Ten Ways to Measure Social Intranet Success

By Simpplr Marketing

In our last post on measuring intranet success we looked at the importance of metrics and outlined some associated best practices. In this second post we’re going to look at ten specific metrics that you can capture for your intranet reporting.

Each of the ten metrics areas covered in this post have advantages and disadvantages, and what you choose to report on will depend on various factors, including the aim of your intranet. Whatever you choose to measure, you will need to gather a range of metrics. Taking a more holistic view of measurement is more likely to result in actionable insight.

Here are ten key ways to measure the success of your social intranet:

1. Reach

Reach is a key headline metric for many intranets. It shows what percentage of your workforce is actually viewing and using your intranet in any given time period. This might be per day, per month or even per year. Reach usually covers the percentage of employees visiting the intranet, but you can also relate it to those viewing a specific piece of content, or using the social features. However if not all employees are able to access the intranet, this will reduce your reach.

2. Usage metrics

There are a number of metrics that might be considered ‘classic usage metrics,’ which track user behavior (mainly visiting pages.) These are commonly found in web analytics software and make up the core part of most teams’ intranet metrics reporting. Typically these metrics include the number of views, unique visits, bounce rate and average time on site.

3. Content engagement

The popularity of a piece of content is not only shown by the number of visits, but also by how engaged users are with the content, which can be seen in metrics such as numbers of comments, likes, page ratings and shares. Tracking these numbers can show the impact of a particular piece of content.

4. Content quality

Content quality is inherently subjective, but there are some indicators. First, is content up to date? Quality can be reflected in the number of pages that have been updated recently or reviewed within a particular period. The number of new items added to the intranet may also be of interest. The readability of content can also be measured in a number of ways, such as the Flesch-Kincaid score.

5. Annual intranet user survey

Many teams choose to have an annual intranet survey for employees that specifically asks how they rate the intranet, how they use it and what new features they would like to see. The survey could even include a ‘Net Promoter Score,’ asking if users would recommend the intranet to a colleague.

This kind of survey helps track overall user satisfaction and also drill down into some of the detail. Using a tool like SurveyMonkey also makes it an easy way to gather valuable data.

6. Other related systems

Sometimes the intranet is designed to make a process more efficient and therefore can have an impact on the use of related systems or tools. For example:

  • Employee self-service with HR processes could reduce the number of calls to your HR help desk
  • A new process for logging IT bugs might reduce IT help desk calls
  • The introduction of a social intranet might reduce email

If this is the case, the usage of any systems positively impacted by the intranet should be part of your metrics mix.

7. Productivity

Intranets are meant to improve productivity, so it’s worth trying to measure just how long it takes employees to carry out key tasks and processes. Typical tasks include finding a specific piece of content, updating information or publishing a document.

A reduction in the time taken to finish a task shows a more efficient intranet. A related metric is the the proportion of times the task was actually completed successfully.

Generally, measuring tasks needs to be carried out by observing users, an activity that will also give rich insight into specific user behavior.

8. Community metrics

Communities, groups and team spaces are a core part of the social intranet and there are a number of metrics that measure their use. These include:

  • The number of groups, and the proportion of those open and closed, and which are active
  • The number of contributions and interactions (shares, likes, discussions, etc.)
  • The proportion of the workforce who is actively using social tools

9. Cost efficiencies

Intranets should ultimately result in cost savings. If this can be shown, then it’s a statistic worth reporting. Cost reductions to report include:

  • Saving on software licensing because the intranet has replaced another system
  • Streamlining or replacing a process or component, for example saving paper
  • Phasing out a channel or publication
  • Avoiding travel by using social tools
  • Avoiding future potential costs because you have made a process more efficient using the intranet

10. Organizational or strategic KPIs

In our last post, one of our best practices for measuring intranets was to focus on strategic KPIs. Your original intranet strategy should have had some key objectives for your social intranet, such as “increase employee engagement”. If there are metrics that relate to these strategic areas, then these should be included in your reporting.

Even though the intranet might only have a modest or indirect influence, organizational KPIs such as “reduction in carbon footprint,” or “impact on customer service” could be included in your reporting.

There might also be some more specific KPIs, for example in your annual employee survey, which cover intranet-relevant matters such as the quality of communication in your company.

Choosing your metrics

There is no right or wrong way to measure your intranet. Your approach will depend on a variety of different factors, including the strategic priorities for your intranet, which numbers are available (and reliable), and the time you have to dedicate to reporting.

In considering what to measure, focus on:

  • What will give you actionable insight
  • What will engage your stakeholders
  • What is useful for site managers, community managers and content authors
  • What can be realistically measured

We’ve given you a starting point with some ideas for key areas of metrics, but each area is a topic in its own right and worth researching further. There are also other numbers worth considering, for example the percentage of employees who have completed their employee profiles.

The important point is to measure what makes sense for you and your stakeholders. If you get that right, you’ll have a metrics program that will measure and contribute to the success of your social intranet.

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