The intranet is for most companies the digital source to share relevant content in any shape or form. It is the go-to place to connect employees within the organization and facilitate a ‘hub of knowledge’. Employees use the intranet when looking for answers, posting questions for others to comment on, reading corporate news, and being able to connect with fellow employees. It should facilitate the users to execute their jobs efficiently and effectively.
But, building a successful intranet doesn’t come easy. Without any clear vision and guidance on what the intranet should facilitate you end up with a product that misaligns with its intended purpose.
These are the top five mistakes made when building an intranet:
1. Neglecting search
Users are requesting more interactive searching capabilities to find information. When browsing through the intranet they quickly find the search bar to type in the relevant keywords to find their information. Users simply lack the time to investigate and scroll through each page of the intranet to find the information they are looking for. The intranet is of little value if users are not able to find the relevant content right away. Intranets typically categorize and cluster their search results, but most of the time the search results show unstructured and large amounts of irrelevant results to the user. The advice is to register metadata on the type of content that is available on the intranet. This will support the users with categorized content on keyword and allow them to apply filters when searching content in the libraries and lists of the intranet.
2. Disregarding user input
Intranets can be configured in any way, shape, or form, which is a benefit. However, it should be clearly shaped based on the input and feedback of its primary users. These are, in the end, your most important target group. The design, its layout, and its functionalities should align with what the users expect. It must fit with what makes sense to the users, and not just the tech people configuring it. If users do not intuitively understand the intranet or find it difficult to work with, users will eventually find reasons not to work with it. Thus, aligning with your user groups on a frequent basis to collect feedback and user experience will help to steer the intranet to its intended result.
3. Not refreshing content
Intranet should be a dynamic platform. The same goes for the content that is displayed here. The content should be actively maintained by its owners. The users should get the feeling the information is trustworthy and updated on a frequent basis. Intranet should be the primary source of up-to-date information. Thus, it requires an active commitment to keep its content fresh and relevant to its users.
4. No training for users
The relevance of your intranet is in the hands of the content owners and its users. This means users working with the intranet need the right skill set to find it. Simply providing a login to the intranet does not do the trick. As the intranet is constantly evolving users should be provided with decent training on how to use it. You should not assume users who do understand and know how to work with the intranet will automatically tell and train their fellow users. Create an appropriate approach for continuous training and support. Through this approach, the organization will realize their return on investment and have the intranet work for the organization.
5. Lack of ambassadors within the organization
Your organization should strive towards a group of users of your intranet that can be seen as ambassadors. From their own experience with the intranet, they are able to inspire others. These ambassadors are commonly one level closer to the actual users and can advocate the usage of the intranet on a more personal level. Without having ambassadors in place you are typically standing against each other. The intranet implementers and the organization users. Ambassadors provide an essential link between the two. The role of the ambassador is bidirectional. On the one hand, ambassadors are able to engage actively with all users in the organization to highlight how to use the intranet and its functionalities. On the other hand, ambassadors actively provide input on where the intranet can be improved based on their engagements with the organization users.
Are you interested to see how the Mavim Platform can interlink with your intranet? Feel free to reach out to us.
Author: Thomas Littooij, Value Engineer at Mavim