Jeremy Stewart 1 November 2022

Steps to creating an 'Employee Experience' intranet

A shift is taking place in the world of employee-employer relations. With workers now less accepting of organisations’ flaws, they are demanding that their needs are addressed, their voices are heard and their jobs are fulfilling. Organisations simply can’t get away with treating their people in a mediocre way and expecting engagement, but must look at creating a great employee experience. And as part of this, the experience must be digitised to support all employees – remote and hybrid workers as well as those working on the frontline.

The intranet has a crucial role to play here, and the following will help guide you through your intranet journey.

The rise of the ‘employee experience’ intranet

You’re pretty sure you need an intranet to improve your organisation’s employee experience, but perhaps the last time you used an intranet, it was uninspiring and far from engaging. So, what’s changed?

Modern intranets are leap years away from the simplistic people directories from years’ ago that did little more than push out news and allow you to search for employees’ contact details. The advanced intranet of today provides the ideal platform for connecting, collaborating and inspiring, but organisations must invest the time and resources into ensuring its intranet project runs smoothly.

The 12 key steps to success

The following steps will help you to effectively manage your intranet project and choose the best intranet for your needs.

  1. Determine the business need and your intranet’s purpose

Start by establishing the business case for the intranet and be clear about how the intranet will improve the current status quo. Questions you may want to consider include:

  • Why do we need an intranet?
  • What challenges will an intranet help solve?
  • Will the intranet help us to improve:
  • How we communicate with employees?
  • Collaboration between individuals and teams?
  • Connections between individuals, leaders and the organisation?
  • Wellbeing?
  • Employee feedback/employee voice?
  • Inclusivity and equality?
  • Organisational culture?
  • How do we plan to use the intranet to achieve our goals?
  • What will success look like?
Involve your stakeholders

Once you know what you’re looking to achieve, it’s important to obtain the buy-in of the leadership team and the individuals/departments who will be most impacted by the intranet day-to-day, such as HR, IT and marketing/internal comms.

Presentations and meetings that highlight quantifiable impacts an intranet can make, from productivity benefits through to expected engagement levels, will help to engender support.

Plus, involve employees from across the organisation early in the process. Ask their opinions on:

- Whether they understand the company purpose and are they inspired by it?

- How they like to communicate with colleagues and whether communications could be improved.

- What they find most challenging when working from home.

- Whether they feel they are sufficiently ‘in the know’ with regards to organisational news.

- Can they quickly and easily provide feedback to leaders and managers?

- Do they feel that they have access to the same opportunities as their peers?

- Do they hear the thoughts and opinions of minority groups across the company?

And so on.

Focus groups and surveys could be used here to obtain a broad understanding of the existing employee experience and how the intranet can help to deliver improvements.

It's also important at this stage to identify your ‘internal influencers’. These are employees with a level of influence who could ‘make or break’ the intranet project’s success. Engaging them in the project from the start, keeping them informed of progress and involving them as the project progresses is key.

Dr. Bhavana Koliyot, internal communications consultant says that internal influencers typically have “a strong network and great internal cult”. She recommends that you build relationships with them, give them visibility on communication platforms and welcome their participation in internal communications.

Create an intranet steering group

Once your stakeholders and key influencers have been identified, it’s time create an intranet steering group who will collectively deliver the intranet project. It’s crucial that the core intranet team has the skills to deliver, and the capacity to influence, all the related parties across the organisation and so consider including representatives from the leadership team, IT, HR and marketing/internal comms. Internal influencers should also be invited to be part of the group to encourage company-wide buy-in.

It’s useful to include at least one external consultant/service provider within the team so they can offer guidance on the intranet’s capabilities (although they can be brought into the group at a later stage if necessary).

The average intranet steering team is 12 people, and although there’s no hard and fast rule about how many people should be included, it’s best not to have so many people that it’s unwieldly and so few that the skills and influence are lacking.

Choose your intranet platform

With your core intranet steering team in place, it’s time to choose the best intranet provider and platform for your needs. Research the market to create a shortlist of possible vendors and ensure you ask them probing questions about their employee experience functionality, customers, level of experience, intranet security and their pre and post-implementation support.

Employee Experience Functionality

At its most basic level, the chosen intranet must be able to streamline communication and provide easy access to resources – these are key to employee satisfaction and play a huge role in the employee experience.

Social functionality including feeds and blogs are also a ‘must’ for enabling employee interaction and facilitating the employee voice. By allowing employees across the organisation to have a platform for expressing their views, this engenders inclusivity.

Plus, it needs to be easy to upload videos, webinars and images to the intranet, allowing for eye-catching ways to attract and keep employees’ attention.

Ask whether recognition functionality is included in the platform as standard, as the giving and receiving of staff appreciation is key for cultivating a warm and positive culture.

And crucially, can the intranet be accessed on all mobile devices? A Harvard Business Review survey found that only one-fifth of organisations currently have a truly empowered and digitally equipped workforce, while 86 percent agree that their frontline workers need better technology. The key is to enable employees to instantly connect with the same company-wide communications tools and technologies regardless of whether they’re office-based, working remotely or operating on the frontline/in the field.

Customer references and experience – Can the vendor provide relevant customer testimonials? How long have they been operating (well-established companies may be more financially stable)? And do they have extensive experience of implementing intranets at U.K-based organisations?

Intranet security – Consider the security features of the chosen intranet. For instance, is there access control across documents, folders and news articles? And can sensitive data be encrypted to further enhance data security?

Level of support – How will the chosen provider support you on your intranet journey? Will they guide you through the process, provide training and after-implementation support? And is there a vibrant and supportive customer community that shares best practice advice and tips?

Carry-out a content audit

Identify the content you have, where it is, how useful it is, who owns it, whether it should be shared, if it’s up to date and how easy it will be to upload to the intranet.

However, don’t feel the need to transfer everything to your intranet. Now’s the time to de-clutter, get organised and prevent information overload.

It’s also advisable to carry-out a ‘card sort’ which involves sorting items of content into groups that would make sense to your audience. Create headings above these content groups such as ‘Inclusion and diversity’, ‘Employee benefits’ and ‘Growth and development’. Expect there to be 60-100 ‘cards’ in the card sort process.

Create potential layouts and page mock-ups

The grouped content can be used to sketch-out page layouts. Perhaps the steering group can be split into teams with each given a specific page layout to work on.

To make the process easier, wireframing software can be used to create potential layouts and to present a more realistic vision of what the final site will look like.

Ultimately, you’re looking to achieve a clear navigation structure that’s intuitive to use with users easily arriving at the information they want.

Design your intranet

The design of your intranet shouldn’t be taken lightly – it must reflect your employer brand and organisational culture while remaining easy to use and functional. The most effective sites are bold, simple and clear. It’s also important to be aware that approximately 4.5 percent of the population suffers from colour blindness with most common forms concerning an inability to distinguish reds, greens, browns and oranges as well as an inability to separate different types of blue and purple hues. Bearing this in mind when creating your site will ensure ease of use for all.

Build the site

The speed of the intranet build will depend on the availability of both your internal resources and intranet supplier; how much content you need to migrate; its complexity; and time and financial constraints. Some complex intranet builds can take 12 months or more, however Sorce’s intranet builds typically take just 12 weeks for a simple deployment.

User testing

User testing will need to be carried out to ensure everything is working as it should be. This is where any niggles are ironed-out, with the supplier needing to be close at hand to resolve any issues that crop up. Only when the user testing is complete and the site has been ‘signed off’ should additional content be added and the site launched.


It’s important to get staff excited about the launch of the intranet and so pull together a launch plan – announce the date of launch, advertise it on all communications channels and provide ‘teasers’ as to what staff can expect. Then on the day of the launch, make an event of it and ensure leaders and internal influencers are involved to garner support.

Staff training

To encourage strong and sustained intranet adoption your intranet users need to understand how to use their new intranet. So provide tutorials to allow staff to get familiarised with the site, but also ensure a formal training process takes place.

Continual improvement  

Your intranet project doesn’t end at launch. A good site will change and grow with the needs of your users and the business, so ensure you have a team in place to keep the intranet alive and constantly evolving.

Success should also be constantly measured with adjustments made according to user engagement. If some pages are rarely engaged with – why is this? Is it because they are redundant or are hard to find? And review the intranet’s success in a broader context. For instance, use pulse surveys to ask employees whether they feel a stronger sense of belonging, do they feel more connected to their peers? and are they experiencing fewer frustrations when working away from the office?

The constant monitoring of employee feedback will allow the business to focus on areas of most concern, with the intranet playing a pivotal role in creating a first-rate employee experience.

Start your intranet journey now!

It’s time to take a fresh look at the intranet and its role in improving the employee experience. Without doubt, intranets are crucial platforms for streamlining hybrid working while infusing purpose, trust and inclusivity into employees’ everyday working lives. By investing in the right type of modern intranet and taking the time and resources to make its implementation a success, organisations can reap the benefits of higher staff engagement, improved retention and increased productivity. So what are you waiting for?


Jeremy Stewart

Jeremy, heads up our Business development team. He is the master of listening to your needs and transforming them into an intranet that exceeds expectations.