An intranet launch is a milestone, not a finishing line

Most intranet builds focus on the day the system goes live. But, as we find out, the real challenge begins in the aftermath of your launch.

The planning and creation of an intranet can take months, even in some cases, years. User-friendly design, time-saving processes, essential resources – a lot goes into the formation of the system. And it’s launch day that most intranet-builders are equally nervous and excited about. This is the day when the intranet goes live and is hopefully embraced by the entire workforce.

retaining staff

Ten things you can do to make your intranet number one

Studies show that intranet projects can have a failure rate of up to 50% if not planned and executed correctly. Make sure yours doesn’t become part of that statistic.

However, as any seasoned pro who has built and launched an intranet will tell you, the hard work doesn’t stop there. An intranet requires as much of a steadfast commitment to maintaining the system as it took to build it.

The intranet management team needs to ensure that they cover the following challenges in their plan:

Engagement – how will you make staff engage with the new system after the excitement of your intranet launch campaign dies down?

Contribution – how will you inspire people from every department to provide fresh content regularly?

Champion – how will you make your intranet the product that your workforce champions, to each other and to new starters?

Making sure your workforce continues to engage with your intranet, use it, contribute to it, refer to it and embrace it as a fundamental part of the company is a large undertaking, but crucial to its long-term health.

To find out how you can maintain your intranet’s status within the organization way after launch day, we’ll have a look at some of the businesses who have been there, done it and have a system that is still highly regarded by its workforce a long time after launch day.

Why stakeholder buy-in is crucial

stakeholder support intranet
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Of course, it takes more than the intranet management team to keep the intranet afloat. Ensuring stakeholder buy-in and support is critical to its long-term success.

While their presence is a necessity to approve budgets, timescales, and resources, stakeholders can provide a very effective role in endorsing the intranet and influencing the workforce to adopt it as part of their day-to-day roles.

These same stakeholders can:

  • Recognize the business and strategic value of an intranet
  • Ensure cultural blockers to adoption are mitigated or removed
  • Lead by example from the top-down, encouraging adoption and engagement
  • Reduce risk of project threats, including over-spend or failure to meet agreed timescales or deliverables
  • Support intranet managers, administrators, and content writers to plan and execute intranet strategy
  • Continue to enhance and develop the intranet in line with organizational objectives

Once you have the support of your stakeholders, your project is fortified: you can benefit from your stakeholders’ insights and experience, while their endorsement boosts the status of the intranet within your organization.

retaining staff

Ten things you can do to make your intranet number one

Studies show that intranet projects can have a failure rate of up to 50% if not planned and executed correctly. Make sure yours doesn’t become part of that statistic.


Coaxing over 10,000 employees, dispersed across the globe, to embrace a new system is no mean feat, which is why it helped Travelex’s intranet, ‘The Lounge’ to have the force of CEO Anthony Wagerman, behind it.

Travelex blog reply all

Wagerman interacting with staff on the intranet, as above, is a great way of advocating its use to the workforce. He drives traffic to the platform by uploading his monthly vlog where he updates his viewers on the performance of the business as well as his own activities. These informal but informative videos, together with his occasional engagement with employee blogs, not only secure connection with staff but also helps give The Lounge some powerful endorsement from the top.

Link Group

Link Group’s Linkipedia is further proof that CEO approval is an effective form of intranet promotion, with the company head, Craig Sanderson, immortalized as the intranet’s mascot, an animated guide who helps new users to utilize all the handy system features.

link group intranet

What’s more, Sanderson makes sure to publish information from senior management and board meetings on the Team Updates section of the intranet in order to forge links between those at the top of the organization and those on the front line.

UAE Exchange

When UAE Exchange decided to call upon Interact, they not only had to replace their legacy intranet but also reconnect 9,000 employees in 31 countries spread across five continents working in the company’s 800 branches. While the intranet team could manage the logistics, much-needed cheerleading came from the top in the form of COO Rahul Pai. It was Pai who had a fundamental role in the system’s success, through encouragement, guidance, time and feedback during the intranet building journey.

UAE Exchange's intranet launch day
UAE Exchange’s intranet launch day

Against all odds, the launch took place within 72 days of the process beginning. With Pai’s influence, and social and interactive functionality including blogs, forums, and polls, UAE Exchange’s ‘Connect’ has been embraced by the entire organization. A poll on the homepage, designed to capture feedback, saw over 86% of users rank Connect as ‘Good – Outstanding’, and the team continues to hone and develop the system in line with the business vision.

retaining staff

Ten things you can do to make your intranet number one

Studies show that intranet projects can have a failure rate of up to 50% if not planned and executed correctly. Make sure yours doesn’t become part of that statistic.


intranet planning innovation
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

Often, an intranet project needs to think laterally and find ways of overcoming their unique challenges. If resources are low, or time is short, creative thinking can normally come up with solutions to problems that could potentially hinder the project’s progress. The following companies came up with successful and cost-effective ways of problem-solving in order for their systems to improve the way their workforce engaged with their intranet.


Despite its glorious history, New York Racing Association (NYRA) had experienced a turbulent few years with financial constraints and negative press. A new intranet was proposed which they hoped would motivate and re-engage the staff at NYRA, and allow the organization to enter a new stage on its journey.

New York Racing - NYRA screenshot

They did this by building an intranet where staff were fundamental throughout the entire process. Employee handbooks were produced which outlined NYRA’s story. Racing calendars, race track maps, and glossary were provided in order that staff could immerse themselves in the sport of horseracing. With news, employee spotlights and watercooler features on the network, it is now a regular part of life within the NYRA. The organization has also introduced intranet pods in public areas, so frontline staff, who may not otherwise have easy access to a computer, can explore the system during break times.

MidPen Housing

MidPen Housing had an intranet but it was failing to achieve its objectives. The data from their internal recognition program ICARE was showing little engagement. A number of factors indicated the process wasn’t working: nominations were anonymous which countered the goal of recognizing employees, fewer than 5% of employees were acknowledged through the program each year, and the selection of five annual winners meant 15 employees publicly lost during the all-staff meeting, which is supposed to be a time of celebration for everyone.

Despite this, the organization understood the power of employee recognition and sought out a way to improve it.

MidPen keys

MidPen Housing intranet rewards keys

MidPen Housing decided that one way to change the situation around was to extend the feel-good nature of what they do (build affordable housing) to their intranet in the form of ICARE keys. These became part of MidPen’s peer-to-peer reward and recognition program. Employees received virtual keys every month to reward colleagues for exhibiting helpful, positive behavior that aligns with company values. This revised system has seen employee recognition go from 1% to 94% and is consistently one of the most popular features on their intranet.

Thorntons Solicitors

The Thorntons story is a great example of collaboration within an organization, and the law firm’s all-inclusive approach proved extremely effective when it came to keeping the momentum of their intranet, Jack, going. With the need to keep fresh content coming in for the build, management appointed ‘Jack Jedis’ who acted as intranet cheerleaders within each department. These Jedis hosted parties within their division to share ideas and knowledge, and whilst the objective was work-based, fun elements like games, food and party hats were thrown in to generate a relaxed, informal get together.

Thorntons party photo

These collaborative parties were such a success that they have become recommended practice for all Interact customers.

Maintaining staff interest in your project can be achieved in multiple ways. While these are just some of the ways organizations have countered common intranet build problems, one thing is clear: the moment you have attained staff engagement, half the weight of responsibility is off your shoulders. When your workforce is actively contributing to the intranet, through fresh content, likes, comments and general endorsement, the health and success of your intranet is secured.

retaining staff

Ten things you can do to make your intranet number one

Studies show that intranet projects can have a failure rate of up to 50% if not planned and executed correctly. Make sure yours doesn’t become part of that statistic.