One person can’t be responsible for accomplishing a company-wide initiative. Whether it is engaging in a more customer-centric motion, following a policy on inclusion, or participating in feedback on a new platform, it must be a top-to-bottom motion. The same holds true for redefining the intranet and the role of the intranet community manager for your company’s internal communications.
Most might say this is a job for the communications team or community managers. While this is primarily true, everyone is responsible for vocalizing their needs and helping lighten the lift for those managers. This issue was presented at Simpplr’s Cohesion conference in 2021 by Bekie Hogsed, Community Engagement Manager at Envestnet, Inc.
Envestnet is a Chicago-based progressive financial investment and wellness company with a full suite of technology offerings for financial advisors to help clients achieve an intelligent economic life. The company has a 20-year history, and they are rapidly expanding with over 4600 employees across 11 global locations.
Company growth should never be a “bad” thing unless your business infrastructure is not ready for it. Unfortunately for Envestnet, while they were scaling, their intranet was failing.
There was no center of truth for communications, while they did have an old company intranet, it had evolved from a product documentation tool to form an intranet. Though initially intended for documentation, it could not serve this function well. It was outdated and had inaccurate content.
Envestnet’s internal communications consisted almost solely of the use of emails. When executives sent out internal comms, Bekie would see it in an email, copy and then paste it into their intranet. That meant there was no ghostwriting functionality. Users were also aware that there was no executive adoption. They could see an internal communication from an executive, but Bekie would post it with the executive signature at the bottom.
Overall, the previous tool was difficult to use. Bekie and her team were struggling just as hard as the platform. The need for a “white glove” approach to their service method caused extra work. Simply put, they needed a new platform and vendor.
Small Team, Big Job
Envestnet continued to expand with acquisitions and a disparate workforce, but Bekie’s team started to contract. Remember the idea of a comm’s management becoming a one-person job? The prediction was coming true. Bekie concluded that they needed a new internet vendor and platform because their mighty team of one was overworked and overwhelmed. The question was how to gain financing and buy-in from executives.
To begin, Bekie created a list of things Envestnet needed for their community to succeed.
- A virtual headquarters and internal community
- The ability to access information quickly through Federated Search and Intuitive Navigation
- Enablement for global collaboration across the entire company
- Give employees the confidence that content was current and correct
- Increase trust and engagement among employees
- Product integrations to the rest of the digital workplace
The list created was filled with great ideas to fulfill their needs. However, it was also a tremendously large task for a small team.
Building a Bigger Team
After researching vendors and eventual buy-in from leadership, Envestnet decided upon Simpplr because the platform solved all their issues. Their first initial step was rebranding their legacy intranet through migration and launch. This was not easily accomplished as there was a significant distrust of the tool. People couldn’t find things and, again, it was difficult to use.
Next, they migrated over 20,000 pieces of content to over 200 sites. While it seems like a large amount of material, the process enabled them to reduce half the original content.
They kept the deployment on time, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire process was accomplished with a single community staff member and launched within five months.
The results so far? Choosing Simpplr made the job easier.
When Envestnet started the Simpplr journey, they made considerable changes that utilized and took advantage of Simpplr’s built-in tools and applications. These changes were impactful in several areas.
Governance and Content
They began by establishing and utilizing governance roles, site owners, and site intranet managers. That meant team managers and teams themselves were responsible for their sites and content and alleviated Bekie from overseeing those tasks. Enabling intranet managers and team leads to govern and control their sites led to positive changes and better and more reliable content. The content is also checked annually for relevancy and validation. While Bekie’s efforts were filled with good ideas, helpful content, and useful for employees, no one knows the subject matter better than a team leader or content owner. Adding relevant and more valuable content helped the employee base and community as a whole.
Site owners were usually higher team members or leads. They were quickly onboarded with a 30-minute tutorial that gave instructions on completely controlling their sites. Whatever was not covered by tutorials, Bekie utilized Simmplr’s “how-to” guides and blogs to aid site owners and managers.
Envestnet was very successful with its adoption measures because intranet managers were in charge of content and their team sites. The arrangement created a mid-level top-down initiation. The same leaders would see firsthand how easy the site was to use and encourage their employees to use it. This management-led adoption flowed down into their teams and vitalized the adoption.
Looking forward, Envestnet and Bekie feel they are not where they want to be, but they can see accomplishing their goal. Bekie called it “exiting the struggle bus.” They also believe that with Simpplr the future is bright.
The work combined has created a central and cohesive community, especially as adoption starts to ramp up with our brand campaign and the internal landing page being a site within The Loop. Due to the baseline analytics set by stakeholders, they can see they are experiencing more traffic. Many employees come through, and people are taking responsibility for their content. A year later, everyone is excited about the intranet and has received positive feedback.
Lastly, it is essential to remember that this process does not have to be for a team of one. Follow Envestnet’s example and Simpplr’s guidance to form an advisory group. Make management leaders responsible for their team sites and content. Lean on auto governance and annual review of the content to validate it. Use your platform to draw employees in and form a community with your company’s mission and message.
Watch the on-demand presentation
As Bekie advised, “Don’t ride the struggle bus anymore if you don’t have to. And with Simpplr, you definitely do not have to.” Watch the full video from Cohesion 2021 to learn all the details behind Envestnet’s incredible transformation using Simpplr. And find out how Simpplr can help you redefine what an intranet is and how an intranet community manager can change your company’s internal communication strategy. Contact us for more information or schedule a demo.