update on a typewriter
PHOTO: Markus Winkler | unsplash

Updating intranet content traditionally works like this: each department assigns a person (or several people) the task of maintaining the department's intranet section. For some, it’s a welcome task. For others, it’s a chore. 

When someone views updating the intranet as a chore which adds little value to their professional objectives, it results in poor quality, obsolete content. When someone welcomes the opportunity, the content will be spot on and the updates will help employees in that department accomplish their tasks.

Is this the ideal setup, or is there a better approach?

How Do You Align Individual Objectives With Objectives of a Specific Intranet Section?

Let's start by looking at different intranet information architectures.

Quite often, intranets are organized by departments. The intranet managers ask each department head what their intranet section should contain, what available content they have and then the department head assigns a person(s) to upload and maintain the content. Because each department typically has several functions that interact with the rest of the company, the result is the person updating the content sees this task as a purely administrative activity.

A better way is when intranet content is organized around topics. These topics have an owner (or more than one). The drive to maintain a topic page is stronger as it involves some direct responsibility.

The best scenario I've found is when an intranet is organized around services delivered internally. Basically, each employee task is somebody else’s internal service.

The intranet can be the medium to formalize this interaction between the internal customer and the internal service owner, by describing the why of the service, the how (procedures, news, training materials, support contacts, etc.) and the what (apps, notifications, KPIs). The intranet can then provide the best resources in an asynchronous manner, including access to apps.

If the service manager sees the intranet as an “online outlet” that enables them to deliver their service to their internal customers in the most efficient and effective manner, then they will have a strong drive to maintain and improve their intranet section. This in turn will allow them to increase the quality of the service  delivers internally, and reduce the cost for delivering it.

The result is alignment between the employee task, the related content inside the intranet, and the innate motivation of the internal service manager to deliver their service with the help of the related content and apps. Your days of worrying about poor or stale content will be over.

Related Article: Your Intranet Should Be a Little Messy