Five Reasons Why Some Company Intranets Fail

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Five Reasons Why Some Company Intranets Fail

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 06:54
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Every company that deploys an intranet solution does so with the best of intentions.  The purpose of any company intranet is to make internal processes smoother within the organization, enabling better communications and efficient management of content.

Whether your organization is looking to provide easier access to resources, improve collaboration and internal comms with employees, or boost engagement and productivity levels, every intranet solution ultimately has objectives to meet.

But what if your company intranet doesn’t live up to expectations?  Unfortunately, the reality for some companies is that better engagement, increased productivity and accessible resources are simply a myth on their company intranet.

According to an intranet survey conducted by IntraTeam, only 40% of organizations are ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their intranet system, with less than 5% ‘very satisfied’ with their company’s intranet solution.  So why is it so many companies are struggling with creating a useful, engaging intranet environment?

Where Do Some Companies Go Wrong?

When it comes to launching a company intranet, many organizations make the common mistake of thinking ‘build it and they will come’.  What they tend to forget is that the content and layout of their company intranet needs a lot of forethought and planning prior to launch, and a lot of love and attention post-launch.  Many companies don’t think to drive traffic to their internal intranet, and even more forget they still need to drive the user journey around the intranet content itself, pointing users at the most important or useful content to make navigation easier.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that companies make which can cause an intranet to fail, and we’ll point out some solutions that could help solve or prevent this in future.

Top Five Reasons Why Some Company Intranets Fail:

1. Not Promoting The Intranet Prior To Launch

This can be the kiss of death for your company intranet before it’s even gone live.  If you don’t communicate effectively about why your company is implementing an intranet or how staff should use it prior to launch, then your new company intranet is likely to receive lacklustre engagement.


Make a big deal about your new intranet.  Run an internal marketing campaign so that everyone is aware that ‘the intranet is coming’, explaining what the system entails, what processes will change internally, and what the benefits are for employees (i.e. saves time etc).  Getting ‘buy-in’ from employees pre-launch is vital to a company intranet’s success.

2. Users' Needs Neglected in ‘Top-Down’ Communications 

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is the lack of consideration for the needs of their end users - the employees. The aim of a company intranet is to make two-way communications easier, more transparent, and to provide rich, engaging content.

However some companies focus on delivering dry corporate communications, effectively talking at their employees, and they forget their company intranet is supposed to be used as a tool to inspire.  This leads to an intranet filled with top-down communications, with no celebration of employees as individuals and irrelevant content, which ultimately leads to employees being ‘switched-off’ from the company intranet.


If the purpose of a company intranet is to drive better employee engagement, think about delivering content and communications that is genuinely engaging and of interest to the majority of your users.  Focus on individual employee successes and celebrate them in news stories, and add content that users genuinely need and find useful.  

Talk to your employees about what they want on your intranet site, or use your intranet’s Search Report to discover what content your users are looking for on your intranet.

3. Not Making The Intranet 'The' Central Repository

Intranets need to be a hub of all the key information which can be easily accessed by all the employees within the organization. The main aim of having Intranets is to integrate the scattered data silos among shared drives, digital and physical space along with knowledge management software. 
Storing information in different places with outdated documents, data and other key resources defeats the whole purpose of having an Intranet in the first place. Hence, it’s important to make the Intranet a vital source of content, which enables employees to have access to all the latest information and data related to the company for greater adoption of this platform. 


Make sure your employees need to use your intranet to get their job done. Change your company’s existing processes to make your intranet solution the central repository for all company assets, documentation and third-party systems.

4. No Training Provided to Staff on How to Use the Intranet 

Most organizations forget to pay attention to providing essential training resources for their employees to learn and understand the usage of their intranet.   Whether that’s training on how a particular intranet feature works, or training on how internal processes have changed with the introduction to the new intranet system, staff need to know how it works.  This poses additional hurdles in user adoption to the new system and affects the productivity of the organization. 


Companies need to ensure that their users are completely trained and know how to utilise the intranet to the maximum extent possible. Create useful videos, FAQ pages or include screenshots for them to become more familiar with how the intranet works and how to complete common tasks.

5. Making Site Navigation Difficult for Users

Having tonnes of content on your intranet for employees to utilise is great, but if it’s buried in a link a page hidden in a sub-sub-subfolder, whose ever going to read it?!  For most employees, company intranets can be a minefield of poorly structured content with complicated site navigation, all of which drives employees away from using the site - rendering the information you’re placing on the intranet useless if no-one can find it.  With staff already facing the stress of learning the new system and getting adapted to it, making the navigation complicated only creates additional challenges and causes frustration for them. 


Think carefully about what content you want to add to the site and how you plan to structure it.  Grouping similar content together and creating visible, useful links across the site is a first step towards better navigation.  Think about your user journeys on the site and what is going to be the easiest and most obvious way a user can find that content. Simplifying your navigation is a surefire way ensuring your employees use your company intranet.

For other tips on how to drive intranet engagement, see our other intranet guide.

Interested in boosting your intranet engagement?

Speak to our intranet software specialists to see how the Hub could help you boost employee engagement and productivity, and make your internal communications seamless.​​

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