The decision to purchase and implement enterprise software tools like intranets, digital workplace solutions and productivity tools is driven by a number of challenges.
Improving communication, engagement and productivity while trying to reduce voluntary turnover rates are often cited as the main reasons why businesses and organizations feel compelled to splash the cash on a combination of software and hardware.
But spending money without proper planning is merely papering over the cracks – cracks that will be more difficult and costly to repair over time. Businesses that fail to do their homework before introducing new technologies to the workplace usually end up with a poorly adopted solution and a frustrated workforce that will either refuse to use the solution or, worse, be forced to use it. To lead a successful intranet project, decision makers need to identify challenges and figure out what their employees need and want in order to be more productive.
Based on our experience here at eXo, we are often faced with the same question by our potential clients: we have an intranet solution in place that nobody seems to use. How can I get my employees on board with my new ideas and tools?
In this blog post, we will examine the main reasons why your employees hate your outdated intranet, and the necessary steps to achieving a better adoption rate.
Your intranet is probably out of touch
With the surge in new technologies and communication channels like social media, messaging apps and a variety of applications for virtually anything we do on a daily basis, employees – especially millennials and Gen Z – expect the same tech in the workplace.
Providing your employees with a static intranet portal and expecting them to be instantly engaged and productive is like getting your kids an Atari for Christmas and expecting them to play with it. They won’t know how to use it, they can’t plug it into the TV and they will most probably hate you for it. The same logic applies to your employees. They won’t know how to use an outdated single-paged intranet, they can’t integrate it with other apps and tools they use and they will also hate you for it. So it is crucially important to adopt an intranet solution that your employees will love.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to getting this right. Everything depends on why you want to implement an intranet or a digital workplace, your employees, your company culture and many other factors specific to your business.
Identifying areas that need improvements is a good place to start. For example, you may notice a disconnect between your C-suite and workforce and a lack of engagement.
Metrics like internal email open and response rates, the number of posts shared within the platform and top content contributors can provide great quantitative insights into current issues. Additionally, surveys and focus groups can help you determine the challenges faced by each team or individual and which solutions they want implemented.
The disconnect in this example may arise from the absence of a centralized platform designed for internal communication or the use of outdated tools like a static intranet or emails. The solution may lie in encouraging your internal teams to communicate more relevant topics through dedicated channels in order to engage users and promote your company culture. This would be possible with a holistic digital workplace that allows different types of communication (top-down, bottom-up and peer-to-peer) and utilizes combination of content management, social and collaborative features.
Limited to zero information within your intranet
Unless a variety of content is shared by communication specialists and users within the intranet, it will end up being an empty ghost house. Your employees won’t have a reason to log in and will eventually look for other platforms on which to communicate, collaborate and get information. This obviously results in all sorts of problems for your business. First, it negatively impacts productivity as employees will spend more time trying to locate knowledge. Further, it poses a security threat as your employees will tend to share and access info within platforms that have not been approved by your IT department, like social media, messaging apps, and so on. And most importantly, you would have an investment that is getting zero returns, which basically means money thrown out of the window.
To remedy this, communication and HR specialists need to devise a communication plan that’s designed to engage users and keep them updated on the latest news and announcements. The solution also needs to incorporate communication and social features like news, microblogs, collaborative spaces and the opportunity to like, comment and share content to get users on board and encourage spontaneous interactions.
Poor UX and UI
As mentioned earlier, the main purpose of an intranet is to make life easier for your employees. Whether they are looking for specific documents, collaborating on projects or simply wanting to communicate with their peers, the intranet should help them sail through these tasks with ease. However, some intranets out there fail to deliver a great experience, which leads to negative feedback and a low level of adoption.
Generally speaking, poor UX and UI designs are behind this. UX refers to user experience design, or how your employees use and interact with your solution and whether they find it useful. Meanwhile, UI design refers to user interface, which basically refers to the look and style of the solution. Both UX and UI go hand in hand. Some solutions are effective and useful but not easy to navigate, while others may offer a great design but with poor usability.
If you continually get negative feedback from your users, try to learn more about their individual and team experiences. By figuring out what bothers them, you’ll be in a better position to look and identify a solution that combines both UX and UI effectively.
Not mobile friendly
Businesses nowadays have a diverse workforce that consists of office, deskless and remote employees. As a result, adopting a mobile-first approach to your intranet is crucial for reaching and engaging your employees wherever and whenever they are. If your intranet is available only on desktop with no mobile application or responsive design in place, then a major portion of your workforce – like salespeople, construction workers, remote employees and others – will have a difficult time accessing information, communicating with others and getting things done. This will obviously create silos, affect productivity and increase voluntary turnover.
Your employees are not provided with good training
One of the many mistakes businesses make when introducing a new technology to the workplace is underestimating the importance of training. Sure, employees like millennials and Gen Z are tech savvy and used to a variety of apps. However, if your intranet is old-fashioned with a poor UX and UI, then navigating through it won’t be an easy task. That’s why scheduling training sessions before introducing your intranet will ensure your employees are familiar with the platform and will increase the level of adoption.
It goes without saying that your employees are the most important asset in your business. So, whenever you plan to introduce new tools to the workplace, like an intranet, a digital workplace or any other software or hardware, make sure you understand what your workforce need, want and expect from the technology in order to deliver a suitable solution. A failure to properly plan will result in a poorly adopted technology that your employees will love to hate. And if your employees hate the technologies you bring to them, it will only be a matter of time before they will start hating you.
Where to go from here:
- 3 strategies for a successful intranet adoption
- Intranet rollouts: strategies and pain points to consider
- Hints to enable adoption and prepare your social intranet launch