Top 10 Tips for Social Intranet Adoption from 451 Research


You might have noticed we are fond of  451 Research . It all started with an analyst report on Incentive and the future of social intranets, and it evolved into a joint webinar with 451 analyst, Alan Pelz-Sharpe, on social intranet adoption.

Alan really knows his stuff when it comes to social intranets. As the current Research Director for Social Business at 451 Research, he has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry. If you couldn’t make the webinar, you can catch the on-demand version here.

Primarily, Alan talked a great deal about the challenges a lot of organizations – large and small – face when implementing social intranets. While the process aims to be pain-free and seamless, many companies don’t find a solution that matches their needs, face resistance at all levels and encounter other obstacles that cause them to abandon social intranets all together.


This is NOT music to our ears, especially because we’re eager to share the benefits of collaboration, communication, transparency and improved productivity with every workforce that has ever encountered cluttered workflows, inefficient processes and information silos. These pain points are fairly ubiquitous – we see them in companies of all sizes, in all industries. 

Our discussion focused on ways to overcome these challenges, including Alan’s top 10 tips for social intranet adoption. These will come in handy for those of you who already have a solution in place but are struggling to make it second nature across your organization. For teams that are still evaluating your need for a social intranet, download our handy readiness checklist and have the 10 tips below on-hand when you begin your implementation. It will save a great deal of frustration and maybe a couple of headaches along the way.

Without further ado, here are Alan’s top 10 tips for social intranet adoption.

1. Determine your key stakeholders at the start. HR, Marketing, Sales & Internal Communications, incorporate their input into design and implementation, and use them as champions to encourage others.

2. Monitor activity regularly and identify hot and cold spots. Quickly spot what’s working and what isn’t. Identify areas that need bolstering so you can improve use and adoption of the tool and applaud areas where employees are doing well.

3. Always manage and have a process for change. Listen to those using the platform most – even if it’s bad news – and make sure you’re receptive and agile enough to make necessary adjustments. Negative feedback is often the most constructive feedback.


4. Relate your social intranet to measurable business processes. Whenever possible, give employees a reason and purpose to use the system, whether it’s more efficient collaboration and communication or being more organized.

5. Ensure that the intranet is genuinely social. A lot of social intranets fail because they don’t deliver on their namesake and keep employees engaged. People are so used to operating off a social interface (think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), not just reading an outdated message board thats collecting dust.

6. Plan, budget and staff for an extended roll out. You can’t just implement a social intranet and turn your back on it. Plan to invest time and training in the new tool creating win-win situations across departments/organizations.

7. Be clear on your purpose and goals. As with any new investment you make, your goals and mission should be clearly defined and made public. Help your employees recognize its purpose and what it’s capable of achieving and what its limitations are so your employees don't feel like they're stuck in this Dilbert comic. 

8. Capture and promote win-win situations. Define what success if from the start and how everyone can benefit from this new way of working – whether it's teams or departments. 

9. Accept that not everything will be a smashing success. There will be unexpected surprises along the way (both good and bad), so learn to discern what you need to press harder into (and enforce) and what you need to let go of.

10. Keep it organic. The bottom line is that you can’t force change. Equip employees with the training and knowledge they need (see above tips) to use the new platform and create space for organic growth and adoption. Your results will be stronger and your employees happier.

We all know that technology has dramatically changed the workplace, and the office intranet has not gone unaffected. Social intranets are becoming a mainstay for progressive companies that value productivity, collaboration and increased communication between teams. Forty three percent of companies already report using some type of social intranet. 

Put these 10 tips to use with a freemium version of Incentive’s social intranet.