How to Engage the Unwired, Non-Digital Workforce

By Caitlin Percival
June 28, 2022
5 min read
woman working in a non digital workplace

Have you drank too much of your own Kool-aid? Have you become out of touch with how your employees are actually interfacing with your intranet? It is easy to do…getting caught up in the hype, neglecting the end user. Unfortunately, this is all too common with software and with those administering it.

An Intranet Overdose?

Ask yourself these 3 questions to determine if you are out of touch with the needs of your end users, your employees:

  1. Do your employees login to your intranet consistently (e.g. daily, weekly)?
  2. Do you know what your employees use on your intranet daily?
  3. Does more than 50% of your workforce actively use your intranet?

If you answered “yes” to all three of these questions, then congratulations – you haven’t lost touch with reality and you are drinking just the right amount of Kool-Aid. However, if you answered “no” any of these three questions, your Kool-aid may be too strong and you need to take a step back to remember “Who”, “What” and “Why” of your intranet.

The Workforce “Who” of Your Intranet

Answering these questions can become even more challenging when you are a dealing with an unwired, non-digital workforce or mobile workforce. By mobile, I don’t necessarily mean a traveling employee, but one that is not tethered to a desk day-to-day.

In some cases this could be customer facing, front-line employees, such as those that work at a local market. New Seasons Market, a stellar customer of IC, shared with me the challenges of engaging an unwired, mobile workforce that are on “the floor” day-to-day, without access to the intranet at their fingertips.

More than 50% of the New Seasons Market workforce work on of the floor of the market as cashiers and in departments (e.g. deli, floral, etc.), they don’t have instant access to the intranet throughout the workday. So how does New Seasons Market engage these unwired, non-digital, mobile workers? Reed Coleman, Internal Communications Manager at New Seasons Market, and her team got creative.

  • First, enabling workers to access the intranet from break rooms through providing designated tablets with intranet access.
  • Second, engaging workers to own the intranet as their resource with an Intranet Naming Contest – now named “The Pantry”.
  • Third, providing relevant content with the “Hey Everybody” Blog that update all employees the latest info at the market and employee news and sharing it on storyboard.
  • Forth, catering to the end user, celebrate personal milestones with a “Promotion & Anniversary” blogs that feature employees with notable achievements and tenure.
  • Fifth, delivering valuable resources to employees with new job postings, access to benefits/HR resources, and employee onboarding workflows.

Engaging your “Who” on your intranet looks different for every organization and likely there isn’t just one “Who”. Many times there are multiple “Who”s, from your Executive Team, all the way down to your front line employees. Remembering the “Who” your intranet services and how to make access to the intranet easier for them, whether it be through supplying dedicated intranet stations throughout your workplace or defaulting the intranet as the homepage for every internet browser.

The “What” of Your Intranet

Again, the “What” will differ based on your workforce as well – but “What” are your employees accessing on the intranet? If you don’t know “What” or have “What” on your intranet, you are in trouble – step away from the Kool-Aid.

Even though “What” can be different from organization to organization, there are many similarities, such as relevant content (e.g. company news/announcements, employee benefit information, etc.), valuable resources (e.g. employee onboarding forms, online training, etc.) and employee communications/collaboration tools (e.g. discussion forums, blogs,  department sites).

Another stellar customer, San Diego Humane Society, who also has an unwired, mobile and active workforce recently shared with me how they keep the “What” on their intranet relevant to the “Who” through delivering engaging, relevant and meaningful content/resources, such as:

  • Successful Animal Adoption Stories & Pictures
  • Spot On Employee Recognition Awards
  • Homeward Bound Organization Goals & Percent Completion Status
  • Animal Safety Online Training & Course Resources
  • Fit Fur Life Fitness Program & Meatless Monday Recipes

It is obvious by the type of content that the San Diego Human Society delivers they are “Spot On” with the “Who” their intranet services and the “What” is relevant to this audience. Did I mention that even the name of their intranet is “What” relevant – Fetch.

The “Why” of Your Intranet

The “Why” can be the most difficult to answer. The “Why” is what keeps your employees coming back to your intranet for more. The “Why” is the hook and the habit that has to be created to truly engage. Obviously, this “Why” is again even more challenging with an unwired, non-digital and mobile workforce. So how can you address the “Why” in this scenario?

Both New Seasons Market and San Diego Humane Society have done this well by drawing in their “Who” with the “What” and ingraining triggers to get these workers back on the intranet more regularly. San Diego Humane Society got even more creative by building an Intranet Scavenger Hunt that got their workforce to different and new areas of the intranet through this contest and it worked. They introduced their unwired workforce to different areas of Fetch, their intranet, that now these workers frequent today.

New Seasons Market also thought out-of-the-box and retrained their unwired, non-digital workforce to come to their intranet to find the information they sought through starting the “Hey Everybody” blog. This blog is dedicated to those necessary, but annoying all employee emails that get sent too often throughout the workday. By including all this information on the “Hey Everybody” blog they were able to 100% eliminate all employee emails, while triggering employees to look on the intranet to find this information. Again, ingraining the “Why” to keep even unwired, mobile employees coming back.

Engaging the Unwired, Mobile Workforce

These are just a few examples of engaging an unwired, mobile workforce, but there is much more you can do. Do you have an example of how you have successfully executed the “Who”, “What” and “Why” of your intranet on a non-tradition, unwired workforce in this highly digital age? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

By Caitlin Percival

Caitlin is a strategy-driven marketing professional with over six years of experience. She is well versed in goal-driven initiatives and her efforts in digital marketing have included numerous successful marketing campaigns, building and executing social media portfolios and creative storytelling. She holds a Digital and Mobile Marketing Certificate from Simon Fraser University as well as a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours Marketing) degree from the University of Guelph. When she's not in the office, you'll find her in the mountains either skiing or hiking.