There is a well known proverb that goes something like this:
Create another department’s intranet content, and you help them for a day. Teach them how to create their own intranet content and you empower them for a lifetime.
Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly it, but you get the point.
You can take on all the intranet content creation you want, but it isn’t sustainable; especially if your organization is growing.
Benefits of empowering intranet content creators
Similar to user-generated (UGC), employee-generated content (EGC) has many advantages including:
- Improved intranet adoption. The more employees are involved in intranet content creation the more likely they will return to your intranet.
- Content won't get stale. Abundance content creation means your intranet is less likely to become stale from infrequent and outdated content.
- Provides teams and departments with their own voice. Each team and department is unique in an organization. Use this opportunity to showcase their strengths, and how it contributes to other departmental initiatives.
- Less reliance on email. The more employees rely on their intranet for sharing information, the less likely they will be to email this information.
- Reduced IT bottlenecks. When employees know how to post their own content, they won’t rely on other departments like IT.
- Increased knowledge sharing. The more teams and departments are empowered with content creation, the higher the overall knowledge share.
- More inclusive environment. Allowing multiple teams and departments to post content helps to create a more inclusive culture.
- Scalability. Sharing content creation with other departments means you’re no longer constrained by budgets or time spent planning future content.
Learn about the many use cases for an intranet in this informative whitepaper.Intranet Use Cases
Tips for mastering employee generated intranet content
Let go of control
If your background is in communications you likely have some lofty expectations for how content should read.
However, engaging intranet content is so much more than well crafted prose and impeccable grammar. The best content is raw and transparent. So let go of the grammar rules and empower your team to create content that best represents them. Besides, you can always edit it later if necessary.
Also, intranet content isn’t restricted to text. Encourage contributions in the form of photos, videos/vlogs, even music, depending on your team.
Have a content review process
Empowering internal content creators doesn’t mean permitting every single employee with editing and publishing access. Security settings within your intranet should allow you to specify exactly who gets access to content creation and who doesn’t.
If you have concerns about employees posting team and departmental content, consider setting up a sign-off process. Within ThoughtFarmer this is easily accomplished with our new content review feature. It lets you set up reminders for yourself or your team to review content to make sure the content is current, accurate, and well organized.
One way to encourage employees to participate in content creation is to introduce an element of competition. Many of our customers turn to gamification to get their colleagues involved in many intranet activities—including content creation.
One of our customers created badges for almost every activity on their intranet. Complete your profile? Get a badge. Comment on a discussion? Get another badge.
You could also incentivize your top content creators with gift cards. This shouldn’t be too hard to identify your lead contributors within your intranet analytics. Within ThoughtFarmer, there are specific segments that can be easily set up to quickly identify who the top content creators in your organization are.
Make it mobile accessible
Whether your workplace is office-based or not, your intranet should be fully accessible from a mobile device. Our ThoughtFarmer app allows users to enjoy the same experience in the mobile version as they enjoy in the desktop version. This allows employees to create content in realtime, which is really useful in specific scenarios. For example imagine you run a construction company, and you’ve just learned of a chemical spill. You have a few minutes at the most to quickly convey critical time-sensitive information to your onsite workers. A mobile app makes this super simple.
No one is going to add content to your intranet if they don’t know how. Modern intranet software makes it easy for anyone to create pages and edit content, but that doesn’t mean users don’t still need a helping hand. Plus, for less tech-savvy employees, training gives them a boost of confidence to get started with the intranet.
While there is no one-size fits all approach to intranet user training, we offer some tips in our blog post: 7 Tips for designing your intranet training program.
Quash writing fears
A common barrier to content creation is a fear of not being able to write. This is why it is important to have conversations to alleviate any fears and lay out your expectations.
While understandably some organizations may have editorial guidelines to adhere to, intranet content creation has become much more human in the last few years. Help content writers understand that you are (likely) not seeking perfection. Also, content creation isn’t restricted to writing. It could be adding videos, memes, meeting notes, or polls.
Examples of good employee generated intranet content
ThoughtFarmer customer Coast Mental Health is one of the best examples of empowering content creators. Their intranet is owned and governed by employees, not the communications department. Guidance and feedback is provided, but employees are encouraged to be accountable for the pages/content created.
This approach has led to excellent and unexpected intranet content. For example, one team created an e-learning safety module. Another employee assembled an e-learning module on violence prevention. Employee created content has emerged as some of the heaviest trafficked pages on their intranet.
Another great example is publishing company PCI. Their CEO and President Drew Clancy blogs every single day and shares it on their intranet. However, some of the most inspiring content comes from the employees. In a section called Victory Vault, associates are encouraged to share difficult times they have endured. On this page the bravest of associates share stories of unbelievable circumstances with one simple hope—that their story will help, heal, or inspire a fellow associate who may be going through a similar scenario.
We hope this inspires you to create a team of intranet content writers!
Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.