IBF Live is a live broadcast featuring intranet tours and speakers supporting the movement from simply intranet software to a digital workplace where the intranet is the place to get work done.
In their November 1st episode, the focus was to find out the benefit of Corporate Communications on your intranet. During the 90 minute broadcast, we went inside three very different sites.
First to present was Rose Tedesco, the communications manager at Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Medical School’s health care consulting division. The healthcare intranet goal is to bring together its 1,700 employees that are spread across more than 30 offices in Massachusetts. Rose says that there is a lot of creative talent within the organization and their intranet allows those individuals to use creativity to have fun with the site.
How Commonwealth Medicine Gets Intranet Creative
-The site houses registration for their Brown Bag Seminars directly on the home page
– Rose runs photo contests to help build community with employees; this initiative is very successful as 25-50 photos are submitted for the contest every month.
-Cafeteria Menu’s, RFP, Proposal Support and Opportunity Assessment Forms are among the most used items on the site, so they are linked directly from the home page left hand menu
I liked that Inside Commed embraces their users and caters the intranet to their needs. They have paid attention to the most popular areas and pushed those to the front page. Although the site could have a modernized theme, I like that it puts the users first and focuses on offering quality content that resonates with employees.
Next up was Olof van der Gaag, Campaign Manager for The New World of Work. NWOW’s intranet organizes meetings, runs competitions and works to invent new ways of connecting with coworkers.
NWOW organizes workshops from the intranet where people can work with and learn from each other. Olof had an interesting view on top-down management, he mentioned that bosses learn how to trust professionals in their company in the Netherlands, so the intranet is a tool for employees to converse and engage freely without strict corporate guidelines. NWOW’s company goal is to show that there is a huge benefit in introducing a new way to work which allows for lower sickness leave and more productive, happy employees.
I really liked the bright, bold colors on the intranet. The site content seems to be targeted to NWOW’s user base (it was in Dutch), so they are on point with offering user specific information via the intranet. Take a look at NWOW’s home page:
Next up was a tour of American Express and their intranet called The Square. Audrey Gray, VP of Executive Communications at AMEX, did an excellent job of walking us through the site. Audrey said that, “the users tend to use the site as more of a needs-based tool. Employees breathe in and out on the way to something else, so they tend to run around the site quickly to access different tools.” In order to engage its 63,000 users, The Square offers links, from the home page, to these unique areas of their site:
-Blog Central is an area where senior leaders blog. Each executive picks a blog that is about something and they tend to stick to that topic. For example, one of the original executive bloggers writes mostly about social media.
-The New York Metro section lists fun stuff that is going on in the particular city that the user is in. Events shown are not company specific to acknowledge life outside of the office.
– The Daily News portal incorporates pictures and quotes from recent events. Photographs and style of photos on the intranet are storytelling devices so AMEX hires photo journalists to take photos at events so they can tell a story through photos.
-The Employee Profile page shows the beginnings of social media. You can update a status, see an organization chart and see detailed employee information.
-The Square has a corporate affairs and communications team that is concerned about the needs of the content and they wanted to provide an area that is useful and engaging for employees. The goal is to find a way to make this site interesting and have lots of eye candy for employees.
– The annual Senior Management meeting is the biggest event of the year. Audrey’s team uses the intranet to blog live about the event. This leads to a lot of site visits at that timeframe each year.
Audrey has an amazing outlook for the Square, one that we believe should be the heart and soul of your intranet: “The intranet reflects the reality of what’s really happening in the company. The intranet is about storytelling to inspire, nourish and provide genuine and authentic content to employees.” Audrey would love to improve the user experience and authenticity by working on the writing on the site. She did note that visuals like video, infographics and games could be added as fun content to get people involved and sharing information from the site.
I appreciate that not everyone’s content gets on the AMEX site, since the Online Editor keeps content tight and interesting. This is great for consistent content curation on the intranet.
When the IBF Live hosts polled if there was still a place for Corporate News on the intranet, the majority answered YES because it builds a sense of community and shared values, and I would have to agree. All of these sites had corporate information front and center on their sites and I thought they did a great job of providing value added content to users.
Check out Carolyn Douglas’ recap of October’s IBF Live on Culture and Intranets.