Your employee intranet and why staff don’t ‘get’ it

Your employee intranet should be where your staff both start and finish their day. It should be the ‘homepage’ of your business, so to speak. A resource of company news, quick links, memos, and social media—it should be the central hub of your organisation; the virtual office.

In theory, it sounds an obvious place for your teams to collaborate and communicate. So, why is it so often underused, underutilised and unloved? Can it really be true that your employees don’t ‘get’ the intranet? Our post today will look into that very question and offer advice to change the tide.

Okay, we admit it. The idea that your employees don’t ‘get’ your intranet is a little contrived. Most people understand the concept of what an intranet is. Or at least they vaguely do. But within this lies one of the first problems of your employee intranet:

It has to fight its own reputation

Let’s be honest, what do you think of when you think of an intranet? For many of us it conjures up dull, single-colour images on bare screens enlivened only slightly by a line or two of text and the odd link to more of the same. And sometimes the screen is flickering, as if you’ve left the computer (boxy, eighties style) in a damp basement for about fourteen years. Perhaps a good reason for this is in its name. The intranet in concept starts below other tools because it’s in the shadow of its much more interesting and charismatic cousin, the Internet.

And, of course, it’s not just in the name. More often than not, people find it difficult to find the right content on their employee intranet. While it may be old, a report by McKinsey in 2013 found that employees spend 9.3 hours every week just searching for documents, staggering! And when they do find the content they want, it’s outdated. So all in all, the user experience can be pretty horrible. The only way to combat something like this is to get yourself a new intranet. You’d be surprised how much better, colourful, social and altogether more engaging they are now.

The first step on your journey to intranet heaven

Okay, let’s say that you have invested in a new intranet or perhaps renovated the one you currently have. That’s a good first step, but remember it is only the first of many. If you want your employees to really ‘get’ your intranet and engage with it like they should, then you will have to look at a couple of other reasons why they are not so attached to it at the moment.

Poor training

Not everybody has the same level of knowledge of your new corporate intranet’s interface. Perhaps some of your employees aren’t even all that familiar with an interface. So to give everyone the same training on the new system is asking for trouble. Figuring out who is at what level, and splitting the training into groups according to ability levels is a good place to start. That way nobody will feel left behind or completely bored.

Lack of a user adoption strategy

Why do you want your teams to be more engaged with the corporate intranet? You likely realise how your employees would benefit from a fully functioning, forward-thinking intranet. Communication and collaboration would be boosted, your teams could get their work done at a faster rate, frustration levels would be reduced while production increased, thus ensuring both a higher level of employee morale along with a higher production rate, meaning a better bottom line for everybody. This issue here, however, is you need to actively articulate the benefits that come from adopting the intranet. And that means building a strategy. Understand what your staff hate, and what they like. Pitch to your employees about the benefits, advertise to them (in a fun way!), show them how it works, and how it can make their lives easier.

Senior management approval

Another reason why your employee intranet might not become the internal hub of your business is because there is a lack of senior management presence across the platform. If those at the top table are not using the intranet, it sends a message to everybody else that it isn’t much of a priority. This will reduce the validity of the intranet and how employees see it and ultimately how they use it. Therefore, you need to get your business leaders to be visibly on board, and this will in turn help your adoption rates.

Old habits, old processes

Most employees have their own ways of working, and a new system being implemented can be disruptive (and not in a good way). You should set out a plan for moving process to the intranet slowly, but with a visible timeline. Having this will make it easier to schedule training, execute an internal advertising campaign, and ensure everyone is informed and up to date on the changes.

By following these tips, you can change the perception of your employee intranet from ‘don’t get’ to ‘get going!’


If you want to see first-hand what a beautifully designed intranet looks like, and could be a place your staff love, talk to us today to book your demo!  

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