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In a post last month, Sam Marshall talked about some recurring patterns in intranet strategy and governance. Having  recently joined the IBF benchmarking team, I’ve been digging around in the archives to see how members fare in another area of the IBF benchmarking model: communication and culture. This looks at how well the intranet supports the culture of the organisation and functions as a two-way communication channel.

Looking at how organisations score, one of the weakest areas within communication and culture is how effective the intranet is at making employees feel informed about what’s going on and that they can contribute to the organisation.  The themes arising here where scores are weak include:

  • The intranet is seen as a one-way channel to push information and communication to employees, with other channels (often email) used for getting employee input and feedback.
  • A lack of visibility of senior executives online and, even where they are visible, a lack of opportunities for employees to engage in two-way discussions with them.
  • Surveys and polls may be run from time-to-time, but a lack of ongoing opportunities for discussion.
  • Where two-way communication does happen it is carefully managed and edited by internal communications.
  • Corporate strategy is not clearly communicated via the intranet.

Recommendations for improving employee involvement on the intranet depend very much on the culture of the organisation, and include:

  • Making sure that senior leaders are visible online and enabling employees to interact with them (e.g. – via online chat or Q&A sessions)
  • Introducing less formal two-way communication options, such as the ability for employees to comment on news articles and internal blogs.
  • Facilitated discussion boards that allow employees to discuss business-related issues. Discussions may be pan-organisational, or focus around a particular event or area of the business.
  • Gathering feedback from internal cascades or team briefings via the intranet.
  • Where employee questions and concerns are answered via email or in face-to-face sessions (e.g. – town hall), posting them, along with the answers and any additional follow-up material, to the intranet

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is the Digital Workplace Group’s Managing Director, Member Services & Strategic Partnerships.

During her six-year tenure with DWG, Nancy has been involved in account management, benchmarking, research, blogging and executive producing Digital Workplace Live and DW 24.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.


  1. I’m glad to say we’re pretty on top of all those in my group, save the last one. We have a mechanism for employees to submit questions, but I’ve neglected to stay on top of it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Brad Jennings

    Thanks – really useful. I’d be interested to hear views around how to improve employee confidence to get involved in work based social networks. It’s a real challenge that I’m looking into at the moment.


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