TopIC Banner - How to launch a successful intranet
5th Sept 2019
3 Min Read

How to launch a successful intranet

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
IC & Engagement

With a world of slick tech solutions vying for our attention (and budgets) it’s tempting to simply sign off on the cheapest, most function-packed or universally-recognised off-the-shelf product.

Stop. Instead, run through these key questions and make sure you get the intranet that’s tailor-made for your people and your organisation.

Think about your people

Start by discovering what type of information your people want and need – and how they want to receive it.

This will vary a huge amount across different working locations, teams and even generations. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Gathering as much feedback as possible, from a broad range of working groups, will give you the insight you need into how to reach people and how they choose to engage.


Do you have engagement metrics you can benchmark against? Do you know how many people are active online, how long for and what they’re looking at? Do you know the information they struggle to find?

Looking at what works well with your current platforms, and what doesn’t, will help you map the way to a better colleague experience.

Look at ways of working

Where and how are your people are working?

Shift patterns, duties and habits will impact on the types of content they need and want – and how they can access it.

The experience for office-based employees will be fundamentally different for warehouse, shop floor or road-based colleagues. Part-time and full-time workers will consume information in different ways. The solution you choose needs to take account of the many variables in your organisation.

Consider all options

‘Intranet’ has become a catch-all term for ‘the place employees access internal news and documents’. But platforms are evolving all the time and options range from social media-led solutions such as Workplace to mobile apps for remote workers.

Weigh up your intranet solutions not just against the behaviours and needs of your people but against the essential legacy programmes your teams use every day. The more seamlessly integrated the overall experience, the better.

Have a plan

If you don’t have a clear plan of what you want to achieve, it’s very difficult to determine whether all the hard work has paid off.

Define the ways the intranet can help drive organisational success and use these metrics to help you optimise the platform over time.

So, what happens when you have a system in place and it’s not working?

It’s not uncommon for an intranet to fall by the wayside. It’s something we’re often asked to remedy.

What began life as a one-stop shop for employee collaboration and communication, is now a barren comms wasteland. Sometimes it never even gained much momentum to begin with.

But how does this happen? And how can IC professionals optimise digital workplaces to make those tools work for everybody? Failing intranets often have the same things in common:

Crystal not-so-clear maze

It takes real, hard work to launch, sustain, and grow a digital platform. If you don’t consider what you want to achieve, or what the channel is actually for, expect poor results.

Our solution? Research your platform thoroughly, listen to your people, align to your strategy and plan your approach. Have a clear view of what you want, and the rest of the puzzle will fall into place.

Failure to launch

Build it and they will come, right? Wrong. If you don’t show you’re invested as a business, you can’t expect your people to invest in the platform.

Let your people know that the business is fully committed. Set the scene, give the context and help people understand why you’re launching. Once they’ve got that, they’re much more likely to jump on board.

The skills gap

The skills gap is real. Don’t let the fact that everyone has a smartphone fool you. Being familiar with consumer tech does not translate into being skilled with business tech.

Digital platforms are constantly changing and new features are added weekly. Even if you train people at launch, their knowledge will dilute over time as these new, unexplored features are added.

You’ll need to maximise learning and development, not just at induction or launch, but throughout the whole employee life cycle. From kick-off workshops to in-app signposting, make sure everyone can get the most from the platform.

Permission to participate

As intranet platforms take greater inspiration from social media, workplace communications are becoming more informal. Be wary of mistakenly sending mixed messages to employees who might be used to more formal communications.

Give your people permission to collaborate and make it clear that participation is encouraged. Ask questions, seek feedback, and include interactive tools to get your people engaged.

What’s in it for me?

Sharing the wrong kind of content can be as bad as sharing nothing at all. When sharing a generic broadcast, it’s a big ask to expect engagement and collaboration in return.

With so much communications noise, colleagues want to know that a new channel is going to be worth their while.

Tailoring communications to your audiences requires more work in the short-term, but will pay dividends in the long run.

Looking for more intranet content?

Check out our webinar ESNs vs Intranets - The digital future of internal communcations or find out more about our digital transformation services.

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