How to Make Sure Your Intranet Escapes the Corporate Knife


Ever had a bad dream? If so, did it include a hungry beast threatening your intranet? Or were the entire internal comms department chased by an armed ninja?

Probably not. Dreams are rarely about intranets, but real life nightmares are another story. They come true to communications pro’s from time to time.

I’m talking about the internal comms nightmare: the intranet being stabbed by the financial department’s knife.

IBF (Intranet Benchmarking Forum) writes in their report Delievering Intranet Value that “most senior managers still see the intranet as an internal news medium and an information repository – nice-tohave, but a candidate for cutbacks when the heat is on.

They have little notion of the intranet’s power to save costs, improve productivity and even boost revenue. They haven’t yet grasped that it can be instrumental in enabling their organisation to weather the current climate of greater austerity.”

In fact effective internal communication drives business performance.

According to Melcrum, a recent Watson Wyatt Communication ROI Study found evidence that communication effectiveness is a leading indicator of financial performance.

Among the findings, high employee engagement equals high financial performance. The study claims:

  • Companies that communicate effectively have a 19.4% higher market premium than companies that don’t.
  • Shareholder returns for organizations with the most effective communication were over 57% higher in 2000-2004 than were returns for firms with less effective communication.
  • Firms that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to report high levels of employee engagement versus firms that communicate less effectively.

Unveil Your Intranet’s Hidden Values

In their report, IBF suggest that the smartest thing an intranet manager can do to escape the firing line is to deliver previously hidden value for the organisation and to assemble data to prove return of investment (ROI).

In doing so, they’re turning the threat of cutbacks into an opportunity to ensure that they, their intranets and their organisations survive and prosper in tough times“, IBF says.

IBF also stresses the importance of building relationships with business areas.

They say you should make an effort in explaining the mission and potential of the intranet. Although it’s time-consuming, it will be worth it in the long run.

Their suggestion is that you showcase successful uses of the intranet. As well you should focus on the departments’ business challenges. When listening to the departments’ needs, you’ll likely uncover ways the intranet can ease their work load.

4 Cornerstones of Intranet Value

Furthermore, the IBF report highlights four additional key areas when finding practical ways to deliver value via your intranet. I quote:

1. Research users needs

The leaders in the field carry out research with the aim of building a picture, for each of their main employee groups, of their working patterns, the processes they follow and where the frustrations, blockages and inefficiencies lie, as well as finding out in detail about how they currently use the intranet and where they think it could help them work more efficiently.

Sometimes, they do this through persona profiling. This is something the intranet team can do, or that a third party can be commissioned to do. It can utilise interviews, focus groups and surveys.

2. Implement or expand self service

The most significant way intranets cut costs for organisations is by enabling administrative processes to be reengineered – particularly in the HR area – and migrated online via the intranet.

This can make processes far more cost-efficient (and effective) for the organisation and individual users.

3. Improve content that help people work smarter

It is important to do the simpler and less costly work to make sure your site is providing accurate, well-written, well-organised and easily searchable HR reference material – all of it written and organized in a way that help users complete their key tasks quickly and efficiently.

4. Create online helpdesks

Does your organisation operate internal helpdesks (for example, for IT, HR or Finance) providing services that could be delivered more efficiently online via the intranet?

Studies of helpdesk operations report it costs about £8 to £10 to respond to a request for help by telephone, and about £5 to do so by e-mail.

If you can provide content that enables people to find the answers to their common queries swiftly without the need for any such human intervention, this will generate significant savings.

Be Aware of the Nightmare part 2

In scary movies, the nightmare ends eventually. And by delivering intranet value yours should too. But, just like scary movies, there is always a part 2 and a part 3 as well as a part 4…

So, just because you survived Internal Comms Nightmare part 1, there is no guarantee you will survive the evil sequels. BOO! [tweet this!]

How about you? Have you ever been stabbed by the corporate knife? Please share your most spooky internal comms story in the comment box below or tweet me @CoSkills!

Disclaimer: I have quoted the IBF report in accordance to a written agreement with IBF. You can download your own copy of the report here.

Photo credit: Toni Blay via photopin cc

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at

4 Responses to How to Make Sure Your Intranet Escapes the Corporate Knife

  1. Very good post and thinking back to my previous corporate life, yes I have. Great examination of a larger than belived issue.

    • Anna Rydne says:

      Thanks Randy for reading and sharing! When working in corporate comms or marketing we probably all will be stabbed by the corporate knife sooner or later. It’s the little something that brings us together. 🙂

  2. How to Make Sure Your Intranet Escapes the Corporate Knife « Anna Rydne Communicate (your) Skills…

    This article has been submitted to Intranet Lounge – Trackback from Intranet Lounge…

  3. […] through). At that time, I was running a company newspaper, and the management had decided to let the corporate knife cut the […]

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