Why are so many intranets so rubbish?
“Our intranet is a joke”
“Sort out the intranet: it needs a complete overhaul – start again!”
“We need a modern, interactive intranet”
These are actual quotes from our internal comms audits for clients.
Intranets are never far from the top of the list when it comes to the aspects of internal communication employees aren’t happy with.
But why are so there so many rubbish intranets out there?
They have such an important role to play in connecting and engaging employees, helping them collaborate and giving them quick and easy access to the resources they need to do their job. They have become even more important through the pandemic, providing a digital hub for widely dispersed workforces – and that importance will continue in the world of hybrid working.
So what are the common factors in these rubbish intranets?
Lack of investment
In our audits I’m often coming across outdated intranets that were built ten years ago by in-house programmers, with virtually no money spent on them since. Can you imagine that being allowed with the business’s external website? I’m often recommending delivery of a new intranet, especially when negative feedback on the existing intranet has been a major feature of the audit and replacing it would have a major positive impact on employee experience. But there is still often reluctance to make the investment.
Owned by IT
Not looking to bash IT here as I have had great working relationships with IT partners when implementing intranets and digital platforms but it’s true to say that where the intranet has historically been owned by IT and not Communications, it’s very often not fit for purpose. I’m always recommending that new intranets are owned by Comms but of course implemented in collaboration with IT.
No social tools
It’s all very well having a resource library but people expect so much more. I often talk about people wanting the same experience with their digital tools at work as they do in their personal lives. Social is a big part of that. People want to be able to like and comment on content, publish blogs, share their experience, and ask questions.
If your intranet doesn’t have an effective feed of news stories, your people are going to be drowning in the dreaded ‘all staff emails’. Of course, there is important information that needs to be pushed into inboxes, but other stories and updates can be shared via news stories. People are used to accessing these kind of stories via e.g. the BBC news site so it’s a familiar format for them.
Out of date content
Perhaps the biggest complaint when it comes to intranets – ones that have been around a long time have pages and pages of out-of-date content. A good platform has an expiry date feature for content and owners for each page to ensure content stays up to date.
People want a clear site structure under major headings which makes it easier for them to find what they need. Just like the main websites they use on a daily basis. And linked to this…..
The Search in most old intranets is nothing short of awful and regarded by users as worse than useless, again in comparison to engines like Google a really poor user experience. Modern platforms have great search.
No integration with e.g. Microsoft Teams / Slack channels
Slack and Teams have become ever-present in the last couple of years and are now in extensive use for collaboration. A good platform should be able to integrate with Teams and Slack channels.
There’s no excuse!
All these factors add up to poor user experience. But there’s really no excuse for having a poor intranet. There are a number of out of the box platform providers out there who can give you a spanking new social intranet that ticks all the boxes in terms of functionality in less than three months, and it won’t cost the earth.
Which is why here at the Internal Comms Team we are partnering with one of the leading platform providers to provide a comprehensive intranet implementation service for our clients, a ready-made solution we can deploy following our audits. Watch this space…..
If you would like help replacing your current outdated intranet or implementing one for the first time, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org