1. Giving staff the ability to update their own details is one thing, but encouraging them to do so is much harder. Particularly when many have a vested interested in _not_ updating it (eg photo embarrassing, wanting to ‘hide’, apathy due to ‘uselessness’ of intranet).

    What are the best motivators you’ve seen James?

  2. DorjeM

    Getting the update – When staff visit the intranet if their profile hasn’t been updated in 90 days they are forced to visit the editable version of their profile, asked to check it, and after clicking OK taken where they wanted to go.

    Mixed environment – To provide the control required some fields are updated live on clicking OK and others are emailed to the ‘central control’ team for vetting and then updating.

    Ideally – the new values would be held and the ‘control staff’ approve the change (one click) making the values live. [We’re not there yet but working on it]


  3. Andrew Mitchell

    A good summary James. We’ve got a mix of approaches in-house and ‘People Finder’ is the most used tool on our intranet. However we’re still recording staff details in multiple systems for different purposes. I’d prefer a single source of truth. Do you know of any SME case studies that have solved this?

  4. James Robertson

    Hi Pat, “motivation” is a key issue for so many of the enterprise things we want to do. Such as updating staff directory entries, participating in social networks, collaborating, and personalising the intranet.

    In some environments, this is easy. In a professional services firm, staff want to promote their expertise so that they’re invited onto the high-profile projects.

    In typical corporate and government settings, this is much harder. Strategies like Dorje’s outlined above, and I’ve seen organisations do monthly “prize draws”, only giving the chosen staff member the reward if their profile is up-to-date, otherwise telling them that they could have won…

    These types of rewards and recognition can work, although may be limited in scope.

    This is why an overlap of approaches, both centralised and decentralised, is so important…

  5. Marnie

    We are struggling with a staff directory at the moment. The phone list is currently driven by the active directory, but I’d like a mix and to have some ‘facebook’ style options for staff. What software is available? I’ve not been able to find much out there. Thanks

  6. Lukas Karrer

    I have seen two other succesful methods of getting people to update their staff directory entries:

    – Goodies such as free SMS or additional employee rebates for people having a complete entry

    – Small box on the startpage “News from the employee directory” similar to XING / LinkedIN / Facebook etc.

  7. James Robertson

    The idea of displaying “Your profile is 60% complete” is also a potentially useful one. Seems to be working quite well for the social networking sites at the moment, but we’ll see for how long…

  8. Jason

    We use eDirectory so eGuide (the staff directory) hooks into the central user database. Whenever staff are employed or leave, eDirectory is updated, and the changes are reflected in eGuide.

    Catch you in Erskineville. The Tart Cafe isnt bad.


  9. Leah Sigurdson

    Just wondering if anyone has relied on a self-service method to populate an employee directory holding approximately 3000 members? I’m researching pre-populating vs self-service and leaning towards pre-populating for the initial launch and then allow for self-service?

    • James Robertson

      @Leah, I think you want good overlap between all three methods of updating. So that’s pre-populated out of HR and IT systems at the outset, and then strong self-service from that point. Only one method will not be enough to keep the information up to date.

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Published October 19, 2008

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter)

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