Your intranet is killing your company. 

Every day it saps productivity, innovation and engagement -- three key ingredients that drive higher employee performance, and in turn, revenue gains.

Step back and think about it for a minute. In order to be a high-performing employee, you need to be focused on the right tasks, have access to the right information and skills to get things done, and work as efficiently as possible to get the job done. This is especially important for knowledge workers -- your most experienced and expensive employees.

So, what do you do to help these knowledge workers be more effective and engaged? In my work with scores of large companies, I've found five consistent behaviors. High performers always:

  1. Understand the organization's strategy, and how they contribute to that strategy
  2. Informally learn from others in similar roles
  3. Find experts and their knowledge to improve their work
  4. Collaborate with others to create and deliver great work
  5. Share their knowledge with others.

What do these have to do with your Intranet? Unfortunately, traditional intranets don’t help encourage those key behaviors.

Let’s take a look at each in turn, and give each a simple grade.

1. Understand the organization's strategy, and how they contribute to that strategy

shutterstock_13486219.jpgGrade = C

How do most organizations communicate about corporate strategy? Typically, someone in corporate communications writes an article that appears on the Intranet home page -- a place that gets great traffic (because it is the browser default home page), but no attention.

To combat that, execs are asked to cascade email messages out to their direct reports. Eventually, the plan goes, everyone in the company will read and buy into the message. You know how that works out.

Even if the message is seen, employees have no way of providing feedback, ideas or asking for clarification.

Feedback is paramount to buy-in and execution of company strategies. A key way to gain buy-in across the company is to give your most expensive and skilled employees a voice in developing it.

2. Informally learn from others in similar roles

Grade = B

In many intranet environments there are communities of practice dedicated to specific job functions. Many of these are thriving communities, both on and offline. But, consider how long it takes a newcomer to find these communities. Do their hiring managers introduce them? Do they find them weeks later through word-of-mouth? Does the intranet figure out who they are and recommend communities to join? Not likely.