You may be one of those “build it and they will come” types who genuinely believe that if you create a decent piece of tech that helps people do their jobs, they will flock in droves to use it. As many an intranet manager has learned to his or her bitter disappointment, people’s inertia should never be underestimated.
But fear not! Here are some top ideas to get everyone excited about your Digital Workplace launch. Who knows, you might even have some fun.
- Run surveys to find out what people need from the Digital Workplace, address those needs – then publish the results. It can be powerful to communicate ‘You spoke, we listened, and here’s how the new Digital Workplace can help.’
- Give it a name – don’t just call it ‘SharePoint’ or ‘the intranet’. One client called theirs ‘Mikie’ and it had an image of a boy in superhero costume. Staff enjoyed saying, ‘the answer’s on Mikie’ or, ‘Mikie knows,’ to each other. You could run a competition to name it.
- Hire a photographer to take professional photos for staff profiles. Allow people to use those photos for LinkedIn and whatever else they like. Not many people pay a photographer for a professional shot and it will help them engage more (they’ll also really appreciate it).
- Offer sneak previews to select groups of people as features become ready to view. Let them see some of the cool, sexy stuff; then encourage them to tell everyone else how awesome the new Digital Workplace will be.
- Set up major groups and locations in advance - By adding employees to the proper group pages ahead of time you can:
- Reduce the effort required for users to fill in their profiles
- Ensure the people directory shows rich data and connections
- Enable personalized news delivery based on group membership
- Have a countdown clock - A countdown clock reminds employees of when an old intranet (or way of doing things) will be retired and sets firm expectations about change.
- Print stuff - Oxfam America distributed postcards to every employee prior to their launch. The postcards said “Take me home with you!” in big bold letters and included:
- A copy of the new intranet’s navigation
- The intranet vision statement
- The site URL for home access
- Simple instructions for logging in
- The Intranet Help email address
- Create a video – Our client Kennards Storage created a hilarious video for their launch, starring staff members and senior leaders. Filming created buzz in head office, and showing the video at launch was a great way to create engagement and connection for dispersed locations.
- Celebrate launch day by decking out your office and offering free coffee and snacks.
- Telstra launched their new intranet with branded sweet treats – launch cupcakes are a classic for a reason and provide a delicious vehicle for you to share the message throughout the office.
- Run an intranet scavenger hunt – create an intranet treasure hunt designed to build familiarity with the new pages and site structure. Offer a great prize for those who can answer the most questions based on information found within the intranet. Similarly, Intranet Bingo can be fun. Distribute Bingo cards that list things like employee titles, departments, or group names in a bingo format, and then instruct participants to look it up on the intranet. The first person to successfully complete the activities and get five in a row wins a prize.
- Put your intranet on the big screen – Display your new intranet wherever possible, including any big TV screens. The TV in reception, or the kitchen, meeting rooms… show it off everywhere you can.
- Support - After the system has been launched, provide support champions to go around and help users to set up their profiles and make their first posts. Champions don’t have to be technical consultants: just get a few tech-savvy internal volunteers.
- Home page images – consider a competition to have a photo featured as the site theme for a day. Publish non-winning submissions as “The week in pictures” and if successful you can do this regularly.
- Post a quiz of the week or quote of the day - Creative quizzes have gained a lot of popularity in the last few years and can be a fun way to learn about colleagues. Quotes create a point of interest and keep content fresh.
- Did you know? Track usage and leverage non-intranet communication channels to highlight functionality and search filter options that are underutilised, especially time-saving tips and tricks.
- Share success – “we saved 56 hours this week by replacing WIP meetings with Teams chats”, “internal email has reduced by 17%” – make sure everyone knows what a great impact the digital workplace is having.
- Encourage staff activities – footy tipping contests, trivia, voting for this week’s kitchen biscuits - make sure staff feel comfortable connecting on non-work topics sometimes. This must start from the top down.
- Birthday cake - Celebrating the launch anniversary is an ideal opportunity for a refreshed promotional campaign and perhaps to introduce some refinements and new features that did not make it in to the initial release.