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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

BFFs

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.

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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.

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Recorded Webinar: In Search of Search

Have you ever really thought about the importance of search? Ephraim Freed, internal communications expert and self-professed intranet nerd, certainly has. Starting with the “why” and ending with the “how”, Ephraim will leave you feeling like a bonafide expert ready to improve your own intranet’s search functionality in 30-minutes flat.

IN THIS WEBINAR, YOU’LL LEARN

  • Why search matters
  • What makes search work like it should
  • Tips for managing and optimizing your intranet search
  • How to conduct a findability audit

So, whether your an intranet manager, a user, or still in the process of evaluating intranet vendors, this webinar is a great resource to help you learn how make the heart of your intranet beat stronger.

Download the corresponding eBook, then…

Watch the recording!

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Make it SEO: A Practical Search and Findability Audit for Intranet Content

In Search of Search, Part 3

In a Nutshell: If we can agree that search is the heart of your intranet, then a findability audit—i.e. determining how easy it is to find a specific piece of content—is akin to its annual health checkup. For part three of this series, Ephraim has designed a step-by-step guide that will walk you through optimizing your content to make it as findable—and as functional—as possible

BEFRIENDING SEARCH

To most intranet owners, the term “intranet search” sounds pretty ominous. But ominous with good reason: the unavoidable association with the Godfather of search—a.k.a. Google—makes intranet search sound convoluted and complex. It sounds like it might need a dedicated team of IT techies and a data scientist whose sole purpose is to tweak algorithms to optimize performance and results. It sounds, well, hard. Right? Wrong. It’s really not very difficult at all.

IMPROVE THE CONTENT, IMPROVE THE SEARCH

As mentioned, it’s easy to get lost in the assumed complexities of search. But it’s also easy to overcome those assumptions and get comfortable with it. Look at it this way: search is simply the ability to find what you need to help you achieve a specific task. In fact, good search should look as simple as this: click inside search box> type query> [relevant content] bubbles to the top of results> “click”. See, simple!

That said, there are many factors that contribute to making search “good” and one of those factors is the ever increasing cache of intranet-specific search queries that are carried out by your employees.

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Embracing the Journey: 9 Tips for Managing and Improving Intranet Search

In Search of Search, part 2

In a Nutshell: “Search Functionality” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an intranet, but an intranet without search would be like the internet without Google – fundamentally less functional. In part two of this series, Ephraim delivers 9 tips that will optimize your intranet’s search capabilities.

BEYOND THE BOX

While you may not notice it, the search experience goes beyond the search box. Way beyond. Way, way beyond. In fact, the search experience runs so deep that it’s functionality is comparable to the chassis of a car: it may not be super sexy, it probably won’t win any awards, most folks will never understand or appreciate how critical it is, but without it, everything will fall apart.

Given such a high degree of importance (importance that will be reinforced over the course of this piece), you’d think that optimizing your intranet for search would be super complex… just look at how many people Google needs to make their search solution work! Well, good news: a measured amount of focus and rigor will allow you to achieve search nirvana in no time at all. And it starts with something you already have: content.

INTRANET SEARCH: WHERE CONTENT IS STILL KING

While your search setup may be technically on-point, delivering a great search experience is impossible without some good ole fashioned content. “Wait, what?” I hear you say. “But I thought that…..?” Yes, you’re right: content no longer holds the throne when it comes to optimizing your customer-facing online outlets, but when it comes to your inward-facing intranet—and as we discuss throughout this series—content still wears the crown; well-written, well-structured, fully-optimized content.

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Feeling Lucky? 13 Key Features & Practices for Managing Intranet Search

In Search of Search

In a Nutshell: As sure as water’s wet and days are long, content—in the broadest sense of the word—is the very heart of the intranet. Perhaps less obvious but no less factual is that search (think: Google) makes that heart beat. The same holds true for your intranet; an instance with poor search functionality is akin to a Google-less internet… it just, won’t, work, properly. But fear not, we’re here to help. In this 3-part content series Ephraim Freed, internal-comms expert-in-chief—the expert’s expert—looks at how to optimize the search functionality of your intranet. In Part 1, he details 13 critical features that deliver on the technical side of search management and the search interface.

First Things First

Fact: most organizations will face challenges around the search functionality of their intranet. But just as all challenges are little more than opportunities in disguise, search can become an indispensable resource (and, dare we say, a magical experience) for your employees; all you need is a solid set of features and a solid set of best practices to guide the way.

In this post, we’ve compiled a set of search-centric features that will boost productivity and refine your intranet experience. If search is about the destination, actually managing how that search functions is all about the journey, and the following features will help make that journey an infinitely more satisfying one.

Centrally Managing Search Results

1: “Best bets” for intranet search results
“Best bets” (similar to, but better than Google’s “I’m feeling lucky”) will ensure that the most relevant pieces of content are bubbled to the top of your search results.
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