Lack of participation is one of the main problems of intranets. A good way to increase intranet participation is by understanding what motivates people to participate in the first place.
In the AIIM white paper, “When Social Meets Business Real Work Gets Done,” Bert Sandie, Director of Technical Excellence at the Electronic Arts University, sites three reasons staff participate in the company intranet.
In this post, we’ll look at those staff participation triggers, and how to use them to increase user engagement in our intranet.
3 Triggers to Intranet Participation
1. Sense of Teamwork
If staff regard the intranet as a team tool, as something they own, they will be motivated to create content and make it relevant. They should not see the intranet as an intrusion, or something that’s shoved into their mouths by IT or the company’s leadership team.
Some staff members are motivated by the desire to do good, to be of service to others, and to be an asset to the company. They participate in the intranet, because it helps them identify needs and respond to them (it doesn’t hurt their careers, either).
3. Positive Competition
Another significant proportion of intranet users are motivated by the desire to be the best: give the best answers, post the best content, organize the best intranet section, and even have one of the best company intranets, in their industry or in the world.
Moreover, these people don’t want to be the last to know. So if some information is available only through the company intranet, they will use it to keep abreast of what’s happening.
How To Use These Triggers
Now we know three of the most powerful and most common triggers to staff participation. How do we use these triggers to actually get more staff to use our company intranet? Here are some ideas.
Sense of Teamwork
- Enlist team leaders. Identify the formal and non-formal leaders in your organization. Show them how the intranet will help make their team communicate better and work smarter. Give them a role in seeding the intranet with content. Once sold on the intranet, these team leaders will influence their members to use the intranet.
- Enable staff to participate in designing, organizing, and managing the intranet. Allow users to vote on certain aspects of the intranet. Get their feedback regularly. Having a say even in elements as small as the color scheme or the name of the intranet gives staff members a stronger sense of ownership.
- Remind employees how intranet content makes the organization more effective and successful. Track and announce small successes, such as innovations that came as a result of an intranet discussion forum, new product ideas that were born in an intranet wiki, or issues resolved by an internal blog.
- Create a question-and-answer forum and promote it as a place where people can go to get answers, as well as where they can go to help co-workers out.
- Use the intranet as a venue to announce newly-recruited staff, and encourage users to welcome new staff via the intranet.
- Promote intranet content that’s beneficial to other users, or to the company as a whole, such as polls, discussion forums, questions, and wikis. Spell out how these pieces of content will benefit other employees, their teams, or the organization.
- Display an individual score or badge, which indicate each staff members’ level of participation in the intranet.
- Organize special competitions between different sections or departments, if these are reflected in the intranet. For example, have a competition for the best section home page on the intranet.
- Regularly recognize individual staff members who have put in a lot of high-quality participation in the intranet. This recognition can be given monthly, quarterly, or yearly, depending on the number of users and maturity of the intranet. Some possible awards are:
– highest number of answers submitted
– highest number of “best” answers submitted
– best personal profile
– most innovative use of the intranet
- Host contests on the intranet, such as photo or video competitions. Make the entries accessible only on the intranet, and allow users to vote for the winners using intranet tools.
These are just some of the concrete ways we can leverage the sense of teamwork, altruism, and positive competition to increase participation in our intranet. Their use depends on the personalities of your staff, as well as the existing culture in your organization.