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Intranet Management

Time for an intranet overhaul? See how a healthcare company made it happen

If employees don’t have a reason to visit your intranet—or they can’t find what they are looking for—they won’t return, and your intranet will quickly become unpopular. 

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TF Intranet Overhaul
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Intranet use cases

“What’s wrong with my intranet? Why is it not attracting the same attention it once was?” 

We hear these concerns a lot. 

Extraordinary intranets that slowly, over time, begin to lose their magic. 

If you haven’t already discovered, intranets require ongoing effort. Don’t take it personally though, even the best intranets are prone to some bad habits—including us (you can read about our redesign journey in our blog post: Why we redesigned our own intranet and why you should too).

The success of an intranet is ultimately determined by its users. If employees don’t have a reason to visit your intranet—or they can’t find what they are looking for—they won’t return, and your intranet will quickly become unpopular. 

That’s exactly what happened to Carea Community Health Centre, a charitable organization that provides free community programs and services to people in Durham Region in Ontario, Canada.

In late 2020 (they initially deployed their intranet in 2015) they began to notice usage and visitation on their intranet was dropping.

“There was a lot of negativity surrounding our intranet.  We called it ‘the portal’ and the favourite staff nickname was ‘the port-hole’,” said Sandra Kicinko, Project Lead/Executive Assistant at Carea.

“There was nothing intuitive about our home page, nor about how to find any of our content. When I first started at Carea, I was told that I would be instructed to look on the Portal for any documents/items that I needed.  That instruction was then followed up by a suggestion not to bother—that it would be faster to walk around the halls to ask the people I work with to find what I needed. What a waste of time!”

With the support and participation of many employees, Carea embarked on a journey to improve their intranet. The project team included the Manager of Communications, the Executive Assistant to the CEO, and the Director of Corporate Services as the project sponsor.

One of the first things Carea did was a content audit—which made sense since Carea had a lot of content. In fact, they had over 10,000 different pieces of content. The audit quickly eliminated several thousand posts, and many others were archived. “Much of the content was deleted, some were archived and some content was kept,” said Sandra.

Carea A

ThoughtFarmer’s tagging functionality makes it easy to tag content for future discovery, unfortunately Carea had only been tagging posts for the last two years, which made searching for a post extremely frustrating. As part of Carea’s content audit, all pages and posts are now tagged. 

Carea also completely redesigned their home page, with an updated navigation bar and new headings. This content audit helped guide them to better understand which pages were most frequently visited, and therefore worth adding to the homepage.  

Perhaps the most engaging part of their intranet makeover was the creation of Carea Crew, a fun and interactive section devoted to employee news, events, and culture. Within this page are the following subsections: 

  • Carea Strong:  Employees are encouraged to post pictures here that show what they do best
  • Celebrations:  Employees can post news that they are celebrating. For example, a pregnancy, or an engagement, etc.
  • Crew Freecycle:  Employees can post items they are looking to donate, or need donated for clients
  • Crew Market:  A buy-and-sell page
  • Crew Fur Babies:  Employees can share pictures of their pets
  • Crew Creations:  Employees can post pictures here showing their creative side For example, home decorations, pictures of their gardens, etc.
  • Crew Culture: A dedicated space where their strategic plan, mission, vision, and values are posted.
  • Crew Locations: Each one of their five sites have their own section here where they can share information about their site.
  • Crew Gratitude:  Employees can post what they are grateful for, or messages of gratitude.

Carea Health

What role does information architecture play in an intranet overhaul?

Read this guide to learn how to organize your intranet content.

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How will Carea know if the intranet overhaul worked? 

To measure the success of their redesigned intranet, Sandra and her team turned to a company-wide employee survey. “We will use the initial responses as the baseline and will deploy the survey annually to check in with all staff,” said Sandra. 

Sandra also relies on ThoughtFarmer Analytics to measure success. The built-in analytics functionality in ThoughtFarmer allows Carea to easily measure things like visits and reach, as well as identifying top users. 

To ensure the efforts of the intranet overhaul are not wasted, Carea established a core group of frontline workers, known as Department Leads, that oversee the monitoring and upkeep of their department sections on the intranet.

While an intranet overhaul can be a huge undertaking, Carea was fortunate enough to have the assistance of the Customer Success team throughout their journey. “None of the work we did would have been possible were it not for Yegee and Hollie,” added Sandra. 

When asked what advice Sandra had for other organizations considering an intranet overhaul, Sandra replied, “Do it!  There is always room for improvement.”