Finding the perfect intranet software for your business is challenging. Developing that software to improve internal communications strategies, however, can be even harder.
You want to know that you’re using your intranet to full advantage, increasing employee engagement, and improving communications throughout your company. Can your intranet accomplish all that?
Fred Schrader is a Search Engine Marketer at www.myhubintranet.com. Here he writes for my blog to share his thoughts. I don’t agree with all of them, and am interested to know your take.
Do comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC. Over to Fred…
Using intranet forums to improve internal communication
In many companies, employees are using intranet software forums for communication, all right communication about everything but the job they’re supposed to be doing.
The forums are filled with useless chatter, threads about the actual work being done buried beneath layers of announcements about a dog that needs a new home or a car that’s been up for sale for months.
If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to make some changes in your search for that perfect balance to enhance communication without letting it take over.
Instead of allowing chatter to take over your forums, reshape the face of internal communication within your company to develop forums that work more efficiently.
1. Create separate forums for big projects
If you want to use the forums to streamline communication about important projects, make it easy for your employees to get straight to the relevant forum without getting caught up in chatter on the way by.
Separate out the sections for those big projects and restrict access to those who actually need to be involved.
You can always add someone else in later if need be, but restricting involvement on the front end will protect confidential client information,
2. Set clear rules on the front end
Allowing some off-topic discussion in the forums and encouraging humor are great ways to improve employee morale. You don’t want to take that away completely!
You do, however, want to set out clear rules that are easy for every employee to follow. Here are some things to consider:
- Where is off-topic chatter permissible? Consider offering specific threads or areas for these posts to help prevent them from bogging down important discussions.
- What will best contribute to the discussion? While you want to encourage the free sharing of ideas and information, you also want to know that posts are going to add value to your employees. Shape posting rules (or even guidelines, such as, “Please post in appropriate English, free of text-speak abbreviations, whenever possible”) based on what will improve that value.
- What type of language is permissible in your forums? Some companies might not mind casual profanity. Others may frown on it. If you intend to limit it, make it part of the guidelines from the beginning.
3. Remove old threads regularly
Anyone who has ever spent time on the internet knows that there’s always that one person who feels the need to bump up a months-old thread just to add their two cents.
Preventing that within company forums is simple: clean out old threads on a regular basis. Keep them only as long as the information within them is valuable to the employees in your company.
Post author: Fred Schrader
Want to know more about the role informal communication can play in internal communication? See my recent article – The rise of wonky comms.
Learn more about internal communication
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Check out the website to browse and book the course from you. Choose from Internal Communication, Strategic Internal Communication (for senior-level practitioners) and a Writing Skills Masterclass.
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Post author: Fred Schrader.
First published on the All Things IC blog 10 March 2016.