Top 7 tips for driving intranet adoption at your workplace

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April 20, 2015
11 min read
intranet adoption

“If you build it, (t)he(y) will come.” This is the lesson learned from the 1989 cult-classic Field of Dreams, starring a down-to-earth, dreamboat farmer, played by Kevin Costner. The tagline for this movie furthers the dream by saying: “If you believe in the impossible, the incredible can come true.”

The key takeaway here – Dream It + Build It = SUCCEED.

This is exactly what happened when you dreamt and built your intranet, right? Okay, it may have taken a little more planning, a bit more strategy, and a ton more ongoing execution than the dream, build and succeed process, but you are getting there. I am here to help with this journey, with seven helpful tips that will make that dream to drive intranet adoption a reality:

7 useful tips that can surely drive intranet adoption 

Make your intranet memorable

Tip #1: Make your intranet memorable

Google, Kleenex, Xerox, Tylenol, Uber – what do all of these companies have in common? They are memorable. They have actually coined a phrase from successfully naming and creating demand or user adoption of their product. We now say – “Google It”, “Do you have a Kleenex?”, “Make a Xerox”, “I need a Tylenol” and “Call an Uber”. These companies integrated the name of their product with the action or need it fulfills. Take notes. This is an important tip to consider when naming your intranet.

Your intranet name should be memorable, meaningful, and resonant with your employees to drive intranet adoption. The generic intranet titles of Connect, T-Web, or <Company Name> don’t inspire action or engagement with your intranet.

Drive intranet adoption with an intranet name that captivates your employees and/or addresses what you can do on the intranet. Our customers have come up with some great names that have led to successful engagement and intranet adoption, such as:

  • Dwight (Pima Federal Credit Union) – The Employee Know-It-All
  • The Pantry (New Seasons Market) – describes everything you’ll find on the intranet.
  • Insight (InTouch Credit Union) – describes what you’ll gain from using the intranet.
  • Fetch (San Diego Humane Society & SPCA) – describes retrieving information and resources on the intranet.

What you name your intranet is integral to engagement, interaction, and ultimately successful intranet adoption. You can leverage your employees and their great ideas by launching an Intranet Naming Contest to get your employees involved and invested in the name as well as on your intranet.

Tip #2: Make the intranet personal

I don’t know about you, but one size fits all is frustrating. As a 5’11” female, I can assure you one size does not fit us all! The same goes for your intranet. Not all of your employees will want to view the same content, resources, feeds, etc. Having areas of the intranet that can be personalized to their preferences certainly drives intranet engagement.

Some ways you can allow employees to adapt their intranet experience to their preferences is through:

  • Personalized Employee Workspaces
  • Personal Bookmarks & Tools
  • Customizable Employee Profiles
  • User Set Alerts & Subscriptions
  • Open Employee Message Boards
  • Follow Colleagues Subscriptions
  • Employee Status Updates

These are just a few ways your employees can customize the intranet to their own preferences and uses. The more employees feel like they own or have a stake in the intranet, the higher the adoption rate you will achieve.

Tip #3: Make the intranet essential to work

In today’s knowledge-driven economy, there are tools we cannot live without to perform our daily tasks, such as email, the internet, and the Microsoft Office suite or Google Apps. Why isn’t your intranet one of these tools? You haven’t made it essential to your employees’ daily work tasks yet, but there are many ways you can.

Our customers who have achieved the highest adoption rates have incorporated the intranet into their organization’s operations and daily workflows. One example of doing this effectively is through Centralized Document Management. Making the intranet the “go-to resource” for all approved documents in which employees are only allowed to utilize the documents found on the intranet makes it essential to daily work tasks.

Another means of integrating the intranet into daily activities is through automating processes online with Automated Approval Workflows. Our long-time customer, Rio Rancho Public Schools, has done this with a forty-part employee onboarding process. Each party is notified of the task they need to complete at the appropriate time to properly onboard a new school employee. To learn more about this, check out our intranet case study featuring Rio Rancho Public Schools.

Obviously, using the intranet for essential communications is a no-brainer, but not every organization can achieve the transition from corporate-wide emails to online communication. Making the intranet essential to internal communication requires a transition period and retraining your workforce on where to look to find the answers and latest information they seek. There are many tools to help with this on your intranet, such as:

  • Company News: moving all company announcements, news, and information online and central
  • Event Calendars: plan, schedule, and inform employees of events through the intranet
  • Alerts & Subscriptions: when adding new content on the intranet, set alerts to notify employees
  • Team/Department Sites: share critical information specific to a team or department only

There is an abundance of communication tools built directly into your intranet. You just need to pick the best tools that will engage your unique workforce, making it essential.

Tip #4: Make intranet adoption easy

Make intranet adoption easy

Apple is known for designing products that have a sophisticated, clean design but are incredibly easy to use and adapt. Apple’s cult following that tunes in just to hear a keynote address about the new products attracts millions of viewers, which is a testament to the fact Apple has achieved the trifecta of clean, simple, and sophisticated design and usability.

How can you do this with your intranet? Through intuitive design/navigation, infallible intranet search, and interactive training. The combination of these three can make any employee fall in love and happily adopt the intranet.

Intuitive Menu navigation & design

First, intuitive design and navigation. There are many ways to organize your intranet, but keep in mind simplicity is key, less is more, and be direct.

With Mega Menu Navigation, you can quickly expand the real-estate of your traditional menu navigation by up to four times. Your global menu navigation on the top of your intranet should easily direct your employees to the primary areas of your intranet with ease and clarity.

Additionally, you can add left-hand side navigation to your intranet home page, team site, or simply any webpage to provide employees access to quick links they use daily. For example, a common form, document, site, or resource (internal or external to the intranet). Here you can also decide if using a task-based menu is more advantageous for your users (e.g., Complete Your Timesheet vs. Timesheet Form).

Super intranet search

Do you remember the early days of internet search engines, when there were no magic algorithms (I may be dating myself a little here)? When internet search seemed as archaic as those automated phone systems that never recognize my voice (e.g., Did you say “Call Bongo, there is no Bongo in your contacts”). It is an incredibly frustrating experience, and you end up giving up before completing your intended task.

Unfortunately, many employees have had this experience with poor intranet search. They have given up using the search on their intranet altogether because it never finds what they need, with countless hours wasted and productivity halted. Believe it or not, an accurate intranet search is critical to your intranet’s success and adoption. Not many intranet buyers consider this when researching intranet solutions, but it can quickly be the determining factor between the adoption or rejection of your intranet.

First, an outstanding intranet search needs to be accurate (duh!), but it also needs to allow your users to search and refine searches the way they use popular intranet search engines. You can do this with one-click search filters, visual preview displays of search results, and advanced intranet options to customize searches. To learn more about revolutionary intranet search, check out our latest release – Super Search.

Interactive & intuitive tutorials

Interactive & intuitive tutorials

Last but surely not least is helping your employees learn how to use your intranet quickly and memorable. An excellent way of doing this is with interactive tutorials that lead the user through performing the actual task step-by-step on your intranet, not simply by passively watching a video. Interactive Tutorials are compelling, memorable tools that make learning how to use the intranet and perform tasks on the intranet simple, easy, and fun.

Build a tutorial to help employees complete their Employee Profile on the intranet or teach them how to complete a routine Online Form. Interactive Tutorials are helpful for simple or complex procedures for end-users or intranet admins. The point is leading through doing increases intranet adoption exponentially.

Tip #5: Make the intranet collaborative

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a one-way conversation? These conversations make you feel juvenile, useless, and quickly bored. This is exactly how your employees can feel when information is forced on them through the intranet, but their opinion, comments, and feedback are never requested in return. This one-way communication is a surefire way to kill intranet adoption.

There are endless tools on your intranet that can open that two-way communication channel to build collaboration and community through your intranet. A few powerful and popular collaboration tools are:

  • Team/Department Sites & Project Management Sites: to create areas where team members and project members have a dedicated space to collaborate.
  • Idea Share Exchange: a dedicated space for employee feedback on your intranet, your organization, and/or other popular employee-centric topics.
  • Discussion Forums: running conversations on subject matters that interest, influence, and impact your organization.

Tip #6: A dynamic intranet is a dynamite

Once you have your intranet launched and your employees online, don’t let off the gas! Too many organizations treat the intranet as a project with a start date and end date. Once the intranet has been launched, and the basic tools on the intranet are available, they check the project as complete and move on. This is another critical error that can severely impact your intranet adoption.

The intranet should be a dynamic and evolving space for your employees to utilize, learn, and grow. This means you MUST HAVE dynamic variables, not just static content, incorporated in your intranet, such as:

  • Multi-Variable Content Feeds: these feeds keep the content on your intranet fresh and relevant, feeding in updates from various areas of your intranet.
  • Regular Blogging: blogs on your intranet from executives, departments, and/or subject matter experts keep your intranet content engaging, dynamic, and new.
  • Online Training: building training directly on your intranet with multi-media resources, online tests, and course scheduling allows employees to learn and grow on your intranet.

Keeping your intranet fresh, relevant, and dynamic will improve intranet adoption and keep your employees coming back for more.

Tip #7: Make the intranet FUN!

Team building events, Pulled-Pork Wednesdays, Casual Fridays, and Monthly Happy Hours all make the workplace more fun and create a sense of community beyond just working at the same organization or in the same building. Your intranet can be used to do this as well and can have areas dedicated to increasing the FUN in your workplace.

Some simple and rewarding ways to add fun to your intranet is simply by recognizing and rewarding your employees with:

  • Employee Recognition Nominations & Rewards
  • Featured Employee Feeds from Employee Anniversaries to Employee Birthdays
  • Shared Moment of Magic whenever a customer has been WOWed

Other ways to increase the FUN on your intranet and in your workplace is with more fun features and tools, such as:

  • Buy & Sell Exchange: an internal Craigslist for your employees
  • Recipe Exchange: for the foodies and experimentalists
  • Online Photo Albums: to share company events, employee travel photos, and more

Incorporating FUN into your intranet is simple, and there are so many ways to do the same to engage employees and improve intranet adoption. Here at IC, we update our intranet with a seasonal or timely intranet design/theme that most times involves Photoshopping employees onto different bodies or objects – all in good spirits and all for FUN.

Further, drive intranet adoption

Driving intranet adoption is ultimately the goal of every intranet, but the tips named above are not the only means of driving adoption. Have you successfully improved adoption on your intranet? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

So are you ready to drive intranet adoption at your workplace? Get yourself our complimentary internal communications assessment, as well as a 15-minute free demo call with us, today!


HR Intranet Guide

Learn how to create an employee-centric intranet with the HR Guide to an Employee-Based Intranet.


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IC transforms businesses with state-of-the-art internal comms software. Since 1999, we have connected workers to their organization's goals and each other. Adopting our purpose-built software has led to measurable successes for our customers: productivity increases, turnover decreases, and better employee experiences.