checking vital signs
PHOTO: rawpixel.com

Intranet managers go to great lengths to implement new intranet platforms. Working under tight budget constraints, they have to spend hours gathering insights from end users and researching options. Then comes the inevitable back and forth with the chosen vendor or consultancy as the two sides work together to build the perfect intranet for the company’s needs.

Despite the considerable amount of time, effort and money that goes into an building an intranet, companies often make little or no effort to understand how effective it is.

Measuring the effectiveness of your intranet is crucial to success. Monitoring performance and using the insights you gain to improve the intranet’s effectiveness will keep it relevant and, more importantly, ensure that it remains a valuable resource for employees.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring the effectiveness of intranets because there are so many variables to take into account, such as features, needs, audience and company size. You need to decide on what to measure and then monitor the results over time to get a sense of whether or not you are making progress.

Here’s a look at six key areas you should consider measuring.

Related Article: Crummy Intranets Call for Crazy Solutions

1. Usage

At minimum, most intranet managers monitor metrics related to intranet usage. This data is typically found on the intranet’s admin dashboard or through a third-party platform such as Google Analytics.

Here are some sample usage metrics:

  • Unique visits.
  • Unique users.
  • Pages visited.
  • Types of devices used to access the intranet.
  • Average time spent on the site.
  • Bounce rates.
  • Locations from which users access the intranet.
  • Referral sites.

Rather than viewing these metrics in isolation, make sure you understand the context surrounding these figures. For example, what percentage of all potential users are returning users or regular users? Are your visitor numbers high because the intranet autoloads when employees open their browsers?

Related Article: How Intranet Home Pages Anchor the Digital Workplace

2. User Satisfaction

Measuring usage alone won’t give you a clear indication of how satisfied users really are. For example, there was a healthcare provider that concluded that users were engaged with its intranet because usage metrics showed that people spent a high average amount of time on the site. However, in reality, users were confused by the layout and found it difficult to find what they needed.

Use your intranet’s form tool or a third-party tool such as SurveyMonkey to conduct regular intranet satisfaction surveys. Keep feedback anonymous to encourage honesty. However, do send tracked links out to different teams, departments or locations to monitor patterns from specific groups.

Here are some sample user satisfaction metrics:

  • Overall satisfaction with the intranet.
  • Satisfaction with key features or areas.
  • Awareness of features or areas.
  • User ratings of the intranet’s ability to help them do their jobs more easily.
  • The likelihood that users would recommend the intranet to colleagues.
  • The features that users like the most, and the least.
  • Ratings of ease of use on mobile devices.

When you introduce new features or areas, you don’t need to wait until it’s time to send out another satisfaction survey to find out whether users like the new features. You can use simple intranet polls to gauge immediate reactions.

Related Article: Your Intranet Probably Sucks — And Here's Why

3. Engagement

Your users may be accessing and viewing intranet content, but are they actively engaged with the intranet? Intranets are a great way to keep employees connected with colleagues working in other locations, and with the organization itself.

Here are some sample user engagement metrics:

  • Percentage of active users.
  • Participation rates.
  • Sitewide likes, shares, comments and ratings.
  • Individual likes, shares, comments and ratings.
  • Amount of user-generated content.
  • Number of communities and projects.
  • Percentage of employee profiles completed.

Beyond tracking comments, likes and ratings, measuring engagement can provide insights into deeper changes in company culture. For example, high levels of interaction where employees are contributing openly may be evidence that your organization is growing increasingly transparent and connected.

4. Efficiency

A good intranet helps employees get their jobs done faster and more efficiently. It enables them to find information faster, speeds up internal processes and fosters collaboration among people in multiple locations. To understand how valuable an intranet is in improving efficiency, look at metrics relating to usability and findability.

Here are some sample efficiency metrics:

  • Task success rate.
  • Time required to complete tasks that require use of the intranet.
  • Time needed to complete common tasks.
  • Readability of content.
  • Number of articles reviewed.
  • Percentage of forms that are now completed online instead of on paper.
  • Load times for the intranet homepage and other pages.

Time saved is a good indication of improvements in efficiency and productivity. You should use time as the key metric for recording efficiency-related scores, such as minutes saved per day per employee, estimated cost of savings and extra minutes available to perform higher value work.

Related Article: Digital Workplace or No, an Intranet's Purpose Remains the Same

5. Impact on Other Channels

An intranet is part of a wider digital workplace tool kit. As such, it can have a direct impact on other channels. One of the key benefits of an intranet is that it becomes a self-service resource hub, accessible anytime and from any location. This can lead to reductions in the number of emails, phone calls and help desk tickets, and to decreases in legacy system usage and the amount of classroom training employees require.

Here are some sample metrics that can help you assess the intranet’s impact on other channels:

  • Volume of emails sent and received.
  • Volume of emails sent per department.
  • Volume of emails, calls or tickets to support personnel (in IT, HR, administration etc.)
  • Volume of visits in-store for support.
  • Level of usage of individual systems.

You can also demonstrate the value of your intranet by revealing how it has helped increase the usage of other channels. For example, you might find more employees are enrolling in online training when your intranet promotes new courses and training programs on the homepage (where announcements are front and center).

6. Impact on the Organization as a Whole

An intranet is another means of achieving your organization’s objectives. You should record metrics to demonstrate your intranet’s contribution to your organization’s success. Those metrics can also be used as the basis of a business case for a bigger intranet budget.

The metrics you use to measure the impact of the intranet on your organization will be dependent on your organization’s objectives. They may come from various sources, including analytics data, surveys, interviews, usability testing and records of task completion times.

Here are some sample metrics that can help you assess the intranet’s impact on the organization:

  • Level of employee engagement.
  • Awareness of and opinions about internal communications.
  • Overall time saved over a certain period of time.
  • Overall money saved over a certain period of time.
  • Time taken to respond to customer inquiries.

Try to pull your metrics from as big a sample size as possible to avoid making assumptions. Relying on statistics that are based on a very small sample sizes or, worse, are nothing more than assumptions can be counterproductive.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring the effectiveness of intranets. The important part is just to start. Set aside time to plan what metrics to measure, and make sure you monitor results periodically over time.