In the previous Governance Series Part 5: Intranet Governance Series: How your governance committee aligns with intranet content management responsibilities, we discussed the role of internal communications in the context of the editorial content calendar. By design, the internal communications function needs to spend more of its time serving as a content aggregator than a content creator. One of the biggest traps that intranet practitioners fall into is relying solely on the central team to produce content. Instead, they should be seen as facilitators of the overall content calendar.
Intranet Philosophy: Gardener vs. Gatekeeper
There is a management philosophy that good managers should be gardeners instead of gatekeepers. Gatekeepers derive power inserting themselves into every decision whereas gardeners look to cultivate growth in others. Likewise, the same can be said of intranet administrators.
Internal Communications and Intranet Role and Responsibilities
At a high-level, here is an overview of what the Internal Communications team should be doing:
• Monitor progress toward the intranet’s charter and goals.
• Govern and maintain the company-wide channel for what gets communicated globally and what news gets promoted to the home dashboard
• Establish and enforce publishing standards
• Maintain and project manage the master content calendar for company-wide news and hold content contributors accountable for their deadlines
• Review site analytics with site administrators. What content is in demand? What content is being used? Is the site up-to-date? Are the site administrators delivering what they signed up for?
• Maintain the overall intranet roadmap (e.g., which sites will be built out, what technical upgrades will be made)
• Constantly promote adoption of the intranet (remind people of goals and objectives, promote new ways to engage [e.g., mobile app], remind people of the resource [newsletters, digital signage, occasional promotions]
• Surface issues to the governance team
• Gather feedback from employees on what works and what’s needed
• Provide tier-1 support on how to use the system, train site managers and content contributors on the system and publishing guidelines
• Ghostwrite for critical leadership roles (e.g., the CEO) and ensure strategic internal communications are aligned and current
• Stress-test the environment relative to the intranet’s charter (e.g., gauge how well it’s doing at clarifying internal communications, connecting distributed teams, or driving employee engagement)
• Like a good gardener, prune materials that aren’t necessary and those that add confusion or noise
Here’s what Internal Communications shouldn’t be doing on the intranet:
• Create content in a vacuum just for the sake of getting new stuff out there
• Find themselves in reactive cheerleader mode where they go around the organization begging for updates
• Spend too much time supporting and configuring the system
• Get stuck on technical issues without overseeing the bigger picture
• Say yes to everything (e.g., new sites, new content, etc). They need to consider the value relative to maintenance costs and ensure the sheer program breadth of doesn’t make governance unwieldy
• Be the sole contributor of content. They might be responsible for some key HQ / Corporate Communications, but ultimately they need to delegate
Self-assess Internal Communications and the Intranet
Self-assess your current internal communications function relative to how the intranet is managed today is critical to intranet adoption and success. It also subtly cues you into how strong your governance really is because when internal communicators don’t have broader organizational support they’re forced to bandaid the process.
Subscribe to our Intranet Governance Series
Read through our governance blog series and learn how to set up your governance committee successfully to avoid intranet failure:
Part 1: Poor Governance is the Top Reason Intranets Fail
Part 2: Forming your governance committee 101
Part 3: So you now have an intranet governance team. What do you do?
Part 4: Managing a federated intranet with multiple managers and content contributors
Part 5: How your governance committee aligns with intranet content management responsibilities
Part 7: The importance of your intranet’s goals and charter
Part 8: Executive engagement makes or breaks your intranet