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As discussed in the earlier article Every intranet has its successes, there are few intranet teams who are not steadily delivering valuable improvements to their sites.
Despite this, many intranet teams are almost invisible within their organisations, with little recognition for the new enhancements and functionality they have delivered.
This must change, if intranet teams are to obtain the resources and support they need. Part of the solution is for intranet teams to be more proactive and effective in communicating their successes.
This briefing outlines a number of practical ways of promoting success stories, drawn from the real-life approaches taken by intranet teams across a variety of organisations.
The first step is for intranet teams to be more disciplined in tracking intranet changes and new functionality. At the simplest level, this could just be a document listing the improvements in each month.
Even this simple document can be very effective at communicating to management (and the broader group of stakeholders) what the intranet team ‘has actually been doing’.
This type of tracking also demonstrates the volume of work that is done by the intranet team, which is important when justifying existing team resources, or requesting additional staff.
Measure customer satisfaction
Intranet teams are often asked for metrics on their effectiveness. One way of gathering these is to measure internal ‘customer’ satisfaction relating to intranet work.
Customer satisfaction figures can be gathered in a very direct and simple way, by sending the internal customer a feedback form at the completion of each intranet job.
This asks for a score on the quality and timeliness of the work, as well as assessing overall satisfaction. Free text fields can be used to capture additional comments.
This information can then be used by the intranet team to report back to management on the team’s effectiveness. Internal communications teams have used this approach for many years, with considerable success.
Before and after
Even when major changes have been made to the site, it can be hard to remember what the old site looked like. Over time, changes are quickly forgotten or taken for granted.
One approach used by intranet teams is to have a portfolio of changes. Consisting of a book containing ‘before and after’ screenshots, this concretely shows the impact of even small changes. It is also a very physical object that stakeholders or managers can flip through.
Intranet teams must also communicate their success stories more widely throughout their organisations. News stories should be written that outline key changes, along with quotes or examples from actual business users or stakeholders.
The internal company newsletter can be a good way of disseminating these stories. The news box on the intranet homepage can also be very effective.
These ‘good news’ stories should be written in business language, focusing on business benefits. There is little interest in behind-the-scenes changes such as a new CMS or revised metadata, or other such ‘technical’ improvements.
Tangible and visible
To be most effective, intranet teams should carefully pick activities that matter to the wider organisation, and communicating them more meaningfully and powerfully.
The earlier article The importance of ‘tangible’ and ‘visible’ provides clear guidance on how to select activities in this way.
Thanks to the members of the Sydney chapter of the Intranet Leadership Forum for their ideas and contributions on this topic.