Announcing those independently recognized at the forefront of internal communications, employee engagement, and digital workplace strategy  

At a time when our digital workplaces are rising to the greatest test we’ve seen yet, the Interact Excellence Awards offer an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of those demonstrating pioneering approaches to connecting their staff and organizations through the power of technology.

The Excellence Awards celebrate their 10th anniversary this year and continue the tradition of uncovering the stories from behind closed doors of organizations around the globe.  

This year’s announcement comes later than planned, as plans were postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s clear that while the last twelve months has brought many changes, the past few months have accelerated new approaches to agile working, crisis communication, and how organizations connect staff and information from afar. The intranet has been at the center of the response effort for many.

Although this year’s entries were submitted before the crisis, they all demonstrate a deep understanding of both business and user needs, the ability to remain agile and respond to demand, and the application of strategic thinking to meet a diverse range of challenges. In today’s climate, those are stories worth sharing.

“Every year, our customers continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible,” remarks Kris Morrison, VP of Customer Success of Interact.

“At a time when the value and role of the digital workplace have never been more critical, it’s essential we recognize the efforts of those driving change and delivering exceptional results for their organization and its employees.”

As this year’s entrants demonstrate, success comes under many guises. Featuring over 20 organizations from across nine different industries, the winners showcase the true potential of the digital workplace.

All winners were announced LIVE at our Excellence Awards night. To dig a little deeper into their entries and discover what landed these organizations in the spotlight, download the free Awards Storybook.

The Awards

Entries to this year’s awards span seven categories, with all entrants also considered for the Judges’ Award for Innovation: a category dedicated to those deserving unique recognition for innovative or creative use of the intranet to address more complex or niche challenges in the organization.

Best Launch

Success of an intranet goes beyond flicking the ‘on’ switch.

Driving adoption from day one can be a game-changer for long-term success: this award recognizes those who have taken considered and creative approaches to motivating their users to log in and embrace their new intranets.

Winner: AMC Networks

It would have been easy to overuse TV show content and lose the message of their new intranet, but AMC struck a superb balance between purpose and uniting factors to break down regional silos. 

Simon Dance – Judge
AMC used teaser posters playing on some of their shows to get staff excited for launch day

Highly Commended: AJ Bell

Highly Commended: PlayStation Europe

Best Stakeholder

They’re the ones who can make or break a project before it’s even out the starting blocks: responsible for financial backing, removing cultural blockers, assisting with planning or strategy.

What sets an award-winning stakeholder apart, however, is their role in galvanizing support and driving adoption by leading from the front.

Winner: Your Housing Group

Very impressive to see their People Plus Director be such a leading champion for Youggle, the new intranet. Can’t ask for more than asking that key leaders are consistently one of the top influencers!

Beth Gleba, Judge
Your Housing Group has a fantastic stakeholder driving adoption of their intranet, Youggle, in the form of Director of People Services, Stephen Joyce

Highly Commended: Home-Start

Highly Commended: International Rescue Committee

Best Offline Worker Strategy

Hardest to reach yet most important to engage, our ‘offline’ workers – those non-desk-based, on the frontlines, out on the road – present the ultimate internal communications challenge. Those excelling in this category have devised inclusive and accessible ways to connect with all their staff, regardless of role, device, or location.

Winner: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The healthcare industry is always challenged to engage offline workers simply because the nature of their employees’ jobs requires them to be “offline” as they care for patients or perform other duties. Imperial has taken its intranet to a whole new level in providing access both in and off-network, digitizing manual forms, and also creating online community!

Elizabeth Mull – Judge
Imperial College Healthcare NHS has a hugely diverse workforce, many operating on the frontlines in hospitals or the community: their intranet is a crucial tool in connecting staff

Highly Commended: Equinox

Highly Commended: SERVPRO Industries, Inc

Best Use of Video

Our lives and workplaces are dominated by digital noise. Video has risen through the ranks as the internal communications tool of choice, providing a creative, succinct, and digestible format for getting the message through when it matters. This year’s line-up show true ingenuity in the use of this medium through their intranets.

Winner: International Rescue Committee

The IRC clearly knows that video is number one in terms of content! It is great they used videos for a variety of topics to engage employees: from how-tos, to leadership forums, to even vlogs. Even better, special attention is producing the videos in a variety of formats and the structure of them is user-friendly through the scannable time-stamps and tagging.

Elizabeth Mull – Judge
The use of video through RescueNet, particularly by senior stakeholders including CEO David Miliband, helps connect dispersed frontline workers to the organization and their colleagues worldwide.

Highly Commended: Home-Start

Highly Commended: Your Housing Group

Best Design

Good design has a far more profound effect than just creating great first impressions. It can be the dividing line between adoption, or abandonment: and is crucial to any intranet project.

Importantly, this year’s winners recognize that it’s not only the look and feel that defines great design, but the complete user experience: building platforms their users love to use and return to.

Winner: Equinox

The Equinox intranet ties a thoroughly modern look and feel with a good balance of news and task-oriented content on the homepage, and a thoughtful site navigation. Additionally, the intranet aligns its news layouts with its highly visual social media brand.

Ephraim Freed – Judge
Slick, clean, highly visual and with an intuitive approach to navigation and information architecture, the Equinox intranet, ‘EQX Connect’, personifies great design from start to finish.

Highly Commended: Honeycomb Group

Highly Commended: AMC Networks

Best Success Story

What makes the ultimate success story? Success comes in many different forms, but those leading the way in this category have gone above and beyond to achieve change, realize goals, and deliver tangible results for their organizations and staff.

Winner: PlayStation Europe

Wow! What a transformation in your site! Incredible job – and your measurement findings speak for themselves. The #1 reason why you won this category in my book is your ability to measure the success of your site, not only through metrics (which are obviously important), but you include statements on your surveys that help you measure behaviors as well. And, positively influencing behaviors should be what every communicator uses as the #1 measure of success. You’ve got the one-two punch nailed: Metrics plus behaviors/attitudes. Job well done! Congrats!

Cindy Crescenzo – Judge
Sony’s new intranet, The Hub, is a world away from the legacy ‘link farm’ that was their old site. Reflecting the brand, supporting staff to perform their roles, and connecting everyone to the organization: it delivers it all.

Highly Commended: HIMSS

Highly Commended: Countrywide PLC

Essential Intranet

How do you make the intranet a business-critical tool, embedded into the very culture of your organization?

Entries in this category demonstrate the true value of an intranet as part of their digital workplace: utilizing it to support top-level business objectives, aid day-to-day operations, address critical challenges, and more.

Winner: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Hospital intranets with busy frontline workers are really difficult to implement and get right. I was impressed with the way the intranet was really focused on the needs of employees, including access to clinical documents that directly supports patient care.

Steve Bynghall – Judge
One of the many ways Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has embedded its intranet into the organization is through its use as an onboarding tool for regular intakes of new junior doctors to the Trust: getting new starters ‘day one ready’ before they even arrive and centering all core administrative tasks.

Highly Commended: Travelex

Highly Commended: PlayStation Europe

Judges’ Award for Innovation

Innovation and creativity are at the heart of any successful intranet. This category celebrates those ideas and executions that deserve special recognition: whether for ingenuity, effort, or application, selected by our independent panel of judges.

Queens Cross Housing Association

So impressed by this terrific intranet for 200 employees, especially the fantastic work streamlining the navigation and making the site simpler for users.

Beth Gleba – Judge
A complete rethink of how grass-roots staff can access, find, and consume information has transformed the very culture of the organization: connecting all staff, including mobile and manual workers, through a cloud-based and two-way platform.

University Federal Credit Union

Crowdsource your class is an excellent example of an intranet applied in an innovative way to a very specific business case, yielding tangible results.

Sam Marshall, Judge
A unique intranet use case as the Organizational Development Team at UFCU turned to their intranet to overhaul their personal development course offering, inviting staff to ‘crowdsource’ and vote for the courses they were interested in: making for a more efficient, streamlined process and driving up adoption.

Voyage Care Ltd

Incredible job! Your new intranet clearly reflects the needs/culture of your diverse employees! I love the research and leader integration to help encourage adaptation of the new site. As well as the ease of accessibility. That’s key for anyone who has a high percentage of employees who are deskless/in the field.

Cindy Crescenzo – Judge
A highly considered, research-led approach to the design, build, and launch of Hive for Voyage Care saw 93% of staff give it four to five stars after it went live. This is an intranet that truly meets the needs of its users, by understanding their unique needs and challenges.

Everyday Loans

The Everyday Loans team have truly taken a staff-first approach to their intranet. The visually engaging navigation, strong brand throughout, and use of video are excellent at driving engagement. Most importantly, they show an understanding that it’s not just about what they put on their intranet, but the journey the user takes to get what they need, that truly delivers results. I love the Idea Jar forum too.

Simon Dance – Judge
A number of unique applications for their intranet including identifying Mental First Aiders and driving innovation through tapping into employee ideas with the ‘Idea Jar’ set Everyday Loans apart.

Manchester Metropolitan University

MMU has launched a new intranet that is not only a source of company news and information, but one where employees can go for their overall well-being and development. Top that off with digitizing printed support materials and creating a platform for ongoing communication, MMU has an intranet that is essential to all aspects of their employees’ work lives!

Elizabeth Mull – Judge
Going from an external website that served both staff and students to a purpose-built internal platform is no small feat. MMU pulled off this outstanding intranet through a clear focused approach, centered on its users and their needs.

Kris Morrison, VP of Customer Success, concludes:

“At a time of tremendous uncertainty and change, a company intranet is more than a communications tool. It’s at the heart of how an organization comes together.

“It’s a privilege to be the driving force behind these projects: and as the working landscape shifts in response to the crisis, we will be here, continuing to support our customers in rising to the challenge.

“I hope these stories provide an opportunity to not only take stock of what these organizations have achieved but also help inspire us to continue taking our digital workplaces to the next level.

“My personal congratulations to all the winners and highly commended finalists of this year’s awards.