Many teams find that most of the benefits gained from intranets don’t happen instantly after a new intranet is launched. Instead, value builds up gradually as adoption rises, new features and sites are added and organizations learn how to get the most out of their intranet.
Committing to a process of continuous improvement for your intranet can really help build up value. It also ensures that stakeholder and user interest is maintained, and site owners are more engaged.
Here are six tactics you can use to help continuously improve your intranet:
1. Focus on small and achievable steps
After releasing a new intranet, try to focus on smaller incremental improvements that are actually achievable and release them at regular intervals. This ensures improvements are made continually and that employees will sense progress, helping to build trust and confidence in the intranet.
Although it may be necessary to make some larger changes, these come with a greater risk of failing and tend to come at the expense of other improvements, meaning your intranet is standing still. Making smaller and more focused improvements is often more effective and creates a better impression than big bang improvements.
2. Establish an improvements roadmap
To continuously improve, you will need to keep adding new elements to your intranet. Have a planned schedule of new content areas, features and communities to keep your intranet moving forward.
An improvements roadmap shows employees and stakeholders that you mean business and that new elements are planned. It’s worth leaving some flexibility in that schedule to add urgent features or seize opportunities for new areas as they arise. Having releases scheduled regularly, for example every two months, also helps everybody plan their improvements.
3. Use metrics and learn from them
There’s a mass of data and analytics about your intranet that you can learn from. For example you can:
- Track which pieces of content are most read and most engaging, attracting comments and likes
- See which communities are most active
- Identify patterns of user behavior such as popular times to access information
Whether you take a high-level view of your data, or a deeper, more granular view will depend on how your metrics package is set up and how much effort you’re prepared to put in. Whatever your approach, you can learn from the data to see what works and what doesn’t. In turn you can use these insights to make improvements and also experiment further.
4. Gather feedback from users and act on it
To improve your intranet you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. Set up a system that provides regular feedback from users and identifies the various pain points and issues that users are experiencing. It should also identify your successes and even encourage users to submit new ideas for areas and functionality.
You can use polls, surveys, online forms, a dedicated email box or even discussion forums to invite specific feedback or receive ongoing comments.
As well as capturing data, make sure you have a system to act on this information to correct mistakes, take on suggestions and report back to the person who submitted the feedback. This could make a significant contribution to improving your intranet.
5. Engage site managers to continuously improve their sites
In most intranets, the management of the various sections is scattered across the organization. Different people will be responsible for their departmental group pages, special community sites, project workspaces or themed microsites.
Take all these site owners and community managers with you on your continuous improvement journey. Getting them to commit to improving their own sites will mean that the whole intranet will get better and better, collectively.
Ways to encourage site managers include:
- Use support and training to increase skills and encourage best practices
- Agree to individual site improvement plans with each site owner
- Use metrics and benchmarking on a site-by-site basis to show owners what works
- Encourage the sharing of tips and tricks
6. Communicate success
Part of the secret of driving a culture of continuous improvement is ensuring everyone keeps a sense of momentum. Everybody needs to stay motivated, engaged and focused.
Communicating the improvements you’ve made and celebrating success will help. Make sure stakeholders and users know about the positive direction you’re going in. The extended team behind your intranet will feel appreciated, see that their efforts are worthwhile, and they’ll want to carry on their fantastic work.
Keeping up the momentum
It’s not always easy keeping up momentum to continuously improve your intranet. There can be a lot of work to do and it may feel like some employees aren’t all that interested. Using some of the tips above can help. By simultaneously providing some structure for improvements and keeping those involved engaged with the task, you should see your intranet get better and better. Good luck on your intranet improvement journey!