When it comes to intranet management, be inclusive. How collaborative? Include not just leaders (though they’re important), but also allies throughout your organization who care about an updated intranet.
Why is intranet management important?
First, in case it’s necessary, let’s revisit why intranet management is important:
- Safety. Updated information (such as policies and procedures) makes your employees and customers safer
- Quality and service. Beyond safety, how products are made relies on updated information. In fact, ISO certifications depend on updated and repeatable information.
- Better insight. Employees make decisions daily that impact your business. The veracity of information provides better decision-making on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Productivity. If employees can’t find what they need — that’s correct — quickly and easily, they’ll stumble to get that data. 75% of organizations are using technology to increase productivity.
- Trust in communications. If you’re in communications or HR, you know how vital organizational trust is; it impacts employee engagement. Learn more from Edelman’s Trust Barometer.
- Reduce risk. Out-of-date information causes all of the above (unsafe working conditions, brand and reputation loss, customer dissatisfaction, etc.) as well as fines and litigation.
How to manage your intranet
Start with with internal communicators, IT personnel responsible for your intranet, and Human Resources (HR) . (That may be you!) Each of these groups has a more vested interest in the success of your intranet — from getting important communications out, to maintaining a company resource, to ensuring employees know their benefits and key productivity information.
1. Consult information managers, risk managers, and quality managers
Why consult with information managers?
Information managers and records managers aren’t just your organizational librarians. They’re part of quality initiatives and provide schedules of how long information should be retained to protect the company and employees. They may also have ideas on how to archive (where and how to store it) as well as how often — before being retired — it should be updated.
Why consult with risk managers and quality managers?
Risk management and quality management want to reduce risks that can also create fines and litigation for the organization. More than that, they have processes — through ISO or other standards — they follow to reduce that risk.
In addition, risk managers and quality managers care about why intranet management is important (all the reasons noted above).
In addition, they may be able to, for example, apply for a needed ISO certification because of your intranet and how you’re keeping up with the content. (It’s all about business excellence.) That’s why they may also want to divert money to help with a needed intranet budget.
Meet quarterly with them
Meet quarterly Verify you’re rolling off the right information at the right time. Agree to the content that needs an extra pair of eyes — the content that could cause bigger liabilities (from safety to lawsuits). Keep in contact with them.
2. Talk to content authors and subject matter experts (SMEs)
There are two types of people updating your intranet, other than you: content authors and subject matter experts (SMEs). Content authors are the ones who are doing the physical updates (using HTML or a content management system). Subject matter experts are the people who have a more strategic view and tend to know when changes are coming.
Sometimes they’re the same person. Sometimes they’re not. Both are important.
- Even if you don’t have information managers, both content authors and SMEs may be able to help you determine an update schedule.
- Provide regular training, including refreshers, to content authors. (But hopefully you’re using an intranet platform that doesn’t require them to know HTML.)
- Meet regularly (depending on the content and expectations). Use a charter and guidelines. While you’re meeting with them discuss metrics and ways to improve. Discuss how you’re meeting goals.
3. Keep leaders informed
It may seem strange to you, but people assume the intranet isn’t being updated unless you tell them it is. So … tell them it is. Work updates into your communications plans by sending employees to those locations.
In addition, give updates to your leaders regularly, including how you’re taking care of outdated content especially the kind that presents a risk for security, safety, and legal violations.
While you’re at it, provide regular metrics to show the health of your intranet — such as usability or user experience (UX) — and how it’s helping to meet organizational goals. You’re proving value to your leaders.
4. Run reports and make corrections
Some intranets, such as ElevatePoint’s, can show you when information was updated. You can see who the last person to update it was, too. Figure out ways to automate content by providing dates that manage your content.
You can also run reports for busted links, misspellings, and other basics. Although no one likes misspellings, determine if it’s essential to correct them. For example, a barely used page with a misspelling probably isn’t the end of the world. You, and other employees, will have to gauge whether it impacts the trustworthiness of the intranet overall.
5. Improve usability
There should be a yearly goal to improve the usability of the intranet. And there are lots of different ways to improve usability — tackling search, the content itself, and navigation.
For search, get reports to see the most used content and ensure your search gives that as the first option. Some intranets, such as ElevatePoint’s, allow you to make specific pages the top result. Get ideas on improving search.
Navigation is much the same. Here, though, you may want to conduct usability tests to verify people can get to the information they need using the menu.
For content updates, think about skimming and making information more accessible. Again, start with pages that are often used and think about how to make them even easier.
It takes a village to manage an intranet
Managing an intranet doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take time and a plan. Yes, some of the steps above can be automated (from reporting to determining last updated date.) What you can’t automate is relationships, building trust and committing to common goals. Those will, and should, take the most time. Don’t shortcut intranet management by not involving these stakeholders. They’re critical to your intranet’s success.
In the meantime, get a demo of an intranet that doesn’t require HTML knowledge and makes automation easier.