How to set up an effective internal website?
A lot of money is invested by companies on implementing internal web sites, developing HR for the intranet to facilitate employee and management ‘self-service’. The aim is often to increase employee understanding of company goals and procedures and reduce workload on key personnel, enabling these personnel to become more strategic. Furthermore intranets can provide a greater degree of flexibility for individuals and groups as well as assist in the creation of a ‘learning organization’. However, despite the potential benefits to both the individual and the organization, utilization of these systems is generally low. So how can we get employees motivated to use self-service websites?
7 Best Practice Tips:
- Make sure each business area or department on the intranet are involved in the design, implementation and evolution of their web sections. Better still, ensure they plan and define their expectations and use of the web to ensure goal attainment. The system is far more likely to be effective if it is business needs driven.
- Ensure the end users are monitored and asked for feedback on the web sections and any changes – don’t forget though if you ask for feedback use it!
- Enthusiastic support from the very top is essential you need you people to think; ‘if the boss feels it is important then perhaps so should I’.
- All information on the web must be important, relevant to users jobs, and benefit them in their work. If you can include aspects of work that they must use or use because it is simpler (such as forms of ‘self-service’ vacation application or time recording), it will help increase usage.
- A searchable, easy to navigate, repository of information is essential – must also be up to date and current. Whilst care should be taken not to overload people with too much information, research shows staff can become more productive if they do have easy access on the intranet to a range of company documentation.
- Do ensure people are given recognition for any work published or pages developed on the web. This not only increases motivation but ensures changes can be communicated to the right person – which will increase accuracy and reliability.
- Technically the system must be fast, reliable, and easy to use. If staffs have to invest time finding information and/or struggle with the system, they will give up. There are detailed best practice guidelines for the technical development of websites available, which include use of color, format and content presentation. Which include use of color, format and content presentation, identifying new items, ensuring no broken links, and reducing the number of clicks/ease of navigation – Get a guide and stick to it
3 things to Avoid:
- Do not leave it all to the IT department to organize – it is usually a disaster. They can only take responsibility for the technical aspects, not motivating individuals or selling business practices. The strategic effectiveness of intranets will be badly affected if content and structure is left solely to IT.
- Do not assume that staff will start to use it in time, or after a short initial training course. They will need good reasons for using the system so be patient.
- Do not use as a general data repository or an uncontrolled mass-communication device. People suffering from information overload actually reduce the time and effort spent on the system and can miss the information that is valuable.
Developing these areas of best practice should enable your organization to be effective and ensure investment in intranets is not wasted.
So how is your internal intranet strategy going?