How to Boost Your Company’s Internal Communications
How to Boost Your Company's Internal Communications

How to Boost Your Company’s Internal Communications

Pop quiz: When's the last time you said to yourself, "Oh! I think I'll check out my company's intranet. That's some must-read information right there."

Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s be frank. While intranets may be the way of the future, many companies aren’t doing too well at the internal communications game right now. And perhaps the most challenging aspect of a company’s internal communications strategy is creating intranet content engaging enough that employees seek it out on their own.

According to a recent post on Jostle, there are a few easily overlooked pieces of information you can add to your intranet that might drive traffic:

Fun outside the company: Become a curator of local events. Have a company trip to a football or baseball game? That winter beer festival you’re planning on attending? Add some fun to your intranet’s events calendar and enjoy a more engaging, useful intranet.

Success stories: The intranet has long been the place to post employee milestones and accomplishments. Spice it up by adding fun bits that show how well you know your co-workers. Brad finally brewed a decent pot of coffee? Katie actually cleaned the microwave after her chili exploded? Those are the kinds of funny shout-outs that people like to read.

A picture’s worth a thousand words: Keep that smartphone camera ready to snap pics to add to your intranet. Candid or staged, it doesn’t matter. Just give us some images to go with those big blocks of text.

Help wanted: Up-to-the-minute internal job postings are always of interest to employees.

A word from the CEO: The intranet usually includes an area where the big boss communicates with his or her charges. But it doesn’t always have to be a motivational speech. Strive to make it interesting, and to make them sound like an actual human being. Sometimes, interviewing the boss and writing a column based on that information turns out to be a lot more interesting than a dictated letter.

Winner’s circle: Who doesn’t love a contest, especially if the prize is actually something of value and not just a pat on the back? Keep the contests fresh and updated to maximize traffic.

Here is a strategy that can pay dividends. Cup of Zup is an example of an internal communications strategy that became so popular, it actually morphed into a startup company. Cyndi Lareau started out as the person in charge of sending the daily team update email at Rock Ventures, a Detroit-based company founded by Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert.

Called “The Morning Zupdate,” the daily email started out originally as a list of employee birthdays. But Lareau was determined to make the email worth reading, so she started adding jokes, pictures, riddles, cool quotes, fun facts and other non-traditional content. Soon, the email was being forwarded widely both inside and outside the company. Today, the Morning Zupdate is Cup of Zup, a website and weekly email with thousands of subscribers.

Internal communicators, take a look at what Cup of Zup offers to see what resonates with people. You’ll quickly see how the company intranet holds a great opportunity to make your colleagues laugh, think and engage.

And what’s the point of providing an engaging hub for your employees to congregate on? The more your employees use your intranet, the more likely it is that your intranet can become a central repository for storing project information, documents, and other business critical information. A well-design intranet can be a powerful tool for sharing information throughout the company — even replacing email for certain communications. From storing project documents to searching for an individual with a certain skill or knowledge base, you’ll first need to attract and provide an engaging intranet experience if you hope to have it become a central part of how your business shares information internally.