New hires are an important category of users when you are (re)designing your intranet. It pays off in many ways to identify them and to make sure they are well represented throughout the design process. You may also want to introduce specific KPIs for them, or at least track their performance against overall KPIs separately.
New hires are different from your regular employees. Most importantly, they have never used your current intranet before, so they are ideally placed to give an unbiased opinion about the improvements or new features that you are planning to implement. My advice is to use new hires as much as possible throughout your entire intranet (re)-design project. You can do this in many different ways:
Most companies have a set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in place to track usage of the intranet, adoption of new features, employee satisfaction etc. Make sure that you track newcomers’ performance against these KPIs (Or even better: design one or two specific KPIs for newcomers, such as level of engagement with colleagues through your social features). For instance, if you run regular employee satisfaction surveys, make sure that you track newcomers’ satisfaction separately. If you’re doing the right thing then newcomers’ satisfaction with the intranet should be higher than overall satisfaction (if the opposite is the case then you have work to do!). As I pointed out in my earlier post, Fighting intranet chaos – a new information architecture at SWIFT, long-time employees tend to resist change and may prefer the intranet ‘the way it used to be’.
For a nice example of how a well-designed intranet, with the right level of social features, can help new hires get up to speed, see The On-Boarding Experience You (and Your Workforce) Has Always Dreamed of by Lisa Lyssand, HR Director at BroadVision.