As outlined in the previous post, Because Change Happens, there is a definite link between intranets and organizational change. In fact, introducing an intranet affects the overall process of continuous change and should be supported by effective communication.
The main question is, how should the intranet be introduced? Should it be a kind of "big bang," where the intranet is unveiled on a specific date, or would a gradual transition be more appropriate?
Both situations have their respective pros and cons. The "big bang" scenario incorporates elements of surprise and excitement, and allows for everything to be scheduled on a single due date. However, the introduction of the intranet should also be in line with the processes of change. Effective communication should already be a natural part of the project right from the beginning. Thus, the intranet becomes a prototype for a new means of communication, and lays the groundwork for a future of transparency and participation within the company.
We'll give you some examples of effective communication throughout the different phases of intranet development and design.
When the project begins
- Think of why you need to develop a (new) intranet and what it should aim to achieve. Talk with your coworkers and put it into context, get them on board with the idea. Transparency and collaboration are key, along with organizational goals that are project-related.
- Introduce the project team, and clarify who is responsible for each role.
- Establish transparency throughout the course of the project. What milestones are planned? When are first drafts due? When will the new intranet go live?
- Encourage open discussion about the project.
During the project
- Keep yourself up to date with how the project is progressing. Results are especially presentable when you're already in an agile project setup. Show your coworkers' scribbles, wireframes, and layouts.
- Conduct surveys to identify necessary functions for the intranet. Create room for discussion and ways to coordinate. Show your coworkers that their opinions matter to you, because after all, an intranet is for everyone.
- Run a naming competition.
- Allow room for leadership to voice their opinions. This can be done in the form of interviews or their own videos. From an organizational perspective, you can explain the new intranet's meaning.
- Have a countdown until the new intranet's launch, and create a little hype.
- Offer support in the form of FAQs, how-to's, or expert chats.
- Offer crash courses for management with visits from a project team members.
- Find a place in the lunch room to inform your coworkers about the new intranet with short talks. What can the new intranet do? Which functions are included right now? How will it make the workday easier?
- Create a space within the new intranet where discussions can be held. Find out what's working, and what could be improved. Which other functions should be included? What happened to proposals?
Dedicating time and effort to communication will be key to your project. If you do this, your coworkers will thank you with a higher degree of acceptance for the new intranet.
This is a guest contribution by Robert Mangelmann. As a senior consultant in communications with die firma . experience design, he supports companies in the conception and software-neutral selection of intranets, as well as their introduction and accompanies the accompanying change processes. die firma is a Linchpin partner. Here you can find more information about die firma GmbH.