The human success factors of a new intranet

Digital

Setting up a new intranet can be an intimidating task that comes with an impressive workload. On top of that, it’s typically a project that doesn’t happen that often, to say the least. Very few people are acquainted with this work. After thoroughly informing yourself, selecting the best intranet software, assembling an intranet team, collecting content and setting up the navigation, you start building the new intranet of your dreams… And you notice that things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Why is that?

Setting up a new intranet is often seen from a rather technical viewpoint: you list the functionalities that users need, you define an attractive look ‘n feel, you plan a realistic deployment, you organize training for the intranet authors and you’re ready to go.

But are you? Soon, you notice that although the team collected the necessary content, they do not create intranet pages with a uniform look ‘n feel. Some authors like long, elaborate sentences while other editors prefer it short and crisp to keep the reader’s attention. New people joining the team don’t know who to contact to get the editing rights on the new intranet. And while you know that some nifty function is supported by your intranet platform, you just can’t seem to find how to build it because it was not documented in the manual…
But don’t worry, we have the answers. In this blog, we’ll focus on 3 overlooked aspects that are indispensable to achieve long-term success for your new intranet!

 

Get active guidance

the human success factors of an intranet

You need to learn the ins and outs of your new intranet: how to create and edit content, but also how to manage it. Typically, this is done with some training sessions. The result is that the intranet team has all required knowledge to get started. As soon as you start filling the new intranet with fresh content, you might run into questions like:
• How can I make attractive pages using the capabilities of our intranet platform?
• How can I set up some rather specific function?
• How can I make sure other intranet editors follow the same content guidelines?
That’s where the first tip comes in. Make sure you have easy access to an expert that can help with the typical “How do I” questions. Get the expert in your office building for a few hours per week, ensure you can easily contact her or him, … The important thing is: don’t get stuck with questions about the intranet or the content during the time you are building your new intranet!

 

Prepare a governance plan

human success factors

Governance is not the most popular concept, but it is a crucial aspect of your intranet environment. Intranet governance -the specification of rules and regulations for the intranet- can cover a broad set of different topics, like:
• Roles and permissions in the intranet environment
• Content lifecycle
• User feedback processing…

Such a plan might grow into a large document! Although the document requires additional effort from the intranet team, don’t ignore it. Once the intranet team has familiarized itself with the new environment, specify all rules, regulations, and other conventions for the intranet as early as possible. The governance plan will help you keep the intranet healthy in the long term and release you from (a part of) the intranet management tasks with clear process descriptions.


Plan for user adoption

human success factors of an intranet

Building a new intranet is one thing. Getting your audience to the brand-new site is another. And to keep them coming back, you will need to be prepared!
Make sure you have a user adoption plan that depicts how to introduce the new intranet to your audience, describes the process to attract people so that they keep visiting it and has a monitoring plan.

Let’s dive into these three items:
• Introducing the intranet to your audience requires planned communication and maybe even an informal event. Make sure everyone knows what’s coming! Besides the communication aspect, help the users by making access to the intranet as easy and painless as possible. Consider every extra click to access the intranet as your arch enemy!
• Once you have the attention of your audience, don’t let them go! Don’t forget to plan ahead and plan for interesting content that continually tickles everyone’s curiosity.
• The numbers tell the tale! Only with the help of great intranet analytics, a clear set of KPI’s and a monitoring plan will you be able to evaluate the success of the new intranet. Just make sure to set up the monitoring plan before you go live with the new intranet.