5 Intranet Design Techniques to Support Your Organizational Culture
Getting the best out of your new intranet solution relies on your ability to think pragmatically about the planning, implementation and ongoing management of your new system.
Establishing new organizational culture around new technologies can be challenging. It is not enough to develop an expensive and state of the art solution if half your firm is too daunted to be able to use and the other half quite simply aren’t engaged enough to see it’s valued.
When valued and celebrated within the organizational culture, the well-established intranet is revolutionizing the modern workplace, as we know it transforming communications systems and linking potentially geographically dispersed staff in strategically beneficial ways that fuel innovation.
Some failed intranet solutions can be traced back to poor technology and software and while these issues may frequently receive blame, the underlying issues always relate back to organizational culture. The fact is, with the right, cohesive and organized team, even the worst of software applications have revolutionized industries when directed by efficient managers.
Organizational culture is what connects your company together around a shared vision and view of the future. In earlier business cycles it was less important to the internal makeup of firms or how they sought to align themselves in the public’s eye.
Nonetheless, the dawn of the internet has made a brand reputation and internal culture extremely important to attracting the right talent and positioning firms for long-term success in ever shifting markets. For an intranet solution to succeed, it has to advance strategic organizational culture related goals.
Many firms are missing development truly game-changing intranet solutions because they aren’t fully sold on the idea from the management side and thus pass the project off to highly qualified technical staff with less connection to other segments of the organization.
Another frequent error occurs if the intranet solution is designed by external parties with little input about how to embed company policy, branding and myths into the solution. Intranets need to build on what is already working while offering new solutions and ways to generate the conditions for collaboration and shared action. For an intranet to succeed it is important to receive input from all critical staff through all phases of planning, implementation and management.
Learning how to collect, analyze and disseminate core internal data might just be one of the most profound benefits this type of solution can help generate within your organizational culture. Having everyone involved and focusing on designing systems to collect and quickly address crowd generated complaints and insights can be a quick way to diffuse tensions around change and show that everyone’s opinion matters.
As the team becomes more cohesive around the concept of developing and implementing something that they feel they had a hand in creating, it is easier to push the idea beyond early adopters. The way you value your diverse staff as your intranet design comes together can have a huge impact on how your team utilizes your solution once it is off the ground.
The intranet has to serve the needs of you and your staff. It should not be solution designed to utilize the strategic needs of your firm. The more you can get your people around it as a value-adding tool, the easier it will be to build upon your foundations of success and launch more and more ambitious programs and protocols around the intranet.
If you can instill a culture of fun and cohesion around the planning and implementation of the new digital office framework, it will be much easier to manage and respond to shifting needs as they arise. It is far better to receive negative feedback early in the game, address it and create a new concept then to stick to something, which doesn’t work for your team.
Your team is everything. Build a system that helps them work together, not one that works against, slows or challenges their processes. At the end of the day, you want your system to be adopted so working with the core people at the center of your business’ success when it comes time to plan, implement and manage your intranet the better it will do.
Your staff will only utilize your intranet effectively if it is simple, streamlined and adds value to their lives making work more efficient. You don’t need too many advanced tools and concepts built in right from the start.
Striking the balance between what more technology apt people are looking for and the maximum levels of complexity which would limit employee buy in and participation is essential. A simpler and easier design that has a good deal of pick up and play accessibility, is far more likely to succeed than an extremely complex platform that requires a steep learning curve and hours of dedicated learning time to fully master.
Simplicity will allow you to build upon what works and add functionality as your staff develops systems and comfort around utilizing their intranet solution.
Here are 5 of the simplest and most straightforward design techniques related to intranet infrastructure:
1. One-click Navigation
The intranet should be built off an easy to navigate, intuitive, graphical design that allows for easy one to two clicks separating all functions.
It should not feature deep and complex hierarchical chains. Simple and complex systems that everyone can easily use are what support cohesive organizational culture.
2. Strong Search Utility
It is important than anything within the intranet, whether internal communications, reports or data, should be arranged in a way where it is exceptionally easy to locate through internal searches. When the system knows your materials better then Google, your staff is more reliant on utilizing your solution.
3. Designed by the Team
Increasingly firms are realizing that simply handing an intranet project to their IT department and letting the highly technical experts over there wade through all the issues of planning and implementing a new system is not the best way to go.
The most nimble and agile firms are making the design process a companywide affair that allows all divisions, levels of management and employee roles have a say in utility and functionality of the new system.
The more people feel a part of the process, the more likely they are to rise up as champions who are invested in supporting it.
To ensure your team is getting the most out of your intranet design, consider linking employee roles and objectives with intranet usage and performance assessment. Reward users who are proactive and seek to assist others, coach those who lag behind and who struggle to accept the new nature of work and communication flows.
5. Simple, Relevant, Adds Value
At the end of the day, whether your intranet design is generated from within your firm or comes from a third party provider, it is essential that it is simple, relevant to your employees and adds value to their lives.
These three simple criteria are perhaps some of the most relevant when it comes to deciding if an intranet design is effective or not. If people are able to quickly and easily use your system, the better its chances of surviving to develop complexity and nuance in later iterations.
Of course, it’s hard to create a perfect intranet design on your own, but you can always contact LS Intranet to do it for you.
Remember, you don’t need to achieve everything from the beginning!