One of the most common challenges faced by an intranet manager is discovering ways to encourage employees to sign into and utilize the intranet that they have worked so hard to create. In my experience, this is most often an IT admin within the company who has been tasked with developing an intranet to meet a specific company need such as an Online E-forms Application, a Document Management System, or a tool to enhance workplace culture.

What often ends up happening, however, is that the optional applications and capabilities of the intranet exceed the initial sought for applications – while higher ups send you to look for an Online Forms Application, you discover that this software can also house documents, create multiple sub-sites, build content pages, develop a corporate contacts directory, manage company calendars, facilitate employee training and more. What was thought to be a software managed by one IT admin, suddenly becomes a job for multiple employees.

The Unintended Bottleneck

During the initial intranet demo, the IT admin will likely ask about the specific application or applications being sought after, and be happy to discover there is also an employee directory and a form builder. They will browse over the other applications and functionality, perhaps see the added benefit but not recognize the immediate need for them. After the software is purchased, however, those sneaky marketing or HR employees will catch wind of these extra features/applications and want to use them!

Since the software was purchased by IT, it makes sense for content to be posted by the IT admin. So it goes, the IT admin will open up the Company News Application and ask for requests from employees on content they would like to post, then open up the Job Openings Application for requests to post new jobs from within the company and so on and so forth. This continues until the IT admin, who was tasked to find an intranet platform, is suddenly receiving, reviewing and posting content to 20+ applications with various folders.

Exploring Internal Collaboration

The biggest hurdle with internal collaboration is finding someone who wants to take on the responsibility. You may find that no one in HR wants to be in charge of finding, writing and posting company news. You may think that even bribing your marketing team won’t convince them to manage the company blog. If you find yourself running into these roadblocks you may want to ask yourself, “it is really important that the person writing company news or company blog is in the HR or marketing department?”

If that is the case, forget the ‘naysayers’ and find the ‘passionate doers’ – the intranet advocates. Find the employees whose eyes light up at the notion of document management, or who would love to take on and update the company knowledgebase. The employees that are thrilled to be able to create and design their very own department site without any training or programming skills required. These employees are your intranet champions and your key to internal intranet collaboration.

Intranet Collaboration Benefits

Involving many different parties in your organization in the implementation of your intranet can create some desirable benefits for your team, including:

    • Investment, from multiple parties, in your intranet’s success (not just IT).
    • Increase in the number early adopters on your intranet.
    • Spike in employee engagement through collaboration on your intranet deployment.
    • Better ideas for features and content on your intranet from multiple stakeholders.

Internal collaboration when deploying and managing your intranet boosts employee engagement on your intranet and in your workplace. I’d love to hear your success stories on how empowering intranet advocates in your company has turned your intranet into the best place to connect, collaboration and create in your workplace. Please comment below.