This is the first in an occasional series about improving “intranet staples”, common areas, collections of pages or microsites which appear in virtually every intranet, but are often delivered in a rather drab way, and which can always be improved to be more engaging. First up are the CSR pages.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related content is generally now as much part of the corporate intranet as the staff canteen menu. This may appear in slightly different forms, perhaps as a dedicated area or microsite, as news content (often with a human interest angle) or perhaps as something more campaign-led.
The focus of CSR-related content can vary from:
- Company policy and goals relating to commitments to social and environmental causes
- News about related initiatives which help deliver these goals, often relating to an official charity partner
- News detailing the actions of individuals in response to these initiatives, often around volunteering or fundraising
- Interactive sites featuring competitions, suggestions or workflow which actually run a particular initiative
CSR-related material is fairly straightforward to get on to the intranet. It’s usually the sort of thing that’s sanctioned by internal communications department, and whilst it’s easy to dismiss some of it as fluffy company-friendly PR, it can also have genuine impact on employee engagement, as well as helping worthwhile causes.
CSR related areas of the intranet therefore present a good opportunity to create engaging and impactful areas which are likely to have support from both senior management and end users. If there is a good cause involved, it’s also an opportunity to leverage good levels of contribution and participation from content managers or those involved in the initiative.
The CSR pages which are the most interactive are likely to be the most engaging and therefore successful. There are different tactics to do this, but here are three approaches detailed below:
Ideation platforms tend to work well when there is some direction around a specific challenge. They can work very well for CSR campaigns, for example for people to make suggestions about how to reduce carbon footprints, or fundraising ideas. Their advantage is they can both create engagement amongst employees and also create some good ideas.
For example one of the 2012 Intranet Innovation Awards commended entries was Italian luxury eyewear group Luxottica. As part of their extensive “Zero Waste” initiative which commits the company to various environmental goals they ran an ideation platform called IdeaLab where employees could specifically make suggestions on how the company can execute their Zero Waste initiative.
For ideation platforms to work though some commitment and resource is needed. Generally a response is needed from some sort of community manager or moderator, a critical mass of active people is needed for there to be interaction and there has to be visible progress on the best ideas being taken up by the company.
The prizes and recognition also need to be considered carefully. For example material rewards tend to be counter-productive; experiences through involvement in a successful project to deliver the idea and the associated kudos are often more effective.
Competitions are fairly common tactics for CSR initiatives, and do generate interest. An imaginative use of an intranet to run a contest was done by Arup, who had an intranet microsite for their Amazing Race initiative which raised money for SportsAid.
Here teams did vigorous bouts of exercise and then logged how much effort had been put in via the intranet, and could see their progress on an interactive world map. The intranet microsite helped to generate interest and friendly rivalries, especially as teams could see how they were performing against other teams. This won an award at the 2011 Intranet Innovation Awards.
If part of a CSR initiative is fundraising, then the intranet is an ideal place to display the total raised so far. Although I’m sure for many this is done and is really updating an image, the intranet can also be used to actually manage the fundraising process. At the simpler end it can be done to log funds raised by individuals, even if just by a simple form.
At the more complex end it can involve workflow and integration. For example Credit Suisse ran a photo competition on their intranet through a SharePoint site with the winners featuring on their annual calendar. Entries were charged a fee which went then automatically tracked to the Children’s Trust page on Justgiving,com, a development which used Justgiving’s API. It actually won a Justgiving award.
There are other associated tactics, for example using video. Has your organisation done anything interesting to spruce up its CSR pages on the intranet?