As a utility organization, your Intranet may be one of your most essential tools. A good intranet should have the ability to house information and business processes, and the ability to facilitate communication and collaboration. Because your intranet can be such a powerful tool, special attention should be paid to its content.
Content Strategy, as defined by content expert Kristina Halvorson, is “the creation, publication, and governance of useful content.” The overarching concept is easy enough to understand, but when it comes to hundreds or thousands of pages within an intranet, it can feel a lot more complicated. We’re here to share the secret and to help you build a first-in-class intranet.
Assemble Your Intranet Dream Team
If you are doing a complete overhaul of your intranet or its content, having the right team involved is essential. The Powerful team has a variety of experts to help guide you through the process from start to finish, but we are really about building what fits you best. This means collaboration is key and pulling together a team of people within your organization to work on your Intranet project is important. How many people are on such a committee is not nearly as important as their investment to the project. Be thoughtful to include varying viewpoints based on their area of work, but make sure there is a common vision clearly outlined.
Who Is the Intranet For? How Should This Influence the Outcome?
When it comes to your intranet, the end user to keep in mind is not your member or customer—it’s the team members that will be using the intranet.
Considering why they are coming to the intranet and how they expect to find what they need are things we’ll cover in depth in a bit, but it’s important to acknowledge the impact an intranet can have on communication and productivity within your utility district, electric co-op or other utility organization.
It can be a difficult balance when restructuring or repurposing an essential tool used by many, but we can find more insight by doing research with the employees within your utility or surveying people in employees from different departments while asking the same questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. There will be plenty of opinions or requests about what your Intranet should look like or what each stakeholder or employee wants prioritized, but your job is to collect the information and make it advantageous to the majority, and it’s ok to convey that.
What Should Be Housed in Your Intranet?
While it’s tempting to use your intranet as your deepest filing cabinet, this is often the biggest obstacle utility organizations face when it comes time to clean up shop. It can also greatly impede the usability and searchability of your intranet if it becomes too full or cluttered. This can be counterproductive as it slows down productivity for everyone involved.
As mentioned, an intranet can end up with hundreds or thousands of pages and files. Some of this information can be considered vital, but some of it no longer serves a purpose and therefore gets in the way. This is where site governance comes in. It’s important when building or restructuring your intranet to set clear parameters and qualifications for content that are clear to anyone who is creating for, contributing to, or organizing your team’s intranet.
Common tools and resources that are often found on an intranet include:
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Budget information
- Processes, policies and procedures
- Contact information for staff and locations
- Customer or vendor information
- Employment and benefits information
- Events, trainings, and closures
- Forms staff need access to
- Necessary legal documentation
- Revolving tasks like ordering supplies or uniforms
Because your intranet is such an important tool for your utility district or electric cooperative, taking these steps to ensure success with your content will help you get the most out of restructuring, reorganizing, or redesigning the employee intranet for your electric co-op or utility organization.