Paula Darch 1 April 2019 7 min read

Why aren't your employees using your intranet?

Disengaged intranet users SORCE

We’ve all heard it before. A company buys a new intranet that looks great, and has all the latest functionality. Comms and senior management have assured everyone that this is the answer to removing barriers and departmental silos, enhancing security, improving collaboration and transforming the way the business operates. The expectation for user adoption and engagement levels to rocket was a high probability, why would it ever not be?

Intranet launch day comes and with a flurry of promotional activity. You arrive at your desk to a new mug promoting the intranet, a chocolate bar and a welcome note. You feel good, so you login for the first time and set about creating your profile image, trying to decide which one of your photos is acceptable for the workplace. You complete your profile information and eagerly anticipate interactions with colleagues from across your business.

But, unlike the expectation, it doesn’t happen. There is very little sharing, connecting and collaborating in the way that was hoped. After checking in every day for a few weeks, your own enthusiasm starts to dwindle and intranet engagement slowly hits rock bottom. What’s gone wrong when everything was going so right?

Intranets have come a long way from the staff contact directory and file sharing reputation of yesteryear. Today, intranets are the hub of the business, fully accessible through multiple devices from anywhere, reflecting the changing needs of today’s digital workforce.

So, as Intranet Manager, what can you do to prevent this from happening or turn your intranet engagement levels around? In our experience here are some of the common causes of disengagement and what you can do about it:

1. No one knows your intranet exists and they don’t understand what it’s for.

It’s no real surprise that launch day is not the only time everyone should hear about your intranet. Think about how you can get everyone talking about this throughout the working week. Can you make sure all new starters are walked through your new intranet, helped to create their profile and shown how to access important documentation? Can you communicate great stories about how it’s changed the way teams work or how it’s helped a specific project.

2. Outdated content

Again, we all know Intranet Managers are the masters of multi-tasking as you often have multiple roles, but making sure your content contributors and intranet steering group are on the ball when it comes to keeping information updated is important. To get as many users to adopt your new intranet and for it to become central to their everyday lives, relies to a great extent on up to date content.

3. Can’t find what you need

These days, everyone searches for information. If your internal search and navigation isn’t resonating with your users then revisit it, improve it. Don’t wait until your intranet engagement plummets.

Intranets of today are continuously enhanced as your business and technology develops. To support you in understanding how to approach this, your intranet steering group is important. Developing a channel for feedback is your key to success.

4. No support from the top

Maybe your senior sponsor has left the business, but for whatever reason, your senior management are not engaged with your intranet. This sends out negative messages across your business. Today, the most successful intranets often feature content from senior management, and they are actively involved in the future of your intranet.

To support you here it’s worth trying to get your senior sponsor to join your steering group, so they can be kept in the loop and appreciate all the benefits your intranet is bringing to the business. Intranet champions are also great to help spread the word around teams and departments.

5. One size doesn’t fit all

Not everyone is tech savvy and there will be varying levels of confidence and skill in your business. Don’t assume everyone will watch or attend the same training sessions and leave with the same level of skills. It’s important to adapt your intranet training to your audience and their skill level to ensure that everyone is engaged and competent.

6. No-one knows what the aim is

It’s important that you share your intranet vision and plans with everyone, so it's common knowledge what’s being working on now and what improvements are happening in the future. Sharing your intranet software’s road map enables your users to feel more connected and greater ownership for your intranet.

Did any of these points ring true with your own intranet? Your intranet should be everyone’s go to place for company news, sharing ideas, documents and connecting with colleagues. It can be all these things and much more but intranets that fail to engage often have similar core problems which can be overcome with great planning, communication, training and support.

Here at Sorce we have created hundreds of intranets for clients around the world. We have helped our clients solve their engagement challenges and achieve intranet success. If you would like to know more about our intranet software Engage please get in touch.