When you introduce intranet software into your organisation it is always done with the best of intentions, whether that’s to improve communication and collaboration or to bring greater control over your data sharing and corporate messaging.
Having migrated various business functions into your brand new intranet, it’s easy to sit back and feel complacent. After all, you have created integrated and end-to-end data management throughout your company – that’s the end of it, right?
Wrong. Many benefits of intranet software can be seriously diluted if you don’t watch out for common problems and shortfalls. This is particularly vital as a lack of care and control can prove costly.
Let’s look at what you need to do to iron out some potential intranet pitfalls.
Know your end user
Assuming you have configured your intranet software around your business needs and the working practices of your staff, this is just the beginning of the story. Workforces are dynamic and ever-changing entities; not least as humans can vary in their moods and behaviours on a daily basis! So keeping your intranet constantly in tune with your end users is a continuous process.
One of the best ways to keep your intranet effective and responsive is to do regular audits of how, when, and where it is being accessed. The best software gives you drilled down insights on user behaviour.
Monitoring user activity can help you see which areas of your intranet are most popular, and which need improving
Also, check with staff in person to gauge how they feel and any problems or opportunities they can see. Focus groups should include as wide a cross-section of abilities, ages, and job roles as possible.
Check confidence and ability
Some of those who are not using your internet for collaboration, communication, and information access may be held back by lack of understanding. The best intranet software is organic, growing with your organisation, and constantly updating and gaining in sophistication. This makes it even easier to leave staff behind.
Then there are new recruits to consider. Even the most comprehensive training during induction can leave them struggling to fully comprehend your intranet, especially as there’s always so much information for new recruits to digest. The ins and outs of using the intranet could easily get forgotten.
Having a culture in which staff feel able to flag up their lack of confidence or knowledge is important. Also, the readily available training you provide must include opportunities for people to learn at their own pace and return to areas of confusion when needed.
It’s all very well having end-to-end data flow in your organisation, but not if you start getting log jams and pools of out of date information. It is vital that from day one you introduce systems to regularly cull documents and other data files that are no longer needed.
Intranet software will allow you to data stamp documents, so that you can keep the most relevant and recent information at the forefront of your document and workflow management systems. Archiving or removing data promptly further reduces the chance of anyone working from redundant guidelines or business intelligence.
Keeping your intranet at peak performance should also involve constant consolidation of your business processes. You can save time and money – as well as misinformation – if you regularly check that functions such as accounting and project management are fully integrated.
Keeping your intranet “clean” and efficient often comes down to having clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Which person in each team should be checking the organisational integrity and relevance of intranet posts and contents?
Searching for answers
Even with a flawless organisation, a good delegation of responsibility, and stringent housekeeping policies, there’s a good chance your intranet will become unwieldy to use. As digital workplaces thrive on data, there is going to be a lot of information being shared, transmitted, and commented on.
One of the biggest failings of some intranet software is the lack of search capabilities. All that wonderful seamless communication can be lost if staff have to spend precious time clicking around to find what they need.
Don’t let all that vital intranet data get lost – make sure your intranet search tool is up to scratch 🔎
Your software should provide ways for you to organise content in a way that is logical and efficient for your particular business, including tabs and search fields that make it effortless to find anything, instantly. Complicated navigation wastes time – one of the precious commodities that digital workplaces are supposed to save.
Too open and overwhelming
Having company guidelines, news, and business intelligence all available digitally supports the best corporate communications and collaboration. However, it is possible to overshare. As cute as your cat photos are, your intranet is probably not the best place to post them…
Any excuse for a cat photo 👀
Control and ownership of intranet content mean having clear procedures and policies in place, mapping out who needs to know what. That prevents anyone from becoming overwhelmed or confused by the information they can access. It is also the basic principle of data management, making sure that sensitive information is kept secure.
This is all about quality control too, and having clear protocols for who can post information. It is wise to limit content writers and post sharers to staff who understand company values and standards the clearest, leaving capacity for feedback and community interaction company-wide.