— Written By Liam Dawson —
My first experience of a corporate intranet was a little over fifteen years ago when on a sandwich year in industry. At the time it was like logging on to the matrix, an ominous black screen welcomed you adorned with staff memos and notice boards with various links to files buried deep on a server no one had access to. In short it was awful and no one, other than IT used it.
In those fifteen years the digital world has significantly changed, reinvented itself and become a huge part of all our lives. However, it would appear the world of corporate intranets has remained…well just that, it’s remained. Untouched, Unloved and Unengaged.
In its simplest form an intranet is a series of information pages. These are usually grouped under a home page or a series of landing pages, that then link to other pages, files and downloads… sounds a bit like a website.
If you type ‘intranet’ into Google, you discover that ‘intranet’ is not only a noun, but is ‘a local or restricted communications network, especially a private network created using World Wide Web software.’
So it is just like a website then, only private.
The important word here is ‘communications’. More and more organisations are now communicating to their employees through digital and so naturally turn to their intranet to do this. It is here where they often encounter SharePoint or a similar web application – which don’t get me wrong, are very powerful business tools and have very specific purposes, but as a tool to engage, excite and invite user participation are not so great.
Take a company website, if done properly, time will have been taken to understand the audience and plan the various user journeys through the site, looking at content hierarchy, structure and information architecture. This will then be wrapped up in a beautifully crafted and branded digital experience, and of course respond to whatever device the user is on – So why should a corporate intranet be any different? Is not the communication to employees equally important to that of the customer?
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as an Agency we have seen a steady rise in the number of businesses that are now looking at their internal digital communications with fresh eyes. As a result we have worked with the likes of Greencore, Nectar, Hasbro and though partner Agency Words & Pictures, Direct Line, Easy Jet and Specsavers.
Each time we find similar challenges and familiar looking Matrix environments with low employee engagement, high bounce rates, and little participation. With the same approach we take when planning, designing and developing websites, the ‘intranets’ we craft have seen employee engagement levels rise from circa 10% to over 90%.
Employees will consume and engage with other brand experiences online, so why shouldn’t the communication experience from the brand they work for be just as exciting?