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Why Intranets Fail Reason #3: Executives aren’t engaged in the process

Written by

Simpplr Research


January 31, 2019


We’re continuing our Why Intranets Fail series. Learn more about Simpplr Research: Top 10 Reasons Intranets Fail here.

When executives aren’t engaged in the process, intranets are highly likely to fail. Many times, leadership signs off on intranet projects but don’t truly engage in it. If leadership isn’t engaged in the intranet, employees won’t be either. Why?

  1. Employees follow leadership’s lead. If leadership isn’t engaged with the intranet, they won’t be either
  2. Executives hold company-wide critical information that employees need to know.

Fortunately, executives have been increasingly aware of the added benefits of an engaged workforce, so it might be easier to make the business case.

So how do you convince executives, namely your CEO, to commit?

Understand and speak to why an intranet matters

Intranets have always struggled to provide concrete business ROI but there is no debate that connecting and aligning coworkers across your organization is valuable. When speaking with your CEO or other executives, be sure to talk about how an intranet can enhance culture, employee engagement, and ultimately reduce voluntary employee turnover. Simpplr Research has shown that companies that invest in culture have dramatically lower employee turnover rates.

If you need help proving the ROI of an intranet, contact us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help.

Support your case with employee survey data

Find out how employees want to consume leadership information. You can run internal surveys to learn more about employee preferences and what fits into their day-to-day workflow. Here’s a tip: Based on our research, we know that most employees want intranet updates to be more regular, consistent, succinct, useful, relevant to their job, unique, and inspiring.

Appeal to emotions

In Simpplr Research’s study of Glassdoor data, “What Glassdoor Says about Employee Engagement,” we found a strong correlation in company ratings of Senior Management and Company Culture. This suggests that employees’ perception of culture is directly linked to senior management. This means leaders must understand the culture and recognize their responsibility in shaping or reshaping the company’s culture. Leadership by far has the largest and most direct impact on culture which can either make or break the workplace. It’s every employee’s worst nightmare to work in a toxic environment. Leaders need to be reminded of their role and the impact on company culture.

Align the intranet with strategic initiatives

Think about strategic initiatives that your company is looking to achieve. Here are some business cases: Is the company going through a merger and needs to bridge cultures and values? An intranet can be used to connect employees to executives, distributed teams, and establish a cohesive culture. Is there a new product release in the upcoming quarter? The intranet is an effective way to align, engage, and excite teams across your company. Is your company experiencing hyper growth and need a platform to enable communication and consolidate important documents? You can set a purpose with the intranet and use it to achieve your initiatives.

Squash fake news!

Fake news shouldn’t be as widespread as it should but unfortunately, it’s hard to stop. Rumors are distracting and they really frustrate senior leaders. Present the intranet as the source of truth and a vehicle to set things straight. Unlike email or Slack channels, intranet posts can cut through all of the noise if used correctly with purpose and intent. When you set a high bar for intranet content quality, employees will return to the intranet for highly curated, truthful, and important updates.

Set clear intranet goals and outcomes this time around

If you have an existing intranet, go to your executives with your governance committee and help them understand how the initiative is different from previous efforts. Draft up and outline what wasn’t working in your previous program and make a clear distinction of what would be different this time. Be clear in defining the intranet’s purpose and objective, have a collective agreement among groups on the problem at hand, be aligned with resource requirements and accountability and how success will be measured in the long-term.

Make it easy for the executive team

If you’re lucky, your executive team are communication experts. But most of them aren’t, so it’s important to give your executive team guidance. After you state your case and convince the executive team the benefits of an intranet, it’s extremely helpful to provide them a roadmap and playbook on what to do. Most executives don’t have enough time in a day, so discussing ghostwriting capacity may be helpful with executive involvement.

We know this isn’t easy. It might be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. But once you’re able to make your case, you’ll see a dramatic shift in buy-in and support from your team. Your intranet will lose credibility if your executives don’t continue to beat the drum. Employees are looking to be led and they want guidance and direction from your leadership team. Maintaining an effective and successful intranet requires a conscious investment from the executive team.

Need help getting started? Click here to download the CEO playbook to intranet governance.

What Glassdoor data says about employee engagement and senior management

As referenced above, Simpplr Research analyzed Glassdoor™ data and surveyed employees from thousands of companies to better understand how employee communications impacts employee engagement, company culture, and ultimately affects employee turnover. The findings show that internally marketing the company’s higher purpose, establishing a strong sense of community, and aligning on strategic priorities are all key drivers of employee engagement and retention. To learn more, download the infographic and whitepaper here.

Avoid intranet failure! Read our Why Intranet Fails blog series:

Why Intranets Fail Reason #1: The purpose isn’t clear or purposeful
Why Intranets Fail Reason #2: Unclear ownership and governance
Why Intranets Fail Reason #4: Build or buy your intranet to avoid deployment failure
Why Intranets Fail Reason #5: The intranet gatekeeper’s approach
Why Intranets Fail Reason #6: Intranet becomes a content dumping ground
Why Intranets Fail Reason #7: Multiple sources of truth
Why Intranets Fail Reason #8: Users complain that content simply isn’t relevant
Why Intranets Fail Reason #9: Poor user interface and information architecture

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