Have you ever been asked to update an intranet site for a business? I mean, one that was horribly out of date, not user-friendly or even business-focused?
If you haven’t, but are a communicator, you may one day be asked to do so.
How would you go about it? Do you know?
I can share what I did with one site (I’ve managed a few of these projects in my time).
When this one oil & gas intranet site went live, the team I worked with did expect a few more requests for edits to come our way (as that always happens), but we were pleasantly surprised at the “Kudos” e-mails we received. (Usually it’s more like “no news is good news”.)
I’d like to say we were all fabulously clairvoyant and knew exactly what to do to make the site a success, but the reality is that we made sure we didn’t operate in a vacuum.
What We Did
From the start, we included the business employees in the project. We interviewed employees in each business unit, confirmed information with the leaders, and made sure we connected with those located in different countries.
Including employees across the globe helps ensure you don’t accidentally do something wrong or offensive to other cultures.
We asked them the following:
- How did they currently use the site?
- How did they want to use the site?
Why did we ask those two questions? This site was about them. If employees did not find it user-friendly and containing the information they wanted and needed (in addition to required information), they weren’t going to use it.
As we put together the wireframes (a wireframe is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of a website) and built out the site, we continued to engage employees and team leaders by holding conference calls or sending them previews. This was to ensure we all stayed on the same page (no pun intended), and we got as much correct/approved information right from the beginning.
So, as the site went live, it was, for all intent and purposes, correct!! It was well thought out, many dead and duplicate pages had been deleted (savings right there!) and employees liked the fact that the most used tools and links were up front.
In addition, the site was set up to help achieve the goal of explaining and defining what the business as a whole does and how it benefits the company. Key business and branding messages for all employees to know and use!
The Key Factor
I’m going to repeat what I wrote earlier in this post: From the start, we included the business employees in the project. We interviewed employees in each business unit, confirmed information with the leaders, and made sure we connected with those located in different countries.
THAT was the key factor. If you don’t include employees and business contacts in the development of the intranet site, you won’t succeed in giving anyone what they need to run the business, stay up on company news, and find information to help them help themselves.
Include employees. Don’t let them control the project, but listen to their input – they know what the need to make sure the business succeeds.
Ensure you have a good web design team that is up-to-date on web trends, especially when it comes to mobile-friendly sites, for example.
Developing or updating any website can be a fun, successful project. Needless to say that in this case, we stacked the odds in our favor, and it paid off – including employees is key to achieving your communication objectives.
Wireframe image by “Profilewireframe” by http://www.flickr.com/people/doos/ – http://www.flickr.com/photos/doos/3931846833/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Profilewireframe.png#/media/File:Profilewireframe.pn
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