Crafting the Perfect Intranet Rollout Plan
Launching a new intranet solution is always exciting for employees, but they rarely see or understand what’s really going on behind the scenes. Companies spend months – sometimes years – researching, building, testing and launching new resources for their people.
Not to state the obvious, but for projects like this to succeed, being strategic is key. The last thing you want is to put in all the hard work, just to have your plan fall apart. I touched on this a bit in my last post about where to start with intranet research and builds for your people.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach when introducing a new tool or process to an organization. A thorough, well-thought-out launch plan is necessary for adoption and ongoing success, so you’ve got to get it right! Here are some tactics you can build into your launch plan to guarantee it’s a hit!
1. Schedule an Executive Preview
Before launching the intranet, take the time to schedule an executive roadshow and walk your leadership team through the new site and highlight the benefits and how it addresses key challenges raised by employees. Provide leaders with an opportunity to provide feedback and, if needed, make any necessary adjustments.
💡 PRO TIP: Leadership buy-in is crucial at the beginning of any big corporate project or initiative. Bypassing this can cause major problems down the road. From kick-off to launch, make sure your leaders are on-board and informed throughout the duration of the project to avoid misalignment and to increase the odds of them becoming champions for the new tool!
2. FLEX YOUR BRANDING WITH A THEMED LAUNCH
Center your launch around a theme that ties to your newly designed and branded intranet. Work with your marketing and creative teams to come up with a fun campaign and assets to share with employees. This can include digital zoom backgrounds, email templates for launch communications, stickers, etc. If you are planning a launch party, design custom evites for the occasion!
💡 PRO TIP: Ensuring your launch is a success starts at the beginning: creating a compelling intranet brand. Without a strong look and feel, it’s difficult to pull through your story and keep your employees engaged every step of the way. Flex your intranet’s branding to springboard launch ideas. Think through every touchpoint an employee has and brainstorm creative ways to capture their attention and gain adoption. Environmental branding in the breakroom? A launch video at the next town hall? A branded AI experience? Think outside the box!
3. Rally Your Champions
You may be asking yourself, “What are champions?”
Champions are a group of cross-functional employee ambassadors and advocates for your new intranet that will help build excitement, amplify benefits and drive adoption. Your champions should be enthusiastic, approachable, knowledgeable, well-connected and influential across your organization.
They will be your superusers of the site who understand all the ins and outs, can answer questions and help solicit feedback.
Here are tips for getting your champions on board and ready to rally:
- Provide them with a comprehensive launch plan that outlines the timeline and key milestones.
- Provide clear instructions and expectations for the role. Be sure to highlight what’s in it for them!
- Give your champions key messages to ensure they are speaking about the platform in a consistent manner. FAQs are another great resource for champions so they can anticipate and be prepared to address questions that come their way.
- Allow early/beta access to the site so your champions have the opportunity to explore, learn and get comfortable with the site layout and features – and even offer their feedback to improve the end product for your people.
💡 PRO TIP: Similar to an executive roadshow, once you have assembled your champion group, rally the troops so that they understand why they’re there and what’s expected of them as advocates for the site.
4. Build Momentum
Communicating the new intranet to your employees should not be a one-and-done email. You want to be sure you are building excitement and momentum leading up to the event!
There should be a steady cadence of communications starting three to four weeks ahead of the official launch. Share a teaser email or video with employees a couple weeks out letting them know that something exciting is coming and keep them wanting more!
The day before, send a friendly reminder to employees – this could be a fun post shared via Slack or Teams, a video announcement by an executive or a virtual postcard sent via email.
⭐ BONUS: Think about how you can incorporate your champions in key milestone communications. A teaser email or post from them to help rally employees is a great way to get them out on the frontlines advocating for the new platform. Having a variety of communicators is also beneficial in keeping communications fresh and holding your employees’ attention.
5. Make A Splash
It’s time to celebrate! Your launch day communications should be full of joy, excitement and pride. Ensure your messaging reiterates the “why” behind the intranet and illustrates all the great benefits (not just features) employees can expect to experience with the new site.
As with any new tool or resource, there is a lot of information to share with employees, so we recommend an email for your initial launch communication. Be sure to reference or link to any policies or user guides associated with the site, and be sure employees know who to contact with questions or issues. Once that has been shared, you can follow up on Slack or Teams with a post linking to the site and reiterating your key points.
💡PRO TIP: Schedule a company-wide launch party for the new site where you take employees on a tour, giving them the opportunity to ask questions in real-time, while truly marking the momentous occasion.
Ready? Set, Launch!
Introducing a new intranet to your organization is a pivotal moment for the entire project team and cannot be left to chance. There is a lot to be proud of with your new intranet.
When you can include your executives and champions in the process and incorporate strong branding into your communication and your launch plan, you will not only increase the chances of a successful launch, but help promote ongoing, long-term adoption, engagement and success!