Nick Miller

Company Intranet: Welcome your employees to do the communicating

Not all internal communications departments have the manpower to constantly post fresh content to their intranet. The perpetual search for news and blog topics is extremely time consuming and can lead to burnout, which inevitably causes your intranet to regress and become stale.

The key to avoiding a stagnant intranet is to welcome your employees to generate their own content. This can come in many forms. For example, we often suggest companies encourage their executives to publish blogs, a valuable top-down channel for topics such as corporate vision and values, operational success, and the roadmap for future business decisions. With the size of a typical leadership team, each member only needs to contribute once every month or so.

You can extract equally valuable content from employees at any level. Promote the opportunity to be a content provider by advertising it as a differentiator, whether that be a brand ambassador, company hero or organizational influencer. Increasing the visibility of these individuals with a desk tchotchke, such as a plaque or pennant, will both provide the employee with acknowledgement for their hard work and give others a person to offer their own ideas to.

Break down silos by giving departments, committees, and special interest groups a platform through which to distribute information. A designated spot on your intranet for each group to share monthly updates, such as current initiatives or new collaboration processes can do wonders for your overall engagement. Clubs and corporate responsibility groups can raise awareness and explain their own purpose and goals through periodic exposes. Even a general op-ed space for any associate to contribute content of all sorts is a way to make your workforce feel like their voices are being heard.

 

Administrating this network of user generated content can be a substantial job, so simplify the process by providing guidance, training, and organization. A quarterly schedule of posting responsibilities will ensure that your internal communications team isn’t still chasing content at the last minute. Short training sessions on news writing, AP style and company guidelines can eliminate much of the quality assurance work required before posting. By doing so through a webinar, you can record the sessions and provide your content creators with a resource through which to refresh their skills. A content author manual can also help to reinforce proper writing and the process through which to gain approvals and post articles.

Want to build a corps of internal content creators? Tribe can help.

 

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

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.

Employee Portals: Making Their Jobs Easier = Increased Productivity

A lot of companies we work with are using their intranets to leverage their corporate brand and communicate their culture. After a couple years of being numbers focused, leadership is recognizing that engagement plays a key role in future success.

So, if you’re giving your intranet a tune-up to align it – and employees – with the company’s vision, then consider the following:

– What content will be on the site?
– You don’t want to bog employees down with another task.
– Your first shot has got to be your best shot.
– Recognition should be a part of it.
– It’s all about engagement/teamwork.

What content will be on the site? People sometimes like to separate engagement and tools from HR materials. A separate HR portal may be a more inviting resource for a spouse to find answers to family-related HR questions

You don’t want to bog employees down with another task. The price of entry for a successful intranet is that the site must be easy to navigate and user friendly. If it’s not, then it will become another part of the communications clutter that employees often have to weed through to get the information they need to do their jobs. A common barrier for communicators looking to leverage this channel in their organization is that people don’t want to add another task to their already busy day unless it benefits them.

Your first shot has got to be your best shot. Your first shot is your best shot at getting employees to interact with employees – and leadership – on your intranet. When employees check out a website for the first time, it’s like they’re visitors to a foreign country. They’re seeing everything fresh and new for the first time. If the experience is not good, they won’t travel to that destination again without a lot of hand-holding and convincing. We’ve even worked with some companies who walk away from or shelve a technology indefinitely to get rid of bad juju.

Recognition should be a part of it. Employees crave recognition and visibility, and social media can be a great tool for promoting both. Don’t be afraid to call out achievements and success stories from across the business. Nothing will make employees jump on board faster than seeing leadership actively supporting the new channel.

It’s all about engagement/teamwork. 
Start by interviewing employees and leadership about what they want from the new tool. Then, deliver content and tools that align what employees need with the organization’s business goals. When you strike that balance, employees want to use the site, and, when they do use the site, they’ll be working toward fulfilling the purpose of the company. You’ll really start to see results when employees are having conversations and solving problems that otherwise would have gone unanswered.