When it comes to your Intranet portal, beauty and functionality only go so far. The content that is displayed on the Intranet portal for your organization and how it benefits employees is going to be the defining line in user adoption and a successful Intranet on Office 365 and SharePoint.
There is no shortage of content that can be added to the Intranet portal. It’s important to strike a balance between operational content that is essential for all employees to be aware of and personalized content that is going to benefit just one team or one department.
What most organizations don’t realize is that in order to have content you have to get content. It’s a Catch-22. While employees of an organization clamor for content they don’t understand what it takes to provide that content. When they are then approached to submit content they avoid the task or put it off. This leaves frazzled and overwhelmed content managers who work hard to provide relevant, contextual Intranet information.
Providing employees with the ability to personalize content in conjunction with organizational content will increase usage and collaboration and help them do their jobs better.
For example, picture a salesperson in charge of the government sector who finds a website containing the latest RFPs for his or her state. The ability to link relevant content directly on the Intranet will greatly improve workflow, reduce time-consuming searches, and increase user adoption of the Intranet.
Chasing Down the Content
The types of content displayed on the Intranet is just one side of the coin. How to obtain that content and the effort that goes into obtaining it is another challenge that is often taken for granted.
Providing content to populate the Intranet is often not a priority for most operational staff despite a genuine desire and excitement for a content-laden Intranet. If the sales team just landed a new account or closed an important deal, its priority is going to be celebrating, not to sit down and post it to the Intranet. The first thing they do is not run off to find the content manager and spend 20 minutes conducting an interview to explain why this sales win is important for the organization.
Time is always a challenge when striving to keep the Intranet up to date with relevant, organizational announcements. Content just doesn’t appear; it takes time, patience, and persistence to plan and develop content, chase it down, and ultimately post it.
Different departments have varying schedules with high workloads and minimal downtime one day and opposite the next. The product manager working on a new release is going to be deadline driven. His or her day is going to be organized to ensure this deadline is met. Having to meet with someone to provide content interrupts that flow, pushing back the deadline.
Or, a team has just completed a large-scale, time-sensitive project and wants to receive congratulations for its hard work and efforts. The content manager has to find the team, get them to sit down when a new project might be looming, and ask them to reiterate the details of the project and its primary successes. This is redundant for the team and the level of detail and complexity associated with the project that evoke pride can get lost or misconstrued.
In Part 1 of our blog series, we discussed how the look and feel of the Intranet should be proportional to its functionality. Similarly, there should be a balance between the types of content displayed. An Intranet portal too heavily dependent on one type of content, such as personalized content versus content centered on an organization’s activities and successes, is not going to be beneficial. Productivity will be affected and the ROI for your Intranet is going to decline.
An Intranet should allow employees to pick and choose the content they want to see while also serving as a vessel to distribute organizational content they need to see. Accomplishing this will ultimately help employees perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
For example, say that HR wants to let all 400 employees know that open enrollment for benefits is approaching. Displaying this information in a central location, such as the Intranet, makes it easy for employees to access and check for updates, making them more self-sufficient and reducing errors and frustrations.
Content generated from operational events informs and educates employees about major company milestones, such as:
If the CEO wants to discuss a new vision for the organizational culture then that information needs to be conveyed to employees. The company receiving a new round of funding doesn’t necessarily require a meeting to announce it. The Intranet is a centralized location to display these messages and ensures that all employees are notified.
If HR is looking to hire new sales managers and is offering a referral bonus then that is something employees will want easy, immediate access to so they can forward it to relevant candidates or share with other employees.
Providing content not only takes time but also takes resources. It’s not always as easy as sending a Skype asking for 10 minutes. Perhaps the CEO or sales manager is traveling overseas. You want to provide timely information about the merger that has just taken place. What you do to facilitate this takes initiative and creativity.
So what is the solution? In an ideal Intranet an interface would allow key stakeholders to automatically and easily submit organizational updates and announcements. This would alert content managers to post that information to the Intranet. Currently there is no way to accommodate this, which leaves both sides overwhelmed and underinformed.
Having such an interface would save time and resources, leading to a happy, more productive, well-informed Intranet audience for your organization.