Having well integrated and properly configured intranet software is not the only thing you need to support your business development and growth.
That’s because you also need a workforce that’s willing and able to use it to its maximum potential, every working day.
Planning your transformation into an authentic digital workplace – or continuing the journey if you have already started – relies heavily on having all your staff fully engaged.
Modern intranet software can at the very least, provide insights and reports on how your staff interact with the systems and procedures you have created. You will know what document management tools they are using, for example, and can obtain measurable feedback on the information resources they access.
Managers can even monitor the corporate social networking facilities within their intranet, including checking that messaging services are being used wisely and well.
As with all things digital though, you need to factor in the human element.
A true digital workplace draws in and activates your team and underpins their ability to improve productivity. Using the latest analytical data to feel smug that all is well in your business, leaves some potential gaps and even risk elements.
So, how can you fully engage your team to use your intranet, and keep them on track going forwards?
Make training and mentoring ongoing and responsive
Complacency is never something that sits well in the world of business. No matter how much time and effort you invest in training your staff in using your intranet – during conversion to new software or as part of inductions – it’s not enough!
People learn at different paces and often respond to different methodology. They also forget things at varying levels and speeds. Even senior decision makers could well benefit from regular refreshers.
Provide staff with different training methods, to suit everyone’s individual learning styles
As a company, providing access to continuous support in intranet awareness and proper use is valuable. This needs to be delivered without “blame or shame” though. Every team member needs to know who to ask for help. They also need the motivation to make it a priority.
Reminders of why it matters
That last point is important, as your staff must want to fully engage with your internal communications, collaboration, and business control systems.
Building staff motivation and helping them to feel “part” of your company’s development story is a huge topic, in itself.
However, one important starting point to increase engagement with your intranet software is to check they like using it!
This may sound a strange recommendation, especially if you’ve already fully invested in transforming your company into a digital workplace.
Emotion does play a role in creating a productive and supportive workplace culture. So taking the time to get one to one feedback on “user experience” is common sense.
It’s amazing how many times staff are demotivated or downright reluctant, simply because they are feeling undervalued or confused.
Once their contribution has been recognised – and they have been allowed to vent any uncertainties or other issues – you have a platform on which to build better intranet engagement.
Content quality and curation
No one would argue with the fact that Big Data is transforming the business landscape. However, it can also be the case that having access to so much free-flowing data can easily slow down or even drown enterprises.
Your intranet software provides your staff with incredible document and task management capabilities, and access to information on a vast new level.
It makes it all too possible for them to be totally overwhelmed. Especially if the management team are prolific and enthusiastic in their communications and reporting.
To make your intranet a success, you need to be sure that information quality is high, and that users can quickly and easily navigate to what they need. (Here is another one of our blogs on making intranet information resources “searchable”).
Signposting the big announcements
This links to the above. As your intranet facilitates strong communication and collaboration on a daily basis, the big news can be buried, especially if your current intranet layout isn’t optimised.
One way to get around this is to revert to the old fashioned team briefings, to deliver major announcements and important information in person. This can then be backed up by a clearly signposted news item online, to repeat information to remote workers or anyone who needs additional details.
Make major news stand out by clearly signposting it for your staff
Make sure that any high impact news is also subject to “one truth”. Your intranet should be a hotbed of comment and new information, but you need to control how major developments are framed and discussed.
Keep your digital workplace personal
Much of the above aims to remind your team how important and valuable your intranet software is. It demonstrates how well it keeps them in the loop and supports their work.
There’s another important way to engage staff fully in digital working systems – make the experience enjoyable!
Most generations in your workforce are now familiar with the social and entertainment opportunities provided by digital technology. Personalising – or even humanising – your intranet is bound to make them feel more comfortable using it.
This can involve simple steps such as providing opportunities for them to have their own personal profile within their own digital work area. You could also provide tools to help them to bookmark what they need and to make choices on what sort of data they subscribe to.
Give employees their own customisable profile to encourage a sense of ownership
Open message boards and other social networking forums – within your business context – can also engender more user activity and confidence.
Having an opportunity to post a “status” (think vintage Facebook) about where they are up to, and how they are feeling may not be a bad idea too!