Four phases of marketing a new intranet to employees

If you build it, will they come? That depends. At Tribe, we coach clients to consider the launch of a new intranet not the finish line but one milestone in a much longer process.

Phase 1: Employee input: Building traffic to a new intranet begins long before the launch. Preferably before the development even begins, employees are involved in the process. You might do a survey on what features employees need to do their jobs more easily; how they’d like to connect with those in other functional silos; what sort of collaboration space would work best for them and other related issues. Focus groups are a good idea as well, to hear employee input in more depth.

Phase 2: Pre-launch: By foreshadowing the launch, you can create excitement about what’s to come and engage an initial group of employees to be early ambassadors. Use other internal communications channel to market the coming intranet. Find a group of early adopters for beta testing or assign launch communication responsibilities to influencers throughout the company. This is the time to build a critical mass of insiders who will help create buzz about the launch.

Phase 3: Launch: You only get one chance to launch, so it’s important to do it well. Make it big news with a launch event, desk drops, lobby floor decals, elevator wraps, and anything else that will get employees’ attention. Make it easy for employees to test drive the intranet with quick-start guides and in-person or online training sessions. Motivate them to visit the intranet multiple times with online scavenger hunts or contests.

Phase 4: Sustaining: This is where many companies drop the ball. An intranet is not static, or at least a good one isn’t. You need fresh, relevant content day after day after day. This is more than most internal communications departments can handle on their own, so at Tribe we recommend establishing a content manager program. By recruiting and training content managers from a range of geographic locations and functional areas, you can build an army of content generators who post on an ongoing basis. To sustain this system, build in quarterly meetings to continue engaging this team, share best practices and provide recognition for those posting the best content.

Have an intranet launch on the horizon? Tribe can help.



Three tips for keeping remote employees engaged

As remote employee populations continue to rise in companies large and small, engagement in those employees remains a top priority. The lack of daily human interaction could make establishing employee engagement more challenging, but with the right tools in place, a highly engaged remote workforce is certainly achievable. Here are three effective tips for keeping remote employees engaged.

  1. Encourage employees to be social. In many organizations, the majority of the workforce may rarely (or never) meet in person. In this case it’s important to provide employees with platforms that allow them to connect. A great first step is to start with the intranet. It’s easy to enhance your team’s collaboration and engagement through social media and the tools available through an established social intranet. Social gamification can also be used as an employee engagement tool. Through gamification, remote employees can interact along with the entire employee population in online activities ranging from innovation exercises to the introduction of new company initiatives.
  1. Encourage face-to-face meetings. Bring employees together for in-person meetings whenever possible. We understand that these employees are working remotely for a reason, so we wouldn’t recommend face-to-face meetings twice a week, but where possible, monthly or quarterly team meetings could help employees feel connected to their team and the organization. When in-person is not possible, video chatting is a great alternative. Use technology to your advantage by allowing employees to actually see each other’s faces while working together.
  1. Provide what they need to be successful. The needs of remote employees are often different from those employees who work in the office. When possible, we like to recommend asking employees what tools and equipment they need to be productive. It’s also important that they have access to HR and IT support where they are remotely located. Keep communication open and employees engaged by giving them to tools they need to work most effectively.

Could your organization use help engaging your remote workforce? Tribe would love to help.

Does your intranet read like a news article or a press release?

For intranet content that truly engages employees, think more like a newspaper editor than a PR exec. In public relations, you try to push the messages and information that you want the readers to know. As a journalist, you look for the stories your readers want to know.

A PR perspective* can result in the rose-colored glasses version of company news. Employees are sophisticated consumers of media, and they’ll see right through that rosy lens. A perpetual and obvious spin can erode trust rather quickly.

Taking a journalistic approach to content will mean thinking through the questions employees will want answered. Telling the whole story, without sidestepping the bits that might not be such good news, results in the sort of authentic content that employees crave.

That doesn’t mean you can’t promote company messaging on the intranet. Among other topics, it can and should contain content that helps employees align with the company vision; educates them on company accomplishments and the achievements of those in other functional silos; and connects employees across geography to remind them they’re part of something larger than their immediate work team.

The intranet is also an excellent place to tell the company’s side of any unsettling event or major change. It offers an opportunity to counteract the rumor mill by sharing the reasons behind a change or the company’s response to an unfortunate event. It can reduce employee stress by giving them the information they need to feel confident in the way management is moving forward. If you want employees to consider the intranet their go-to source for company information, give them an honest appraisal of what’s happening now, what will happen next, and how, and when and to whom.

Remember that an intranet is a pull medium. Employees have to want to see what’s posted, or you’ll never get them to go there. To make your intranet a must-read for employees, offer the news they want, delivered in a way that gives them credit for being intelligent human beings.

Interested in making your intranet the go-to source for employees? Tribe can help.

*This post is not intended to disparage the fine work of public relations professionals, many of whom we respect and admire to the nth degree.