HOW TO BE AN INTRANET SUPER HERO!
The managers and teams who run intranets are critical to intranet success. In our experience, behind every super intranet, you’ll find a set of intranet super heroes who are going beyond the call of duty to increase collaboration, drive communication and help employees get thing done!
At Wizdom, we believe we’ve designed a product that helps intranet super heroes unleash some of their special powers. But a strong platform is only half the story. You need great people to run a great intranet.
Intranet teams come from a very diverse set of backgrounds. Some come from a communications background, others from IT. Some may have originally been administrators, project managers or knowledge managers. Many intranet managers stumble into their role by accident.
This means intranet managers have had very different training and professional experiences throughout their career prior to running an intranet. This is one of the reasons why there’s no real consensus on the core professional training required to be an intranet manager, although some backgrounds such as internal communications are clearly very valuable.
Indeed, very useful lessons and experiences are often learnt on the job, and what brings success are personal qualities. Here’s our view of seven of the key traits of an intranet super hero!
Being an Ultra-Reliable Team of One
In smaller and medium-sized companies, intranets are sometimes run by one individual. It’s not unusual to find that none of your colleagues quite understand exactly what you do and you’ll be left very much to your own devices!
You’re effectively a team of one. Not only does that mean you’ll require a thick skin when you’re under pressure, but you’ll also need be super-organised, as you juggle several activities at once. To be a highly reliable intranet manager it really helps if you’re good at multi-tasking!
An Expert at (Almost) Everything
OK, we are exaggerating a little. Intranet managers don’t need to know absolutely everything, but they need to be a specialist in several different areas. Content management? Tick. Search and findability? Tick. Community management? Yes! Usability? That certainly helps. Technology-savvy? That’s very useful for having the right conversations with IT.
And we haven’t even mentioned metrics and governance. An intranet super hero will find themselves regularly drawing on several different buckets of knowledge and expertise to effectively manage the platform and help their users.
Central intranet teams are small but they rely on a much wider team of site owners, publishers, administrators, local champions and other specialist roles to make the intranet work. Often the support that the central intranet manager provides to this wider network is very important. For example, often an intranet manager needs to be a “super-coach” to individual site owners and authors to get them to contribute high quality content. That’s not just about training them on how to use the intranet solution, how to write for the web and how to tag for findability, but also about keeping the publisher engaged and interested. Being a “super-coach” requires a lot of skills including good communication, emotional intelligence and community management.
A Super Sense of Vision
Intranet managers might not have X-ray vision like Superman, but they do need to have both an eye for detail and be able to see the bigger picture. Intranet managers need to deal with the minutiae of everyday operations and content, but then also have a strategy and vision for how the intranet helps to deliver organisational objectives.
Within the same morning an intranet manager can be dealing with typos on the staff restaurant menu and then delivering a presentation on the future of the digital workplace to the CEO. That’s not always easy!
Persistence, Patience and Perspiration!
Intranet success doesn’t happen overnight. Although now intranets can be deployed and launched more quickly, intranet managers need to carry on working hard to drive adoption. They also need to be continuously improving the intranet by adding new features and responding to the needs of users.
As organisations and people change, an intranet manager’s work is never complete. An intranet manager needs super-levels of the three Ps – persistence for the sustained effort required, patience to see the results eventually happen and perspiration for the hard work that’s needed. (Although we know a good intranet solution really does help reduce some of the effort!)
Being Able to See Into the Future
Nobody can predict the future, but it’s a good idea to know what might happen! Modern intranets are a key channel within the wider digital workplace and are helping to drive digital transformation, get employees used to new ways of working and shaping the future of work. As working patterns, organisations, employee needs and technology rapidly evolve, intranet managers need to keep pace with what’s going on. They need to ensure their intranet is future-ready for the changes that might happen tomorrow.
Super Connector, Top Diplomat
Intranet managers often find that they very well networked throughout the organisation. In practice, they are “super-connectors”, forever co-ordinating activity across different teams or introducing colleagues who don’t know each other.
Interfacing with so many different roles, functions and locations also means intranet managers turn out to be great diplomats. They understand the frustrations of different teams and the way individuals work. By knowing what makes people tick, intranet managers are very effective diplomats, working above “office politics” and being able to work closely with different groups across very diverse workforces.
Love What Your Do
Being an intranet manager needs tenacity, skill and expertise in different areas. You need to be good with people and very well networked. You need patience with individuals and be a strong individual yourself.
But remember to love what you do. Above everything, you need to passionate about your role. If you love your intranet and your job and genuinely want to make the working day for employees easier, then you’re well on your way to being an intranet super hero inside your organisation. So, pause for a breath, reflect on how you enjoy your work, and then go off and do your next heroic intranet act!
Where to next?
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We are confident that a template based approach can have a huge and beneficial impact on the process of building an intranet solution.
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