9 things your intranet shouldn’t be

1. Just a collection of useless documents

Your intranet is a great way of getting all your documents in one place. Your employees know where to go and can be confident they are using the most up to date version. However, documents need to be managed. Without content owners and version control, there is a danger that your intranet will become just another shared drive, and worse still, your employees will lose trust in it. The key is to only put documents on that are useful to the majority of your workforce. Use the analytics to keep track of any documents not in use and encourage content owners to take responsibility.

2. Inaccessible on the move

In a business world of BYOD and flexible working, your intranet needs to be accessible at all times. This means at any time, on any device, at any location and on any browser. This is all possible by hosting your intranet in the Cloud. Don’t be tempted to build a wall around it, blocking access to your employees.

3. Just a top down communications platform

You won’t engage your employees if you just use the intranet to announce business news. Adding the option for colleagues to leave comments on posts and documents is a great way to get messages out there whilst engaging your employees. Forums are another great way to get discussions going and business ideas flowing, whilst breeding a culture where your employees feel they have a voice, and ultimately increasing productivity.

4. Avoided by board members

Your intranet should be all inclusive. The executive team need to lead by example, so getting them on side and engaged will filter down energy and excitement around the intranet. Giving employees a platform where they feel comfortable communicating to the senior team, will provide you with invaluable insight into how people are feeling, plus empower employees. Of course to make your intranet a success, you need everyone on side, especially the ones who hold the purse strings.

5. Unexplored

There are some great features on your intranet that will keep your employees coming back for more. Make the most of them, even if you don’t see the value straight away. Simple tricks like adding pictures to the people directory is a great way to increase collaboration, especially across multiple sites where not everyone knows each other. Making full use of endorsements on profiles will also help employees discover who the experts are within your organisation, so be able to answer queries quickly and build relationships with colleagues.

6. One way communication

If a post invites employees to comment, don’t forget to reply. It’s frustrating and word will soon spread. Responding is a simple way to get your employees returning the intranet, and a great way of getting more colleagues to participate. Plus of course it’s a great measure of your intranet’s success.

7. Seen as a quick fix to changing the culture

Used in the right way, your intranet is a great tool to help the journey towards change. You can deliver important and relevant messages to each individual, ensuring they are only seeing communications that mean something to them. However, improving the technology won’t work in isolation. You still need to lead the way and keep checking to see how employees are feeling. Finding champions across your organisation is a great way of driving engagement, so keep track of your top contributors and share the responsibility.

8. Full of jargon

The intranet needs to be seen as an easy tool that will help your employees do their job. If it’s filled with terminology that means very little to a lot of people, they will turn off. If there are essential words and phrases to your business, try adding a jargon buster that employees can access easily. This not only increases knowledge, but avoids employees feeling embarrassed when they have to ask. Likewise, when launching your intranet, try to avoid descriptions such as ‘cutting edge’ and using words like ‘revolutionise’. This could scare off some of your employees and they’ll lose interest before even seeing it. Ultimately you need to remember they will be thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’

9. A single objective

Do you know what your intranet is trying to achieve to all stakeholders? This may sound like a silly question, but it’s easy to forget to ask. Once you know, you can make sure you’re on track and easily deliver the results each of your stakeholders are looking for. And don’t promise the world. Set objectives you can meet: 100% adoption is not realistic.