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What makes a good intranet great?

Date: Jan 05 2013

Most large organisations have an intranet to keep communication flowing. But what’s the difference between an ‘ok’ intranet and a ‘good’ intranet or even an ‘award winning’ intranet?

Here are a few headlines to consider:

Employee centred.  An intranet should keep employees informed and help them to do their work. So do your research – find out what your employees want. What’s the real world experience? How will the intranet work out on location? For example, accessing content on a mobile.

Community. It’s about collaboration, and engagement. An intranet is bound by the employee experience it delivers. If it provides employees what they need, gives them an opportunity to comment on news, and have their views heard and responded to it will be more successful. If you take time to invite comments and listen to and respond to them, and share ideas and welcome new ones it will be a more active community.


Design. An intranet should match external web site functionality as far as possible, employees don’t want to feel that the intranet is a second class system.

Content. Corporate content should be written specifically for the web and include imagery. Use of infographics and video should be incorporated to bring news to life.

Knowledge management. Exactly, where does all the information come from? Who owns it? To make it work you need the support of content owners, and a clear plan on content management. It should incorporate ways of helping employees with similar interests to connect with each other. The intranet should also help knowledge sharing and innovation.

Evolving. A staged approach can work to help mitigate problems, resistance and add value as employees need it. It gives you a chance to move with trends as demanded by the organisation rather than by the available technology. Not every organisation is ready for ‘fully’ social intranets just yet. Keep your sights on your aim for your intranet – keeping it meaningful and useful, indispensable and enjoyable to use.

Responsibility. It’s a team effort developing a successful intranet, involving people from across the organisation and the employees to make it work and ‘own’ it. Internal communication should champion the importance of transparent governance and be central to the ongoing strategy and management of the intranet.

The CIPR Inside Awards deadline has passed, and we’re looking forward to the judges views on some excellent entries, including those for Best intranet. Keep an eye on ciprinside.co.uk for updates on the awards and more.