Intranets always partly reflect their organisations’ cultures, and they mirror the companies they serve through content, processes, and contributions from employees. The best intranets are not only deliberate aligned with their organisational culture,s but also seek to shape and influence it, celebrating the positives aspects and encouraging employees to feel proud about where they work and what they do.
Intranet should not be dull and lifeless, but engaging and lively.
Intranet do this in a variety of ways including:
- branding the intranet so it has “personality”
- featuring stories which focus on employees
- using appropriate imagery and design
- disseminating information and examples of the company’s values
- encouraging user-generated content and social interaction
- focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives
- covering non-business issues in content and in communities
- featuring the organisation’s history and heritage
The winners and other leading entries in the annual Intranet Innovation Awards show that much can be done to help bring company values and culture to the fore.
One of the aims of the Awards is to showcase examples of successful approaches and practices which can be applied by intranet teams within their own organisations.
These are some of the real-world examples from recent award entrants:
Highlighting the company values initiative
Recognized and defined values and behaviours are taken seriously by organisations as a way of emphasizing and promoting the successful parts of their culture.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to helping people lead healthy and productive lives, initiated a values program to help strengthen its organisational culture.
To raise employee awareness of the four values (Optimism, Collaboration, Innovation and Rigor) a “Values Resource Center” was created on its intranet. This contained a description of the values, videos, stories and other resources. There was also a peer recognition system called the “L.O.V.E. Machine” (L.O.V.E. standing for Living Our Values Everyday) where employees can post stories about other staff exhibiting values-related behaviour.
DuluxGroup, a manufacturer and marketer of decorating products based in Australia, was going through a merger and wanted to emphasize the firm’s values and organisational culture.
An intranet redesign was seen as a key part of the firm’s communication and integration strategy. A new, lively and colourful design also included a “Pin Board” feature. Clearly influenced by Pinterest, this features stories about employees, diversity, community activities, as well as prominent issues such as safety and other topics.
Each story is marked by an icon which links back to one of the firms values and behaviours such as “Innovate and Grow” and “Walk in the consumer’s shoes”.
Using imagery and branding to reflect company culture
Using strong imagery and distinctive branding, as well as characters can help to emphasize company culture.
The Sesame Workshop is the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street. With such a strong set of recognisable characters on the program, it seemed only natural to feature them more prominently in the organisation’s portal redesign.
This helps to reflect Sesame Workshop’s culture; showing the “fun nature” of the characters as well as reminding employees of its educational mission which are delivered by the characters.
Sparke Helmore Lawyers is an Australian-based law firm. The intranet (named Basil) provides a constant reminder of the company’s history, as it’s named after Basil Helmore, the firm’s founder.
When the intranet went through a redesign, an illustrator was hired to create a memorable image which captured the spirit of the original Basil. This help to give the intranet some personality.
Corporate Social Responsibility and related initiatives
Corporate social responsibility initiatives which involve employees and benefit local communities are a popular staple for intranets, and can be both popular with staff and management.
2011 Gold Award winner Arup ran a vibrant intranet microsite dedicated to the “Amazing Race”, an internal charity and fitness event which benefited SportsAid. Competing teams took part in exercises with their progress (calories burnt) represented as a placeholder on a world map. Being able to chart their progress against other teams helped to accelerate employee involvement in the Amazing Race.
Find out more
For more insights, the Intranet Innovation Awards annual report features 19 in-depth case studies and over 200 screenshots. This is the must-have report for intranet teams to guide their planning and represents incredible value.
And of course, if you also want to highlight the innovations on your own intranet, then the 2014 Intranet Innovation Awards opens for entries in April. You can sign up to be notified when it opens for business.
(This post was written by Steve Bynghall, who manages the Intranet Innovation Awards.)