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Employee Intranet

Driving Intranet Adoption: 8 Sure-Fire Ways To Get Engagement

Tuesday, October 26, 2021Written by Nicky Hoyland

Imagine this. You’ve spent months planning your new company intranet and now it’s ready for launch. From building a business case to making sure everything is up to date and working correctly, you’re convinced that your new hub won’t go the way of other intranets. This one, the one you planned and built, is destined to go the distance.

So the big day arrives and you press the big red button. But nobody shows up.

What you thought would be a hub for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and communication is a ghost town.

Sounds like a nightmare, right?

Unfortunately, this situation isn’t uncommon. While we know intranets can be a fantastic way to bring information together and communicate with your workforce, driving user adoption of these employee hubs (or in fact any kind of new tool or process) is challenging for a number of reasons.

What’s most frustrating is that this kind of passive resistance to change can be a real barrier to productivity and growth. And low user adoption can make getting buy-in for future investments much harder.

So it’s much better to get it right the first time and gain commitment and interest in your new initiatives from the get-go. But how?

Driving Intranet Adoption

In this article we’re going to look at how you can go about driving intranet adoption to ensure your new portal isn’t left to gather dust on a virtual shelf. Let’s get started!

Why Do Employees Hate Using Intranets?

While we like to focus on the positives as much as possible here at Huler, sometimes it’s helpful to start with the negatives. In this case…why on earth do employees hate using intranets?

It’s fair to say that intranets are almost universally hated. In pretty much any organisation they are dismissed outright or begrudgingly used. In the onboarding process, they are little more than an afterthought.

This underwhelming legacy is likely the number one reason why intranet adoption is low. To put it simply, if employees have had a bad experience with a present or past corporate intranet, they’re less likely to use it.

Your people are likely to hate using the company intranet because it is:

  • Out of date
  • Impossible to navigate
  • Lacking the tools employees actually need
  • Boring
  • Slow and clumsy
  • Ugly
  • Inflexible

And they bring all of these misconceptions to the table when you present them with a shiny new intranet or portal to use. Which is frustrating, for sure, but also understandable.

8 Ways To Drive Intranet Adoption & Maximise Engagement

While intranets aren’t very well loved by employees, they actually are very useful when implemented correctly.

In an age where employees are working remotely more frequently, intranets are a great way of keeping information, tools, software and apps in one place. They’re also a great tool for HR teams and leaders to communicate information internally to wider teams.

The problem is, what once was an innovative solution thirty years ago has now become somewhat of a dinosaur. Millennial and Gen Z employees, who are used to user-friendly, accessible technology, find these clumsy, old and boring repositories unengaging and difficult to navigate. And as a result, they just don’t bother with them at all.

But, if you’re implementing a super cool, new highly intuitive intranet like HulerHub, of course you’re going to want to smash down common misconceptions and drive adoption from day one. Not just because it makes you look good but because these tools genuinely save time and help distributed teams stay connected and engaged.

Make It Mobile Friendly

Your employees want to work well from anywhere. If your new intranet can facilitate this kind of agility and flexibility, it is a sure fire way to get employees using it every single day. The best way to do this is by making your intranet responsive on any device, from anywhere in the world – especially mobiles.

Think of it this way: your employees are trained to reach for their devices when they need to do pretty much anything. Especially in their personal life. If you can build work into their own devices, barriers to productivity simply fall away. Employees are empowered to be productive whether they are travelling, on the frontline or otherwise. What’s more, they have the flexibility and freedom to tune in to the flow of work at times that best suit them, giving them a better work-life balance.

Set An Example

If HR, senior leaders and managers don’t bother using your new intranet, then why would anyone else? Like anything in your business, it’s crucial for those at the top to set an example and become advocates for any new initiatives that may come along – including intranets.

One of the biggest benefits of an intranet is that it can be used for internal communications. If your stakeholders, senior leaders and the C-Suite are present and active from day one, from sharing posts to utilising all the new cool features involved in your new intranet, then other employees will be empowered and incentivised to follow suit.

Keep It Simple

Thanks to technology, the world is pretty much our oyster nowadays. We can watch what we want, when we want, on any device. We can shop for groceries in a few clicks and have the food delivered directly to our door in minutes. And the wild part is, we take this all for granted. In fact, when we can’t do these things it’s a source of annoyance and irritation.

This shows just how quickly we can adopt new technology when it is innovative, exciting and makes our lives easier.

This is exactly what is required to drive intranet adoption; a platform that is intuitive and helps employees work smarter with no need for a huge learning curve to get the best out of it.

Solve Real Life Problems

Building on point 3, your intranet should actually solve real life problems. If it doesn’t, can you really expect anyone to use it or feel strongly about it? Probably not!

When it comes to building your intranet, you should make it your mission to fully understand the challenges of the business and your employees.

What do they need from an intranet and why? What problems need solving?

On the hunt for the perfect intranet, it’s easy to get side-tracked by all the bells and whistles. But to really get the most out of a new platform, you should have a good understanding of how it aims to help the people who will use it most. Without that, you can be sure your intranet will become a ghost town pretty soon post-launch.

Actually Use It

If you want your new intranet to become a hive of activity, you have to make it so.

It’s not enough for you to just build it, and hope they come. Put on a show, too!

Intranets bring many benefits to the table. Not only are they great for putting documents and content in one place, they’re also a great way to communicate internally and keep employees engaged.

Your intranet should form part of your internal communications strategy and it should be the first stop for every employee on the hunt for internal news and content.

If you’d like to go one better, you can also make use of personalisation features to ensure you reach employees with the most relevant internal comms to them. When they see that their dashboards or hubs are tailored to them and their needs, they’re way more likely to engage with it in the future.

Make It Visual

One of the biggest complaints about intranets is that they are clumsy, dull and uninspiring.

Again, let’s take a look at the technology your people choose to engage with in their day to day life. The majority of it is highly visual.

The menu on Netflix isn’t just a boring list of TV shows and films. It’s a visual smorgasbord of interactivity. Simply browsing through the menu users can watch a trailer, read a summary and see which actors star feature – all at a glance.

Similarly, our smartphones now all present us with organised and visually striking home screens which we can customise to our heart’s desire. From our wallpaper to which tiles are visible and easily accessible, these pieces of technology don’t dictate to us how we should use them. Rather, they give us the flexibility to create systems and flows that work for us and our normal routines.

Your new intranet can solve all the problems in the world but if it isn’t engaging…no one will use it. If you’re committed to driving adoption, your intranet should be designed with user experience in mind, and it should be up to the same standard as the tech we all use day to day, because that is the benchmark of our expectations.

Allow For Personalisation

Your internal branding is important. It makes the employee experience consistent and helps your people feel connected to the business. With that in mind, your intranet should absolutely look and feel like it’s part of your brand.

But it should go that bit further too as well. We all love having access to technology that’s personalised to us. From dark mode to profile pictures and reaction gifs, many of us make use of these kinds of features day in, day out. So, why not your intranet?

When your employees can own their virtual space, they’re more likely to want to use it every single day because they find it works for them.

Give Your People What They Want

The main reason why intranet adoption fails is that the design doesn’t actually work for the people who will be using it.

Whether you’re creating a portal, digital workplace, intranet or other online space for your employees, it needs to solve the problems they face every day. And to do that effectively…you need to have a thorough understanding of the problems they face every day.

One of the biggest features of an intranet guaranteed to drive adoption is flexibility. Everyone’s workflows and preferences are different, not to mention essential tools, systems and software can vary widely between departments and teams. If nothing else, your intranet should be flexible enough for employees to create a system within it that works for them and feels like something they can take ownership of.

It’s Cooler To Huler

Here at Huler, we have developed an intranet solution that employees love. HulerHub is an employee portal that is personal, efficient and fun to use. As an intranet, it acts as the front door to all of the tools, systems and content employees need to access every single day. It puts internal communications front and centre to ensure that important updates never get missed and employees feel connected wherever they work from.

To find out more about HulerHub and see it in action, book your personalised demo today.

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