The four characteristics of a successful intranet

The foundation of an effective intranet is making sure your content is findable, up-to-date and relevant, and the importance of getting this right cannot be underestimated.

Beyond that though, there are four characteristics that can make an intranet truly successful. These characteristics are set out below with some food for thought on how you can incorporate them into your intranet.

1. Communications

A good intranet is a valuable internal communications tool and should be the single source of truth for corporate news. It should also aim to decrease the number of all-staff emails and completely remove the need for printed publications.

News articles and short announcements are critical for helping distribute organisation-wide information, but targeting communications based on audience segmentation (such as by location, division or role) can help make the intranet even more relevant to individual users.

2. Productivity

As a general rule, people are usually interested in ‘what’s in it for them’. A safe bet for an intranet is to ask ‘how can we make people’s jobs easier?’ This can be as simple as providing shortcuts to core business systems, such as timesheets or leave requests.

More advanced ways of enabling productivity include process automation (such as onboarding new staff, logging IT requests) or dashboards that feed information from other business systems to display key performance indicators.

3. Culture

The intranet should help people feel like they belong and put faces to names. One way to build culture is to facilitate social collaboration. Buy/swap/sell bulletin boards are always popular. Functionality that supports special interests groups or clubs also helps break down internal silos.

4. Traffic drivers

Every intranet needs at least one traffic driver. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t have an obvious business case but is needed to incentivise staff to visit and drive adoption of other intranet components. Traffic drivers can include the weather, external or social news feeds, or even a cartoon. Putting these features below the digital fold encourages users to scroll past other content you want them to consume.

Taking the next steps

It’s worth noting that a good feature may share more than one of these characteristics. For example, a phone directory where users can personalise their profiles will tick the productivity, culture and traffic driver boxes. If that seems like a good fit for your organisation you’re onto a winner.

The ways you can make your intranet successful are endless. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, a strategy for your intranet is truly the best place to start.

But if you don’t have the time or resources then – at a minimum – you’ll need to consider factors for each feature such as governance (who is going to make sure it’s successful, do we need any rules in place for its use) and adoption (how are we going to ensure people use it).

Planning a new intranet or just want to build on what you already have? Get in touch for more helpful hints and tips. We’re happy to share!