Intranet Needs and Wants Survey

By Deane Barker on August 24, 2007

Intranets: what staff really want: This is a really good survey from Gerry McGovern’s company that answers a pretty important question that I see a lot of confusion about: what should we put on our intranet?

They asked a bunch of people to pick what they wanted their intranet to do. The top picks are pretty obvious to me, but not a lot of companies know or ever bother to ask.

  1. Employee Directory

  2. Policies and Procedures

  3. Forms

  4. Benefits Information

  5. Company News

  6. Job Postings

  7. Payroll Information

They had 58 options people could pick from, and they constitute most of what anyone has on an intranet. The first three options are heavily weighted. The first one alone – the Employee Directory – got 18% of the vote, and the first three together were 33% of the vote. The seven I listed above were fully 50% of the total vote.

Other conclusions:

[...] staff see the intranet as a practical place that should make it easier for them to do their jobs. While things like wikis, blogs and personalization got some votes, they were way down on the list when compared to finding people and forms.

Intranets require better organization, but instead many of them are becoming dumping grounds for all sorts of content. They need much better search, but search is nearly always neglected.

I’ve always thought that a lot of companies could make huge strides towards an intranet by having four simple systems:

  1. An employee directory

  2. Some lightweight content management system to handle the two major types of content you’re going to find: (a) reference information, and (b) announcements.

  3. An easy-to-use file library

  4. A good, solid search system

Those four things would be a dramatic improvement for a large percentage of intranets.

This report is a great resource for anyone considering implementing a new intranet or improving an existing one.

Comments (1)

George Mandis says:

That’s a really fantastic list – thank you for sharing.

I’m a little surprised to see “blogs” only get 3 votes and “information from the CEO” got 59. If they had called it a “CEO blog”, do you think it would have affected the voting totals.

Then again, just throwing the word blog out there doesn’t give it context or a sense of purpose. Most of the other things on this list seem slightly better defined.