CONNECTIONS

An Edelman perspective on making meaningful employee
connections that deepen engagement, build trust
and accelerate business performance

March 2017

OPTIMIZE YOUR INTRANET
Tips for Creating an Intranet Employees WANT to Use

By Loren Stutts, Senior Account Executive, Employee Engagement
Lindsey Schwalb, Account Supervisor, Digital
Charlie Taffet, Account Executive, Digital

What’s the difference between having an amazing tool that informs your employees and creates working
efficiencies, or a sad, firewalled website nobody ever uses? Intranets can be a critical tool in bridging siloes and
ensuring employees receive the right information at the right time – but all too often, corporate intranets tend to
be the ignored digital property, like the stereotypical middle child. Exciting collaboration tools like Workplace and
Slack get all the glory, while a neglected intranet collects dust in the corner.

The cost of an ineffective intranet isn’t something to ignore; research shows that a poorly designed intranet can
cost a company with 10,000 employees an estimated $15 million per year in lost productivity. Additionally, our
2017 Trust Barometer revealed an implosion of trust, with CEO credibility bottoming out and trust in business falling
considerably; the surest way for companies to rebuild trust is from the inside out, beginning with employees, and a
sound intranet is one step in the right direction. By providing authentic, timely information and opportunities for
collaboration, intranets have immense potential to boost employee productivity – but the right functionality and
information are a must.

Here are some suggestions for how best to assess, build, roll out and maintain an intranet that will better engage
employees and, ultimately, drive better business results.

Foundational Elements Sound Governance
Research, Research, Research Who owns the intranet? It’s a valid question – one that
Just as any successful website knows its users, a good many companies struggle to answer. Management of
intranet keeps your employees’ needs top of mind and intranet platforms can be complex and unclear, and it
makes their jobs easier. But without user research, takes a village to keep it on track. It’s not uncommon
there’s no way to know for certain which features and for companies to throw the responsibility of building
content are most important to your organization. From and maintaining an intranet “over the wall” to IT
initial ideation through ongoing maintenance and without clear purpose or objectives, resulting in a
evolution, usability testing and feedback should inform technology solution that rarely satisfies employees or
your intranet’s features, functionality and content. fulfills long-term business objectives.

Take a look at the data you have on your current Put governance and standards in place to maintain
intranet, whether it’s anecdotal feedback or your intranet with a clearly defined purpose and
quantitative metrics. If employees aren’t getting the ensure your cross-functional team of owners are
information they need, a site reorganization or focused on the right objectives with a clear
relaunch may be in order. Regardless of what state understanding of what success looks like.
your intranet finds itself in today, be sure that the path
forward is grounded in research and insights.

© 2017 Edelman
Content Strategy Making It Stick
A compelling content strategy is a must-have, as it Driving Usage
ensures all content you create and curate aligns with Driving employee adoption of your intranet is an
your overall business strategy. Consider where the ongoing effort – last week’s frequent visitors could
intranet fits within your digital ecosystem. This will help disengage completely next week if they aren’t
clearly define where specific content should live (e.g., prompted to visit. Linking to your intranet content in
on an intranet or a collaboration channel) and how everyday employee communications beyond launch
best to cross-pollinate content across channels to can be an effective way to re-recruit users and
ensure it receives the most impactful engagement with continually drive traffic to your site.
your employees.
Constant Evolution
Take the time to develop clear criteria that will help Your intranet is the digital manifestation of your
you easily determine whether content is fit for organization, so as employees’ needs change, it’s
publication, and be sure to have clearly outlined essential that your intranet does, too. Dedicate
processes for both content planning (editorial/content resources to compiling user feedback and tracking
calendars) and content development (production trends and patterns in both tool usage and content
calendars). Don’t be shy about sharing your strategy preferences to continually refine and inform your
far and wide with potential content submitters – the content strategy.
more they know on the front end, the less rework you’ll
do on the back end when it’s time to publish. And Two-Way Engagement
when it comes to sharing info, variety matters; stock the Your intranet will reach peak effectiveness if you
pipeline with interesting content, beyond long-form elevate the employee voice by offering opportunities
articles, in a variety of formats to test and learn what to connect and collaborate through two-way
content works best for your employees. dialogue. The Trust Barometer indicates that the
demand for discourse is just as much an expectation
Design Basics inside organizations as it is externally – employees want
Clean Design to be heard. Open forums, blogs, messaging,
In the age of easy-to-use tools, apps and social comment sections and interactive polls or quizzes can
networks at your employee's fingertips 24/7, users have engage your employees in more meaningful ways.
come to expect online experiences at work that mirror
Above all, keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all
those in their personal lives. Visual design should be
approach for optimizing your intranet, and integration
clean and straightforward in support of an intuitive user
is key. Marry your business objectives with (research-
experience – but that doesn’t mean things have to be
identified) employee tools to make your intranet a one-
boring! Incorporate images, gifs, videos and in-line files
stop-shop that provides access to key business
while utilizing a simple design with ample white space
processes in a central location. This will allow you to
to present an engaging and inviting user interface.
enhance productivity and drive business results.
Search Capable
Your intranet will likely serve as a vast document and About Us
resource repository. Creating a powerful and effective
search – driven by resource descriptions, categories Edelman Employee Engagement helps
and tags – is the most useful tool for your intranet users organizations accelerate business performance,
to overcome a potentially overwhelming trove of delivered by highly engaged and trusted
information. employees. Our global network of employee
engagement specialists develop engagement
Mobile Friendly strategy; deploy the tools and processes to deliver
The future is mobile, so wherever your employee goes, it; create the multimedia channels and content
your intranet goes. Sites designed with responsive grid- that support it; and design the insight mechanisms
based frameworks will resize to fit any screen. to measure it.
Integrating your intranet with cloud services –
particularly those with a secure-but-simple mobile sign- For more information, visit us at ee.edelman.com,
on process – will empower your employees to access follow us on Twitter at @EdelmanEE or email us at
and utilize the full potential of your intranet on-the-go. employeeengagement@edelman.com.

© 2017 Edelman. For more information, contact us at employeeengagement@edelman.com.