Intranet success can really only be summarized by one question.
Do most, if not all, of your employees rely on the intranet every-single-working-day?
If the answer to that question is a resounding YES, congratulations! Carry on! No need to read further. For those of us who still struggle with user adoption and wonder why the old adage “if I build it, they will come” is not holding water with the intranet … this blog post is for you.
We have many clients that have had huge success with their intranet sites, but not many can match the District of North Vancouver (DNV), and their intranet District Junction. DNV has cultivated their intranet to be the #1 place all employees go for corporation information. Their users not only visit the intranet daily, they rely on it. The following tips show how they achieved this wide-spread adoption of the intranet.
“At DNV our intranet has been the go-to place for everything company related going on 10 years. If we take the site down for upgrades or maintenance, our help desk calls are off the charts. The success of our intranet can be attributed to a KISS principle combined with the following 6 simple getting started rules.”
Rule 1: Buy don’t build
Buying is less expensive overall and provides more functionality for less headache than building your own intranet.
Rule 2: Don’t manage by committee
Select two – three tops – staff that will be responsible for your intranet and let them guide its evolution. Invite input from all departments but leave the decision-making up to the core group (including which intranet software product to buy).
Rule 3: Include the intranet in everyone’s start-up
When your employees log on to the network every day, the first thing they should see is your intranet. Our users return to the intranet several times during the day and will leave the browser session open on their desktop.
Rule 4: Create useful categories
Make it easy for everyone to find the content they use most often: phone directory (with photos), company forms, help desk how-to’s, press clippings, commonly used web links, training courses, stationery ordering, policies, calendar of corporate events, staff event photos, org charts, job postings, general announcements (our catch-all app) and even throw in some fun stuff like recipes, marketplace, fun photos, etc.
Rule 5: Let everyone publish content
Don’t get hung up on security or approvals. In our experience, staff won’t abuse the right to be able to post content anywhere on the intranet. They respect their natural boundaries and it will encourage them to become frequent contributors which is what will make your intranet a) a big success and b) keeps it fresh with new content. Accidents may happen (we have had maybe 5 in 10+ years) but often these can be corrected within minutes.
Rule 6: Restrict global emailing
Shut down the ability to email large groups (or worse yet, the entire company) within your organization. The largest email groups should be at the departmental level. Any communications beyond that should be on the intranet. If you continue to allow email as a competing form of communication, your intranet will suffer and struggle.
District Junction – DNV’s Intranet Site