We’re living and working in crazy times. The world of work is changing rapidly, and the rules on how we work are also being turned upside down. Information such as how to use an intranet in a crisis, which tools and practices are the best, and how to improve employee engagement are more crucial than ever.
Yet one thing that remains constant is the need for a social, intelligent intranet. It can be seen as the sturdy, reliable friend that calms us in a crisis, and soothes us when we’re under pressure.
Like with every good companion, an intranet has numerous tools and ways it can help us when we need it most.
Here we’ve highlighted 14 of the best ways how to use an employee intranet in a crisis.
1. Use alerts, but do it sparingly
Used sparingly, alerts should be your number one go-to communications tool when you have something really important to say and when everyone needs to be aware of the message. Clear this path of clutter and noise, and only use them to send out really important information, or else they’ll be ignored.
2. Take a look at your analytics
Look at your metrics to see which content is resonating, and on which channel. Listen to what’s being shared on the various social forums for feedback. Lean into the channels that are getting more engagement.
3. Segment and target your audience making it easy for them
Do the "heavy lifting" for your users. Segment the content to help cut through the noise. By segmenting content or tailoring landing pages for different audiences, they will be able to see the most relevant content that matters for them. For example, having different language versions if needed and creating separate content for each audience (such as office locations) is really helpful.
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4. Provide useful articles
Users are looking for how-to guides, FAQs, topical news, funny and lightweight content. Tag your articles with metadata and tags so that you can catalogue and categorize the large volume of information that you’re sharing so it’s displayed in a user-friendly way.
5. Provide a common break-time "channel"
Getting together, whether working remotely or IRL, is a great way to improve employee engagement. So set up intentional channels where people can either have or plan a coffee break or lunch together. Perhaps it’s a weekly happy hour, where people can join in with a drink of choice to accommodate those dialing in from different time zones.
6. Set up a crisis communications hub
This should be a one-stop-shop for all relevant and important content. Keep all your essential resources here, including your working from home policies. Make it a central hub where everyone in the organization can find what they need, fast. See how the Max Mara Fashion Group used their mobile intranet app during an unprecedented crisis.
7. Secure health & well being of your remote workforce
Having a dedicated space for health and wellness is a great way to use your intranet in a crisis. Encourage all users to share their mental health tips, such as how to best to juggle the kids whilst on a conference call, or the best mindfulness apps to use. Perhaps include a dedicated social channel for pet or baby pictures.
8. Mobile push notifications
Time to turn these on! This is a great way to reach front line and deskless employees and the previously hard to reach. Use this as part of your multi-channel approach to internal comms. But, like with alerts, be selective and don’t overload this channel.
Important messages should reach your employees even via mobile.
9. Keep your policies up to date
Make sure all your policies are up to date and easy to access for your employees. Ensure there are clear guidelines on new ways of working, who to contact if your employees have questions, best tips for remote working and how to keep updated.
10. Have a place for quick links
Compile a list of the most useful links — be they to legacy platforms or the best apps to use — and house them in a central place so it’s easy for people to see/use. The more useful the links, the more value they will bring to your staff.
11. Provide rewards & recognition
Now more than ever, people need positive reinforcement to help them feel valued. Recognize their contributions by sending badges, shout-outs on social, or write about their successes in a news article.
12. Improve & benefit from the search function
Put yourself in your users' shoes — conduct a few searches to see how easy it is to find information in your intranet. If you can’t get the information and material you’re looking for quickly and easily, now’s the time to optimize your search so that it’s there to help people get what they need.
13. Make it social
Employees are used to using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other social media channels in their personal lives. So why not show them how they can benefit from using your two-way, social internal communications channels, such as Yammer and Microsoft Teams, too.
Create fun and informative hashtags that they can use for real-time sharing. Encourage peer to peer support and bring your unsung champions to the front and center! And of course, make sure to encourage your employees and co-workers to share and participate in their most used social media channels as well.
14. Create pre-recorded videos & webinars
Time for senior leaders to be seen and be visible with some pre-recorded videos with messages of support. Video is also perfect for hosting training webinars or mini explainers such as which apps and/or channels should be used for what job. Even if it's just a quick hello message from the CEO, like in the picture above, it shows that we are all in this together, which is important for workforce morale and employee engagement.
There are many ways to use an intranet in a crisis! Just remember if your intranet delivers value, people will visit it and engage with it. If the staff think it’s useful, they will trust it and come back to it time and time again, raising employee engagement and empowering your remote workforce