7 Elements of an Intranet Governance Policy

To run a successful intranet, you need an intranet governance policy. There are no ifs and buts about it.

Intranet governance policy is a document that will guide you and all intranet users in running and maintaining the intranet. It will give your staff a common understanding of what your intranet is, what it’s for, and how to use it properly. It also provides a framework for planning intranet activities and for decision-making when issues or conflict arise.

In this post, I have listed the elements that may make up an intranet governance policy. Obviously, this is not a one-size-fits-all type of document. You’ll have to decide which elements are applicable to your organization.

To lower the risk of overwhelming you, I’ve divided the list into two parts. The part is a list of the essential elements of intranet policy. Most companies will want to have these elements to begin with. If you just want to get started with drawing up your intranet governance policy, then focus on this list.

As your intranet grows and develops you can add on to the policy. The second list includes elements that cover more areas of intranet governance. You’ll want to add these elements when you see fit — which hopefully is before you actually need them.

Must-Have Elements

1. Intranet Strategy

Begin by stating the purpose and objectives of the intranet. What is it for, and for whom?

Also talk about the intranet’s guiding principles. These may include your company’s values, and can be informed by its mission and vision. These principles will guide decision-making on intranet matters.

Finally, the overview can include your strategy to facilitate user adoption, and what key steps will be taken to ensure the intranet’s success.

2. Content Structure

What content will your intranet contain? Specify what content will go on your home page, which often becomes a hotly contested part of the intranet. Also, talk about the content in each of the intranet’s main sections. Indicate what types of content are considered inappropriate.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

Specify who make up the intranet team, and what each member’s role is. This may include an intranet manager and a system administrator. Roles should also include content authoring and curating, interacting with the intranet vendor, and training users.

It’s also helpful to specify what’s expected of the C-suite and each of the functional units. If you have a staff association, indicate their role in the intranet, too.

This is also the right place to mention intranet ownership. Specifying who’s responsible for each section of the intranet helps establish ownership. But another question to ask is: Who has ultimate responsibility for the intranet?

Nice-to-Have Elements

These elements are not necessarily, but you’ll be glad you have them.

4. Content Management

Discuss how you plan to manage the content in your intranet. For example, when is content considered obsolete? When it does become obsolete, how will it be purged from the intranet?

5. Authoring Guidelines

Talk about writing standards for intranet authors. What tone is considered appropriate? In a multi-cultural organization, what languages can be used?

This is also a good place to introduce document naming and tagging conventions that can make intranet searches more accurate.

6. Policing the Intranet

Describe who will police the intranet, and how intranet policy “violations” will be dealt with.

7. Performance Tracking

List the key performance indicators for the intranet, how these will be tracked, and who’s primarily responsible for measuring and analyzing them. Also, include how decisions be made when targets aren’t reached.

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