Launching an intranet is an exciting time for your organisation. However, some employees may view it with distrust or disapproval. We’ve compiled a list of seven ideas that will ensure the successful launch of your intranet. Here’s how to transform your intranet from a foreign piece of software into a hub of rich resources that your employees can’t do without.
1. Include employees in your intranet from the start
The more involved your employees feel in your intranet, the more committed they will be to its success. Ask employees what they need to access to do their jobs, what information they would like to have more readily available, and how and when they will use those resources. You will need to agree on objectives, purpose and the specific information the intranet will hold, and then identify your goals. To do this, you could:
- send out staff surveys to gather intranet ideas.
- ask staff what they want to see and what resources will make their jobs easier.
- organise group brainstorming sessions.
- consider setting up chat forums for honest feedback.
- remember to consult with non-desk-based workers and remote workers.
- approach all levels of staff, whatever their role.
- involve senior members of staff.
2. Give your intranet a strong visual identity
When designing your intranet, look for ways to tie in your company culture and branding. If you are passionate about sustainability, reflect this in your visuals. If you support a certain charity, incorporate up-to-date information about fundraising efforts. Include your company colours and philosophies to reinforce your company’s message in the minds of your employees. The result will be an intranet which reflects your company’s ethos and makes your employees feel proud.
Go one step further and create a great name that your employees love. You could even launch a competition and ask your staff to come up with suggestions for a name.
3. Share fun facts about employees
When compiling their intranet bios, ask employees to add a little-known fact about themselves that they don’t mind sharing with their colleagues. It could be a funny story, an unusual hobby or pastime, a famous person they have met, or their favourite food or drink. Then, when the intranet goes live, they’ll be eager to get online and read all those fun facts about one another.
If you want to include employee photographs, have them done professionally to ensure the result is flattering. That way, your employees will be keen to have a look at their photo on their profile on launch day.
4. Make it easy for your users to get started
Don’t create extra work for your employees as that will create a negative vibe around your intranet. Fill in as much online information for them as you can, so they don’t have to.
- Pre-populate employee profiles with job titles, extension numbers and any other information you can.
- Set up online areas, working groups and teams in advance.
- Have databases and documents uploaded and tested in advance, so they are ready to use.
- Concentrate on usability; you want a site that is simple to navigate and user-friendly
First impressions count. When your employees log on for the first time, you want to be sure they are completely won over.
5. Build hype in advance of the intranet launch
Consider offering pre-launch teasers by way of a sneak peek. This could take place in an allocated area of the office, and if you provide drinks and snacks you’re likely to attract even more interest. Once your employees see what the intranet can do for them, they will feel less wary and much more excited about its launch. Show them how the intranet is going to make their jobs easier, enable them to be more efficient and empower them to provide customers with a better service. Intranets can even be used to facilitate group discussions and teleconferencing.
6. Market launch day in advance
Distribute cards, leaflets or welcome packs with the site URL, simple instructions for logging in on launch day and where to go for help. Hang posters around the workplace and consider making a promotional video to advertise your intranet in a fun and memorable way. Be as creative and imaginative as you like to generate excitement for the big day.
7. Nurture intranet champions
Appoint a select number of reliable staff members to be intranet champions. These people will help guide the structure of your intranet and provide valuable input on what to include.
- Train them before other employees so they can assist colleagues and feel valued.
- Arrange regular meetings with your champions.
- Devise ways in which they can represent a subsection of employees.
- Ask them to feed back to small groups of employees and provide you with their feedback.
If you do it right, your intranet champions will take their knowledge and enthusiasm back to their team members and do some of the seeding work for you.
An intranet can be a game-changer for an organisation as it provides a cost-effective solution for improving communication, employee satisfaction and productivity. But it’s crucial to remember that the secret to a great launch lies in getting your employees involved from day one. If you succeed in doing this, you will be able to use the launch of your intranet as an invaluable opportunity to engage staff and boost morale.