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Information is moving at blinding speed! What does this mean for your intranet news service? Employees are expecting more and more from internal news.

Driven in large part by their experience on the Web, employees want up-to-the-minute information delivered in a lively, innovative and credible fashion. Employees want useful information, and they want it now. What’s more, they want to be able to debate the issues of the day and drive the whole news agenda.

In its recently released briefing paper entitled “Managing News on the Intranet,” IBF provides tips for managing news on the intranet, highlights examples of good practices, and points out key considerations for intranet managers and internal communicators. Guidance is drawn from research based on specific interest from DWG members. Among the featured case studies include American Electric Power, BT and Citi’s Channel ‘C.’

In particular, IBF sets out eight good practices, including:

  1. Leveraging employees to enhance the value of your internal news

  2. Making content real, relevant and fresh
  3. Making way for the digital C-Suite
  4. Expanding your definition of news
  5. Making news easy to access anytime, anywhere
  6. Engaging employees in conversation; communication is a team sport
  7. Teaching employees how to fish
  8. Creating a continuous feedback loop

Excerpted below is tip #2, making content real, relevant and fresh.

Employees can be sceptical and distrustful of the information they receive internally – especially news. Earlier this year, PR giant Edelman released the 2009 edition of the Trust Barometer. It shows that trust has become a particularly thorny issue in the wake of the global economic crisis. Moreover, confidence in CEOs as a reliable source of information about their companies has hit a new low.

Amid current crises, internal news services need to take a neutral position. Employees see right through company-speak. Fundamental to this is asking hard-hitting questions and tackling difficult subjects. At the same time, internal news should be media and content rich.

A recent example was the internal announcement by General Motors about bankruptcy proceedings. CEO Fritz Henderson addressed employees via video to share his personal views on what the bankruptcy meant for the company and staff.

Fritz confronted the bad news directly and swiftly, then took immediate, positive action by rolling out GM’s reinvention programme. Laced throughout his message was a clear view of the WIIFM. (What’s in it for me?) It is recipient-oriented communication that answers four simple questions. Address these, and you’ll capture employee interest.


WIIFM Questions

GM Reinvention Messages

What do you want employees to SEE?

Management has dispensed with corporate speak and is fully committed to open and transparent communications.

What do you want employees to THINK?

Management is ready to tackle issues of importance e.g. environment, safety, innovation, service, quality.

What do you want employees to FEEL?

There will be job losses, but all hope is not lost. Let anger fuel your passion.

What do you want employees to DO?

Take part in the reinvention of the company and the automobile. Focus on customers, cars and culture. Along the way, engage in a dialogue with management that is grounded in transparency, innovation and forward momentum.

Fast forward 40 days following the launch announcement, GM emerged out of bankruptcy – ahead of schedule and ahead of rival Chrysler Group LLC's 42-day timeframe. Although there is still much to be done for GM to claim success, employees together with retirees, shareholders, car owners and spectators now have an open invitation to participate in ongoing conversations with leadership about progress and issues, bring new ideas and issues direct to the CEO and follow breaking news via

The full version of this briefing report is available exclusively to DWG members via the research section of the secure IBF extranet along with the newly released "Social Media Guide." Still to come in 2009 are:

  • "The Art of Tagging" (briefing paper)
  • "The Role & Value of the Intranet" (full report)

If you are not yet a member of the Digital Workplace Group and would like to learn more about our research programme and other member services, contact us at You can also visit our online shop, where we occasionally we make IBF research available to non-members.

In the meantime, leave your mark via the comment section below; tell us what steps you are taking to deliver a more vibrant and useful intranet news desk.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

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 +.

One Comment

  1. Highly relevant as social web requirements are bleeding their way into corporate intranets. We’re conducting a survey to get a snapshot of where business are finding themselves in this cultural shift. Feel free to fill out the survey, participants will get a free copy of the report.

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