Intranet Engagement Theory
Kevin CodyIntranet Engagement Strategy
Hello. Im Kevin Cody and I am the Managing Director of SmallWorlders and we are proud to sponsor IntranetNow again this year.
In spite of being sponsors I have been given 7 minutes to present so forgive me if I just get started1
Why so many intranets fail
If you attended last year youll have seen me present about measuring Intranet Engagement. We developed a way of analysing intranet usage data that calculated intranet engagement as a single number and allowed organisations to compare it to our global Intranet Engagement benchmark. It is well worthwhile participating its free, so speak to us of you are interested and lots of organisations did participate.
With this wealth of data we began to think about this question - why do some intranets fail and others succeed? And this thinking led us to 2
a picture of me in the 60s. No this is EVERETT ROGERS
Technology Adoption Lifecycle(Everett M Rogers, 1962)
In 1962 he proposed the now familiar adoption curve showing that new technologies were adopted first by innovators and early adoptors before being adopted by the majority
Then several decades later GEOFFREY MOORE came along and 5
The Adoption Chasm(Geoffrey A Moore, 1991)
identified different personality groups for each of the groups in Everett Rogers adoption curve: Enthusiasts, Visionaries, Pragmatists, Conservatives, Sceptics.
Typical failed intranet
And proposed that the reasons some new technologies fail is they fall foul of the adoption chasm failing to make the leap from adoption by innovators and early adopters to the majority which is essentially the cause of the graph you saw at the start.
So how can we prevent this from happening?
Well, to answer that we need to think a little bit about human behaviour7
And for that we turn to our last mugshot of the day. Again you might not recognise him but you will certainly recognise 8
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs(Abraham Maslow, 1943)
His hierarchy of Needs put forward in 1943
As you know he describes a hierarchy of needs with our most basic needs at the bottom survival and security and so on building towards more aspirational ones at the top.
Crucially, Maslow said that we cannot be concerned with a particular level in the hierarchy before all the ones beneath are satisfied.
So what does this have to do with intranets?9
Adoption Curve vs. Hierarchy of Needs(SmallWorlders, 2014)
Well, we can map our personality groups from the adoption curve onto the levels of our needs hierarchy.
And thinking about it like this can give us some valuable insights into why the different groups in Rogers adoption cycle behave the way they do.
5-Part Intranet Engagement FrameworkSmallWorlders
And this led to our Intranet Engagement Framework thinking about the functionality, content and other needs of each of these groups
Reasons To Log On - SummaryReasons To Log On
Essential functionality that isessential (duh)exclusiveand easy
The conservatives and the sceptics are unlikely to visit the site unless they have REASONS TO LOG ON things that are essential for their jobs:
So what is essential? Well for example:
Employee Directory often the most popular feature of an intranetReference Repository policies, procedures, governance docs not the most glamorous content but it is necessary from time to timeEmployee induction materials intranet is a great platform for onboarding, and it will also familiarise them with the intranet from day 1.Help & Support the intranet is a great channel to manage help and support within the organisationTransactional systems Booking meeting rooms, annual leave, etc.
And there is no point in placing these features on the intranet if they can be found more easily elsewhere remember these people are conservative - so make sure the intranet is the ONLY place that users can get these services. Exclusive
And by easy I mean use the UX practices that we heard about today.12
Reason To Return
Useful functionalitiesRegular turnover of contentPersonalisationContinuous improvement planGood UX/UsabilitySlick/Fun designReasons To Return - Summary
The pragmatists may visit the site once or twice out of curiosity, but unless we give them some compelling reasons to return, they are unlikely to become regular users.
So we need to make an intranet useful as opposed to essential. So we need features that will enhance users day-to-day jobs, make them easier or making them better at their jobs.
Team Rooms or collaboration areasAsk a question areasBest practice librariesTools & Toolkits
And also remember that useful will mean different things to different people and not every tool or piece of content will be useful to everyone so this is where personalisation can come in.
So thats the pragmatists dealt with. That leaves the Enthusiasts and the Visionaries.13
Reasons To Lead - Summary
Reason To Lead
User profile pictures wherever possible
Self-service groups/team rooms
Well frankly you could do worse than just getting out of their way. The enthusiasts and the visionaries will not need much encouragement to get engaged. But if we give them the right environment, we can leverage their enthusiasm to lead the way for all of the users.
When it comes to social features it is these people who will be posting the content that others will be commenting on, who are likely to be answering the questions posted by the pragmatists or creating and managing the collaboration spaces we mentioned.
Where you can really gain from their enthusiasm & vision is where you can support an initiative they sponsor through some development of the intranet into new areas. So use a flexible platform (like ours perhaps)
So there we have it
5-Part Intranet Engagement FrameworkSmallWorlders
But the eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that this is called a 5-part Intranet engagement framework.
You need senior management support - reasons to sponsor. To convince them youll need KPIs. I suggest our Engagement metrics but there are others Brian can talk to you about Top Tasks for example.
And of course to make this happen you need a communications or advocate strategy
We have been applying this approach to all new intranets we have done over the last year and one of the interesting things weve noticed it that it means embracing the dull and dependable over the fun and fashionable when it comes to content and functionality. And frankly this is one of the reasons why it works so well. Do not let the noise of the digital workplaces and social intranets distract you from the basics that you first must provide if your intranet is to be embraced by the majority early & late of your users. And that is how youll get broad adoption and engagement16
OK. This was a super summarised precis. If you want more information, then visit our website and you can download this wonderful ebook.
Or if you come to our stand and chat to us for a while about what you are doing then we do have some printed copies.
If you visit our website, take a look at the last blog post, youll also find speaker videos and slides from an entire conference that was dedicated solely to intranet engagement.
BUILDBuilding the intranet
OPTIMISE Optimising the performance of the intranet
ANALYSE Engagement analysis & benchmarking
Speaking of visiting our stand, you might be forgiven if you thought we were just a consulting organisation. Well besides helping you make your intranet better, more engaging and more successful we can also build you an intranet from scratch. In fact we build awesome intranets. So, another reason to drop by our stand and see some examples.18
Thats it. My name is Kevin Cody and that was some SmallWorlders thinking.