Six tips to float your boat during a company intranet launch

By Michelle Desmarais
December 5, 2017
7 min read
helping with an intranet launch

One of the questions we frequently hear from new customers is ‘What can make my company intranet launch successful?’ Before diving into these tips, let’s review the foundation as to why you chose to use intranet software in the first place.

Some first pain points resolved should be related to the original reasons you sought out an intranet in the first place. For example:

  • Policies are incorrect or outdated
  • Documents are not easily accessible
  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Important & relevant information lost in emails

These may not list all of your pain points, but these are the common pain points we hear from our customers before seeking out a modern intranet solution.

Company intranet launch: Identify the first action items

6 Strategic Tips For Your Company Intranet Launch

You’ve chosen an intranet to be the key to bring things together and drive the change you’re looking to make. Collect your team members internally and discuss what hasn’t been working and brainstorm ideas to develop solutions.

  • Consolidated repository for all policies = Document Management System
  • Policies are kept in one place with frequent updates going to that same location = Policy Management
  • Ensuring your employees are up to date on new policies, standards, and documents = Document read and agree confirmation
  • Fostering of culture = Brand the intranet to your Company (e.g., Logo, color theme, etc.)
  • Implement Online forms with automated workflow
  • Announcements separated into appropriate categories = Company News pushes updates to the home page
  • Department-specific information separated = Department or Team Sites

Executing on your vision – Tips

In order to gain buy-in from your team and employees, it’s essential to start with the key drivers for adopting an intranet. If your key focus is on policies, forms, and culture, start with the basic structure to move you closer to launching your company intranet.

1. Document & policies

If you have a number of documents that may be outdated and not worth bringing over to the communication tool, then task yourself with finding the key documents and procedures that are needed. Are your documents primarily PDFs or Word documents? Those are quick and easy to upload to the corporate intranet! Just use the “Multiple File Upload” option available.

If your software has been freshly installed, it comes with some sample content to help give you ideas on how each application can be utilized. To remove this content, refer to our Help Center article on Clearing out your demo data.

2. Announcements

To quickly reduce the number of emails currently going out to your employees, start building these announcements on your company intranet. Our Company News application is a great starting place for storing these announcements for you. Refer to the Company News article on how to get started.

Are employees still looking for an email notification? Setup subscriptions to get them comfortable relying on this information until they’re ready to pull the plug on emails.

3. Forms

To reduce the physical paper trail and automate workflow processes, building forms within the company intranet is a great way to streamline the handling of processes. As an example, do you have a process around employee onboarding where multiple departments work together to add a new employee? Break down what it takes to bring on a new employee:

HR Related:

  • Employee’s name and contact info
  • Emergency contact info
  • Start date
  • Department / Manager
  • Prepare welcome package
  • What Department are they joining?
  • Will they need a computer provided? (desktop or laptop)
  • What internal applications do they need access to?

IT Related:

  • Create Active Directory account
  • Assign to appropriate groups
  • Build a computer
  • Allow access to internal applications

With this information, you can build out a form that helps drive this process and confirms that each step is completed along the way. The automated workflow will ensure that each person handles their tasks when it’s their turn to act on it, and a final approval will be made once everything is complete. When the employee starts, there’s no need to worry that they won’t have proper access to all the documents and policies they need to get set up or access training and company information.

4. Design your company intranet

Customize the intranet so that it matches your brand. This can foster company culture, as well as give a sense of unity across your company (especially if you have multiple locations). Looking for ideas? Check out our Get Creative With Your intranet article. 

Remember, the goal is to have the intranet be informative and make things easier to find for your employees – overwhelming them with large amounts of content on the home page may have the opposite effect.

First impressions matter!

When employees first access the intranet (read digital workplace), you want to WOW them with how great it looks, as well as how simple and easy it is to navigate and find what they’re looking for. Some best practices for building out your Home Page are available on our Help Center.

Intranet persona

Many of our customers have not just named their company intranet but have given it a persona. Some examples include Pima Federal Credit Union chose the name Dwight, named after Dwight, the ‘know-it-all’ character from ‘The Office’, and Veridian Credit Union chose the name VERN for Veridian Employee Resource Network.

In today’s internet culture, we’ve adopted the phrase ‘Did you Google it?’. Within your organization, how cool would it be to say, ‘Did you go to Dwight for that policy’?

5. Navigation is key!

The intranet can have so much to offer, but can employees find what they’re looking for? Successful navigation can break down. With your company intranet team, brainstorm how to build the intranet navigation:

  • Create key navigation categories
  • Create cards for department-specific information, employee engagement, policies (documents, manuals, procedures, etc.)
  • Discuss where you see each card fitting under a specific category
  • Global navigation is categorized, and Site navigation (left navigation) is more for quick links to key resources specific to the site you’re currently on.
  • Task-based navigation informs employees what they’ll be doing by clicking on that link (e.g. Submit your timesheet, register for training, find a policy, etc.)

If your card doesn’t fit into a specific category, would another name for an existing category work better? Avoid being too vague! Categories like miscellaneous and general can create a black hole where users can’t find the information or create duplicates in the wrong places.

Put your navigation to the test! Prior to launch, set up a pilot group of users:

  • Assign tasks to locate items within the intranet – tie these to your pain points.
  • Note how they accessed information.
  • Where did they look for the information?
  • Were they able to find it without assistance?

6. Launching the company intranet

You’re almost there! Leading up to your launch date, plan a celebration within the company announcing the new intranet. The key is to drive adoption with positive reinforcement.

Showcase how the company intranet will help them in their daily tasks like:

  • Time savings
  • Quickly find information in one place (and on their own)
  • Learn about important information at the source
  • Policies will be accurate/up-to-date

Foster engagement:

  • Contest for naming the intranet – vote through Quick Polls
  • Employee milestones displayed on the home page (promotions, new hires, retirement celebrations)
  • Photos from company events
  • Share stories (team building events, magic moments with customers, company/wins)

Once you’ve launched, track how the progress is going! With insights, you can see how is their overall intranet experience and how long they’re staying engaged.

Post-launch activities can help reinforce using the company intranet. Launch contests for driving adoption, or offer small rewards through the intranet. Some ideas can include:

  • Employee Recognition – employees can recognize others for a job well done
  • Management could pick an employee to highlight each month based on the recognition program and give them a gift card, free movie night, etc.
  • Contest – vote on the intranet’s name and offer a reward for the person who submitted the name in the first place.
  • Top Contributor – Employee who’s added and updated the most content on the intranet
  • Celebrate them for being highly engaged and improving the knowledge provided on your intranet.

Have you launched your company intranet recently? Share your success story with us! What did you do to celebrate?
Do not forget to take our Internal Communications Assessment for a detailed report on where you stand, plus resources to help you become a stronger internal communicator. However, if you are still planning your company intranet launch, feel free to book a FREE DEMO call with us for some great ideas. We’d love to help you out!

By Michelle Desmarais

Michelle Desmarais is a solutions expert at IC Thrive. With a background in quality assurance and product training, she is well-versed in making the technical sound easy. Working closely with clients on a daily basis to find solutions to their problems, she is the go-to person for practical advice on anything intranet and software-related.