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Employee Intranet sticking points

  • 1.  Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 6 days ago
    We're developing our first intranet, one that was prompted by a staff survey showing a need for a more robust internal communications channel for our 50 or so staff. It's meant to be more than just document sharing, but also to provide news from around our different departments.

    Given all the warnings about how hard it is to get engagement with an intranet, we're planning to use regular (monthly?) email blasts to help drive staff to it and keep it top of mind. We were also looking at allowing moderator-less posting of articles, comments and 'likes' but our HR/legal folks have put the brakes on that for now. I'm wondering:

    A) Does anyone out there have an intranet that allows staff to post articles and comments without that content going through a central reviewer/approver first?
    B)What tips/tricks would you suggest for getting & keeping staff engagement with an intranet?
    C)Are there any grant making foundations out there running intranets?

    Any help greatly appreciated!

    ------------------------------
    Eric Frazier
    Digital Communications Strategist
    The Duke Endowment
    Charlotte, NC
    ------------------------------
    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Eric,

    We have run an intranet on WordPress for our staff of 50 or so for about four years. Adoption has been less than ideal from an engagement side;  we've tried a bunch of different things that never seemed to gain any traction such as a classified ad (buy/sall/info) board, and a "sunshine moment" form to share appreciation for other staff. These were moderated, but I don't recall ever not approving a post. Eventually, we pulled them because after the initial excitement, no one was using them.

    Now, the site is used mostly by staff viewing the contact list, for access to forms/documents, and as an archive for our weekly staff email blast which accepts submissions from all staff but is curated by HR.

    I would love to hear if you come up with any ideas that prove successful for you!

    Regards,
    Geoff

    ------------------------------
    Geoffrey Pimlatt
    Senior Manager, Information Systems
    Western University Students' Council
    London, ON
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Where you've landed in terms of engagement isn't far from where we might land, which is why we're trying hard to think of new & sustainable ways to goose engagement levels up. I have been thinking of a "shout-out wall"-type feature, but sounds like that balloon deflated pretty quickly for you guys. It does seem that most folks find that contacts list/forms-documents and other hum-drum day-to-day resources become the biggest traffic drivers. Suppose we'd be satisfied with that, but would be nice to get something more. I'm intrigued by the fact that you do weekly email blasts. Do you find you have enough content to "fill" it out on a weekly basis, or do you sometimes feel like you're having to stretch to put it out weekly?

    ------------------------------
    Eric Frazier
    Digital Communications Strategist
    The Duke Endowment
    Charlotte, NC
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 4.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Eric,
    I would also be curious to learn about this as well. This is something that I have been thinking about for our staff as well. We have an HR system that we use to post important staff related documents/URLs and then use Google Docs/Team Drives for document storage but I do see the value of a central place for staff to go to get updates. Depending on your email platform, Google has an intranet included in their suite of apps and I Office 365 has a product as well (Sharepoint I think).

    Looks like we are almost neighbors, we are based in Matthews, NC.

    ------------------------------
    Contessa Siegner
    Sr. Director of IT & Operations
    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    Matthews, NC
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    We use Microsoft 360 so SharePoint is our intranet. I can't say how much traction it gets, but we do also do a monthly internal newsletter which will point back to things on the intranet. We use Yammer as well, and that's where users post articles, comments, likes etc. and post about things going on in their offices (we're spread out across the state). I wouldn't quite say it's moderator-less since I do check it daily and have the ability to edit and delete things, but possibly you could work with HR/legal about setting usage guidelines and have a very clear "opinions are ones own" type messaging around it.

    ------------------------------
    Ariana Estes
    Web and Social Media Specialist
    Lutheran Family Services of Virginia
    Richmond, VA
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 6.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Usage guidelines are definitely a top priority for us. Our legal & HR folks are working on them as we speak. If you or anyone else would care to share yours confidentially with me, I'd love to see how other orgs approach this. (If that's too nosy/invasive a request I certainly understand -- figured it can't hurt to ask!)

    ------------------------------
    Eric Frazier
    Digital Communications Strategist
    The Duke Endowment
    Charlotte, NC
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 7.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago

    We have a Sharepoint intranet that has met with moderate success. We have around 150 staff in seven offices, so it is a goal that the intranet  bring us together. The policy is that everything that affects the whole organization gets posted there on the discussion board. There are no internal announcements via email, unless it's an emergency. All of our HR policies and documents, learning resources, professional development, finance information, project deliverables, new hires, departures, new babies and everything else is there, so people need to use it at least on a weekly basis. We have a daily digest that goes out in email. Staff usually scan that and login when they can. The system requires you to be on the VPN (which is an obstacle for some) and is secure. You might want to point out to HR/legal that you're not talking about public social media here!

    There is no moderation and this has not been a problem. In fact, our issue is that people rarely get into discussions or post entertaining things on the board. It is mainly official announcements, project and publication notices, and news articles or blogs posts that are relevant to our work. We tried doing a fun "Question of the Week" which worked for awhile but has lost momentum. One obstacle is that leadership members rarely comment or post light, more personal things and that our culture is one where you wouldn't want to be seen as spending a lot of time writing about your favorite podcast or ice cream flavor. We also have to send certain things to the leadership in email if we want to be sure they read them. I would try to get buy-in from your top level folks to make this work.

    Good luck with yours!

    Mary



    ------------------------------
    Mary Gaughan
    FSG
    Boston, MA
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 8.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Eric,
    For internal communications among staff, we primarily use Slack, which may be worth considering as an option, depending on what you learned from your internal survey.
    We have found Slack (and other similar messaging platforms) to be a very good tool for internal communications. Management can communicate "top down" to staff, staff members can communicate with each other in open or private channels, and it's easy to set up dedicated channels for teams and projects.
    There are also plenty of options to integrate with other services, so Slack can also serve as a news service or bulletin board. For example, I set up an integration with Google Analytics that reports our website metrics weekly to a "website" channel.
    It's largely self-managed, so there's less need for IT or others to drive engagement.

    That said, we also use SharePoint as an "intranet," but mostly for general document management, plus a weekly blog post for staff and as an online repository for HR and finance documents and services.

    ------------------------------
    Oren Levine
    Director of Innovation
    International Center For Journalists
    Washington, DC
    olevine@icfj.org - http://www.icfj.org
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 9.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Thanks Oren. Sounds like you're getting good mileage out of Slack. Had no idea it could integrate with Google Analytics. I might have to look harder at how/whether our CMS platform (Craft) could integrate with Slack or another instant messaging function.

    ------------------------------
    Eric Frazier
    Digital Communications Strategist
    The Duke Endowment
    Charlotte, NC
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 10.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    There's a huge list of apps that integrate with Slack  - so plenty of opportunities to use it to make info more accessible/visible to your staff.

    https://icfj.slack.com/apps

    ------------------------------
    Oren Levine
    Director of Innovation
    International Center For Journalists
    Washington, DC
    olevine@icfj.org - http://www.icfj.org
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 11.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Eric,

    We're deep in the Microsoft products and we're a foundation. We use Yammer as a general chat/social space. Staff can post articles and comments there without a central reviewer. We've had Yammer for a while now without too much concern, except for a few months ago. We have a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and staff had expressed a desire to share DEI-related information with each other, so Yammer was mentioned as a solution. Some people got extremely nervous that was opening Pandora's box and suggesting there should be a review process for anything DEI-related. Ultimately, we did not adopt a new review process for DEI posts. Since we implemented Yammer, there has an acceptable use policy and IT/HR reserves the right to delete unacceptable information. As far as I know, nothing has had to be deleted in the months that Yammer was promoted as a space to share articles and such.

    We use SharePoint as our intranet. Engagement has ebbed and flowed. Some teams post announcements there regularly. But there are definitely teams and individuals that are silent and seem to not know the intranet exists whenever it is mentioned. We have an all staff email address. Personally, I'd like it if people used that less and posted on the intranet more often, since some of the all staff emails are general updates that make more sense for an intranet. There is still the perception that you send an email when you want people to read it and that the intranet is optional.

    However, I find myself internally wrestling with my assumption that a lack of visible engagement is a problem. On the one hand, using an intranet makes so much sense. If people are expressing a problem (such as a lack of transparency, having lots of copies of files, etc.), then they should make it a point to use the intranet to address their problem. On the other hand, if people can get their work done without using it as much, is it really a problem? At the end of the day, all this tech is about getting the work done efficiently. I try to be more aware of when someone else's work preference is an actual problem versus when it's just different than my preference.

    A major lesson learned is that maintaining content is a lot of work. I think part of why adoption struggles is that people don't quite realize sharing out about their work is work. A lot of people want to receive more information, but it seems that very few are willing to take the time to provide information about themselves. (And I'm definitely part of that - I struggle with sharing out what we're doing)

    But, some things that have worked to help engagement:
    • Games - we did an intranet scavenger hunt and had a raffle
    • Have non-IT people talk about the intranet. There's definitely a perception that our intranet is for the IT team, so having a variety of people shows that it's not just an IT tool but a tool for everyone.
    • Related to that: have management involved. Having the CEO like a post can carry a lot of weight and again, reinforces that the intranet is a tool for everyone, not just a few IT people.
    • Brand it. Our intranet has a name. There was a naming contest, which was a low stakes way to get people involved and aware.
    I am happy to talk more here or offline. I've learned also been learning a lot about change management and organizational behavior, which can manifest itself in tech adoption (or lack thereof).

    ------------------------------
    Keisha Carr (pronouns: she/her/hers)
    Business Analyst
    Bainum Family Foundation
    Bethesda, MD
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 12.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Great insights and suggestions -- thanks for sharing!

    ------------------------------
    Eric Frazier
    Digital Communications Strategist
    The Duke Endowment
    Charlotte, NC
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 13.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    The usability consultants Neilsen/Norman Group have a lot of material on
    best practices for intranets. It's often covered in their excellent
    newsletter. I'd take a look at their site and see what looks useful.

    Jean


    Tech Accelerate


  • 14.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Make! it! easy! to! use!

    Before you build it, get input from staff about how they organize content, where they expect to find things, and what names & labels they use. Use that input to create a prototype and test the prototype with your internal team. Iterate on the prototype. If your intranet is designed with the users' needs in mind and if it functions in a way that makes sense to them, it will be a valuable resource and they will use it.

    Good luck!

    ------------------------------
    Gina Kosty
    Head of Operations & New Business
    Logic Department
    Brooklyn, NY
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 15.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    HI Eric,

    We launched our intranet a little over a year and a half ago.  We use a product from Interact.  There are lots of features to boost engagement.  There are Teams, Forums, Blogs and Rewards. They also have a community to interact with  other customers and staff.  They are very focused on customer success.  Here is a link to their website for more information. https://www.interact-intranet.com/.

    We run at about 80% staff accessing content.  We have added the shortcuts to essential applications to the home page.  Staff must log on to the intranet to get to these shortcuts. We have also run games and contests.  Staff like to participate in weekly polls that are added to the homepage.  We have a Highlight Reel at the top of the home page to draw attention to new content and announcements.

    Hope this helps.


    ------------------------------
    Donna Aydinian
    IT Project Manager
    Family Service League
    Huntington, NY
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 16.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted yesterday
    Eric, is it possible to identify one key resource that can be delivered through the intranet?  In some nonprofits, this can be an up-to-date org chart, or an approved graphics archive, or a blog from someone in a leadership role.  Whatever the content, if there is demand for it and the content owners can agree to distribute it only through the intranet, this can become a way to bring in traffic.

    With that being said, reaching the intranet has to be dead simple, available securely for internal, external, and roaming staff, including on mobile devices.  It's important to remove any potential roadblocks to adoption.

    Finally, I agree with other posters that having as many diverse promoters as possible is a win.  Engagement from leadership in particular will be a strong motivator for others!

    Hope this helps!

    --

    Matt Veltkamp
    Nimbus Nonprofit Solutions
    Cloud Services l IT Strategy and Roadmaps l System Migrations l Database Integrations l Hybrid Solutions




    Tech Accelerate


  • 17.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago
    Edited by Kanopi Studios 5 days ago
    We are starting to use Igloo and so far so good!
    https://www.igloosoftware.com/

    ------------------------------
    Anne Stefanyk
    CEO, Kanopi Studios
    kanopi.com
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 18.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 5 days ago

    We're using https://www.simpplr.com/ and pretty satisfied with it – allows all staff to post to a feed, unmoderated.

     

    Drive engagement by putting 'need to know' items only in the intranet and have a few people socialize the fact that they're getting their need-to-know news in the intranet.

     

    Mike

     

    image001.png@01D17614.69511500

    logo rgb jpeg For Email

    Mike Fischer | Director of Philanthropy Operations

    415.800.5185 | mike.fischer@tpl.org

    101 Montgomery St., 9th Floor

    San Francisco, CA 94104

     

    Creating parks and protecting land for people

     

     

     




    Tech Accelerate


  • 19.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted 4 days ago

    I think it's great that you're being planful for figuring out how to get employees engaged with a new internal engagement platform.

     

    When I think of a project like this, I think of change management. From stakeholder engagement to communications plans to training plans, change management is critical to getting your organization to embrace, use, and contribute to your internal engagement platform.

     

    To help organizations document and plan for technology projects that involve change, we created a nonprofit change management planning template. It's in Excel, and I've found that it really pushes me to think carefully about the change ahead and usually identifies change, and their impacts, that may have been missed. It might be a useful way to think about the groups that need to be engaged and how to spur their engagement.

     

    https://buildconsulting.com/learning/resource-change-...nt-template-free/

     

     

     

    kyle haines, partner 

    build consulting | transforming nonprofits

    mobile (971) 285-6571 office (202) 808-3076 ext. 702

    buildconsulting.com  @buildconsulting

     

    This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and privileged information.  If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, do not forward this email to any other person, delete this e-mail and destroy all copies. Any dissemination or distribution of this information by a person other than the intended recipient is unauthorized.  Posting this email publicly without prior written consent is unauthorized

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    Tech Accelerate


  • 20.  RE: Employee Intranet sticking points

    Posted yesterday
    There have been some great responses already -- have a good strategy and use the terms employees use. I especially concur with the recommendation to put key resources in the intranet.

    What kinds of internal communications problems are you hoping to solve through the intranet? I would say that your main success metric shouldn't be raw engagement data, but information related to whether you've solved those problems? I know for some organizations, the problem is transparency, either between staff and executives or among various staff silos, so if that's the main problem, you would want to focus on cross-departmental sharing, executive communications, or online town halls. For other organizations, it might be that employees call HR for policy information that HR has been communicating already -- if that's a key challenge, then put all the policies on the intranet and just link to them from any emails you send.

    Do employees want to share information? Why? How do they do it now? What makes you think they would likely to share articles or comments that would require approval?

    As you can see, without a clear strategy, it's hard to determine whether your intranet is useful, or what to focus on, or how to assess its effectiveness. I hope that helps.

    Best,

    Hilary


    ------------------------------
    Hilary Marsh
    Chief Strategist and Principal
    Content Company, Inc.
    Chicago IL
    hilary@contentcompany.biz
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate