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How to Help Staff Spend Less Time on Your Employee Portal



By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO   |   Posted October 9, 2017

An employee portal or intranet is a helpful tool that gives employees convenient, online access to your corporate information. They can log on and view details about your newest products, policy updates, and the latest company and industry information.

So you should want employees to spend as much time as possible on your intranet, right? Wrong.

I know this may sound counterintuitive, but you should actually want staff to spend less time on your employee portal. Here’s why: Time is money, so workers should spend the minimum time required to access the information they need to do their jobs.

There are a variety of ways to promote shorter visits on your employee portal, from writing targeted headlines, informative teasers, and scannable content to having easy navigation and a search tool. All of these elements make it easier and faster for employees to find relevant information—so they can get back to core tasks sooner.

Targeted Headlines
Headlines appear at the top of articles, documents and other content to draw attention to the information being presented. People often think of them as a title, but they’re much more than that. Headlines can be powerful “hooks” that introduce content and help people decide if they want to read any further. And the sooner employees can decide if an article fits what they’re looking for, the sooner they can read it and move onto to other responsibilities.

Headlines shouldn’t be generic because no one will want to read the content below them. For example, a headline that says, “Message from the President” is just too general and, frankly, too boring. Instead, the headline should be more specific. It should tell something about what the president has to say to capture people’s attention.

Also, you should avoid being ambiguous with headlines. The clearer and more accurately the headline conveys what’s in an article, the faster employees can decide if it’s something they should read. And this can help them spend less time searching for the information they’re looking for on your employee portal.

Informative Teasers
Besides having attention-getting headlines, your employee portal can use teasers to entice people. The teaser—essentially a summary—should be clever enough to capture attention without misleading the audience. You don’t need to give everything away; just give the gist of the content so you leave people wondering and wanting more. The goal is to pique employees’ interest enough so they’ll click through to read the full article. And when they do click through, make sure they find the kind of content that the teaser promised. In other words, don’t promise readers the moon and stars and then give them a rock.

An effectively crafted teaser can actually save valuable time for employees. If the teaser is well-written and informative, it might provide enough information so people won’t need to read any further. And they can use the time they would have spent reading the full article on other duties.

Easy-to-Scan Content
Getting readers past the headline and teaser are critical. But it’s also important to have scannable content waiting for them. Keep in mind that web readers tend not to linger over information, and they often multitasking so their attention is divided. Plus, digesting content online is more difficult than reading printed materials. So you need to make it easier for people to quickly skim the content, find what meets their need and move onto other things.

Whether it’s a blog post, article, news or announcement, you can make the content skimmable by formatting the text so it stands out on the screen. You can include bold headings, bulleted lists, short paragraphs and even white space to make the information easier to read. Using different font sizes, styles and colors can also help people navigate the content. These visual cues can help employees quickly skim the information and glean what’s most relevant. Then they can log off the intranet and focus on other matters.

Other Ways to Reduce Time on
You can also help staff spend less time on your employee portal by ensuring the site is easy to navigate. It should have an intuitive design that presents information in a way that’s logical for most people. That means anticipating how people think and behave online. For instance, the navigation should reflect the fact that many people read from left to right and top to bottom.

Employees generally visit intranets because they’re looking for relevant information to help them address a problem or situation. So your content should be organized by departments and common categories that interest people, such as policies/procedures, products/services, rates, documents, and an employee directory/ profiles. Better yet, just arrange it in a way that makes it easiest for people to find. The less time they spend searching for the most appropriate information, the sooner they can log off the intranet.

A search tool can also speed up access to your information. Staff can log onto your employee portal and use the search tool to quickly locate what they are searching for on the site. And they can use multiple words to refine the search results and reach the information they need faster.

In short, an employee portal is a great tool for dispensing your corporate information. Just be sure it’s designed so that it helps people use less time on your site.  


Previously:Common Content Areas for Intranets  Next:Why a Board of Directors Portal Is the Ultimate Resource