Intranets: Three Steps to Get Employees to Use Them

Intranets: Three Steps to Get Employees to Use Them

By Dan Feinberg

To quote Michael Scott from the popular TV show The Office, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I’ll find it along the way.” While Michael is certainly not my go-to choice for workplace wisdom, I have to admit, his statement seems to illustrate what is often the case on many intranets today.

According to Simpplr’s State of the Intranet 2019, 93 percent of organizations have an employee intranet. However, respondents say their number one challenge is searching for and finding content on it. Such difficulties can make many employees tune out, and companies cannot just hope that employees will eventually find what they are looking for “along the way” – especially given an intranet’s huge potential to engage employees.

Can we overcome this challenge? It’s a given that the first choice might be to make the company intranet more intuitive. Yet there are other less obvious but equally important steps you could take to make it easier for employees to not only find content, but also empower them to use it as a tool for greater collaboration.

  1. Create an engaging tutorial for employees

Everybody’s busy. Logging onto the intranet is the last thing on our minds when we’re working against a deadline, even if it’s to get through the day’s to-do list. And if it’s not something we do often, it’s usually an overwhelming task. Instead, what if we bring the intranet to these busy people? One way to make the intranet feel more accessible is to create a weekly tutorial with bite-sized information on how to use all the available features and where to find them.

Try running a weekly or bi-weekly “Did you know?” series educating employees about the intranet. This can be anything from an eye-catching infographic to a 90-second video showcasing the opportunities a particular feature provides for employees and enables them to share ideas with one another. Not only does this ensure employees know where to find the tools available, it also shows why they should be using them.

  1. Encourage leaders to inspire employee participation

It’s great if you have a leader who posts a blog or shares stories with employees, but what happens when he or she does and gets only “crickets” in return? Help leaders understand the barriers preventing employees from feeling comfortable in sharing or responding so they can address concerns much faster.

For example, if employee participation is lacking even after taking steps to make related content easily accessible, leaders can pose questions such as “what do you think?” or “what are some of the challenges you may face in this situation?” Statements such as these might seem simple, but they encourage employees to share their concerns and shows them their opinions are valued. When employees feel empowered to share their ideas from a user’s perspective, they feel encouraged to participate, knowing their voices are heard.

  1. Start a communications council

Create an intranet communications council of engaged employees representing every level of the organization. The council gives you eyes and ears to the ground to ensure the intranet is covering the stories that matter most to readers. This can further help identify common issues that prevent smooth access to the intranet, so they can be addressed quickly.

VTLO helped a client create a communications council that ramped up intranet participation and championed employee ideas for improvements. You have to recruit the right people to evangelize the approach, but when you do, these employees are energized because they contribute to the goal of increasing employee engagement and collaboration within the organization and among their colleagues.

In what ways are you promoting the use of your office intranet? Are you ensuring that employees “know where they are going” on the intranet?

For more information on how Vitiello Communications Group (VTLO) can help you enhance your intranet communication and increase engagement, email us at info@vtlo.com or call 732-238-6622.

Subscribe to Speaking Of, our monthly e-newsletter for leaders who are passionate about communicating to drive results.

Your privacy is important to us. VTLO will never sell, rent or share your personal information with others. Read our privacy policy for more information.