How to bring life to the intranet

Internal communication How to bring life to the intranet

Published on 18.08.2021 by Aileen Zumstein, owner of aizu communication

Commitment is the lifeblood of the intranet – if it’s missing, the intranet is really only being kept on life support. It pays to invest in internal communication and publish content that stimulates interaction.

With the establishment of working from home and hybrid models in everyday working life, it’s more important than ever to maintain the exchange of ideas, a sense of identity and mutual trust among employees. One channel for this can be the intranet – but what if it’s like a graveyard?

Return on intranet investment

Academic studies [1] show that regular, open communication not only has a positive impact on the culture of a company, it also reinforces a sense of commitment and empowerment among employees. Members who identify more strongly with an organization are more motivated, more committed, more satisfied and more productive. Authentic, transparent management communication also contributes to ensuring greater commitment, trust and cooperation among employees.

Boost commitment via the intranet

While you can’t simply turn on commitment, you can increase the likelihood of interactions. This starts right from the technology: the intranet should be structured intuitively, easy to access and easy to use. Options for personalization (e.g. personal profile with photo and bio) and transparency (e.g. authors identified by name, ability to view participants in events) create a sense of closeness and strengthen community spirit.

Interesting is in the eye of the beholder. If you know who employees are, the general conditions in which they work and how to communicate with them on an equal footing, you can incorporate the interests of your target group strategically into your content.

A number of underlying criteria also have a bearing on the sense of commitment to a post on the intranet:

  • Measurement is key. Tracking and analysis of content also reaps rewards on the intranet. If you know what is and isn’t working on your own intranet, you can act accordingly.
  • Presentation and format are part of the message. Images and videos arouse emotions and stimulate a response. So it’s worth working with visuals. Formats such as surveys and polls offer the opportunity to get employees actively involved. And: short posts get read more often. What’s more: short-lived formats, such as stories, lower the inhibition threshold for participation. How about a monthly challenge for employees?
  • Just ask. You can use calls to action and questions to encourage employees to share their opinions – for example on how they would like to participate on the intranet.
  • Soft news and infotainment live longer; and generate more commitment on average. Why not give soft communication a try? You might want to share memes in a #random channel or discuss personal topics in a “coffee break” group?

For all tips: the key to an active intranet community lies in the corporate culture. The foundation is a working environment that actively encourages employees to use the intranet – and provides the opportunity for them to do so.


[1] Mishra, K., Mishra, A. K., & Walker, K. (2019). Using Innovative Internal Communication to Enhance Employee Engagement. In A. Normore, M. Javidi, & L. Long (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Strategic Communication, Leadership, and Conflict Management in Modern Organizations (pp. 445-468). IGI Global.


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Aileen Zumstein

Entrepreneur, owner of aizu communication, the company for strategic communication. The communication expert supports companies and startups with positioning and corporate communication. Zumstein has been hosting round table talks and discussion panels for over 20 years. She is a co-founder of other companies and an advisory board member, board of directors member and board of trustees member.

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