3 steps to launching a successful intranet
According to McKinsey, productivity levels increase by 20-25% when employees have access to social technologies like an intranet. However, the majority of companies are not making use of the full potential of these technologies. Find out how to launch a successful intranet that provides maximum value for your business and your employees.
Maximize the value of your intranet
There is so much potential value that can come from having a successful intranet. Many enterprises are embarking on intranet modernization to transform the way their employees work together and help them succeed in a hybrid workplace. Gartner 2022 Predictions says, “digital workplace applications play a crucial role in enabling digital dexterity and shaping employee experience.” Productivity, efficiency and collaboration have been proven to increase when employees have access to a world-class intranet. However, building a successful intranet won’t just happen magically overnight. Planning, research, and teamwork need to go into making your platform the best it can be for your employees.
Knowing their old intranet was in desperate need of a refresh, TDECU came to Unily to transform it. It was outdated, not functional, and wasn’t providing the support its users really needed. Having just launched the updated platform, employees are infinitely happier.
Let’s take you on the Texas based credit union’s journey to building their new and improved intranet, in three steps:
#1. What do your employees need?
Before anything else, the first thing to do is figure out what you want to achieve with your intranet. It can serve many purposes, but to be truly successful in your own organization, it should cater specifically to your employees’ needs.
Create a roadmap from feedback
Collecting both qualitative and quantitative feedback from employees can help you discover what the main pain points are, which can provide the foundation for the design of the intranet. If you have an existing platform, looking at the engagement across the different areas on the platform can give you a good indication of how your employees are using it. If there are certain areas that aren’t receiving the traffic you want to see, this provides an opportunity for improvement. Exploring more than just metrics, Laura Whitley, VP of Communications at TDECU tells us about the start of their intranet refresh journey:
"We partnered with a third-party employee engagement consultancy, Cultivate Results, to help us pin-point our major pain points and ensure we could solve them with a new digital workplace solution. We conducted employee listening sessions and shadowed our frontline teams to find out more about what they were using the intranet for, and what resources and access they needed."
After some digging, it became clear that one of the major problems the employees were faced with – particularly those that are member or customer facing – was not being able to access the documents and information that they needed. Being a credit union with various retail locations, many of the company’s employees deal directly with members and need to be able to bring up specific documents at the drop of a hat. They don’t have time to waste searching around to find what they need.
Whitley explains how the previous platform wasn’t providing employees the access they needed: “It was impacting not only the employee experience, but it was also creating a poor member experience.” To better facilitate frontline employees to provide the best support and service for their customers, the intranet needed a facelift.
Encourage employee involvement from the start
Getting employee input early on is valuable for more than simply providing guidance and a jumping off point for an intranet transformation. Making them aware of the project and keeping them involved will create a sense of ownership and pique their interest before it’s even been launched. For TDECU, the comms team publicized the upcoming intranet through newsletters and updates on the old intranet as soon as they launched the project. They were also keen to get input from employees.
"We engaged early on with employees in terms of selection of the actual logo and name for the new intranet. We wanted to make it a fun, collaborative process where everyone could get involved."
The name they chose for the new intranet was The Vault. Being a credit union and financial institution, it has both a literal and practical interpretation, as well as alluding to the idea that it is the single source of truth for important company information.
4 ways to use intranet feedback forms to engage employees
Two-way communications will be a hallmark of the new employee-employer relationship. Feedback has always been crucial, and it will only become more important as organizations refine their strategy for success in the new world of work. But how can you make sure every employee’s voice gets heard and how is your competition already ahead?
#2. Make your vision a reality with the right platform
Recognizing the areas for improvement can help determine what platform you use to best address those changes. Employees and internal communicators alike need a more modern, digital workplace solution that allows them to maintain, grow and foster a culture within the organization while also embracing the flexible working environment. In today’s fast-evolving environment, having an agile platform that’s fit for growth will help its ongoing success in your organization. TDECU for example, suffered from stagnant tech that wasn’t evolving with the times. Needing a platform that demonstrated consistent, leading-edge innovation with the toolset to allow customization, they came to Unily.
"Our previous intranet did not have any type of customization available. It was built for the time it was built, but as we've all continued to be digital users with access to different applications outside of work, it becomes a labor to try to get them to engage with a platform that is increasingly antiquated. The user has come to expect a more modern tool on par with all the other platforms we’re exposed to, and we’ve been able to create this with the widgets Unily provides."
How to decide what intranet software is best for you
There is little doubt of the benefits of modern intranet software over an aging, static legacy intranet. But with so many options out there, how do you know where to start? Download our comprehensive guide today to understand the questions you should be asking before deciding upon intranet software.
Customize features to tailor your intranet to your enterprise
By personalizing the features to suit your employees’ needs, you can make your intranet work for you. Most organizations want to streamline processes into a single source of truth to make things easier and more convenient for employees. When designed strategically, a single platform has the potential to unite everyone in the company around common goals and values, while still enabling diverse employees to tailor their experience to their own role and location-based needs.
Whitley says, “In terms of our strategic priorities, what we were really trying to achieve is bringing excellence to the experience.”
There were two key targets for TDECU when coming to Unily:
Having the ability to track metrics.
"We were investing quite a bit of resources into our intranet and employee communications, but we weren't able to track the reach or usage with any great accuracy. Any feedback was anecdotal, we didn’t have any metrics or data to know what was working. The fact that Unily provides the option to track analytics and discover this information was pretty exciting.”"
Integrating disparate tools together on one platform.
"Our employee teams have to rely on different apps and tools depending on their roles to perform their job functions within the credit union. So we built a one-stop hub that connects our users to everything they need. We were able to integrate the applications and provide a feature where people can preselect the ones that they use most frequently. The way it’s presented clearly with an explanation of each app makes such a difference to the user experience."
#3. Ready. Set. Launch
Once the first version of your intranet has been set up, you’re ready to launch. Although you’ve been getting employee feedback along the way while building the platform, it’s always a good idea to have a soft launch first with a small test group to see how it lands. This gives you the opportunity to iron out any small issues you might have, and it’ll give you more confidence that the full launch will be successful and glitch-free.
Whitley tells us, “When we initiated the soft launch, we were looking to achieve two goals: First, to gain feedback in terms of what we built out in the design to be able to make any needed tweaks, and second, to help manage the change across the entire organization.”
Prepare your employees for the change
When there’s a big change within the company, especially something that will be directly affecting employees, preparing them for it can eliminate any surprises or teething problems. Ahead of The Vault launch, TDECU’s plan was to engage “change ambassadors” – a strategy they often use for major changes throughout the enterprise – to become the early users and experts of utilizing the new platform. This team would then be able to guide the rest of their teams when it came to the full launch.
How to make video the heart of your internal communications
TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts; the rapid rise of short-form and video content is dominating the internet – why should intranets be any different? For departments used to written word comms, producing video content can seem daunting. So, we’re offering best practices for how to leverage video within your comms strategy and the tech that will help you do it best.
In addition, the learning and development team created a series of orientation videos with an overview of the platform, pages and tools. The videos also went into more detail about how to use specific features like the people directory, search functions and the departmental areas.
Create hype around the launch
Sharing updates in the upcoming weeks before the launch can inform everyone in the company about what’s going on. These updates can be published on both the old intranet, as well as the new intranet (for any test users that are already on the new platform), and in newsletters. To draw even more attention, awareness and excitement to the launch date, TDECU implemented a big countdown ticker on The Vault. Making the experience even more fun, TDECU sent out mini red vaults to all their employees to create hype around the launch. “We were hoping to deliver a great experience right from the get-go so that we could really get the adoption we desired,” says Whitley.
All their efforts proved to be a success. On the day of the launch, 645 employees accessed The Vault, with 8259 homepage views and 4580 total searches. Within the first week of launching, The Vault saw 1026 employees (the entire organization) access the platform, with a whopping 39,590 views. “The launch was extremely successful! We had minimal issues, and the feedback has been excellent” Whitley tells us.
10 essentials for staging the ultimate intranet launch
Launch activities are an essential part of maximizing returns on an intranet investment. Planning an effective launch gets new sites buzzing from day one, resulting in faster adoption and increased engagement. Whether there’s budget available – or just manpower and internal communications – the key to a successful intranet launch is having a solid plan backed by reams of enthusiasm.
Continue delivering excellence post-launch
Launching the intranet is not the end of the journey. Continuous feedback from users will help to keep improving the platform with every iteration.
"We are building a launch dashboard – a status page to empower employees if they have any questions to be able to refer to certain references. If there are any known issues, we can post that there and give them a road map in terms of utilizing the platform."
Life after intranet launch
The first step always seems the biggest, but there’s still a long road ahead. Episode 6 of the Unily podcast sees our very own expert in life after launch, Customer Success Manager Sanika Gentles, join Paul Seda, Kaitlin Auriemma, and Matthew Boyd to talk about the key drivers of your employee experience platform’s success; now, and long into the future.
Working together with your employees allows you to unlock the full potential of a great intranet. And adapting to employees’ ever-evolving needs keeps the intranet current and valuable, continuing to support employees moving forward.
Find out more about how Unily can help you to launch an intranet that transforms productivity and engagement and get started with a free demo today.
Get started. Get your free demo.
Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.