Intranets are useful.
More specifically, good intranets are useful. Bad intranets frustrate employees, especially when they still have to rely on them. Intranets like these end up hurting more than they help. Unfortunately, it's both easy and common for good intranets to stagnate into a bad state. Intranets that were initially good will become stale and hard to manage.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Is my intranet bad? How can I tell?"
Well, you're in luck! Here are four telltale signs of a stale intranet.
1. Your Intranet is Hard to Use
Well-made intranets are easy for employees to use. They're designed to help users without letting other tasks get in the way. They help users do their jobs in ways that are convenient for them.
Stale intranets are hard to use. If your intranet doesn't make sense, something is wrong. While a good intranet helps you do your job, a bad intranet holds you back with errors, long load times, and clutter. While a good intranet is fun to use, a bad intranet is impossible to navigate.
2. Your Intranet Wastes Employees' Time
One of the main purposes of an intranet is to save time. There are plenty of ways they can do this, but we're only going to address two of the most common ones. A good intranet helps you find things you need with smart search capabilities. It also helps you communicate and collaborate with other users.
Stale intranets actively eat up your time. Instead of making information easy to find, they obscure it with clutter. Repetitive department tabs? Outdated information from 2000? They have it all (and then some). Instead of finding what they need, users become submerged in a flood of information.
Instead of facilitating communication, bad intranets encourage increased use of e-mail. Studies prove this wastes time. These are just two examples. If you find yourself wasting too much time trying to do simple things on your intranet, there's a problem.
3. Your Intranet is Outdated
Across the board, you can get more out of up-to-date technology than you can get out of old technology. For example, would you rather have a brand new smartphone or a mid-2000's flip phone? Intranets work in the same way. An up-to-date intranet offers the user so much more than a stale intranet. It's easier to use, and it can do more. Unlike phones, you can't always tell the two apart at first glance.
According to Moore's Law, all technology becomes outdated in the span of 18 months. This means that if your intranet is not updated within that time-frame, it has become outdated. Updating an intranet doesn't guarantee it will be up-to-date. Even if you update some of the content on your intranet regularly, if it still looks or feels outdated, it probably is.
4. Your Intranet Frustrates Users
Good intranets aren't frustrating. That's what this all comes down to. If your intranet is frustrating or not making your life easier, it's likely gone stale. Unlike the other signs, this one is a bit more open-ended. There are endless ways a bad intranet can frustrate users. They lose information, crash, or embrace red tape. They bury users under an avalanche of referrals and permissions.
An intranet that frustrates users will set them back and make their lives harder (which triggers disengagement).
If it isn't obvious whether your intranet is frustrating, ask yourself the following.
Do people use it? (Not just when they have to.)
Do they choose to use it?
If the answer to either of those questions is no, your intranet is probably frustrating users. A stale intranet can make a huge difference in employee life and company performance.
If you think your intranet is showing some of these symptoms, what’s next? You may know that your intranet is stale, but how can you convince the necessary people to make a change?
We're working on something that can help you.
(Hint: A customizable PowerPoint template with sources, intranet information, and data to back you up.)
Stay tuned. 😎