Improving Intranet Engagement and Adoption
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90% of intranets fail, according to both Gartner and Forrester research.
Traditional intranets fail to educate employees, to keep them informed, inspired, bought-in and ready to do their best work every day. Of course, your intranet alone isn’t going to keep your workforce engaged but – in any business looking to succeed through a hybrid working culture – a modern intranet is a vital tool to encourage internal collaboration and boost employee productivity.
One of the most common reasons that intranets fail is because organisations haven’t evolved their intranets to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Never before has there been such a significant evolutionary leap in the way people work, and yet technical debt is rife – particularly in internal facing platforms.
Look to Microsoft 365 and you will find the opportunity to create an intranet platform on SharePoint that can serve content to employees in a seamless and intuitive way, through Teams, Viva Connections and more. This way your intranet can be so much more than a static, uninspiring website. Rather the modern, intelligent intranet can be tailored to the individual, rich with meaningful, relevant content and communication networks, and seamlessly integrated into the way your employees work.
The latest guide in our series supporting your journey to Work Happy examines the potential of the intranet to drive engagement across your business. We look why intranets fail, what are they key issues to address to drive engagement and adoption, and how Microsoft 365 can offer a myriad of opportunities to make your intranet really succeed for you – and your employees.
When Intranets Fail…
of employees participate in their intranet daily
of employees see no purpose in their company intranet
of companies use their intranet as a dump for outdated content
…And When They Succeed
increase in productivity for connected teams
revenue growth for organisations that cultivate a positive, strong workplace structure
of leaders are investing in hybrid work technology
Digital working tends to be characterised by a long tail distribution where a small population of the workforce have high engagement, but a much larger population have low adoption.
Although it can be tempting to focus on engaged employees and develop your intranet to meet their needs, look to the greater potential value of engaging the long tail – the frontline worker, the less digitally savvy, the long-term employee stuck in the old ways – and create an offering that targets their requirements.
This way lies success.
Making Your Intranet Work Harder for Your Workforce
In a remote working culture, bring people together
Our annual Work Happy survey this year on Combatting the Hidden Impacts of Hybrid Working found that almost half of all hybrid workers (48%) felt disconnected from colleagues when working remotely.
Develop an engaging intranet that seamlessly works with your collaboration and communication platform, and you will give employees the opportunity to connect across locations and functions, to tap into wellbeing support, and to develop and learn through relevant and meaningful training and education programmes all in the context of their working day.
- SharePoint in Microsoft 365. Microsoft SharePoint offers businesses a vast array of options to create intranet sites that meet general or specific needs and use a common set of content, centrally managed on the SharePoint platform.
Sitting in the context of Microsoft 365, your SharePoint intranet can be augmented with tools across the wider platform, and work with core tools – such as Microsoft Teams – to create a seamless ‘intranet experience’ for your employees that brings in relevant content, timely communications, and a breadth of information and training from across the ecosystem.
- Microsoft Teams and Viva Connections. Although Teams doesn’t replace your intranet, it can work exceptionally well alongside your communication hubs to engage and inspire colleagues.
While your intranet should be a consistent, up-to-date platform for company-wide employee communication, learning, and celebration – for example – Teams allows focus on instant, one-to-one communication, and file sharing. Combine your intranet with Teams so that employees can continue to collaborate, share, and communicate right where they are working, whilst still being able to access internal communications, tap into learning, and engage with wider communities.
Viva Connections makes that movement – between Teams and your intranet content – all the smoother, by pulling in content such as company news, announcements, policies, and resources and displaying it in a branded, personalised dashboard within Teams.
- Viva Connections for a tailored dashboard. When you are designing your intranet experience – and thinking about all the routes an employee might come to your intranet content – consider the most important employee scenarios that Viva Connections can support, and identify owners of those employee experiences.
You can target specific audiences using Microsoft 365 groups and create tasks and scenarios supported by cards in the Viva Connections Dashboard. This way you can create a targeted experience that ensures the right content is available to the right people, and they can access that information in the context of their work.
Bring the frontline into the fold
Just 20% of the world’s workforce are office-based employees, meaning 80% are deskless workers.
These employees work in retail, factories, restaurants, hospitals, construction sites, or warehouses and many other environments, and are often overlooked in the development of an intranet. In fact, 45% don’t even have access to the company intranet.
This means that deskless workers can be left feeling left out, excluded from the corporate culture, and often in the dark about company policies and developments. These employees are the face of your brand, are the closest to your customers, and are working daily at the heart of your business. Ensuring your intranet offering meets the needs of frontline workers is essential for organisation-wide employee engagement, customer experience and – ultimately – brand credibility.
- Viva Connections for Teams. Viva Connections includes specifically designed communication capabilities for frontline workers, including worker shift scheduling, virtual appointment management, and GPS support that can – for example – trigger auto notifications to locate misplaced devices.
- Yammer via Teams. Yammer helps you to engage at a more human level with your frontline workers.
Use Yammer to create groups around social topics like hobbies, sport, or entertainment. Through these groups you can encourage deskless employees to connect with other employees – breaking down silos of function or location – creating networks across the company and helping to support your company culture.
- Viva Engage. Having replaced the Communities app in Teams in 2022, Viva Engage widens the workplace community for frontline workers, giving them opportunities to build relationships whether they are working in the field, in store, or in call centres.
Viva Engage can keep those employees who work directly with customers and end users up to date with the very latest information, company news, and directives as well as giving them a quick and easy route to stay connected with co-workers and leaders.
- Viva Learning. Vital for all employees, but maybe particularly for frontline workers, is easy, clear access to training and development opportunities.
By building Viva Learning into your intranet offering, you can enable your frontline employees to find, access and track learning from right within Teams. Managers can utilise Viva Learning to quickly onboard new employees with induction and training, and update the entire workforce on new policies, industry standards, and developments. The learning management system (LMS) also enables you to assign training and learnings from partner solutions (such as SAP SuccessFactors and Cornerstone OnDemand) so frontline workers can access these on any device through Teams.
Three Quick Wins
1. Plan it well, and engage from the start
Look to involve employees in the development of your intranet from the start, as employees who feel included in the build process will be more likely to be engaged, and become advocates for the new intranet.
Use Microsoft resources such as the SharePoint adoption portal to get started. Build a prototype and run a pilot. A prototype will help you to start engaging stakeholders and establish those employee champions to build engagement. Use the SharePoint look book – with its ready-to-go templates – to help fast track your prototype and gain quick and valuable input into final design. Once your intranet is in place, consider running a pilot before you move into an organisation-wide rollout. Take a representative group of users – and make sure you include long tail and frontline workers in this group – and trial the rollout, observing where you will need to communicate differently across user types or offer varying incentives for adoption.
2. Find and deliver early wins
Incentivise from the start and find a way to bring early value.
The more advanced Microsoft 365 user might try using the Incentives Power App in Teams to manage and track incentivised employee participation in change management initiatives – such as intranet engagement. Admins can use the app to establish designated activities, assign points for completion, and specify required eligibility point levels for rewards. This could work well in a pilot where employees can use the app to view accumulated points and, upon reaching eligibility levels, claim redeemable rewards.
It may take time for your intranet to become established – particularly in a larger organisation – so look for ways that you can get users engaged and using the intranet content – across SharePoint, Teams, and Viva Connections – from the outset and ongoing. Intranet projects can have longer timelines due to the number of stakeholders involved. To help demonstrate early value – and provide confidence to your stakeholders – identify and deliver a quick win. This could be a targeted leadership site, a highly curated company news site, a movers and shakers employee movement site or another focused purpose that meets stakeholder objectives, addresses a critical business need, or simply showcases what’s possible with the technology. Leverage the SharePoint look book to implement your pilot quickly but effectively and accelerate your quick win project.
3. Track and adapt
Ensure you have a measurement framework in place from the outset so you can track adoption at a user level and develop improvement strategies to grow user engagement. Measurement against pre-agreed KPIs can also help you to demonstrate the impact and value of your intranet to leadership and other stakeholders.
And one more…
4. Teach, don’t sell
To maximise adoption and continued engagement with your intranet, educate. Educate all user types – in the way that suits them best – and, rather than telling them to use the intranet, show them the value. Teach them how they can use the tools available to them to make their own roles easier, their communities stronger and their lives more balanced.
Equally ensure that – as guardians of the intranet – you continually strive to educate yourselves. Use the data gathered across the Microsoft 365 platform to evolve your intranet, responding to changes in the way people work and delivering the information and tools they need, where they need it.
See how we can help you build long term engagement with your intranet