Intranet Refresh Case Study

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Challenge

A division of a global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company needed a complete overhaul of both its communication channels and its content strategy. Due to recent changes inside the organization, employees were feeling disconnected and were in need of direction of the overall strategy of the organization.

The problem wasn’t a lack of information—in fact is was just the opposite. Employees were inundated with multiple email messages, multiple internal websites and several e-newsletters. Employees just couldn’t keep up with it all, and as a result the most important messages and stories weren’t getting through.

Methodology

  • Thirteen employee and manager focus groups throughout the organization
  • Eight executive interviews
  • All -employee communication survey
  • Planning summit with the communication team

Key Findings

  • Employees needed a better understanding of the big picture strategy of the organization. How did their specific day-to-day functions help the organization achieve its goals?
  • Employees highly regarded the executive team. They wanted to hear more from them: What was their perspective on their progress, industry and competition? We needed to grab this opportunity and integrate it into our communication strategy.
  • Managers need more targeted communications along with more specific direction on their role in communications.
  • Internal content and news needed to be easier to find and more targeted to internal audiences.
  • The intranet needed a complete overhaul to accommodate these changes.
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Our extensive research reports help to paint a picture of what’s currently working and not working.

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Recommendations

Create one central place for your most important messages and stories … a refreshed and revamped Intranet home page After talking with employees, managers and executives it was very clear that they needed one central place to go to find news and stories about the organization and specifically, their division. Here were our main recommendations, based on industry best practices and our research:

A new and improved news hole, featuring one major story, with a graphic, headline, and room for a concise summary. It would also feature room for two other feature stories—both of which were originally the main feature story, and when the main feature is refreshed, they move first into the #2 slot, and then the #3 slot, before being archived. These features will not have a graphic, but will have room for a strong headline and concise blurb.

A regular executive feature. A strong executive presence is critical to drawing people to the site. This could be a mix of any or all of the following: Executive Q&A, blog-like column, a video or even a podcast or webcast.

“Advertisements.” Many internal clients had content they need to push out on a regular basis. In order to address this need without watering down the main news and feature stories (which we wanted to be only proactive, strategic, highly creative pieces), we decided to have three regular spots for internal “ads” down the right side of the home page. These could be catch-all spots for internal announcements and other housekeeping items that aren’t worthy of making it into the news hole. It will also help us filter out some of the less strategic content and turn it into an ad instead.

Provide a special “Leader News” link for managers, where we would provide talking points and other communications tools for topics that are important enough that we want our managers to cascade the information to the workforce. The criteria here is that this information needs to be unique to managers, and not found anywhere else, so they see value in the content.

Finally, we recommended a regular “People Presence” on the home page. These photo-rich kinds of features have been proven to be a major draw to intranets. The success of this feature relies on engaging, non-posed photos of employees … not they typical grip-and-grin or “execution at dawn” shots We would love to see compelling photos with well-written captions run on a regular basis to help employees connect with each other and pull them into the site.

Once the revised home page of the Intranet was up and running our second major recommendation was to stop the white noise. Through our research, we identified several publications that employees just weren’t paying attention to. Our advice was to stop doing them and focus on what will give you the most impact … your intranet home page. With an ongoing measurement strategy, we’ll keep an eye out for any topics, features or formats employees are missing and add them in, if there’s a business case to do so.

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The new intranet home page is only as good as the content that is posted there. Using our News Desk strategy, we worked with the communication team to create a new strategy and process to help them identify the content they should be doing, and filter out the stories that don’t support their communication strategy. This will be the key to continually providing content that is engaging, education and relevant to employees.

Results

The intranet home page before:

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Our recommended layout after our planning meeting with the communicators:

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The home page after:

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