Tips to help your team to embrace their SharePoint intranet

Staff intranet sites are driven by people actively contributing and collaborating. If your site doesn’t get this “buy-in” from the users, it is destined to fail.

1. The first rule of SharePoint is… you do not talk about SharePoint!

The focus of any SharePoint intranet site should be the people using it and not the technology. To that end, talk to your team members about what the site can do for them, rather than what they need to be doing to make it work.

2. Communication is crucial.

Make sure that communication with your colleagues about the SharePoint site is regular and ongoing. How about a weekly or monthly SharePoint intranet newsletter? Include tips and tricks, events, items of interest, links, best practices etc. The newsletter can be created in SharePoint, but make sure that staff are notified when it’s live.

3. Show real-world solutions.

Your users will start to get enthused about your SharePoint intranet once they start to understand it’s potential. So, find a real-world problem that has been improved by using SharePoint and let people know about it!

4. Feed your SharePoint intranet champions.

In every company or organisation, there will be staff who will pick up SharePoint instantly and start running with it. These people should be identified and encouraged, because these are the people who will be driving your intranet site forward. Don’t just look for the obvious people either – of course your SharePoint site owners and designers are most likely on board – but what about the people who were not directly involved in setting up the intranet but are seeing its benefits? Ask if they would be willing to train others or share about their positive experience in a team meeting or your SharePoint intranet newsletter.

5. Let staff know who to go to when they need something.

Almost everything you can do on a SharePoint intranet is controlled by the level of permissions you have. Each site should have at least one site owner who is ultimately responsible for the management of the site. Make sure that your intranet’s site visitors and members know who the site owners are for each site, as they will depend on the site owners to do the tasks that they don’t have the permissions to do themselves.

6. Try and encourage site traffic.

Like public websites, your SharePoint intranet site needs to be appealing, so don’t be afraid to make use of colour, pictures, graphs, videos etc. You may also think about adding items of interest to your site such as top news stories, the weather forecast, daily inspiration or real-time company statistics.

7. Get management involved.

Your management actively using your intranet site can be a big win for fostering staff buy-in. How about getting the Director or CEO to answer a weekly question from staff, and then add it as an announcement on your site? You could also add a discussion board to your site giving staff a forum to discuss new ideas.

8. Training is the key

The key is, if you don’t want your intranet to end up in the “graveyard of failed IT projects”, you can’t afford to assume that staff will pick up SharePoint by themselves. Some staff will be able to run with SharePoint with little training, but most will benefit from having SharePoint training sessions. Training is especially important for site owners, users that will be involved with adding and modifying your intranet site’s content, and super users wishing to customise their sites using SharePoint Designer.