How to Develop an Intranet Strategy

intranet strategy
Developing an intranet strategy is key to ensuring a successful intranet. Rob Colwill, ElevatePoint CEO, provides some pointers.

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So, you’ve identified you’re ready to build an intranet or revamp one? Congratulations!

Are you ready to get started but aren’t sure exactly what’s important to your organization or how to create an intranet strategy before you even select a product or vendor? (Kudos for knowing you need an intranet strategy before selecting a product or vendor, as your intranet will have a greater chance of success.) A typical intranet strategy has the following:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Objectives and goals
  • Metrics

In order to create each of those items, you need to think through the following. ElevatePoint’s team creates intranet strategies for organizations across the world and here’s typically where we start:

Intranet on purpose

Your strategy aligns to the purpose: Why do you need an intranet? What “job” do you need your intranet to do? Is it primarily a vehicle to store information, including for your mobile workforce? Is it a productivity tool? A digital workplace, where employees can access information?

Your purpose may depend on the following items.

Organizational goals for strategic alignment

To start, determine what your organization is trying to accomplish in the short-term and long-term. More revenue? Better customer service? Decreased operating costs? Better quality?

How can your intranet help you with those? Those tactics should align to the strategy, helping to answer the purpose of your intranet.

No matter what your goal is, here are some tactics that should be part of your intranet strategy:

  • Include your goals and what employees can do online
  • Enable employees to see at-a-glance metrics that are often updated and if it’s vitally important, consider putting it on the home page
  • Highlight stories through your news, brand, and recognition areas on your intranet that demonstrates employees meeting goals
  • Include an area where employees understand how to save money using a threaded discussion with ideas
  • Train employees on organizational goals, products, services, customer service expectations, quality standards, etc.
  • Provide advanced training for your front-line employees
  • Use your leader area of your intranet to encourage questions, ideas, and feedback
  • Include meetings from your CEO and other leaders talk about goals and what employees can do
  • Highlight stories of people using the intranet to increase revenue, even enabling them to share information themselves
  • Use your intranet to gather monthly statistics on whether employees understand goals and what would help them better understand
  • Consider using third-party systems to meet organizational goals, too

Identify metrics to prove your intranet is helping organizational goals – from qualitative like customer stories that reinforce goals are met to employee stories. Also, use training and employee surveys to measure understanding.

Communications strategy

buying an intranet is cheaper than building an intranetYour communication strategy probably has a portion that wants to increase employees understanding and being able to meet organizational goals. Your comms strategy may also include improving employee engagement, reducing noise (maybe especially email), and increasing employees’ business acumen.

You have a variety of communication vehicles at your disposal, and your intranet should be the main spoke of your communications system.

Determine how your intranet uniquely solves those problems.

  • Vehicles working together to communicate your workforce, including remote employees
  • Communication effectiveness
  • Communication’s performance and ROI
  • Messages targeting individual employees and teams without adding to noise
  • Collaboration and engagement, including feedback about information
  • Employee recognition, including enabling employees to recognize each other
  • Ease of intranet use
  • Ease of creating and updating pages
  • Productivity gains and metrics of those gains

Resolve issues and gather other requirements

Part of the purpose of your intranet should solve your organization’s biggest issues. Pain points typically include the following:

  • Inability to meet organizational goals
  • Labor shortage or problems (such as expertise) and recruitment costs
  • Succession planning for future organizational success
  • Increased operating costs, including turnover
  • Decreased revenue, including customer retention and acquisition problems
  • Decreased productivity and engagement
  • Inability to flex with new work standards or industry changes
  • Inability to communicate with workforce, including workers without desks

Offering awareness, training, and meetings on your intranet will help with the above issues. In addition, there may be unique ways to solve these problems. For example, in creating a succession plan, you may want to include an area of your intranet for leaders to share ideas and information as well as enabling personalization to target them with messaging.

Knowing how your intranet resolves the issues, and how you can measure it, will not only ensure intranet success, but will improve overall organizational performance.

Integrate third-party for productivity

intranets can improve information overloadIntranets are most useful when they integrate software into your intranet. For example, consider the productivity and cost savings for integrating your HR Information System (HRIS) and time tracking software. Employees could keep track of their vacations, holidays, and other types of leave instead of someone in HR coordinating that data.

Also, many organizations see cost savings and productivity when they enable collaboration online and real-time. Rather than attaching a copy of an article, they can simply share it through SharePoint or some other system and make comments and corrections immediately.

 

Gather Communications, IT, and HR to work together

Communications

As part of determining the intranet strategy, you should know who owns the intranet. ElevatePoint believes your communications team should own the intranet as they’re in a position to understand how communication enables organizational strategic alignment, productivity, and employee engagement.

Regardless, there are many important groups to confer with and gather ideas from, including IT and HR. Know what ownership means — setting direction, completing the intranet strategy, identifying governance plans, etc.

Information Technology (IT)

IT at every organization is responsible for productivity, ensuring operations can help employees. They also own the technology strategy, informing what solution you may choose. For example, if your organization has Microsoft partnerships and licenses, chances are good you’ll want an intranet that uses SharePoint.

Human Resources (HR)

hr intranet ideasHR at every organization is responsible for “human capital,” your employees that are helping your organization. HR employees also have a wealth of information to include on the intranet – benefits, recognition programs, manager information, organizational charts, etc.

These other viewpoints are needed as they’ll help identify new purposes, champion the effort, and offer ways to measure success.

Others, including executives

Before calling your intranet strategy done, even after strong participation from IT and HR, shop your strategy around to leaders and executives at your company. Solicit feedback to ensure it’s helping your organization. They’ll give important information for you to consider, but they’ll buy-in to your strategy and how you’ll measure success.

Next steps

Thinking through everything will ensure you have the right strategy in place, which many times helps figure out other complex steps — intranet solutions, vendors, timelines, governance plans, and more. Starting with the purpose and knowing what to measure guarantees success. For more next steps, view our roadmap and assessment.

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