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What’s the number one sign that your intranet is failing? That none of your employees are using it, of course. You might have the best and most important content in the world up there, and it might offer enough self-service functionality to fulfil even the most obscure needs of your workforce. But if no-one’s biting, it’s never going to provide a return on investment.

So, how do you get users engaged? It helps  if you’re offering something they haven’t seen before: an intranet that’s more than just a landfill of rarely updated pages, demonstrating its value as a vital business tool within seconds of the first click.

Here are seven ways you can make your intranet stand out from the pack.

1. Invest in design and usability

A lot of intranets are still built with what seems to be a deeply ’90s sensibility when it comes to design and usability. Today’s workers are used to responsive websites that are viewable on smartphones as much as desktop computers, as well as sophisticated and reactive user interfaces; why shouldn’t they expect that from their employer’s intranet, too?

2. Invest in search

A common source of irritation for intranet users is failing to find information at the precise moment it’s most needed. Invest in enterprise search to ensure your employees aren’t exposed to this annoyance.

3. Link to LOB applications

If your intranet and line-of-business (LOB) applications are dependent on the same data, integrate them. Using your intranet to provision access to web-based LOB apps is a good way to expose your employees to the rest of the content on there, too.

4. Add interactive content

Text content alone won’t make for a compelling intranet experience. Include fillable forms, customisable data visualisations and other interactive elements to keep users coming back for more.

5. Add social features

Along the same lines, your intranet shouldn’t be a storage space for static content and the occasional memo from upper management, but a bustling hub of intra-office communication. A good way to make this a reality is to add social features such as Yammer, as well as blogs and commenting functionality.

6. Keep it updated

It’s an enormous turn-off for the potential intranet user to browse to a homepage and be greeted by the same message that’s sat there for the past two years. No-one’s going to make regular repeat visits to an intranet that isn’t actively – and visibly – updated. Make sure the higher-ups in your organisation are sufficiently invested in the project themselves to post frequent blogs and updates, and make sure new information rises to the top.

7. Keep improving

Finally, if something’s wrong with your intranet, fix it! If a user has the goodwill to offer feedback or a suggestion, pay attention – it’ll help you better understand their requirements and ensure your next round of updates provide a solution to the problem. Remember that their wants and needs will change over time; your intranet needs to move forwards, too.

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