Recent statistics from the Worldwide Intranet Challenge (WIC) proved a point most organisations already know: only a small percentage of employees actively contribute to their intranet. And this is how small a percentage:
Over half of employees never use the intranet at all, a further third does so infrequently, and less than one in ten is a weekly user. These findings are based on the inputs of 45.000 intranet end users from more than 160 organizations, including Rijkswaterstaat, AkzoNobel and Elsevier in the Netherlands.
These alarming numbers prompted Andrew Wright, the founder of the WIC, to look for successful examples of active contributor communities elsewhere. And what better example to take than Wikipedia. In an article in CMS Newswire he formulates ten lessons intranets can learn from Wikipedia:
- Become “content evangelists” — seed the intranet with quality content
- Provide a quick and easy to use platform — it lowers the barriers to contribution
- Make it easy to edit — enable edits on the run
- Consider the content review process — eliminate anything unwieldy
- Don’t get caught up in the technology — focus on helping users understand what you want from them rather than on dazzling them
- Provide tools to enable contributors to interact
- Organize content community events and gatherings
- Explain why content contribution is important to the organization
- Use gamification with incentives to reward certain user behaviors
- Make sure your platform invites rather than challenges
ILUMY’s social intranet platform Plek is tackling exactly these issues. Ease-of-use was of paramount importance in designing Plek. We even removed a number of features that were useful in themselves, but compromised the simplicity and intuitiveness of the platform. And we carried this approach through to the tablet and mobile versions of the design.
Our intranet consultants also advise clients on communication strategy and process changes before the launch of Plek. And even though the application is self-explanatory, it still needs seed content to get employees started: messages to react to, conversations to participate in, groups to join. Critical mass is everything – see Wikipedia!