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Healthcare Intranet Redesign: How to Understand the Needs of Your Employees

Before you sign off on a vendor partnership for your intranet re-platform or redesign, make sure you’ve discovered the greatest needs of your core users: Your colleagues and employees.

As an intranet user, you’ve likely noticed what works and what doesn’t. But don’t just take your word for it. Engaging your colleagues and seeking their input on an ideal intranet can help you identify a full feature set and select the most appropriate design and platform partner.

Maybe your intranet is stuck in the SharePoint stone age. Untenable lists of links lead to missing or outdated documents and send people down rabbit holes that just add time and frustration to their already over-capacity days.

Maybe your intranet is built on an outdated, homegrown platform developed by a tech wiz 15 years ago. It’s hard to update and you need to make it easier to govern among distributed authors and department managers.

No matter what is driving your need to upgrade your intranet, seeking the input from real users – your colleagues and employees – is essential.

Step 1: Initiate the Change

Before you go on a search for healthcare intranet platforms and vendor partners, start the conversation internally about the wish to improve your organization’s employee intranet or internal communication platform.

First, gather a small steering committee of dedicated stakeholders. Often, the best choices for these committees are people who have regular interaction with the intranet, or whose teams rely on it daily for their work.

Use the steering committee to create an employee survey. By reaching out to employees for their feedback in the intranet redesign, they’ll feel included and crucial to the process. And they are!

Pro tip: If emails are hard to dig through, include a call-to-action or prominent link on your current intranet homepage along with details about the project. Transparency is key when updating an employee tool like an intranet or communication platform, so ensure you’re being thorough with the details so everyone knows what’s around the corner.

Let the survey begin.

Step 2: Put a Feedback Loop in Place

The great thing about online surveys is…everything. They intake information in a structured way, based on the questions you ask. Often, they allow for visual representation of the data you get back.

An employee survey about the intranet is a crucial first-step to planning for the best possible intranet experience you want to build.

Case in Point: Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Before rebuilding their intranet, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and the director of marketing, Patrick Moody, decided to ask target users – the employees – about how they use the intranet.

The survey was a resounding success. More than 300 responses helped Patrick and his team ideate a priority list for the next intranet, which also helped them narrow down vendors and platforms that would suit their needs.

Your survey doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with just a few questions that can start gathering helpful responses, such as:

  • How often do you visit the intranet each day?
  • What tasks do you perform from the intranet most often?
  • Why do you visit our intranet?
  • What do you like about our intranet? What would you like to improve?

The variety of answers you get in return can help you not only shape the design and navigation of the intranet, but may help you plan for functionality that you need but hadn’t yet considered.

Pro tip: Don’t lead the witness. Keep questions open-ended and try not to give away features or functionality that you already have in mind. See what the employees have to say and reflect on trending responses as a way to build your goals and platform selection.

Step 3: Promote Your Survey

Once your survey is built, it’s time to send it into the world. If you have regular email newsletters or communications to your employees and staff, promote the survey there.

Or, include a call-to-action or promotion on your current intranet homepage, where people can quickly access it when they have time. You can even promote it in your breakrooms and lounges, or if you have mobile text messaging, send a link that way for quick access.

You’ll want to leave your survey open for a week or two to give ample opportunity for people to participate. When the deadline is looming, send reminders to your staff to remind them to participate if they haven’t yet.

Pro tip: Set goals for how many people you want to fill out the survey before you move to the next step. For example, if you want a healthy dataset, aim for a specific fraction of your employee pool, such as 40 or 50%, if possible. If emails are easy to lose, consider highlighting prizes or drawings for their participation to engage and excite them in the process.

Step 4: Follow Up as Needed

As you review the feedback from employees, whether clinical or facility support roles, dig deeper into comments and feedback that spark an interest.

Employees who comment things such as, “It would be nice to be able to do more on the intranet,” might have specifics in mind – but you don’t know what they mean if you don’t follow-up. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those with vague but curious answers to let them expand on what they have in mind.

Pro tip: If you find some responses are particularly passionate and detailed, consider inviting those individuals to be part of an intranet steering committee. Steering committees, especially for intranet projects, help keep projects on-track with weekly touchpoints, design and functionality testing, and internal training.

Step 5: Keep the Feedback Loop Open

Fast forward several weeks or months: Your intranet is live, people are using it, and you feel you launched a great tool that can serve your healthcare organization into the future.

The work doesn’t stop there. Intranets, like your public-facing website, are a living piece of your organization, which means they are never truly “done.”

The survey you used to get initial feedback for the re-platform or redesign can be retrofitted into an ongoing tool for continual feedback.  Keep a link available on your new intranet that leads to a survey where they can send feedback at their leisure.

Pro tip: On your new intranet, make sure there’s a quick and easy way to access the core intranet governance team, so employees can send feedback by email, if they prefer.  Creating a line of communication from your users to your intranet gives employees and staff a voice into a very important tool they use to do their jobs well.

It’s Time to Get Started

It’s easy to push off intranet redesigns. While they’re not as revenue-driving as a public-facing website, they’re still vital to the morale and effeciency of your staff and colleagues.

If you’re ready to take your intranet to the next level but need some help getting started, contact Geonetric to learn about our platform and intranet design services. Or, explore Formulate, our HIPAA-compliant online form builder that’s perfect for building and managing surveys.

Erin Schroeder

Senior Content Strategist

Healthcare Intranet Redesign: How to Understand the Needs of Your Employees