For anyone who has to report to the CEO about the effectiveness of the company intranet, knowing how to move forward can be extremely difficult. Measuring success is a challenge in practically all aspects of business, but it’s far more difficult when you’re dealing with subjective ideas rather than firm statistics. Unfortunately, social intranets tend to be more subjective. You can quantify the percentage of employees who have filled out a specific piece of paperwork, but it’s harder to prove that the intranet is operating at peak performance.
Unfortunately, the answer doesn’t involve pouring over a mountain of statistics.
Why Statistics Often Lie
Anyone familiar with web analytics knows that statistics don’t always show the full picture. For example, while an unending number of page views can look good, a deeper analysis might prove that most of those views came from spam robots and should not be counted at all. More often than not, statistics alone do not accurately represent what’s happening, and this is especially true when it comes to your intranet software platform.
Let’s say you’ve put a lot of work into streamlining your social intranet and are ready to look for a measurable change in activity. You’ve segmented the community into the right amount of spaces, created the best possible content, and are constantly combing-through to ensure the organization doesn’t suffer when new content is added. In effect, you’re doing everything possible to increase intranet engagement and push it in a forward direction, yet when you look at the statistics, you’re shocked to see the appearance of failure.
Don’t panic. Chances are, things are going just fine.
The fact is, page views don’t mean much when it comes to intranet usage. Just because someone visits a page doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve taken in any of the information presented. You’ll be closer to the truth when taking into consideration the amount of shares and “likes” a piece of content receives, but even those metrics are poor representations of overall intranet success.
Many people can get frustrated with the fact that statistics aren’t necessarily accurate when measuring intranet usage and effectiveness. It can be difficult to compile a report for the CEO, because understanding what makes a great intranet requires more time and patience than this. The good news, however, is that poor statistics are typically nothing to worry about, and there are other ways understand how your intranet is performing.
What to Look For When Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Social Intranet
For now, let’s leave statistics out of the equation and consider other means of determining the effectiveness of your intranet usage; especially concerning page views. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to look at how the intranet is performing, many of which are more interesting than click count statistics. Putting these into a report for the CEO may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you have a strong handle on your social intranet.
Other than page views, here are a few ways to measure intranet engagement:
- Tasks and Workflow — One way to look deeply into the effectiveness of your intranet is to pay attention to tasks and workflow. This can not only help you identify “power-users,” but it can also help you discover any issues that are getting in the way of tasks getting completed. Take into consideration time, snags, quality, and anything else you feel relates to the forward movement of a task, as this can provide you with benchmarks when evaluating intranet usage.
- Well-communicated Goals — Everyone has goals for themselves in life, whether personal or professional. One of the biggest reasons goals are not achieved in a business setting, however, stems from a lack of communication. Poor communication almost always leads to confusion and can actually work against employee engagement. However, if you’re able to communicate intranet-related goals in a thorough manner, you can expect greater participation, making it easier to use goals to measure success.
- Employee Profiles — In order for an intranet to run in an effective manner, it’s essential that employees fill-out their profiles to the fullest degree. Employee profiles that are properly filled-out can make maneuvering an intranet far easier, and allow upper-level staff members to more readily identify experts. In addition, completed employee profiles are an excellent sign that the intranet is working properly, a metric you can point to when reporting on the community’s success to your company’s CEO.
- “Power-Users” — No matter what industry you work in, or how large your company is, you will notice a subset of employees on your intranet that take things a few steps further than everyone else. These individuals can be referred to as “power-users,” as they demonstrate a level of performance that is exemplary. Identifying these staff members will not only give you a list of people to refer to when you need help with a particular task, but they also serve as an excellent metric for how well your intranet is performing. Keep these users in mind when you’re looking for people to act as administrators or community leaders, as they’ll likely be an excellent fit for such a job.
- Contributions — The number of page views you’re getting doesn’t really matter when it comes to intranet usage. What truly matters is whether or not people are actively participating in the social community. Contributions such as blog posts, discussions, and project/case management all serve to benefit the intranet and can be viewed as signposts for whether or not the community is on the right track. This is true even if page views and similar metrics don’t reflect the quality of what’s being posted.
- Shares/Likes — If there’s one metric relating to page views that’s actually worth paying attention to, it’s that of shares and “likes.” More often than not, if someone is sharing or liking a piece of content, it’s because they’ve actually spent a bit of time internalizing it and are happy with what they’ve seen. This isn’t always true, but it’s a far more accurate representation of quality and performance than simply counting page views.
Streamlining Your Company Intranet for Success
A company intranet that is properly designed and maintained can be a powerful thing. Success in anything takes work, and your social intranet is no exception. Indeed, putting in a little extra effort to ensure that your community is properly set-up will benefit you greatly, and doing so won’t require you to hire new employees or take on a great deal of additional tasks.
When streamlining your company intranet usage for success, and putting together a successful report for the CEO, don’t hesitate to put the following tips into action:
- Ask Employees to Complete Specific Tasks — There are a couple of ways to ensure that tasks get completed within the intranet. You could make a huge list of tasks and then ask the entire community to pitch-in and help to get things done, which is rather common. Another more useful option, however, is to assign employees with specific tasks. This approach removes any guesswork about what needs to get done and who is handling it, which will lead to more measurable results over time.
- Work with IT — The performance of your company intranet can largely depend on whether or not it’s functioning properly. An intranet that suffers IT issues is one that will alienate employees altogether, causing people to avoid putting in the extra effort necessary for a successful social community. Working with IT or your software vendor to ensure that everything is running at peak performance can help diffuse this issue.
- Focus on Improving Employee Engagement — One common misconception made when deploying a new company intranet is that doing so will automatically improve employee engagement levels. While a social community can certainly be very helpful, it’s important to view employee engagement as something separate that can be improved on its own. There are countless employee engagement activities, from internal promotions to regular meetings and check-ins. Put in the work, and your company intranet will benefit dramatically from your efforts.
- Keep Content Timely and Consistent — There’s nothing worse than an intranet which goes stagnant over time. It doesn’t matter how much content lives within your social community — if it isn’t timely and up-to-date, it’s not going to get the job done. Content should be relevant and posted on a consistent basis, regardless of what the subject matter may be. It helps to have a designated content writer or group of writers to ensure the implementation of your intranet content strategy.
- Change Your Thought Process — The entire goal of improving the way you measure intranet usage and effectiveness is to change your thought process and methods. If you’re used to thinking in terms of measurable statistics, you might find yourself running into dead-ends. Thinking more subjectively is key, as you’ll have a much easier time measuring success and identifying areas that need improvement. It may not happen overnight, but a change in thought process is crucial to meeting your intranet usage goals.
Statistics are useful in many scenarios, so it’s not surprising why people rely on them so heavily. This being said, stepping away from viewing statistics as the be all, end all of measurement will help you put together a more well-rounded case for the effectiveness of your social intranet. There’s no better way to impress the CEO, and no better time than now to switch gears.