Key Outcomes from Building a World-Class Digital Experience for Your Employees

I run my company’s intranet. I don’t do it alone; I’ve got lots of help. I have a team of folks that know more about what we do and how we do it than I do. I have a support team on the information technology side that knows how the servers and software are supposed to behave. And, I have a group of people that come up with the content for the site.

So, what do I do?

It is safe to say that I don’t actually “run my company’s intranet” — no one does that alone. I’d say I am responsible for it, but so would my boss, and probably her boss, and I’m sure my vice president feels some ownership as well (a lot actually, which is a great thing).

I do stay abreast of what is happening within this industry. I try to discern the real capabilities coming in the tools we use. I try to understand what users want, how they want it, and what we need to provide them to help them do their jobs better. Specifically, right now, I’m trying to change the way our company views the intranet and the perception of what it can do for us. I need to get people to see that we are on the cusp of something bigger than what we have. That where we are going offers new and better ways of communicating and collaborating with one another. That our opportunity to drive a change in the way our workforce works is real and emergent.

This sea change concept goes beyond the traditional perspective of the “intranet” and wades out into what is commonly being referred to as either the digital workplace or digital experience. These terms both espouse lofty goals of wrangling all of the digital assets and moments that the user interacts with under a common umbrella of thought, experience, and leadership.

These concepts are much better explored and explained here by Gartner, or in this simple explainer by Chris Tubb at the Digital Workplace Group (DWG), or in this choose your own definition piece by Ephraim Freed also from DWG, or in this related article compiling future of work ideas by Gloria Lombardi.

So, what do I do? I’m trying to better connect employees to the information, resources, and coworkers they need to interact with to get their jobs done. Our intranet is both a gateway and a destination. It is a gateway in that it is launching point for other applications, and it is a destination in that it is an authoritative source of information. As it evolves — as we improve it — it will become the place to collaborate, and hence it will be the destination to reach other workers and share ideas and interact with one another in a digital medium. It won’t replace physical interactions, but it will augment them and by the persistent nature of digital, it will increase those interactions and the number of actors significantly.

To establish these connections, the intranet — or digital experience if you prefer — that is provided to our employees has to be simple, engaging, and accessible.

Easy to use, desirable to use, and usable anywhere, anytime.

If a simple, engaging, and accessible experience is delivered, I hope that we will achieve our true objectives of driving engagement, enabling mobility, and increasing productivity.

Each objective has a corresponding set of strategies that will guide and direct the tactics used to reach the intended outcome. How this is done tactically can vary greatly, but at the strategic level, I believe what is common for my workforce and situation is fairly common for all. Below are the strategies I’m using to guide us down the path to reaching our objectives.

Drive Employee Engagement

Providing and maintaining a modern, socially enabled platform for both top-down and peer-to-peer communication.

Enable a portal that acts as a destination for the information employees’ need and a gateway to the resources they use.

Deliver experiences that are personalized and relevant to employees based on who they are and what they do.

Make it enjoyable.

Enable a Mobile Workforce

Ensure the intranet is accessible on a variety of device types both on and off the corporate network.

Provide native mobile applications for highly used and outcome specific functions.

Provide capabilities that allow flexibility to employees in how they work and where.

Integrate with other enterprise tools to provide employees with near seamless access to what they need even when they are not at their desks.

Make it usable on their terms.

Increase Productivity via Collaboration

Provide employees the ability to easily share information and resources with their coworkers across locations and departmental boundaries.

Enable employees to work with each other on their assignments and responsibilities.

Aid employees in finding the right people within the organization, regardless of where they sit, to help them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

Make it a hub for getting things done.

Those are the top objectives I have set out to accomplish. They help form the answer to the question of what it is I do.

What I do is champion a cause. I’m sure many of you in positions like mine do the same. Sure, we do lot’s of other things to — we deal with the day to day issues, we monitor progress on projects, we help guide actions, we coach and mentor our staff — but the thought leadership and evangelism that we are responsible for should be the most critical to the success of our visions, missions, and ultimately the work that is done by ourselves and our teams.

My cause is to give my employees a world-class intranet experience.

Make it enjoyable.
Make it usable on their terms.
Make it a hub for getting things done.

I hope the objectives and strategies laid out above can be of use to you. They are not unique or proprietary to my specific situation or company. They are also not the only way to structure and go about achieving what it is I am trying to achieve. If you have thoughts on how these can be improved or want to share how you tackle this work in your organization, please engage and join the conversation.