Over the years, I have been privileged to work on a variety of Intranets ranging in shapes and sizes. Some were for large corporations, others were for small non-profits. Some were heavily governed, others were driven by user content. Even though each of these Intranets were unique in their own ways, they had one key element in common – strong user adoption. Without a strong user community that recognized the value of the Intranet, each would have failed.
Follow these 5 best practices and you’ll be on your way to showing your users the value of your Intranet and ensuring that they keep coming back for more.
1) Give your Intranet an identity – Just as with any Web site, your Intranet needs a strong brand that means something to your employees. Give your employees an opportunity to help choose the name and you’ll take an additional step in not only selecting something that is meaningful to your audience, but allows them to have a sense of ownership over the brand.
2) Find Your Advocates And Help Them Spread The Word – If you’re in an medium or large organization, it’s likely that you won’t be able to drive user adoption all by yourself. Instead, recruit a team of employees who understand how valuable the Intranet can be and arm them with tips and tricks that they can use to show the value to others. Be sure to find folks who may not have recognized the value of the Intranet in the past and work hard to convert them into advocates. You’ll be surprised how much weight their endorsement carries.
3) Give Employees A Voice – Whether it’s through forums, blogs, polls and/or Wikis, give your employees the opportunity to add content to the site. Allowing them to contribute will enhance that sense of ownership and give them a reason to come back.
4) Make It Easy To Use – It’s a Google world out there and if your users can’t find information quickly and easily, they’ll seek it somewhere else. Make sure your Intranet has an easy-to-navigate taxonomy as well as a strong search engine. Also, be sure your following the best practice on when to open new windows with hyperlinks so your users to get lost in multiple browser sessions and can always get back to your site.
5) Update, update, update – Users come to Intranets for content. If your information is stale, your user adoption will plummet. Find ways to add new content as well as new functionality. If a feature or widget isn’t getting any traffic, ask yourself whether it’s worth the real estate. Also, be sure to periodically ask your users what they think and make changes when it makes sense.
As always, I’m interested to hear feedback and comments, as well as strategies that you have used to drive Intranet adoption in your organization.