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.
This tip is courtesy of Sarah Moffatt at ACCA — thanks for sharing Sarah!
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.
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:
Community / Group Page Managers
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).
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.)
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 Intranet Collaboration: Assiniboine Credit Union
Region: Manitoba, Canada
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.
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.
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.
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.
WINNER, Most Innovative: LPK
Industry: Architecture & Design
Region: Ohio, USA
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!
HONORABLE MENTION, Most Innovative: Central 1
Region: British Columbia, Canada
Intranet Name: Beacon
When a system goes down, IT Helpdesks are often overwhelmed with phone calls and emails.
The 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
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.
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.
WINNER, Best Looking Intranet: Splio
Industry: Marketing & Business Consulting
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!
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.
When Cummins Western Canada (CWC) wanted to increase employee engagement, share knowledge and encourage adoption of their new intranet, they chose a surprisingly simple but effective method – tell stories!
CWC has more than 800 employees and locations across several provinces. They needed a way to connect employees and share knowledge that would be accessible to users at all levels of the business, from head office to shop floors. When it came time to purchase a new intranet, Cummins had prepared a thoughtful strategy, but had a limited budget and tight timeline. Their Communications team turned to ThoughtFarmer, which out-of-the-box was far more affordable than the custom-built SharePoint implementation they had been considering.
Cummins’ ThoughtFarmer intranet was a hit “right off the bat,” according to Romana Osborne who manages the intranet and worked with our consultants during the implementation. Cummins had a full engagement with our Professional Services team, who helped guide them through the steps from purchase to launch. “I thought the ThoughtFarmer team was great!” she said.
Cummins’ intranet has become a go-to resource for the business. 70% of employees log in daily to ThoughtFarmer, compared with 29% for the old system it replaced. Employees regularly submit content for blogs and news posts and stories receive dozens of comments. “People are using ThoughtFarmer to do their job,” Osborne says.