6 (good) reasons for having staff photos on the intranet

Does your intranet include photos of individuals? If your intranet doesn't, then you should definitely read this blog post from the Intranet connections blog. In it their guest author lists six reasons why you need to include staff photos on the intranet. Note I've cut this list down to five as the 6th was very specific to a particular type of organisation:

  1. It encourages familiarity and discourages cold responses: you are less likely to be cross with someone who has a face.
  2. It encourages community.
  3. It provides a sense of identity to a department or group or school.
  4. New or transferred staff can be highlighted on the intranet home page as a “Look Who Joined Us”
  5. For each person, their face on the intranet allows them to say to the organization “I am not just a name or a position, I have an identity and I am happy to share it with everyone”
All very good reasons for including staff photos on your intranet, but don't forget in the UK their are number of laws that Intranet managers need to be aware of when using photos. I recommend reading the Intranetizen blog post called "10 law for intranet mangers" for a detailed list of these.

What's next for social intranets?

My last post was about the Social intranet journey so it was interesting to read two blog posts about the same subject, which seem to support the ideas in the Webinar.

The first is a blog post from the Intranet Connections blog called "What is next for Social intranets" in it the author reports on a blog post which discusses the struggles of trying to get organisations (enterprises) to adopt social software. The author has an excellent piece of advice, which is:

 "Jumping into social networking for the enterprise is a challenge and often requires a major shift in culture for an organization. A great piece of advice I took away from a Webinar was to focus social interactions around a business goal or campaign. Leverage the use of social tools to facilitate business"

This is definitely something I would encourage any organisation considering implementing a social intranet to look at. The second blog post was from the Intranet connections blog again. In this post called "5 Ways to Harness the Power of Social Tools on Your Intranet" the author lists five ways in which you could use social media tools to align your organisations corporate culture. These are listed as follows:
  • "Allow it to shape and manage your company culture: Use your intranet to reinforce the values, goals and ideas that you have for your organization"
  • "Allow it to help you strengthen change management initiatives: Be transparent with your employees and let them see what the organization is working towards"
  • "Allow it to help you improve execution of corporate strategy: Get your CEO connected with employees in an open forum on the intranet" 
  • "Allow it to let you better facilitate corporate communication: With a social intranet you can reach out to your coworkers to share business tools, ask questions and learn from one another"
  • "Allow it to let you better manage and increase employee engagement: Empower your employees on the intranet and give them the ability to personalize their own intranet work space"
Some excellent tips here on how you can harness the power of social media tools. The last two will in my opinion be the most obvious and well known uses of social media tools within an enterprise. What do you think?

The social intranet journey

Last week I attended a Webinar organised by Interact Intranet about Social intranets and how increasingly organisations are looking at how they encourage their employees to use collaborative tools as part of their role.

This was a very interesting Webinar and one of the key things I took from it was that in most circumstances you shouldn't talk about collaboration but rather about actions or tasks, as individuals will be able to relate to these more easily then collaboration. Another way of looking at this is to think about collaboration being the objective not the activity. Any objective needs a focus and in the case of collaboration or social intranets, this should be what people need to do aka a task or activity.

Fear is another issue when people start to talk about collaboration. Not just from an organisations perspective but also the user. Fear can take many forms and could potentially include any of the following:
  • What will users talk about?
  • What if users don't use the tools?
  • What if I do it wrong?
  • Should I be working?
Fear is something that should be approached early on as it can be a huge impediment to encouraging collaborative working within an organisation. Another impediment is where content and collaborative tools aren't integrated within the same platform. Having separate sites, where individuals have to logon with a different username or password will become a barrier to usage. Where possible collaborative tools should be integrated tightly with any existing content to ensure individuals have a seamless and more natural experience.

What should the collaboration journey look like?

In the final part of the webinar we were asked to think about what the collaboration journey should look like. One of the first thing to do is to break the journey down into small steps or bites. So an initial first step might be to encourage users to complete their intranet profiles or add a status update.

The next step is to focus on the problems within the business, what problems could be solved using collaborative tools. The last two steps were to be realistic about what you're trying to achieve and to keep trying, Rome wasn't built in a day and encouraging individuals within your organisation isn't going to happen overnight. Keep this in mind at all times and where possible involve other people so you're not the sole advocate.

If you do all of these things then you're well on the road to a successful social intranet. Ignore any of the factors, Fear, impediments etc then you face a long uphill struggle.

14 signs you've lost the intranet plot

I absolutely love this blog post from the team at the intranetizen blog, if you're not currently subscribed to this blog you absolutely should be! It's a blog maintained by four intranet managers who in my mind post about the stuff other intranet managers want to read about. They linked to one of my blog posts in a recent post, which I consider a huge honour!

Anyway back to the post in question, this post called "14 signs you’ve lost the #intranet plot" lists you wont be too surprised 14 signs that you should take as evidence that the intranet is turning into something BAD! Don't do these things kids is basically what the guys are intranetizen are saying.

So what are these signs, well I've listed them here in full for you, but you 'll need to visit the intranetizen blog, for more information on why you shouldn't be implementing them.

  •  The weather
  • A world clock
  • Empty social activity feeds
  • Email widgets
  • Links to and feeds from lots of external sites
  • Animated gifs
  • Photo of the day
  • A daily dilbert cartoon
  • A whole page page viewer
  • Icons
  • Logins
  • Click here - yes! I am so here with this one, click here to find out why...:-)
  • The word welcome
  • Word of the day widget

[Photo credit - Steeter Seidell, Comedian by Zach Klein from Flickr]

How good is your people search?

Does searching for people within the organisation you work for leave you feeling frustrated, angry or worse? If it does then you might want to refer your intranet manager to a blog post on the Clear Box Consulting website, called "How good is your people finder?"

The post is a "checklist" to help intranet managers identify how "mature" their people search is, with points assigned to different functionality. The checklist is a mixture of what I hope would be fairly standard functionality and some more advanced functionality.

How does our intranet fare, that's something I'm not prepared to share!

[Photo credit - Frustrated by Martinak15]