You can define employees in three categories:
- Engaged employees who drive innovation and are passionate about their job;
- Non-engaged employees who put minimal effort into their job;
- Actively disengaged employees who act out their unhappiness and look to undermine the company.
Many companies turn to their intranet as a tool to help keep employees engaged. Intranets can be defined as ‘a communication platform that users within an organisation can share content and work collaboratively’. The platform can be used to allow employees across multiple offices to work together, provide a singular location for documents and knowledge or even be used as a social platform to improve employee relations.
But what happens when the intranet itself isn’t engaging or being used as you hoped? Here’s a few tips to help identify low intranet engagement and what to look out for when putting together a strategy to improve it.
Top signs of low Intranet engagement
Struggling to get people to post internally
Considering the purpose of an intranet, one of the worst things that can happen is for the intranet to be devoid of user-published content. Whether this content is a blog post or a social call-out to fellow employees, an intranet without content is already dead in the water. A lack of users publishing content is a sure sign of low intranet engagement. This is not to be confused with employees who do not have relevant content to post, these users may not have content worth publishing but they will still actively engage, comment on or “like” posts on the intranet.
Some companies may not see regular user publishing as a form of intranet engagement and maybe even view it as a distraction from “real” work. However, intranet user publishing provides a number of benefits to both users and the company itself.
- Promotes knowledge sharing
Internal blogging gives team members the platform to share expertise or personal insights. Without a proper outlet for team members to share knowledge, the company risks losing that knowledge should the team member leave. Previously, knowledge has been shared via email but there is an increased risk of users spamming team members with unnecessary knowledge or sending it to the right people. By posting it on the intranet, viewable by all, it allows the team members to decide for themselves if the information is relevant to them.
- Increases productivity
As mentioned previously, an intranet provides a singular location for documents and knowledge to be stored. This can save employees time that they would otherwise be spending searching for content or learning from scratch. This saved time can then be invested back into the work. Other methods or tools such as Group Explorer can also be used to save employees time looking for information every day. Regular knowledge posts on the intranet is one method which can be implemented as soon as possible. It could be argued that user posts take employees time away from “real” work but a study from New York University’s Stern School of Business and Carnegie Mellon showed the opposite. Research found that the key to a thriving internal blog is to allow employees to post both personal and work-relevant content. When limitations were placed on the personal content that employees could post, blog posting decreased by 90%
- Build employee relationships
By allowing users to post personal blogs or “non-work” related content, users become engaged with their colleagues, creating and strengthening employee relationships. Improved employee relationships provide a more unified workforce which easily communicates and collaborates with each other.
- Encourages employees to speak up
Naturally within a company, some voices are heard louder than others due to the workplace hierarchy. An intranet platform in which people can post regular content provides a platform for all employees to voice what they have to say. This form of internal communications sends the message that the company wants to hear from the employees.
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Struggling to get views on the newsletter
Companies of all sizes have intranets as it’s a pretty standard practice of keeping employees updated and interested with company news. However, engagement with these newsletters can be quite low. This is despite there being links to all of the company’s social media platforms to allow colleagues to share company news. But if employees aren’t engaging with the newsletter in the first place then there is no chance of them sharing it. It could also be a sign that the messaging or branding within the newsletter isn’t connecting with employees which is why they are not engaging with it. There could be a couple different reasons to why the newsletter isn’t hitting the mark with employees.
- Boring and not interesting
It could simply be a case that employees aren’t engaging with the newsletter because they find it boring and are not interested in the content within. The content within the newsletter could be coming from marketing or comms but often it is approved by leadership, who would find different things interesting then what the rest of the company might find interesting. To create interesting content for the whole company, input from different departments may be required.
- Company news vs topics
It makes sense that an internal company newsletter would be full of information about the company. However, it would be foolish to think that the entire newsletter is purely this. As mentioned previously, content which is not interesting to employees will go unopened and company updates may be considered not interesting to some employees. Employees in general however do like to read and share interesting topics, ideas and thoughts about the industry. A mixture of both company news and relevant topics for employees to engage with is the best way to engage employees with the newsletter.
No one can find anything on the intranet
When employees struggle to find what they are looking for on the intranet they become disengaged with the platform and slowly less people use it. This can lead to low levels of employee engagement as they can’t use one of the platform’s main functions. Here are some of the major reasons that employees can’t find what they are looking for on the intranet.
- Outdated content
One of the core purposes of the intranet is to allow users to share and collaborate on work. If users aren’t posting content on the site or the team managing the intranet isn’t, it discourages employees from engaging with it as they will think it’s all old news with nothing relevant. It is important to remain consistent with content and produce it on a regular basis. The reverse of this could be that if there is too much old content on the intranet, it then becomes difficult for users to find similar content but more recent. Older content should be archived and filtered correctly to allow users the ability to properly search for the required materials.
- Difficult Navigation
Usability and functionality of the search bar within an intranet is key to allow employees to find what they are looking for. An ugly interface or a difficult to operate navigation can easily put users off. A simple to use navigation is ideal for a search functionality within an intranet.
An intranet with a lot of content can feel congested, especially if there isn’t a specific role or team managing the content. By having a person/ team taking ownership, they can support staff into learning and adapting. Also, they are the team that handles and processes issues within the intranet, should they arise. Ultimately, this will encourage employees to be more engaging with the software.
- Undiscoverable content
A user may know the exact name of a file they are trying to access and search for that within the intranet, however if the content within the intranet is poorly organised, limited or does not use correct tagging or metadata then it can be difficult to find and engagement rates will fall as staff frustration levels increase. Discovering content across all areas of the site, via search, also needs to be repeatable. For example, users will expect to find HR information by following the same processes as the way they find IT information.
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An intelligent digital workspace
ClearPeople have been designing intranets and digital workspaces for over 16 years. Our latest innovation, Atlas, is an intelligent digital workspace which puts user engagement front and centre. If you’re looking to truly understand what is working for your users, Atlas and its analytics package offers deep reporting for your organisation’s use of the platform, its inventory, activities, and assets.
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