You’ve completed your intranet strategy and plan and you’ve built your intranet… now it’s time to launch. Launching an intranet isn’t as simple as hitting the “go live” button. There are a few more steps involved to make sure your users:
- Know what’s going on and when to expect access
- Feel excited about it
- Know what an intranet is used for
- Understand the value and what content is available on the intranet
- Know the benefits they’ll get from using it
- See how it will impact their role and tasks
- Feel confident enough to log in and give it a go
- Are open to adopting new behaviours and engaging with the platform right away
And remember, a good launch campaign includes pre-launch activities to generate interest prior to the launch date.
Here are proven ideas to help you create your launch campaign - all of which have been used by the organisations we have worked with over the years.
Pre-Launch Intranet Ideas
- Run a naming competition
Naming your intranet is a great way to infuse extra culture and personality into your brand. You could let your community vote on the winner and offer a generous gift card as a prize.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology did exactly this and ended up with a name the the crowdsourced name 'Polly' which was truly reflective of their country, New Zealand - a native bird the Kākāpō.
- Do a top-secret soft launch
You’ve already got champions from different departments who have been involved from the beginning. So, why not do a soft launch so they can get a sneak preview before everyone else? They can help build hype and boost confidence within each department.
- Drip feed teasers
Drip feed information and teasers to your staff. That way, they get plenty of reminders without getting overwhelmed. Get creative about the format - you could run an email newsletter series, put up posters around the office, create a set of brochures, film a video series, or have a mixture of different formats.
- Highlight features and benefits
You can also break down resistance over time by building excitement about the features that are coming and how they’ll benefit your staff. This is another reason why it's important to research what your end users want from an intranet. For example, if accessing HR forms on mobile is a must-have function, you can use these insights as the basis of your messages to promote the intranet and generate real interest.
- Executive communications
One of the best ways to generate interest and buy-in from across your organisation is for the executive and senior management team to make it clear they expect staff to use the new intranet and to personally show their support. Communications can be in the form of emails promoting the intranet, inclusions in company meetings and so on.
Further reading: [Guide] Build a Compelling Case to Get Buy-in From Stakeholders
- Send out something physical
Intranets are digital, but that doesn’t mean your launch campaign has to be! Physical welcome packs or items can build excitement because, well… they’re a lot less common these days. For bonus points, include a fun piece of company merchandise such as a postcard or swag to commemorate the occasion.
- Set up a countdown timer
Whether it’s a physical countdown timer in your main office, or a digital timer on the intranet “coming soon” page, a timer can help build anticipation.
Intranet Launch Ideas
- Launch video
Create a short video reel highlighting the new intranet with positive comments from your intranet project team (which should ideally include executives and your management team).
- Interactive tour
Display an interactive tour highlighting key functions of the new intranet.
This should include new functionality and interesting features they might not otherwise discover, such as predictive search with several ways to filter content.
Consider having 'lunch and learn' session(s). This involves hosting in-person training, ideally during lunch to avoid disrupting their days.
Host a virtual conference to engage remote staff to make sure they get in on the excitement!
- Increase familiarity
Display your intranet on your TV screens and other high visibility objects or areas to increase familiarity. Consider setting the intranet as the default homepage to encourage staff to log in and use the intranet.
- Scavenger hunt
Organise a scavenger hunt and hide relevant images such as logos around the site in new or updated areas that you want staff to view. To enter a competition, they need to identify where these are.
You could also have a questionnaire with answers that can be found by exploring the new intranet.
- Photo competitions
This can be organised in different ways. You could have in different locations match a photo with names by using the intranet corporate directory or selecting the photo(s) that best reflects the company culture and values. To increase engagement, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology ran a photo competition with staff guessing who the person in the baby photo was.
- Reward and recognise
Recognise your most engaged users and reward them with a profile badge, announcement or maybe even a day off!
- Recognise staff
Celebrate the success of individuals. Enable colleagues to nominate each other via a form on the intranet, with the winner displayed on the homepage and/or receiving a prize.
- Share customer success
Your intranet is a great place to highlight the work of your staff, especially if they are based in different locations. Northcott, is a large and georgraphically dispersed NFP. The intranet is an easy and accessible way to share the positive work from the ground and build a positive and inspiring culture and morale.
- Roll-out new sections
Add new sections in advance of projects or products being rolled out. These can be full of FAQs, social Q&As, support documents, forms, training schedules and other resources, keeping everyone informed.
Further reading: [Blog Post] Intranet Content Strategy and Management
- Provide ongoing help
Provide contact details in case they get stuck, especially for new staff. Have a dedicated intranet administrator for hands on help and individual coaching.
- Share interesting facts and quotes
Depending on what interests your audience, you can share everything from inspirational quotes, to interesting things that have happened across the organisation. Here at Elcom, we custom build a lot of functionality for clients as they often have specific requirements. Sharing this on our intranet is a quick way to showcase this to the sales team, project managers and other departments whose clients could also benefit from this functionality.
Further reading: [Blog Post] Intranet Content Ideas
- Get feedback
Request feedback on their experiences so you can start planning your first round of updates and improvements.
You can have polls and forms on the intranet to collect this. That’s why feedback at every stage of your project - and after launch - is so crucial. Always be open to feedback, ideas and suggestions from your staff - it’s the sign of high engagement and a successful intranet because it means they’re invested in making it work for them.
As you can see, successfully launching an intranet requires careful planning. It is something that needs to be a priority well before the 'go live' date, along with all the other best practice steps that need to be considered along the way, including creating SMART goals to effectively measure success, user requirements gathering, information architecture and deciding on the right functionality for your needs.
We strongly recommended you read the guide - How to Successfully Plan, Deploy and Launch an Intranet.
This comprehensive guide will equip you with best practices and insights to properly plan, deploy and launch your intranet.