Design your intranet for the new hires


Intranet for new hiresNew 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 - use this to your advantage

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:

  • Run a dedicated workshop (or a series of interviews) with a number of recently hired employees, and listen to what they have to say about your current intranet. They will give you an honest opinion about what's good and what's not, unbiased by 'historic reasons' why certain things are the way they are. You'll collect a lot of great ideas for improvement this way
  • Involve newcomers in card sorting exercises. The intranet is a crucial tool to help new hires in their on-boarding process. If things are not structured logically, they will waste valuable company time trying to find the tools and information that they need.
  • If you are using personas, then make one for your typical new hire. This persona will be different from company to company. Some companies grow mainly through regular recruitment of young college graduates, while others may do little direct recruitment but grow through acquisitions. Whatever the case may be, work out a detailed persona for your typical newcomer and use it throughout your project. See a good introduction to the concept and the benefits of personas here.

Track how your newcomers are using the intranet

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.

Learn more

  • Become a group member: For much more on intranets; not just for new hires, but all the other aspects of running one, check out our J. Boye groups across Europe and North America. Not yet a group member? Find out which one is right for you.
  • How does your intranet measure up? Get an intranet benchmark!
  • Join us at a J. Boye conference in 2012: Our next conference will take place in Philadelphia from 8 to 10 May 2012. There will be a full-day intranet conference track and another SharePoint conference track.
Guy Van Leemput shares & cares about intranets!

Guy Van Leemput
Managing Director, Benelux region

Guy isi heading up J.Boye’s activities in the Benelux region (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg). His primary focus is launching and moderating Groups on web and intranet.

Prior to joining J. Boye, he was a senior manager at SWIFT, the global provider of secure financial messaging services, where he worked in various roles, including being responsible for all e-channels for internal and external communication.

6 Responses to “Design your intranet for the new hires”

  1. shishank says:

    I totally agree with you Guy. And I think one of the most important but mostly forgettable/ignored use case for intranets is for new hires. I worked with a large service industry where they conduct few initial sessions for the new joinee’s with most of the sessions pointing back to exploring the intranet. For new joinee’s, its not easy to locate information and there has been cases that we end up raising query with organization’s help desk for small small things which indirectly adds to overall operating cost of the organization.

    I think intranet designs should be targetted towards new joinee’s because if they can come in new and find the information than anyone in th eorganization definitely will.


  2. Carmen says:

    So, KPIs are used to monitor the impact of activities in the area of focus of the organization. In this sense they can be input, process, output and outcome indicators. This reflects the ability to use the resources wisely and generate benefits as planned.

    Ultimately the value added by KPIs in any sector depends on how they are used.

    Regarding your question, KPIs generally focus on external recruitment, internal movement of candidates and the overall effectiveness of the recruitment process. Usually KPIs related to newcomers are not measured in each company.

    Here is a resource for HR/Recruitment KPIs

    I hope it helps.

    Best regards and thanks for the article. It was interesting.

  3. [...] few weeks ago, Guy van Leemput wrote a very informative post on intranet design, proposing that we should consider new starters to an organisation and make use [...]

  4. [...] These days, the paradigm has shifted towards ‘outside-in’: Many of us have state-of-the-art equipment at home, including the latest designer smartphones and tablets, and we expect the same in the office. Especially the younger generation has lower tolerance levels for boring, corporate applications and tools. A well-designed, pleasing intranet may play a role in attracting and retaining Gen-Y talent, and it can also help to assimilate new hires more easily into the company. [...]

  5. Michael says:

    Cheers for this, Guy! I’m doing a restructure at the moment, and shall take these points on board.

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