Make sure your colour scheme, fonts and logo for the company’s brand direction are used in your intranet to help cultivate the kind of company culture that’s proven to drive employee engagement.
6. Improve results with third-party tools
This tip is more for later, so bookmark the link we’re about to give you and return to it once the intranet is launched.
There are a number of third-party tools there are excellent for improving employee engagement and getting more from your intranet and we’ve listed five excellent examples to start with when the time comes
7. Governance and sharing admin
Don’t underestimate the time investment necessary to create quality content and ensure you allocate responsibilities accordingly.
Having someone write one article per week is no mean feat, especially if it’s to be of sufficient quality to get your employees excited and coming back for more.
Try to have one or two people working on content alone, leaving other administrative tasks to different staff members so as to not overload the content creator. You’ll get much better results.
8. Redirect old intranet pages
Don’t forget to include redirects from your old intranet if you’re upgrading rather than installed the one for your company.
This is commonly overlooked and lots of engagement and results potential is missed out because employees still have the old intranets bookmarked on desktops or perhaps even installed in smartphones.
Make sure you add setting up the redirects on your to-do list.
9. A little extra reading
Finally, if this is the first article on this topic you’ve read, do a little more reading.
A great good places our e-book on how to nail the launch of your new intranet and you can easily download it to read now or later. Also consider looking at other excellent blogs and articles such as this one from Clearbox Consulting.
Read a little more, take notes and you’re sure to stay on track.
Over to you…
Looking for other free intranet advice or have any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.