What should you call your intranet? Should an intranet have a name? How can you choose the best name for your intranet?

If you’ve ever worked on a project looking at a new intranet, chances are you’ve had this discussion.

In this article you’ll find examples of existing intranet names and advice from professional communicators, plus my top 10 tips when thinking about naming an intranet.

It’s a long read as I’ve packed it full of information to help you.

It’s Friday and it’s hot in London, so wherever are you in the world, grab an ice-cream or a brew (I have a cup of English breakfast tea next to me as I’m writing this), and settle in to discover who’s doing what and hopefully get some ideas and inspiration.

The most popular names appear to be:

  • My (company name)
  • First three letters of company name.net
  • The Intranet
  • Hub
  • Inside
  • Insite.

What’s yours?

It’s worth heeding the wise words of my fellow @theICcrowd co-founder Dana Leeson:

“An intranet name should resonate with the organisation and people. A name should never come from a list you’ve Googled.”

Couldn’t agree more!

If you are tempted to refresh your intranet or Enterprise Social Network (ESN) solely by giving it a new name, your employees will notice the lack of effort.

Just giving an intranet a new name and doing nothing else to improve it is like putting lipstick on a pig. Pointless.

Writing that has just made me laugh. But it’s true! You owe it to your employees to think properly about your communication channels.

You’re not kidding anyone if you change a few colours and name it something whizzy, but the content is still dreadful. That goes for your other channels too.

Further reading: What’s a channel? Bust some comms jargon with my glossary of internal communication.

What’s your view?

How are you viewing your world? If your intranet is a reflection of your company, does it match with reality?

I often describe intranets as being a window into your culture. What can you see? What’s reflected? Does it match your employees’ experience of working in your organisation? I look for this when auditing.

Sue Palfrey, Head of Internal Communication at the National Trust wrote on my blog this week about her old intranet: “How do you keep a secret in the organisation? Put it on the intranet.”

Does yours feel like that?

What’s in a name?

Your intranet could have an identity, a name, be a vibrant place for your employees to work inside and a place they choose to visit rather than a graveyard for PDFs. I’ve created spaces like this as a consultant and observed excellent examples as a judge for various industry awards over the years.

It’s not rocket science.

It takes listening and hard work to truly understand the design you need to meet business needs. Similarly if it’s a brilliant, two-way conversational space, but doesn’t match your culture (i.e. you don’t have ‘permission’ to use it) or no one can access it due to locked down controls or lack of access via devices, that’s hardly ideal.

Design is just one piece of the puzzle, you need to surround an effective intranet with the right focus on behavioural change and communication. It needs to be understood and championed at all levels. You can read more about this via Sue’s article from a few days ago.

In this age of digital workplaces and integrated platforms, is there still a need for a name?

I’m interested in your thoughts on this topic.

I regularly audit companies to analyse their internal communication. This includes looking at all their communication  channels. I’ve often observed what the organisation calls their intranet is not always the same as what employees call it (some are quite rude!).

Does this matter?

Does it matter if the name is different or unknown, or not used? The short answer is it depends. If your employees know the intranet is a place they can go to get their work done, access credible, reliable information and have opportunities for two-way communication, does it matter if they use an incorrect name?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this issue. Feel free to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

What to call an intranet

I Tweeted to ask professional communicators to share their thoughts on naming an intranet by sending me theirs. You can see them below. Thank you to everyone who answered.

A couple of people revealed they don’t know why a certain name is used, or if it’s an acronym, what it actually stands for.

So if we don’t know as comms pros, how can we expect employees to know? Is that ok?

Do you explain it in your induction process? Or if it needs to be explained, it is doing its job? Ooh this post could be enormous! But I’m going to focus us back to the matter in hand…

How to create and name an intranet

On Monday, Sue Palfrey, Head of Internal Communication at the National Trust here in the UK wrote for my blog to share her story of creating and rolling out their Office365 intranet (pictured). Theirs is called Acorn.

Further reading: How the National Trust created their intranet.

Sue said: “At every step we built in time to listen to our people. The project started with focus groups and we delved deeper once the project started. Over 30 senior stakeholder interviews were carried out. We held focus groups in every region and locality.


“We shared the themes back to the participants and gave them early visibility of the technical specs and designs, showing how their feedback translated to reality. We had an open invitation for testers and champions.

Oh and our senior leaders even came up with a shortlist of names at the annual conference.

“This opened out to a vote for everyone and Acorn came out the strong winner. If you look at our Trust logo (pictured) you’ll see why this was just perfect and fitting.”

Further reading: How the National Trust created their intranet.

How to name your intranet

The question of whether you should name an intranet or not is often asked by internal communication and IT professionals. I regularly have this discussion with my husband, who is an IT Consultant and we compare ones we’ve heard from our clients with each other.

We have incredibly geeky conversations in our household, but as we are both self-employed and love what we do, I don’t think that’s a bad thing!

A few months back, we were discussing whether intranets should have gender-specific names. I’ve noticed a trend for companies using human names, e.g. Eric, I@n and Colin are just some I’ve seen.

I also asked the opinions of my fellow @theICcrowd co-founders, Dana Leeson who is a Digital Workplace Architect, and Jenni Field @mrsjennifield, Communication Consultant at Redefining Communications and CIPR Inside Chair.

Consensus among us was to avoid names linked to a gender.

Jenni said: “I’d avoid gender-specific names, if you’re thinking about a name, choose something like Charlie, Alex, Nik, or Sal, but you need to know why that particular one has been chosen.”

Does your intranet have a person’s name as its own? Do you know why?

10 things to consider when naming your intranet

  1. Think about whether or not it needs a name
  2. Ask employees whether they think it needs a name . Do you know what they currently call it if you already have an intranet?
  3. Get employees at all levels involved in creating the name (like National Trust did)
  4. Just before you make it live, ask yourself – does the name make sense? If you’re a global company, does it have different meanings in different locations? Does it translate well?
  5. Once named, communicate the fact it’s changed
  6. Communicate why the name has changed (or why it now has one)
  7. Outline what employees can expect to find on the intranet – what’s changed/stayed the same?
  8. Don’t refer to it as “the new intranet *name* formerly known as XYZ” – if you’ve named it, use it
  9. Signpost to the intranet across your other channels and refer to it by its name
  10. Review it. Decide a timeframe to measure and see if it’s actually working. Ask employees what it’s called, has the name stuck, does it make sense etc. Or if it’s without a name, whether it would be useful to have one.

What is your intranet called?

Want to learn about intranets? Sign up to the ace IntranetNow conference on 5 October 2017 in London.

Thank you to everyone who replied to me via Twitter @AllthingsIC with their intranet name a few days ago. It’s quite a collection!

What’s yours? Feel free to comment below or Tweet me to let me know whether your intranet has a name and what it is.

If you’re currently going through this process, you’re in for a treat – so many to browse through here!

If you’d like to learn more about internal communication, sign up to attend an All Things IC Masterclass. I hold them every month in London and you’re invited. Search the Masterclasses page to find out more and save your place.

Want to spend time talking through your intranet and getting an honest opinion?

Book me for 1-2-1 consultancy and we can spend the day brainstorming together and concentrating on your organisation.

Further reading – explore a large list of intranet names: https://www.intranet-matters.com/en/intranet-names/

 

Further reading on this topic – thank you to Intranetizen for these resources:

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for stopping by,

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 7 July 2017.

 

 

 

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