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You’ve nailed down your intranet design and have site owners and groups in place. Now you need to finish populating your intranet with content and get together some of the other essential ingredients for a successful intranet launch. It’s time to step things up a gear!

Develop policies around usage

In the past, we noted that you should engage with your risk people early. One of the outcomes of this should be policies around usage of internal social media to minimize the risk of misuse and protect both individuals and the company. This may well be an extension of the normal code of conduct which employees sign up to when they join your organization.

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Two central tenets of any social intranet usage policy are:

1. Don’t allow anonymous posting
2. Have a mechanism to report any questionable content.

Have a communication plan, create targeted materials

Like any internal launch of enterprise software, you’ll need a communications plan. This will reach out via multiple channels, including perhaps videos, posters, and even branded chocolates!
Communication Plan for Your Intranet LaunchIf internal employee communications aren’t already involved in your intranet, it’s worth leveraging their skills for the launch. You want to make sure the whole organization knows about your social intranet.

Create an advocate network

Create an Advocate Network for Your IntranetAnother key ingredient for launching an intranet is creating a network of advocates. These are enthusiastic and energetic individuals from all parts of the company who act both as local champions to promote the intranet, and as local experts. They answer questions and even undertake some training. Advocate or champion networks play a key role “on the ground” in global or geographically widespread organizations, where it is impossible for the small central intranet team to promote the new platform in every location. While it may sound difficult in theory to create a network of advocates who are not getting paid for their efforts, in practice, it’s often easy. There are many outstanding examples of very passionate employees whose help has been invaluable in launching a company’s new project. It’s worth creating your advocate network well in advance of launch. They should provide input into the design and content, which will further build up momentum and excitement as well as drive intranet adoption.

Create a social intranet self-help section

The majority of your users will probably want to just go and explore your social intranet, but there will be others who will want more information about how to best use it and what it can do. It’s always best to create a “self-help” section where employees can find answers to frequently asked questions, access training resources, and even ask questions if necessary.

Social Intranet Self-Help Section

Coach senior management

The experience of most organizations is that having visible support and participation from senior management is critical for social intranet success. This signals to other managers and to employees that, for example, posting an update or having a blog is a valued and “legitimate” activity. You may have already worked closely with senior management to get their buy-in on the intranet. It’s now time to carry on involving them so they are comfortable with actually using the tools. Prepare materials and carry out one-on-one sessions if necessary. It’s important that they not only know how to use the tools but also feel confident about appearing online. “What tone should I use? How often should I blog? Should I respond to that comment?” are all typical questions from senior management. Based on your interactions with senior management, you could prepare materials or training for a wider group of managers to help them set the right example for the rest of the workforce.

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