If your organization has an intranet, but no one in your company is using it, you are missing out on a chance to really improve internal communication and increase employee engagement. Unfortunately, simply investing in an intranet does not mean you will instantly see widespread employee usage. Knowing why your employees are avoiding the intranet is the first step to increasing user engagement. Here are some common explanations for why your employees are not using your intranet.
Your Intranet Is Not User Friendly
One of the biggest reasons why an intranet is not adopted by users is that it isn’t user friendly. You may have the company’s most important forms and resources all on the intranet, but it does no good if people can't find the information on their own.
Often times, navigation titles are vague and can be interpreted differently by different users. Change your navigation titles to be more informational, and consider changing your top navigation to a megamenu, to prevent users from clicking through multiple layers of pages.
Another way to make your intranet more user friendly is to organize the information on the intranet in a logical way. A trend in intranets, according to Neilsen Norman Group (NN/g), is organizing information based around user tasks. It facilitates learning for users, helping them to remember where content is for future use. Task-based organization is helpful because it is centered around what users do on a daily basis, versus having to know which department owns the content they are looking for. This solution may require a large time investment, but it is an effective way to improve your intranet.
Users Do Not Know How to Use Your Intranet Effectively
All of your information is on the intranet, and you believe that it is organized effectively, but users are still having issues finding what they need. Most likely, they do not know how to use the intranet. A simple way to increase effective intranet usage is to include some reference and training material. Include a page or document that explains to users how the intranet is organized. This will help them find information the first few times and help them to understand the logic behind the intranet’s organization. Train content owners on things like how to upload information and keeping content standardized. This will keep the content uniform and reduce confusion for end users.
Even though there is search functionality, that does not mean that users will automatically be able to find what they need. Search in SharePoint is not intuitive to everyone. Include training or a best practices document that teaches users how to search using various techniques, such as using an asterisk or searching for the filename. If users do not know best practices, they won’t follow them. Provide help in this area to improve employee engagement and encourage effective intranet usage.
Your Intranet Has Irrelevant Information
Every day people are hit with irrelevant information through advertisements, junk mail, etc. Do not let your intranet be another source of irrelevant information.
Some companies leave content from several years ago on their intranet, or cram every single piece of information that they can onto a page. Be sure that your intranet only holds current, relevant information. Have content owners trim their information every once in a while to reduce the amount of outdated information. You can create an archive on your intranet for documents that are outdated but that you still would like users to be able to find. Encourage content owners to only post information that is necessary to avoid overwhelming users. It is useful to have an approval process for content, to reduce the amount of unnecessary content on the company intranet.
Management Does Not Utilize Your Intranet
If your management does not utilize your intranet, neither will your other users. Support (or lack thereof) from management can either make or break your intranet. If company departments keep sending out forms via e-mail or use a OneDrive to share documents, intranet user adoption will drop.
Encourage all levels of management to use the intranet as the main form of communication and as an information repository. Meet with content owners, and talk to them about getting all of their content stored somewhere on the intranet. Discourage marketers from sending out internal news blasts via e-mail, and instead, use the intranet. This will encourage users to access the intranet for any information they may need.
Follow these tips to increase user adoption on your company intranet. Discover why your intranet is not being utilized, and make the changes necessary to increase employee engagement. An intranet is only effective when it's adopted by users. To see a positive return on your intranet investment, identify the source of the problem, and make improvements to your company intranet as soon as possible.
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