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10 easy ways to make your intranet fail
Illustration by Justin Alm

2 min read

10 easy ways to make your intranet fail

A tongue-in-cheek look at a few ways to expedite the failure of your intranet.

So, you're launching a new intranet or perhaps you're charged with managing an existing one. Regardless, there's a lot to think about as you consider how to move forward. Here's a tongue-in-cheek look at a few ways to expedite the failure of your intranet. Or, if you prefer, simply do the exact opposite to create an outstanding intranet - and a more engaged workplace.

  1. Make it written-content heavy. Forget about people, if you want to deflate your intranet, add layers and layers of heavy documentation. And don’t include anything of visual interest or vibrant colour such as photographs, graphics, and videos. People hate that.
  2. Make it impossible to use. Don’t use a turnkey solution, but instead rely on template configuration to piece together widgets and modules to create an incoherent user experience. And don't be fussed with the usability - it's highly overrated.
  3. Build it internally. If you want to ruin your intranet, be sure to start with a costly in-house build. That way you can keep your IT resources busy forever customizing to make it even more difficult for people to use. Who doesn't like a challenge?
  4. Dismiss it. Complain to anyone who'll listen that your intranet is just “one more tool that gets in the way of productivity.” Tell others that like the fax machine, the intranet is just a passing fad.
  5. Don't get your leaders to adopt it. You definitely don't want your leaders using your intranet. They're far too busy to use the intranet for communication and collaboration across your organization. And if they're using it, everyone else will use it - and that can't be good for the bottom line, can it?
  6. Never update it. Who wants to be bothered by the latest sales figures, or the customer celebration in the London office last week? Rather stick to static content that won't engage or excite your readers - and they'll know what to expect.
  7. Continue to use other outdated and redundant tools. That old file sharing tool has worked so well for many years, so continue to maintain things like phone lists there. When another employee asks for a phone list, send them the (broken) link to this dynamic tool.
  8. Don't be inclusive. Those quiet introverted people in Accounting don’t want to be included in any collaborative or fun activities. And those outdoor construction site workers have never even visited head office. So, why include them or give them a chance to contribute to your culture?
  9. Keep email alive. Don't let your intranet interfere with getting your work done or your messages heard. Instead, use email for focused discussions, sharing of news, and updates about social events. It's way easier to use, it's streamlined, and everyone already knows and loves it. Why change?
  10. Don’t tell anyone it's there. Finally, if you really want to ensure your intranet fails, don’t tell anyone it's there. Don’t bring it up in meetings, and don’t mention it the next time someone complains that they don’t understand what’s going on in the company, or that they don’t know who does what. And definitely don't use it to help engage employees or build a happy workplace. Nobody wants or likes that.

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Bev Attfield

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