As we round the corner into year three of the pandemic, more and more businesses are investing in their digital workplaces as a critical strategy for keeping their dispersed workforces connected and empowered. However, failing to include these three critical intranet elements in your plans can hamstring even the most ambitious visions:
Critical intranet element #1: An engagement strategy that starts with people
A well-designed engagement strategy is just as important as the technical requirements. Without an intentional plan to get senior leaders and employees to use the digital workplace, the project runs the risk of languishing and failing.
Your engagement strategy can include a variety of tactics, but in our experience, assigning these roles has been proven to help ensure rapid adoption and sustainable growth:
- Advocates – Those who can secure the resources and support a project’s needs. Advocates should be senior leaders or those that can influence senior leadership.
- Champions – Those who are willing to stay informed throughout the project and promote it throughout the organization.
- Beta testers – Those who are designated to test the new tool to ensure it meets the requirements.
- Early adopters – Those who are willing to try the new tools and help others use them. These can be the same as beta testers or trainers, but they do not have to be.
- Trainers – Those who instruct others on using the tool, whether in small groups, by department, or in larger transversal or org-wide groups.
Depending on the size and capacity of your organization, some people may fill multiple roles. There is certainly overlap in the duties of each role. But be sure to cast as wide a net as you can so you have buy-in from all corners of your organization.
Critical intranet element #2: Design for people
Digital workplaces are meant to improve business outcomes by providing employees with effortless access to the tools and information they need to be successful in their daily work. As Tracy Brower notes in Forbes, good design can not only make all the difference in project success but also be “critical to motivating [people] to join your company, stay at your organization, and engage fully to bring their best to work.”
The bar for digital design has been set pretty high; we are all used to clean, simple, intuitive interfaces on their tablets, phones, and home computers. Employees expect clean, simple, intuitive interfaces with their intranets. Fail to deliver on that expectation, and you can expect your intranet to fail.
Working within your organization’s own unique needs, follow these clear principles in your design and development process to deliver a digital workplace interface that invites engagement:
- Keep the design clear and simple.
- Keep the icons consistent through the system.
- Pay special attention to “The Welcome”: the first impression your intranet makes on its users.
- Prioritize relevant and useful information.
- Design for mobile.
As organizations adjust to working in fully remote or hybrid teams, adhering to these principles will help make your new intranet feel more like a community. Remember: Some new employees may have never met their colleagues in person or seen the office in real life. Creating spaces that are more personal and less corporate will go a long way in making employees feel more connected and engaged.
Critical intranet element #3: All the [social] news that’s fit to print
Not surprisingly, employees are reporting high rates of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection stemming from remote work. While the main purpose of a digital workplace is to equip employees with the tools and information they need to do their jobs effectively, we can’t overlook the intangible power and importance of connection.
One efficient and effective way organizations have found to connect employees no matter where they are is by making space in their intranets for the types of information that used to be passed around at the watercooler or on bulletin boards:
- Employees sharing personal news like weddings, births, and personal accomplishments
- Company kudos, congratulations, and acknowledgments for jobs well done, promotions, etc.
- Birthdays, work anniversaries, and other important milestones
- Welcomes to new hires
- Information about social events sponsored by the company
As organizations adjust to working in fully remote or hybrid teams, these little bits can make the workplace feel more like a community. (I’ll say it again: Some new employees may have never met their colleagues in person or seen the office in real life.)
Include these three critical elements for a better intranet.
A well-designed intranet is a worthwhile investment that will yield business benefits for years. Don’t limit the power of your digital workplace to align and empower your employees by overlooking these three critical intranet elements: a defined launch strategy, user-centered design, and social news.
We’re here to help you build a better digital workplace.
We include each of these three critical elements and more in our digital workplace process.
If you need help building a better digital workplace that connects your employees with the colleagues, tools, and resources they need to drive your business goals, please reach out or go ahead and click that orange chat button bottom right of this page.