Strong communication on the intranet

24-10-2016 Have you considered how communication works on your intranet? Here are 5 tips for how to improve communication on your intranet
Most organizations of a certain size have an intranet. Typically this is where you find the canteen meny, where you collaborate or where to stay updated on future products and other news. However, many rarely visit their intranet. Maybe it is the landing page of their browser that you quickly move away from to find what you're actually looking for. Maybe it's a site you don't discover till 3 months after being hired. To avoid such situations and to attract visitors and keep them coming back you need to find out if your intranet is a good source of communication.
But what is communication? The basic communication model consists of 3 elements: a messenger, a message and a receiver. The messenger wants to send a message to the receiver - whether it hits home is all about how the message is shaped. Is it understandable to the receiver? Is it sent through a media that the receiver can access? Does the receiver even find the message relevant? 

To achieve good communication on your intranet you need to consider this model:

1. Who is the recipient?
The recipient is the typical user of the intranet. Consider who they are as that should impact the language used and the content that is presented on the site. If the typical user is strong in It then it's okay to use technical terms, if not, adapt the language to match. 

2. What does the recipient want from the intranet?
When the user finds their way to the intraet it's often with a specific goal in mind. Find out what this goal is so you can adapt the front page and the navigation to match. If the user is going to the intranet to find a guide for printing, they might look for a menu item called Guides. 

3. Who is the messenger?
Often the messenger is not the same person who actually edits and owns the intranet but can instead be a department, a field of expertise or the management. The messenger on the intranet will vary depending on whether the message is a news about organizational changes, a subsite presenting a department or something completely different. Consider if the messenger is stated. Is there a contact person listed? Is there a field showing the author of the page? If the receiver understand who the message is coming from it will help them understand the message. 

4. What is the message? 
What the receiver is looking for is one thing, but the messenger also has a purpose. Do you want to present a department? Do you want to guide the user or do you want the user to engage and interact with the site? The layout and content of the site should support the message the messenger wants to send to the receiver. 

5 good tips for strong communication on the intranet

With the above considerations in mind you can start to lay out a plan for how to use the intranet for communication. Here are 5 strong tips to help you and your organization achieve good communication on the intranet: 

1. Define your target groups: 
The communication models receiver should be the target group for the intranet and the communication on it. Who are the target groups in your organization? What roles do they have, what language do they speak and what is the corporate culture? Use your knowledge about the target group to target your intranet to match. If your primary target group are native English speakers and use their mobile phones as their primary device, then of course the content on the intranet should be in English and be made available across devices. 

2. Make the intranet the primary communication channel for your organization: 
In order to even attract your receiver, the target group, to your intranet, they need to expect that the intranet can give them relevant and personalized information. That requires that the intranet is a place for sharing corporate news, new hires, guides etc. If all communication takes place through email instead, the intranet will be a site rarely visited full of static information. 

3. Create the groups for knowledge sharing: 
It's one thing to make the intranet the primary channel for communication and another to turn it into the preferred search engine in the organization. If employees know that they can find the most up to date information about maternity leave, benefits, canteen menu etc. on the intranet, there's a good chance that they will seek out the intranet themselves. In companies with several locations, perhaps even globally, the intranet can even be of big help in introducing different parts of the organization to each other. 

4. Prioritize your messages: 
What are the main messages that the receiver should get? Make sure to highlight the top priorities by knowing what catches the eye. Use colours, pictures, font size and similar tools. This also plays a role in how the intranet looks on a phone. The top news should be at the top on both PC and mobile. 

5. Make way for two-way communication: 
If we look back on the basic communication model there's a big difference to whether or not the arrows goes both ways. Today where Facebook comments can be the basis of segments on the news, people are used to being able to engage in the conversation. You and your intranet can meet this expectation by allowing comments, likes and chat. Social Enterprise Networks like Yammer can also be embedded to the intranet. 
Do you want to know if your intranet is a good source of communication? Then make way for some two-way communication: ask your users.