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October 24, 2017

Five key steps for an intranet audit – Part one

Written by Investis Digital

You worry users are getting lost. Story hits are down, and no one's talking about the content your team produces. You wonder if the way your site is organized isn't intuitive. You suspect employees are getting their information about your company elsewhere. How do you find out for sure?

Try an intranet audit.

An intranet audit is an invaluable tool to help determine if your internal content is serving its purpose. Like any good content, intranet content should inform, inspire, entertain and move people to take action. You want your intranet to serve as an employee's first stop for company news and updates.

Before changing anything on your intranet, though, you need to do the legwork of evaluating your current content. Consider the following five key steps for an intranet audit.

Catalog your content

In order to determine what's working and what's not, you need a clear picture of your current content. If you have a relatively simple intranet, this can be as easy as mapping out your site's main buckets: news, blog, HR, announcements and so on.
Or, you can delve deeper, documenting all of your existing content page by page in a spreadsheet. While this might sound cumbersome, it's an excellent opportunity for you to weed out outdated or unneeded pages and to streamline your site. For each item, ask yourself: What's the value of the content? Do we want to keep it? As you go through this exercise, keep your intranet's goals in mind.

Look at usage statistics

You might be running regular reports to see how your content stacks up with employees. With an intranet audit, it's time to really scrutinize these figures. What's your most popular content, and why? What pages or stories hardly get any hits? What trends do you see in the data? After analyzing the numbers, it can be helpful to summarize your findings in a short report that includes key takeaways.

Test it out

Set up an exercise to test your intranet's usability. You're probably too close to the content, but perhaps colleagues in marketing or external communications could help. Create a list of top items employees would want to access on the intranet. Perhaps that's earnings results, the company holiday schedule or regular updates from your CEO. When your colleagues go through the list, starting from the intranet homepage, how long does it take them to find the information they need? Are they frustrated? Do they think the information is presented well?

Set up a survey

You might think your content is A-plus, but what really matters is what your employees think. Do users find the information on the intranet valuable? Can they find it at all? A survey is a great way to get feedback with minimal effort. Send a well thought-out survey to a sample of employees from across the company, in different departments and at varied levels. (Expect a response rate of around 30 to 40 percent.) To encourage completion, keep the survey short — under 10 minutes is best. If you're comfortable doing so, offer to share results with participants. This way they'll feel more invested in the process.

Interview stakeholders

In addition to a survey, you'll want to speak directly with stakeholders, which may include users, IT staff, content owners and senior management. For users, set up a few focus groups comprised of staff from across the organization and ask them what they like about the site, what they want more of and what needs improvement. Food is always a great incentive for participation. Schedule the groups during breakfast or lunchtime and provide pastries and fruit or sandwiches, along with coffee. They'll be sure to show up.

With these five steps, you're well on your way to getting your intranet on the right track. The second part of this series will delve into how to use your audit results to go about enhancing your intranet.

Deborah Blumberg has more than 15 years' experience writing business and finance topics for The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow and is a founder and co-president of the Texas chapter of American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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