One of the main ideas behind the annual Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards is to spread ideas and best practices that help teams across the world deliver better intranets and digital workplaces within their respective organisations. The Awards winners provide both inspiration and information by sharing their experiences in implementing industry-leading projects.
One thing we always ask on our awards submission form is for entrants to detail any lessons learned or advice for other teams. These slices of digital workplace wisdom provide fresh insight or are salient reminders of things we already knew. This year has produced some great advice and here is a selection of some of the pieces from our crop of 2021 winners.
1. Work to reduce email (SERVPRO Industries)
We strived to minimise the use of all-company emails this past year, and stressed that “If it doesn’t live on SERVPRONET, it doesn’t exist” and that our intranet is the #1 place for anything SERVPRO.
As a result, we have almost eliminated all-company emails, and all communications and notifications come directly from our intranet. This streamlines the communications process.
2. Build a great, extended team (Raiffeisen Bank Aval)
We attribute all the current achievements of My Raif to the team who launched the intranet, and the community of site administrators. Everybody played their part and a variety of roles were necessary prerequisites for My Raif’s launch.
The IT department exhibited a can-do attitude to solve all technical issues and allowed us to launch everything on time. Our project manager and the business owners we addressed help solve any bureaucratic issues.
Our external intranet developers were always ready to find a solution and meet our requirements. Our communications and PR team were never short on creative ideas for user engagement.
3. Have a realistic vision (PSB Bank)
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Our vision was too bold and hard to sell to decision makers in the organisation, because it wasn’t what they were familiar with. Not all trends and cool methods will necessarily work in your organisation.
4. Use prioritisation criteria (NLMK)
Very often, the number of tasks/ elements in the backlog for development and for initial creation of the MVP exceeds the capability of the team to deliver these. That’s why we had to use prioritisation criteria:
- the number of employees who might find the service useful
- the service effectiveness level (if it makes the life of employees easier or just makes it a little bit more convenient
- implementation complexity.
5. Plan for future growth
When developing a new system, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the fun, incredible features. But, more importantly, plan the information architecture to handle future growth. Even the best systems continue to evolve and get better.
6. Continuously improve
As part of the transformation journey at MAS, we have been making a key paradigm shift: moving from projects to products.
The MASpace team is one of the pilot teams with a persistent cross-functional team to take the “product” approach and continuously improve MASpace and MASpace Mobile.
With work demands rapidly evolving, teams should engage in continuous iterations of your intranet pages. This includes fine-tuning each page component to constantly display the most relevant information to staff, and to deliver new useful features to meet evolving needs.
7. Use data to justify the “why”
The five months we spent doing discovery and research resulted in invaluable findings that have become the bedrock of our “why” we did this.
There is nothing better than being able to point to a feature in the new site and say “this came directly from what we heard our employees asking for”.
8. Make iterative improvements
We are building on our user research regularly to make iterative improvements to the intranet. These regular, small changes show partners (staff) that we are continually developing and adapting to their needs, and hopefully, will avoid a huge site restructure in the future.
9. Experience first, technology second (IAG)
It’s critical to place experience first. Activate passion in your digital workplace team by connecting them with the human outcomes they are empowered to impact.
You should always anchor your digital workplace strategy, architecture and product roadmaps to business and experience outcomes. Make sure your technology enablement process is about people, not technology.
10. Decide on content migration early (Greater Bank)
Determine very early on if all your content really does need to be migrated. We may have been too generous with our content auditing process by not culling enough.
11. Ensure the team understand goals (DOM.RF)
Participants in your project should be immersed in the goals of the project. They should understand where the project is going, why functionality is being introduced and the value it brings to employees and your company. When this happens, participants better organise themselves and are more engaged.
12. Go frontline first (Deutsche Post DHL)
Most global companies introduce intranet and collaboration services for knowledge workers. Frontline communication is either perceived as an add-on or happens on a separate platform.
We did the opposite. The Smart Connect Platform was developed for and with the involvement of our frontline employees. We built a platform that met the needs of postmen, drivers, or ground handling staff providing them with a state-of-the-art communication tool including news, services, internal social media and messaging.
This platform now builds the foundation for the new global digital workspace as Smart Connect is rolled out to desktop employees.