Despite What Your Mom Says, LOOKS Matter: Keeping Your Intranet Fresh
So you’re a progressive, forward-thinking hospital. You’ve implemented an intranet, put a good team in place to manage the content of the intranet, and everyone seems to be buying in and is happy. You’re already on the right track and you should be proud of yourself! However, this is just the start. To make your intranet sustainable you need to keep it fresh. You’ll notice that your favorite websites and social media platforms are constantly updating and revamping their look, features, functionality, etc. They know that their users are very sensitive to stale content; even if it’s on a subconscious level. As a manager of content of your hospital’s intranet, this is the same type of mentality you should adopt.
As most managers of marketing will tell you, the look is extremely important in keeping employees engaged and wanting to use the intranet. There needs to be a good balance between providing enough information but also not be too cluttered. First, the purpose of an intranet is to provide a centralized location where all employees can easily access the information they need to do their job. This information needs to be organized in such a way where hospital staff can quickly and efficiently get to it. With the various announcements, policies, documents, etc., this information can easily become very “messy”. A cluttered display can evoke feelings of anxiety; over-stimulation, if you will. Although HospitalPortal.net’s Intranet Solution is extremely customizable, we’ve found that most of our clients follow the same general design template. Simple and clean.
Think of the look of your intranet in the context of a store. The clearance rack or section of a store is usually a bunch of sale items, not related to each other, thrown together in a somewhat distressed manner. Trying to find exactly what you’re looking for can be difficult. Where the clearance rack rewards the shopper with a [sometimes perceived] low price, if the intranet is arranged in this manner, the employees will only be rewarded with frustration and angst. Think of the intranet more like a grocery store. Headings above all the aisles which lay out in a logical fashion; all of the frozen food together, the spaghetti sauce next to the pasta, milk and dairy in the back. It’s arranged in such a way where it funnels shoppers to desired areas and encourages them to navigate the store how the store wants. Think of your main menu bar as the aisle signs. You want to include headings that 90% or so of the employees will find relevant. The dropdowns or sub-pages of those headings is where you want the more specific items. An example of this would be: Instead of listing all of your departments in the main menu, simply have a “departments” tab where the dropdown or sub-page of that would be a listing of the hospital departments.
You also don’t want your intranet to be boring. Publishing external content is one way to keep it fresh. Adding a weather widget or RSS feed to community news are ways to encourage employee use of the intranet outside of just the black and white work day. Plus, with these items, there’s no need to manually update the content since these components will automatically pull the information directly from the third party application. Fresh pictures of hospital events will encourage participation in future events. Including photos of management in their posts will help employees feel more connected.
Keeping everything up to date and fresh may sound like an arduous task. However, if the Intranet is set up how it should be, for decentralized content management, this responsibility would be split up amongst the various department managers. Aside from splitting up responsibilities, the department managers should have their fingers on the pulse of their employees better than someone trying to manage the entire hospital.