Recorded Webinar: 10 Key Steps to a New Intranet Solution

Are you trying replace your old, barely used intranet? Want a fresh, engaging, collaborative intranet?

Get expert advice on building requirements, evaluating vendors, and procuring a new intranet solution. We’ve condensed 10 years of experience and hundreds of intranet installs into a concise, easy-to-follow 10-step process.

This webinar will help you answer the following questions:

  • How do I align intranet objectives with business goals?
  • How do I write intranet requirements that will deliver on my objectives?
  • How do I evaluate different intranet vendors and ensure their product matches my needs?

This webinar is a companion piece to our Intranet Buyers Workbook. We recommend downloading and reviewing the guide prior to attending the webinar. Whether you ultimately decide to get ThoughtFarmer or another intranet solution, this webinar will make sure you have the right foundation for selecting and implementing a successful intranet solution.

Watch the recording

Continue reading...

The Popular Vote: Our Most Visited Content of 2017

Best of Our Blog

This year has been an exciting year of “mosts” for us at ThoughtFarmer. For example, we had our most successful launch with ThoughtFarmer 8.5, we hosted our most successful conference with ThoughtSummit 2017, and welcomed the most amount of visitors to our ThoughtFarmer blog.

Having so many intranet-curious folks visit our blog is awesome for a whole host of reasons: it tells us if our content aligns with industry trends, it tells us what type content piques your interest, and it gives us our product team a real insight into how we could plot our roadmap. But you don’t care about that, you want to see our most popular posts from 2017, ranked, right?! Well, without further ado:

  1. 25 Creative Intranet Launch Ideas

  2. What is an Intranet? The Definitive Explanation

  3. Cutting through the hype: what collaboration really means

  4. Mechanistic and organic organizations

  5. Use these 14 questions for a corporate culture audit


Continue reading...

Building a Culture of Gratitude with Peer Recognition

Do You Recognize Success?

Remember that time you accomplished something amazing at work and your colleagues and bosses couldn’t stop praising you? And then you went home, inspired, and ready to do it all again the next day?

If that doesn’t sound familiar, it might be time to reconsider your workplace’s approach to employee recognition.

Over 200,000 employees were recently studied by the Boston Consulting Group and asked what their number one reason was for enjoying their work. The answer?: feeling appreciated. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) compensation didn’t appear until number eight.

None of this is really a shock though, is it?

There isn’t an employee out there who doesn’t want to be recognized and appreciated for their work. Yet sadly, many managers often wait until an annual performance review to deliver feedback. And even worse—the feedback in a performance review tends to focus on negative stuff rather than the good stuff.

When done well employee recognition has a multitude of benefits. From decreased turnover and lower absenteeism, to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction…shall I go on?

Skeptics will argue that recognition programs don’t work, are too fluffy, or that organizations do this stuff solely to make themselves look good. While hopefully that isn’t the case, it’s not difficult to understand where this skepticism stems from. A lot of organizations have failed to effectively implement an employee recognition program that works.

For employee recognition to truly be successful, it needs to be embedded in an organization’s culture, and it must be authentic.

The good news is that Thoughtfarmer has tools that make it easy for organizations to recognize and applaud employees.

Continue reading...

ThoughtFarmer + Google Drive

TF -Google Drive

Those of us familiar with Google Drive love how easily it allows users to store and synchronize files in the cloud, and how easy it makes collaborating with other teams and users. A key component of the G-Suite, Google Drive became an almost overnight hit (there are now over 800 million active Google Drive users), due to the ease with which users could simply transfer and share files securely. With a simple drag and drop, the files were there.

And now, thanks to our recent software update, Thoughtfarmer clients can enjoy all the benefits of file sharing without leaving their intranet.

The latest release of our software includes an improved Google Drive integration option. You can now easily gather any files you have on Google Drive and keep them in one central location on your intranet.

What does it actually do?
Our new and improved Google Drive integration brings all the greatness of content sharing into your intranet. You can easily share Google files and communicate to the entire organization, department, or teams. There is no need to leave your intranet to share and review documents. Also, because both applications sync automatically, your content will always be current.

What about Permissions?
The security permissions within Google will carry over right into your intranet. So, if you don’t have the rights to view a particular Google Doc in Google Drive, you are not going to be able to see it in your intranet. It is therefore important that any document permissions are set up correctly within Google first.

Continue reading...

Simplify Role Clarity With ThoughtFarmer’s Org Chart

ThoughtFarmer Organizational Chart Header

In a small organization it’s pretty easy to identify who does what, and who reports to whom. But what about in a large organization? What about in a fast growing company? Or what about during a merger or acquisition?

Without a simple way to understand an organization’s reporting structure, how will employees find the people or information they need to correctly do their job?

As you probably already know, an org chart (organizational chart) is a diagram that displays the organizational structure as well as relationships and reports. It is an excellent way to gain an immediate perspective of all the people within the organization and their roles.

Understanding organizational hierarchy is important—not just for employees, but for an entire organization. When employee roles and organizational hierarchy are transparent, we can ensure responsibilities are allocated to the correct individual.

Some of us may have had negative experiences with org charts in the past—and rightfully so. First generation org charts were often nothing more than a PDF document that reluctantly needed updating every time there was a new employee. They also weren’t interactive, which meant there was no immediate way to directly connect with a colleague, or to update information in real-time.

Our New Org Chart

Thoughtfarmer has removed the pain associated with frustrating org charts and has replaced it with a brand new visual and dynamic organizational chart. Available in the latest release of Thoughtfarmer, it’s a welcome evolution from a traditional list view. Users can now immediately understand the structure within an organization, see relationships, as well as gain a clear understanding of who does what.

Continue reading...

Boosting Engagement: 3 Reasons Why a Social Intranet is Your Most Effective Tool

Boosting Engagement

According to recent studies carried out by Aon Hewitt, Gallup, and Deloitte, employee engagement declined in 2016. Yes, you read that right, it actually declined. While this downward trend is worrisome for a variety of reasons—churn, productivity, and (eventually) profitability—there is a silver lining: the study highlighted three behavioural drivers behind the trend, the effects of which can be mitigated quite easily.

With that in mind, let’s look at how you can nip those drivers in the bud and enhance engagement within your organization.

Open communication.
While organizations are aware that open communication is necessary for engagement, a disconnect on information delivery remains. A joint study between Poppulo and Ragan Communications showed that 99 percent of communicators rely on email as their main news channel, yet Deloitte’s survey indicates that 77 percent of employees don’t think email is an effective way to communicate. This discrepancy suggests that a new channel is required. A social intranet provides your company with the ability to relay all types of content while giving staff an engaging platform to find the information they need. It’s clean, simple, and effective for both employer and employees.

Senior leader visibility.
According to Aon Hewitt’s study, employees no longer look to their direct manager for engagement— they look to their senior leaders, meaning those senior leaders must be more visible than ever. Employees want to get to know the people who are directing them and a social intranet provides an ideal space to do that. Content such as anecdotes, philosophies, and interviews, are all great opportunities for leaders to connect with staff.

Continue reading...

What Would You Do With 28% More Time?

More Time header

In last week’s post we talked about one trade-off to the many benefits of a digital workplace: lots of emails to tend to and lots of digital documentation to sift through. We also noted that a well designed and well implemented intranet could help mitigate the risk of such things happening in your workplace.

This week, we’re going to find out how a well-designed intranet can help you get work done.

When the topic of intranets comes up, many people still get confused: they think of it as a one-way communications platform, a quick culture fix, or a crowded document repository. In fact, a well designed intranet is quite the opposite: it can enhance your digital workplace, support your business, and enable employees to find the information they need to effectively and efficiently do their job.

Right now, however, the average worker is wasting considerable time searching for and processing information.

Need proof? A study by the IDC (assuming a salary of $75,000 per year), looked at the average time spent on associated tasks and determined the average cost. Approximately 13 hours per week were spent on email (cost: $21,000), and 9 hours were spent searching for information (cost $14,000). That’s an enormous waste of time and money!

If you haven’t yet embraced collaboration technology like an employee intranet, then you too likely have productivity challenges—or at the very least, are wasting valuable employee time. Again, the proof is in the pudding: according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, connected employees can improve productivity by 20 to 25 percent which equates to a potential improvement in revenue of up to $1.3 million a year.

Continue reading...

ThoughtFarmer at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference

ThoughtFarmer at ABA Bank Marketing Conference

Last month one of our clients, First National Bank and Trust, invited us to speak at the annual ABA Bank Marketing Conference in New Orleans.

Thankfully, our in-house ThoughtFarmers Wil and Amol have lots of experience speaking to the importance of intranets for banks (and other large organizations), so with power-suits packed and powerpoint saved, we sent ‘em down south.

Set against the backdrop of New Orleans and its rich culture, myriad Jazz bars, and seemingly endless beignets, the conference—“the industry’s flagship conference for bank marketers”—offered an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded folks from the financial space. Not only did Wil and Amol enjoy a super engaged audience who dished out as many insights as they received (did you know, for example, that the most successful marketers are “fat-T-shaped”? Drop us a line if you want to find out more about that!) our intrepid duo also enjoyed countless conversations with other experts form the banking industry.

For their talk—titled “What Would You Do With 28% More Time?”—Wil and Amol offered a unique perspective into how intranets can unlock the hidden knowledge of banks and other large organizations. As Amol, ThoughtFarmer’s Director of Sales, says, “A bank’s organizational structure means it’s branches are inherently siloed, so even though each branch offers the same products/services, there is often a lack of collaboration and communication between them.” Wiping away beignet sugar from his mouth, he continues “…having an intranet to serve as a hub of their digital workplace allows a bank’s staff to connect and collaborate more easily, and capture untold troves knowledge that would otherwise go hidden.”

Such issues aren’t unique to banks, though.

Continue reading...

Better Together: 6 Steps to a New Credit Union Intranet

Credit union intranet

In A Nutshell

Credit unions and intranets have more in common than you’d think. At least that’s according to Ilana Friesen, former internal communication specialist for one of Canada’s largest credit unions. Among her many credit union related projects, Ilana successfully researched and implemented a company-wide intranet, so she is something of an authority on the topic. In this piece Ilana explains why the two have so much in common, how that affects you, and what you can do to choose an intranet solution that’s right for you.


Consider this: credit unions and intranets have a lot in common. Like, a lot. “Okay” you may be thinking, “but a lot seems like a bit of a stretch”. Well, having spent time on both sides of the fence I’ve come to appreciate just how symbiotic the relationship between the two can be. Allow me to explain…

A key tenet of any credit union, and something that differentiates them from other financial institutions, is that members, as owners, can directly influence how credit unions operate. This means that credit unions must operate in a more collaborative fashion, and with more transparency than other types of financial institution. Coincidentally, these same requirements were among those that lead to the invention of the intranet: the need for a space where stakeholders could come to communicate, collaborate, and create.

Getting Granular

So while there’s little doubt that credit unions can benefit from an intranet, picking an actual provider is far from easy. Believe me, I’ve got the scars to prove it: I was an internal comms specialist for one of Canada’s largest credit unions at a time when the company was pursuing a more transparent, collaborative culture.

Continue reading...

Worth The Wait: Why Credit Unions and Intranets Work So Well Together

In A Nutshell

Credit unions and intranets used to have somewhat of a tumultuous relationship; on paper they worked great together but in practice, well, not so much. Today, that scenario has reversed and a modern day credit union operating without a modern day intranet is committing a modern day communications crime: failing to fully engage a keen and committed workforce. This piece looks at the key benefits a credit union can expect to glean from a (preferably social) intranet.

Back Then…

Intranets used to suck. Like, really suck. They were content-heavy, cumbersome, and counterintuitive. They had a top-down, centralized structure that made everyone feel like they were being talked at rather than with. The intranet held the megaphone, turned up to 11, while everyone else had to just watch and listen.

In many ways then, intranets seemed to stand against the very thing credit unions stood for: transparency, openness, and a sense community. This, ironically, was in spite of the fact that credit unions were the exact type of organization that intranets were originally designed for.

I experienced this real-life contradiction first hand. I used to work on the communications team of a (really large) credit union at a time when we were having difficulty engaging employees. We were experiencing typical growing pains: Internal communication had become a one-way street. Collaboration could only happen in-person. Culture lived in a mission statement that hung on a wall somewhere.

Righting Wrongs

So, we set out on a mission to right those wrongs.

Continue reading...