“If you build it well they will come” – that was the topic of an earlier blog post and one of the aspects of my conference presentation. But what happens if “it”, i.e. your intranet, isn’t built well? Even worse, what happens if engagement with your intranet has waned with your senior team, and with those people who should be promoting it and providing content for it?
Or, what if you’ve started a new job? Do you need to develop your working relationships across the business, or prove your knowledge, get the intranet evolving, and to make sure it is built well for the end users?
If you’re in one of these positions then there are three things I’d recommend you do to reinvigorate your site and/or get people on side for what’s to come:
Your stakeholders may well have lost confidence with the intranet. If they’re encouraging people to work in different systems, or sending things out over email, then those might be signs of disenchantment. Or they may not know what you, or it, can do.
So you need to assure and re-assure them that you can deliver a top-notch intranet for your users. Show them that you’re a safe pair of hands and that you can deliver what they want, and what the business needs. You may also need to reassure them that there will be changes from what they’ve experienced before.
One of the best approaches is to prove that the intranet will be relevant for their business or department. Show off examples of where something is working well on the intranet that you could adapt for them. If you don’t have an example from your own site, or if you’re planning to make dramatic changes, then use ones from other companies – this is where Awards are your friend! Intranetizen has a very good list of awards and a lot of them will have reports that you can buy or download to inspire you. Then spend time on mock-ups and plans – some people find it difficult to imagine intranet content on words alone, so have something to show off to reinforce your point.
Simply put, you need to make as many obvious changes that you can (and that are relevant to the site) to bring the intranet on a step. These don’t have to be huge changes, but ones that are obvious. This will show that you’re serious about making improvements for them and understand what they need.
Having a really strong vision here will help. Your vision doesn’t need to be complicated, just a line will do, like “to give employees one place to visit to find all internal news”. Despite what I’ve said above, having a strong vision will stop you making changes for the sake of making them.
If you know what you want to achieve with your site, then you can work towards building it and bringing people with you on that journey.
Talk with passion about your vision, make obvious changes to start to move the intranet in that direction, and the reassurance will also follow with it. This is partly what I mean by focus, but there is another part to it.
Give that department, or person, your attention. Meet them, work with them, and involve them in your plans. Then share with them what you’re doing and reach agreements together for the developments you’ll make. Use this opportunity to share your broader plans as well, to show how the work you’re doing with them fits in and is highly important.
Work out in advance what you can do for them of course. Do your research to see what benefit the intranet could bring them, their team, or other people that they’re responsible for. If you can save them money, or can improve productivity for the end user, then these are some really good starting points.
What will this do?
If you work through these three points then you should hopefully see three results:
- Understanding – greater understanding of the potential of their content, and of the intranet more broadly.
- Confidence – this goes hand-and-hand with understanding, and you may find people seek you out to make changes rather than you having to initiate development work.
- Experience – most importantly there should be a much better user experience at the end of your work, with improved engagement in your intranet too.