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Why Intranets Fail Reason #8: Users complain that content simply isn’t relevant

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Simpplr Research

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March 21, 2019

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This reason expands on a previous post: Reason #6: Intranet becomes a content dumping ground.

This reason for failure ties strongly to many of the other issues. Intranet information can seem irrelevant when it’s not purposeful or strategic. Users can check out when executives aren’t engaged or when content is outdated. One major factor is an organization’s ability to personalize and prescribe content. According to our survey, only 34 percent of companies have the ability to prescribe content based on role or location. That means employees are forced to cut through a lot of noise.

How Intranet Content is Organized

How the intranet can help with prescribing content

An intranet’s value proposition, compared to email or other platforms, is that the company can highly curate information and focus users’ attention. Messages don’t have to get lost. Important information can be showcased. Users should trust the intranet as a definitive source of truth and a place that squashes fake news. All of this is lost without the ability to effectively personalize and prescribe content. Intranet managers need to understand who should receive what information.

Content should take into account an employee’s tenure, role, location, business unit, and other factors before publishers share information. “Less is more” still applies. For example, the UK office does not need to hear about the US office’s open enrollment deadlines. Engineers don’t need to learn how to use a new marketing automation platform. Much like the notion of putting an intranet at the hub of the digital workplace, not personalizing content based on user profiles can weaken an organization’s ability to truly connect and align the workforce.

Importance of technology and content relevancy

To reiterate from Reason 6 about content dumping grounds, relevancy is highly associated with how organizations curate information and keep it fresh. Again, technology has come a long way with capabilities to better version content, auto-archive stale items, sync with cloud content management platforms, and find items through search. But it’s unrealistic to believe content will remain fresh without someone continuously monitoring it. Many platforms now provide configuration flexibility for end users to tailor their environments and dashboards to their specific interests.

For example, a user’s dashboard would be a combination of the mandatory high-level company news and a series of items that the user has a specific interest in. This approach all depends on an organization’s culture and some may prefer to lock-down everything to reinforce consistency. Regardless, special consideration to user personas based on a variety of attributes including their tenure, role, location, seniority, and identified interests will prevent the intranet from becoming irrelevant.

Here are some content tips for your intranet:

Don’t let irrelevant content discount the value of your intranet

What you’re essentially doing is forcing your employees to cut through a lot of noise. It’s not only irrelevant to the point of annoying; it discounts the value of your intranet. The difference is slim between going through your email inbox full of spam and looking through your intranet that is filled with irrelevant information. Your intranet should surface relevant information to your employees; helping them sift through what is important to them. Ultimately, your employees should trust the intranet as a definitive source of truth and a place that squashes fake news. All of this is lost without the ability to effectively personalize and prescribe content.

Put yourself in your employees’ shoes

Before publishing content, have a sound content strategy. Think about how your employees consume information. Ask yourself: what is useful to them? What are they looking for? Then determine relevance across multiple attributes such as an employee’s tenure, role, location, seniority, and identified interests.

Use technology to your help segment and personalize information

On another note, relevance is highly associated with how organizations curate information and keep it fresh. Intranet technology today has advanced to help you maintain your intranet by keeping documents up-to-date, integrate with your organization’s document management systems, and enable employees to search relevant information. Use features like these to help keep content such as files and documents relevant to your users.

Give your employees the flexibility to tailor their dashboards

Another effective way to personalize the intranet to employees is by allowing them to customize their intranet homepage. Many platforms now provide configuration flexibility for end users to tailor their dashboards to their specific interests. For example, an employee’s dashboard would be a combination of mandatory high-level company news and a series of content items that the employee has a specific interest in. This sets the expectation of what they would consume daily and helps prevent the intranet from becoming irrelevant to them.

The Takeaway

Prescribing the relevant content to your employees is extremely important when it comes to preventing your intranet from failing. There is a notion that employees lack access to information. But contrary to popular belief, employees actually struggle to make sense of the information they have. As a result, this can weaken an organization’s ability to truly connect and align the workforce. When it comes to content consumption, the takeaway is: highly curate information and focus users’ attention to keep employees engaged, connected, and aligned

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 #3: Executives aren’t engaged in the process
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 #9: Poor user interface and information architecture

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