The truth about intranet communications: dispelling the 3 biggest myths

Once upon a time, the business elite controlled content, and commenting caused palpitations in the board room.

Now employees have a voice, and it’s something to be encouraged.

Interact research of over 550 global companies measured the intranet behaviors of more than 300,000 employees, unveiling what influences them most and which activities have the greatest impact. The results have changed the way we understand workplace collaboration and communication, and give us the opportunity to dispel three common internal communications myths that may be holding you back.

Myth 1: The Best Time to Deliver Internal Communications is Tuesday at 2 pm

internal comms myths

Old-school marketers have lived by this rule for years, but at a time when information is accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device, is it still relevant?

The answer is no. Especially when you consider that our internal communications now happen with an increasing number of disparate teams working flexible hours, across multiple locations and time zones.

The Evidence

The survey turned up some interesting results. Almost one in four hits to the intranet happen outside of core work hours. This is all thanks to the cloud – giving employees an easy way to access information on their intranet at a time that suits them.

Looking at the remaining 76 percent, the results offer some guidance on when you should publish content to reach the widest possible audience within working hours. Four hourly periods claim a larger audience than the notorious 2 pm slot, which received 8.7 percent of total hits per day – 10 am (9.5 percent), 9 am (9.3 percent), 1 pm (9.2 percent) and 11 am (8.9 percent).

But reassuringly, usage is relatively uniform across the day, giving you greater freedom and confidence to post critical content when you need to.

There also isn’t a great deal of difference between the days of the week. While Tuesday remains on top (21 percent of total weekly hits), you can publish with confidence on Fridays (16.5 percent of total hits).

The remaining days all fit within these statistics (20.2 percent of hits on a Wednesday, 19.5 percent on a Thursday and 18.8 percent on a Monday).

Myth 2: Employees Won’t Engage Outside of Working Hours

dispelling comms myths

Many communication strategies hold up user-generated content as a big goal, but this changes how you ask employees to share their knowledge, experiences and information. Pearls of wisdom don’t just spring to mind for employees during typical working hours, so the question should be – how do you get employees sharing content in their own time if they choose to?

And how can you ensure it is on the right channel, i.e. your intranet, as opposed to a platform outside of organizational boundaries, such as LinkedIn?

The Evidence

Employees do in fact share at all hours, and some of this is thanks once again to the cloud. Cloud-based intranets produce twice as much user-generated content as on-premises platforms.

While on-premises intranets average 15 percent of their content from users, 31.1 percent of content on cloud-based intranets is user-generated. That’s one in every three items of content coming from employees.

A number of reasons can explain this. The employee sizes were similar across both hosting options, but the cloud frees up users to log-in whenever they have inspiration, from any device. Not having to connect via VPN or be physically present in the office to access the intranet removes some of the hurdles to contribution. And ultimately, if you want people to contribute, you need to remove the barriers.

People – namely IT departments – have been wary about the cloud in the past, preferring to host the intranet on their own servers.

The cloud has come a long way since then. Firms are realizing it’s not only secure, it’s the easiest option to both implement, maintain and use. With ease of use being a key factor in the success or failure of your intranet, where you host your intranet can play a big part in making your internal communications strategy a success.

Myth 3: The Workforce Won’t Participate in Internal Communications

dispelling 3 comms myths

Intranets offer multiple content tools, but the level of employee blogging vs. company authored pages tend to indicate a shift towards more user-generated content. If employees aren’t as active on the intranet as you’d like, perhaps you need to look at the way information is delivered, and who is delivering it?

The Evidence

When it comes to content and employee engagement, a blog-first approach is best for many organizations. Fifteen times more employees will like, share or comment on a blog, as opposed to an authored page.

Even better is the effect this engagement has on an employee. If an employee’s blog is liked once or more, they are 45 percent more likely to blog again, and if their blog receives comments, they are 80 percent more likely to post again.

Even if you have to encourage a small group to reply to blogs initially, this will quickly encourage others to feedback, congratulate and share, and you can watch content production and engagement increase before your eyes.