Tips for Managing News on Your Employee Portal
By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO | Posted August 14, 2017
The front-page news section of an employee portal is an essential feature for communicating with staff. It can provide a daily snapshot of the most important company news and updates. But there are some things you should do to manage your news items to ensure they’re worth occupying a prime spot on your intranet site.
For instance, you should offer a variety of information, have a good volume of news, and gear the news to readers. Let’s take a look at each of these areas to see how you can use them to refine your employee portal.
Offer a Variety of Information
Employee portals often have a “latest news” section that serves as a focal point of the Home page. This section usually dominates the central part of the page, placing news items in the most prominent position. But for the maximum benefit, an employee portal needs to present a variety of news to pique the interest of a wide range of readers.
The news section can feature an assortment of topics, including major updates about the company, policy updates, messages from company leaders and even changes made to the employee portal. Thankfully, you can preschedule news for predefined publication dates to make it easier to present a variety of topics. Having diverse news items lets you engage a broader audience and turn your portal into a valuable internal communication channel.
Have a Good Volume of News
In our fast-paced world, employees are accustomed to having quick access to information. They have an insatiable appetite for useful content—and they want it now. So your intranet needs to be a tool that makes it easy for employees to get their hands on internal news anywhere and anytime they need it.
To keep employees engaged, the volume of news on the intranet should go beyond standard corporate news, HR updates, policy changes and intranet updates. It can also include items related to administration, product releases and updated legislation that may affect certain staff. You can also grow the volume of your news by including items that relate to regional areas and by increasing the number of staff members who can publish news. You can even use RSS feeds to pull more news onto your Home page.
Ideally, the news on your employee portal should be accessible to all staff, but that’s not always the case. Employees who work in the field or travel frequently, may not have access to a desktop computer—which makes it essential for intranets to be responsive to mobile devices. Then the information on the site will display properly whether the employee is using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Gearing News to Readers
The news section can be one of the most challenging aspects of managing content on an employee portal. Your site should feature news that addresses what senior management wants employees to know as well as news that will interest and engage employees. The challenge lies in balancing these two goals in a way that enhances internal communication overall.
It’s important to keep in mind that news is only effective if staff members use it every day. So you should tailor news items for the different roles and business areas in your organization as much as possible. You could also create multiple news “channels” and let staff subscribe to items that interest them. This will increase the direct relevance of the news and cater to individual interests.
For example, you could have regional and local news sections that focus on topics geographically. You could also let the HR and IT departments have their own section. The more relevant you can make news for employees, the more it will speak to their interests and hold their attention.
Having an Effective Design
The purpose of an employee portal goes beyond just engaging staff with interesting content and bits of news. Having up-to-date information on organizational changes has a direct impact on the work that employees perform each day. That’s why it’s important for the design of your portal to provide navigation elements that give staff a quick and easy way to read updates and the latest news.
Effective design can dramatically enhance the functionality of your employee portal’s news section. The design for your news items should have a clean layout that clearly presents the individual entries. It should also display a date and indicate the type of news item. It’s also helpful to give users access to past news items, grouped by date and category. This way, employees can review news they may have simply overlooked or missed while they were away from the office.
Pushing News Items with Email
It’s great to have an intranet with a variety of news items, news geared to readers and an effective design. But you may need to go a step further to get people to read your news section. If you want to encourage more people to read news on your employee portal, you can give them a nudge with email. Instead of waiting for staff to visit the portal, send out an email to promote updates and important news. Although, I wouldn’t recommend pushing out a daily email, you could send a weekly email with a list of the latest news topics. You could also include a brief summary and backlink to the full news item on the intranet.
Sending out a regular email to promote new items can benefit your organization in several ways. First, it can ensure everyone knows about the latest news items—even if they don’t visit your employee portal. This makes it easier for employees to catch up on important news they may have missed. Email “news notifications” can also help your intranet stay relevant and reinforces it as an central source of information for employees.
To sum it up, an employee portal can be an important news channel for organizations—but only if staff members use it effectively and frequently. So make sure you’re managing the news on your intranet to the full benefit of your employees.
|Previously:||How a Board of Directors Portal Can Enhance Decision Making||Next:||Making Intranets Useful not Just Usable|