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Chart of the Week: Why a great intranet matters more than you think

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Simpplr Marketing

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October 8, 2019

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Simpplr Research just concluded our latest report, State of Internal Communications 2019. The goal is to gauge the state of the profession and gain insights on how to improve internal communications. Every week, Simpplr Research will be sharing the most significant findings from our State of Internal Communications report. This week, explore how having a great intranet is tied to your organization’s internal communications program.

Chart of the week: Why intranets matter more to internal communications than you think

intranet matters to internal communications

Data Analysis: The above charts test the relationship between the state of an organization’s internal communications program and the state of their intranet. The data is derived from a Simpplr State of Internal Communications survey sent to internal communications professionals in 2019. This survey had over 400 responses, lending statistical significance to the results. The chart shows the breakdown of responses to the state of the intranet question by the state of an organization’s internal communications program. The analysis shows that leaders in internal communications have significantly better intranets. About 50% of organizations that lead in internal communications report that their intranet is a thriving community, compared to none of the laggards in internal communications. Furthermore, none of the leaders in internal communications state that their intranets were poor and that employees didn’t use it. In contrast, around half of laggards in internal communications hold this view. This difference in intranet quality between the leaders and laggards in internal communications is significant, with an alpha level of 0.01. From the breakdown below, this relationship looks to be second-order (quadratic). For further examination, the bottom chart provides the line of best fit derived from running a second-order polynomial regression of the outcome, state of internal communications rating, against the state of the intranet rating. This relationship again proves to be significant at the alpha = 0.05 level. The relationship is also increasing and quadratic, which shows that investment in the intranet can have increasing returns.

The chart breakdown shows that leaders in internal communications have significantly better intranets. About 50% of organizations that lead in internal communications report that their intranet is a thriving community, compared to none of the organizations with a poor internal communications program. Further, none of the leaders in internal communications state that theirs were bad and that people didn’t use it. In contrast, around half of laggards in internal communications hold this view.

Why (specifically) intranets matter to internal communications

The chart above is from Simpplr Research’s State of Internal Communications 2019 report. The graph distinguishes effective intranets as one of the main contributors to a leading internal communications program. Because the goal of internal communications is to align executives and employees and help employees understand the purpose of their work, the intranet is the best vehicle to accomplish this. Why? Intranets were purposefully designed for internal communications, unlike other communication apps such as chat tools, email, or collaboration apps. Modern intranets are designed to drive employee engagement with an intuitive, and modern interface making it extremely easy for employees to use. Unlike email, these cut through the noise and clutter by delivering critical top-down information and personalizes relevant content for every employee.

Just having an intranet isn’t enough

Simpplr Research ran a regression with a quadratic term, and it extrapolates: investing effort in your intranet program is directly correlated to increasing returns in the state of internal communications. If you look at the laggards (x-axis) graph, we can say with confidence that just having a corporate platform is not enough to improve your overall state of internal communications. There is an increasingly positive relationship between the overall state of IC and the rating of the survey respondents’ intranets. In contrast to the laggards, leaders invest more time and resources, which improves the overall state of IC. The bottom line is if you want to improve IC, start with improving your intranet.

Ways to improve your intranet

How-to-Continuously-Improve-Your-Intranet-Simpplr

If you’re looking for ideas to engage your organization effectively, here are some ways you can begin improving your intranet:

  1. Archive old content! No one ever asked about yesterday’s news or last year’s benefits. In fact, outdated content is a pain and an eyesore for everyone. It’s critical to archive or remove all intranet content that is no longer relevant. You want to avoid cluttering the intranet because it takes away from it, serving as your organization’s single source of truth for important information.
  2. Balance content that is both strategic and fun. Put yourself in your employee’s shoes. You won’t habitually return to the intranet if all you see are numbers. You’ll have to create fun and light-hearted content like photo albums and celebrations to draw employees’ attention, just like your favorite social network.
  3. Brand it well. Design matters. And when it comes to company branding, employees will appreciate the extra touch because they view themselves as an extension of the company brand. Because the company is rooted in your employee’s identity, they naturally become more engaged.
  4. Learn what your employees want to find. The best way to find what your employees are interested in seeing on the intranet is either through analytics or running organization-wide surveys. An intranet equipped with analytics is more effective than surveys because you can analyze search patterns and user behavior to hypothesize what engages employees the most.
  5. Create the best dashboard experience. If you were to begin working on your intranet today, focus on the dashboard. It is the first page that all employees see and initial impressions are critical! The intranet dashboard will influence your employees’ perception of the program, and that will impact how often they will use it. For best practices, see our blog: Best practices for creating an intranet dashboard experience.

To learn more about the impact of intranets on internal communications, download the State of Internal Communications report here.

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