How to Deliver Effective Training for Social Intranets

fly-birdies-fly-550Last week we discussed 7 Tips for Designing Your Intranet Training Program. Today we move into the classroom: tips for actually delivering the training.

1. Create a comfortable learning environment

A new social intranet requires employees to use new technology and change the way they work. Whether they admit it or not, many employees find change and technology scary. So one of the main goals of social intranet training is to remove fear and uncertainty, helping users to be comfortable with the new intranet. This requires a positive, comfortable training atmosphere:

  • Make a warm, inviting introduction
  • Leave time for slower users to keep up
  • Frame people’s mis-steps positively so they don’t feel embarrassed
  • Create a flexible agenda

2. Ensure each participant has a computer

People learn best by doing. They won’t remember how to do specific tasks just from watching someone else do them on a big screen. People have to see and then do.

Ideally, every trainee has their own laptop and brings it to training. If that’s not possible, ensure each trainee has a computer to use and is logged in as themselves.

3. Train in teams

Social intranets provide tools for team collaboration, so your training should reflect that. Try organizing training classes by team. While you’re working through practical training scenarios, teams can start connecting and coming up with ways they can use the intranet together.

4. Practice logging in

The most important task a user absolutely must be able to complete is to log in. If users don’t know how to access your intranet, you have no hope of succeeding.

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Intranet Tip: Team up with HR on Processes for Joiners, Movers, and Leavers

In brief: Make your intranet the ultimate source for employee information by teaming up with HR on processes.

Before launching their new social intranet, the ACCA intranet team worked with the HR Department to create processes around when employees join the company, change jobs, and move on to other pastures. They use ThoughtFarmer as their source of truth for employee information. As part of the workflow, HR notifies the intranet admin team to update employee profiles, keeping the employee directory up-to-date. The resulting reliability of contact and team data is a big win for intranet users.

See how the intranet can help HR

This tip is courtesy of Sarah Moffatt at ACCA — thanks for sharing Sarah!

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7 Tips for Designing your Intranet Training Program

Launching a new intranet is more than just giving employees a new software tool — intranets enable organizations to change the way they work together. While ThoughtFarmer is very user-friendly and intuitive, employees need training on new processes and best practices specific to your company’s intranet. Plus, for your less tech-savvy employees, training gives them a boost of confidence to get started with the intranet.

Here are some tips to help you design your intranet training.

1. Offer one-on-one training for executives

Executive intranet adoption is important. They hold the keys to budgets, strategic direction, governance, and more. Plus, they are key ambassadors that other employees will follow.  So plan to give them one-on-one training when and how they want it. You could even set up a “reverse mentoring program,” in which younger, tech savvy employees help executives get comfortable with the new intranet.

Engage executives early. Once employees see them starting to use the intranet as a tool, employees will want to use it too.

2. Plan different training tracks for different user groups

Design training sessions for different types of users, so you can emphasize the most important intranet features for them. We often divide training based on how the user will use the intranet, but you may also choose to divide it further to the role or department level. Common user groups include:

  • End Users
  • Content Owners
  • Community / Group Page Managers
  • Intranet Administrators

This approach gives you the flexibility to include both technical training and best practices (e.g. a “writing for the web/intranets” portion of your “News publishers” training).

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Intranet Tip: Use Email Newsletters to Drive Intranet Usage

In brief: Send email newsletters of intranet headlines to capture employees’ attention.

The intranet team at Pictime, a France-based software company, knows that employees “live” in email. So they send weekly, auto-generated email newsletters containing all their intranet news. By bringing intranet news to where employees were comfortable, they spurred on usage of the intranet. (And they inspired us to add email newsletters as a feature in ThoughtFarmer 7.0.)

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ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet Awards 2014: Winners in the Best Intranet Collaboration

Over the past two weeks we profiled the winners in the Best Looking and Most Innovative category of our annual ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet competition. This week, we’ll share with you the winners in the final category: Best Intranet Collaboration.

Winner, Best Collaboration IntranetWINNER, Best Intranet Collaboration: Assiniboine Credit Union

  • Industry: Finance
  • Region: Manitoba, Canada
  • Employees: 520
  • Intranet Name: Mosaic

Every year Assiniboine Credit Union buys an entire evening of outdoor theatre at Winnipeg’s historic Rainbow Stage. They make these tickets available to members and community groups but have historically had a difficult time tracking sales and getting the tickets to the members and groups that wanted them.

ACU intranet best collaboration
ACU used ThoughtFarmer to manage their ticket sales for an annual member event.

This year they used ThoughtFarmer to coordinate ticket sales. All 23 branches have a page for tracking sales so they have a running tally of how many tickets are still available and where. If a branch runs out of tickets, they can contact another branch for a transfer. Like everything on Mosaic, the transactions are transparent and everyone knows who to call.

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Intranet Tip: Run a Friendly Employee Competition

In brief: Using the intranet for a competition can drive employee engagement and site adoption.

WATG designs world-class resorts. Since their work is all about design and aesthetics, their 3D design competition was the perfect mix of fun and skill-building. Using their social intranet, people posted their entries, and their peers commented and voted on them. The contest committee used the intranet to post contest updates and announce the results. Not only was it a good way for employees to show off their design skills, it also created a fun way to experience and learn about the collaboration potential of the intranet.


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ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet Awards 2014: Winners in the Most Innovative category

Would you like a new, innovative, and easy-to-use intranet at your company? Get in touch to see how ThoughtFarmer can help you.

Last week we profiled winners in the Best Looking category of our annual ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet competition. This week we’ll look at the winners in the Most Innovative category.

Most Innovative IntranetWINNER, Most Innovative: LPK

  • Industry: Architecture & Design
  • Region: Ohio, USA
  • Employees: 395
  • Intranet Name: Watson

Timesheet systems are mission critical for organizations who use them: if you don’t log time, no one gets paid.

Timely and accurate timesheet submission can be a challenge for a creative agency. So LPK used ThoughtFarmer’s API and custom portlet functionality to integrate with their timesheet system.

If employees are more than two days behind on their timesheets, an alert shows on the ThoughtFarmer home page. Clicking the alert leads the user to the timesheet system.

An additional aspect of the integration provides timesheet access for freelancers. Freelancers couldn’t access the timesheet system directly, so they would often submit invoices with missing or inaccurate project numbers. Now freelancers can use ThoughtFarmer to browse available project numbers. The result is faster and more accurate billings and payments.

When an intranet innovation directly impacts the bottom line, we’re impressed. Way to go, LPK!

LPK intranet timesheets integration
LPK’s intranet alerts users if their timesheets are past due
LPK intranet most innovative
Freelancers can use ThoughtFarmer as an interface to the timesheet system

Most Innovative Intranet Honorable MentionHONORABLE MENTION, Most Innovative: Central 1

  • Industry: Finance
  • Region: British Columbia, Canada
  • Employees: 675
  • Intranet Name: Beacon

When a system goes down, IT Helpdesks are often overwhelmed with phone calls and emails.

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25 Creative Intranet Launch Ideas

thoughtfarmer-illustrations-lightbulb-01The secret to a great intranet launch is not just informing employees about the new intranet, but helping them build an early emotional connection where they are excited about the possibilities. We’ve compiled 25 real-world ideas that you can use to propel your intranet from a foreign piece of software into a mission-critical tool. We’ve grouped launch ideas to correspond with your intranet launch timeline and stages.

Include employees from the very start

The more involved employees feel in the intranet process, the more ownership they will take over the success of the new intranet.

Idea #1: Involve key employees in product evaluation

Include employees in early discussions about the intranet and seek to understand how your new intranet solution can help them. Our article on 15 ways to engage users in launching a social intranet offers tips on including employees in product evaluation.

Idea #2: Get employees to participate in intranet research

Employee feedback is essential to designing a useful, usable intranet. Get employees to participate in card sorting and task testing activities for your new intranet. Not only will you end up with an intranet that’s much easier for employees to navigate, you’ll also show them that you value their input.

Build hype with pre-launch intranet teasers

Offering a sneak peek into the new intranet can relieve wariness and spark excitement. Creativity and fun will go a long way here. 

Idea #3: Run an intranet naming competition

What’s in an intranet name? Well, if the CEO or the Director of Marketing comes up with the name, not much.

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ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet Awards 2014: Winners in the Best Looking Category

In May, we ran our annual ThoughtFarmer Best Intranet competition. Our clients entered their intranets in 3 categories: Best Looking, Most Innovative, and Best Collaboration. Today we’ll profile the winners in the Best Looking category.

Badge: Best-looking intranetWINNER, Best Looking Intranet: Splio

  • Industry: Marketing & Business Consulting
  • Region: France
  • Employees: 110
  • Intranet name: Life

Splio employed extensive CSS for a textured, custom look. “Life” features a different banner image for each major section. The end result is an intranet design that wowed everyone here at ThoughtFarmer!

Splio ThoughtFarmer Intranet home page
Splio’s home page sports a red banner, custom icons and texture
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Intranet Tip: Create a Killer Intranet Launch Video

In brief: A humorous video starring your colleagues can make an intranet launch exciting, relatable and engaging.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? The LPK intranet team found out the answer: A lot. They worked with the company PR team to produce an action-packed video that poked fun at the old intranet and built suspense about the new intranet. The humor in the video eased people’s tension about the change and the video itself built excitement about the new site.

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