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Intranet

What percentage of employees use your intranet?

Intranets are great; they can broadcast to a great number of people and encourage two-way conversations, creating awareness and some engagement. But however ‘webbed up‘ your company is, there are going to be people who ‘don’t get‘ the intranet and prefer relying on document repositories, management cascades and emails.

It’s not their fault entirely. Sure, they’re ignoring an important news channel and information resource, but perhaps your company isn’t publishing relevant articles? Maybe a lot of pages our out of date? Maybe your front page is filled with sponsored walk stories.

Not everyone in the workforce will even have access to your intranet. Do ‘temps’ and contractors get a login? What about fieldworkers, operatives and sales people? Do they have time to check the intranet news, or do they just log on to get their email? Some fieldworkers only have network access to certain applications; they may even have had their internet and intranet access blocked for some archaic reason.

Click ‘Read more’ – you gotta see the diagram I’ve crafted for you!

If your company employes thousands of people then no doubt you have an Internal Communications department that looks after or publishes to the intranet. Hit statistics (non-unique hits and unique hits) are crucial in understanding the impact of announcements and business news stories, and can help with employee engagement and company morale.

But when you look at the hits for a ‘big’ story on your intranet, do you get the feeling that while lots of people read it, lots more didn’t?

Percentage wise, how much reach does your intranet have?


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What about your company?

Would you say that smaller companies have more of their staff using the intranet, and that with larger companies the percentage goes down further?

I’ve based my percentages and diagram on a company with, say, 5,000 employees. Would the middle two circles be larger in a smaller company?

Surely the company’s industry affects intranet usage too; high-tech companies (even large ones) might have a much greater percentage of people with access and who use the intranet. Companies that have a great many field workers and mobile workers might have smaller numbers – what do you think?

Can you say what your company percentages would be?

[Wedge]

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.

One thought on “What percentage of employees use your intranet?

  • This is a great post. I struggle with this topic at my company daily as the strategist for our intranet.

    A) We are a utility, an operations based company. Case in point a majority of our employees work in plants and out in the field. Everyone has access to the intranet, and there are multiple machines available at the hubs and in break rooms. However, in the day to day of an operations heavy job, it’s unlikely for an employee to get to a computer. There’s a mentality in our internal communications department that has existed for years and years that non-office workers just do not use the intranet. Our company is also 75% of 45 yr. olds and up. Don’t get me wrong, I know all generations use computers – but the adoption rate of social media tools and contributing online tends to lean more towards the younger generations.

    B) However… we do a communications survey every two years. It is available via paper and online. We did the survey in 2005 and 30% responded online and 70% by paper. The 2008 survey – 65% responded online, and only 35% by paper. That’s a big shift. We also found that 70% of employees use our intranet at least once a day, up from 59% in 2005. (2008 survey was taken by 60% of our workforce, compared to 50% in 2005).
    We’ve also started to dip our toes into leadership blogging. While we haven’t gotten a ton of comments, some of the few that come in have been from field or plant employees.
    Two years ago we did a walk around usability research of our intranet where we visited several locations and watched employees use the intranet and conducted interviews. The non-office employees were frequently logging into the computers in the break rooms right before or after their shifts to check email and the intranet.

    So while I understand that we aren’t reaching everyone today with our intranet, I can’t help but think that if we ‘pull’ employees to our intranet with interesting content and teasers or force (maybe not the right word) employees to use the intranet by putting things they have to use exclusively online, it would increase our reach. I don’t think employees who don’t sit at a desk are adverse to using the intranet, they just don’t see a need to as part of their day to day.

    I also can’t help but think as the older generation retires and Gen Y starts to come into the work force, the idea of employees not using the computer will diminish. I also think we’ll see a shift of more participation on the intranet with content generation and knowledge sharing. The intERnet is becoming more and more a part of people’s lives, so it’s hard to think they wouldn’t use it at work — they want the same online experience at work that they have at home. If you’re searching for answers and content with Google, then you should be able to search for answers and content on the intranet.

    I think it’s also a case for making sure intranets are mobile accessible. Field employees might not necessarily be at the computer all day, but most have some sort of PDA or mobile device.

    And with budgets extinct, finding ways to communicate and reach all employees electronically is smart — if done right.

    I realize though, at the end of the day, without perfect metrics you cannot make any assumptions. We are a utility and it will be at least a decade before we see the intranet usage of a company like IBM or Cisco. But.. I will still relish in the small shifts in trends and get a little sense of success when I see employees post comments and questions to our CEO’s blog. Baby steps. :)

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