Intranet Tip: Adopt an Open-by-Default Policy for your Intranet

In brief: MD Financial Management embraced an open-by-default intranet policy, which reflects their corporate culture and promotes enterprise-wide collaboration.


Many executives are afraid of what employees will do if they are allowed to create content on their intranet. MD Financial Management went against the norm, and launched their intranet using an open-by-default policy. They felt if too many restricted governance structures and rules were enforced, it would stifle adoption. With support from executives, MD Financial Management allowed staff to shape their intranet. The results? They created a platform that reflects their corporate culture, and promotes engagement and enterprise-wide collaboration.

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Intranet Tip: How to Make Your Training Sessions More Effective

In brief: Make presentation slides accessible for employees to turn one day of training into an invaluable future resource.


Abila, a software company that builds accounting and fundraising solutions for non-profit organizations, uses their intranet to make training sessions more effective. They create an event page prior to the workshop that includes a plan for the session and downloadable slides for attendees. The result? A better prepared and more interactive group, and an effective workshop that turns one day of learning into lessons that can be easily accessed long after the session has concluded.

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Intranet Tip: 5 Tips to Write Engaging Headlines for your Intranet Content

In brief: Trying to get more staff to read company news? Use these five tips to create more compelling headlines.


80 percent of people will read a headline, but only 20 percent will read the rest of the copy1. Oxfam America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending poverty, increases the likelihood of their content being read by writing intriguing headlines for their homepage articles. We have five tips to help you write exciting headlines for your intranet:Use numbers:

  1. Numbers are easy for readers to digest. Including them in your headline suggests your article will be easy to scan.
  2. A headline is not a subject: Eliminate vagueness by clearly articulating what your article is about. No one wants to click into an article with an ambiguous headline.
  3. Pose a question: Asking a question in the headline will pique readers’ curiosity, compelling them to read on for the solution.
  4. Solve a problem: A headline that is solution focused lets your readers know they can expect to learn something.
  5. Write at least five different headlines: This will get the creative thoughts flowing, allowing you to pick the most exciting one to accompany your content.

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Intranet Tip: Increase Findability with a Quicklinks Portlet

In brief: Create a Quicklinks portlet to provide employees with easy access to the most frequently used resources.


LPK, a global brand design agency, made it easy for their employees to access frequently used information. They use Quicklinks to connect their staff to resources such as:

  • Timesheets
  • FAQ
  • Webmail
  • Bulletin board

Small engagement features, like this one, cut down on time spent finding information and make the intranet a centralized hub for important resources.

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Intranet Tip: Create Employee Lists Quickly and Easily from your Intranet

In brief: Quickly create employee lists right from your intranet by using the export button in your people directory.


Your people directory is an important tool for housing information about the employees that make up your organization. If you are hosting an event that requires name tags for staff, or a list of employees who are attending the event, ThoughtFarmer makes it fast and easy to create both directly from your intranet.

In the example below, you can see ThoughtFarmer’s people directory. The export button in the right hand corner allows you to transfer your people directory into a word, PDF, or excel document. Need a list only for a certain department, or employees who can speak french? You can export filtered search results as well.

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Intranet Tip: Encourage Staff to Upload a Picture to their Profile

In brief: Three methods to get staff to update their profile pictures are: sync with active directory, run a profile updating contest, and create a placeholder profile image.


Getting employees to upload a picture to their profile is often difficult. Three ways you can encourage staff to upload a photo are:

  • Sync profiles with active directory
  • Have a profile updating contest
  • Create a custom default placeholder image like DST Bluedoor

In the example below, you can see DST Bluedoor’s homepage with the custom default placeholder image. They added green sunglasses to the default silhouette to make it fun, and also to tie it into their intranet’s branding.

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Congratulations, ThoughtFarmer Website Team!

The ThoughtFarmer team is a talented bunch. Not only do they design great intranet software, but they also create award-winning websites. We are pleased to announce the 2014 ThoughtFarmer website redesign has won five awards! Congratulations to our dedicated team of project managers, copy writers, designers and developers.

Back row, from left to right: Dave Kachman & Daryl Claudio. Front row, from left to right: Jill Purse, Meghan Gillespie, Anne Buchan & Wil Arndt.


Below is a list of awards the redesign won:

  • Platinum, Hermes, in the category: Website Element/Website Design
  • Platinum, Hermes, in the category: Website Overall/Business to Business
  • Silver, Summit International Awards, in the category: B2B Product Website
  • Bronze, Summit International Awards, in the category: Website Redesign
  • Bronze, Creativity Media and Interactive Awards, in the category: Professional Website B2B

See the evolution of the ThoughtFarmer website.

The ThoughtFarmer website before the redesign.
The ThoughtFarmer website now.
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Intranet Tip: Make Your Employees the Focus of Your Homepage

In brief: Fill your homepage with photos of staff to make your intranet more exciting, engaging, and vibrant.


Putting your employees front and center is the best way to increase likes, comments and views on homepage news. However, finding images of staff to include with content can be a challenge. We recommend creating a gallery filled with ready-to-use-photos to make it easy for authors.

To stock your galleries, take pictures at company events. Better yet, hire an event photographer so you can be in them too! In the example below, you can see “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s homepage is very people centric. It not only makes the homepage look more exciting and vibrant, but it helps make your intranet that much more engaging.

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Recorded Webinar: Best Intranet Awards 2015

Are you looking for some inspiration to make your intranet better looking, more innovative, or more collaborative? In this 30-minute webinar our Client Services Manager, Carolien Dekeersmaeker, will present our annual Best Intranet Awards recipients, and show you all of the amazing submissions we received. Our clients entered their intranets in three categories:

  1. Best Looking
  2. Most Innovative
  3. Best Collaboration

Gain valuable insight by seeing what our ThoughtFarmer clients are doing with their intranets, and check out what the competition looks like for next year!

This webinar is now complete.

View the Slides:

Watch the Recording:

Date: Wednesday June 17, 2015

Time: 8:30AM Pacific / 11:30AM Eastern / 4:30PM UK / 17:30 EU

Intended Audience: We welcome anyone who is looking for ways to freshen up their intranet, or just wants to see some neat things people are doing with ThoughtFarmer.

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Project Planning 101: Part Three – Intranet Project Timeline

So you bought an intranet, now what? This is the final article of the series providing tips on how to run a smooth and successful intranet project.

In Part I, we discussed Determining Project Deliverables and Using an Intranet Project Checklist. In Part 2, we discussed Building your Intranet Implementation Team and determining roles and responsibilities. The final step in intranet implementation is timeline and scheduling.

Intranet Project Timeline 

When creating a timeline for your project consider the following five factors:

  1. Launch approach: What will your launch look like?
  2. Launch date: When are you going to make your intranet available for everyone to use? Are there any external dates that you can tie the intranet launch to (for example, a company townhall, a merger or acquisition, or a new strategic plan).
  3. Size of intranet team: How big is your team and how much time do they have to dedicate to the Intranet?
  4. Bandwidth of intranet team: What is their bandwidth? Will they have full time availability to work on the intranet launch? Or do they have other priorities that they need to work on as well?
  5. Previous tool expiration date: Do you have a hard stop date on a previous intranet system? For example, if your previous intranet tool (if you had one) is going to become obsolete on Dec 31, then it’s pretty obvious that your target date to launch your new intranet will have to be before that time.

Intranet Project Activities 

There are some fundamental activities that are critical to your intranet implementation project.

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