Your intranet needs some form of intervention to thrive as expected. It can function at its peak only if managed properly. Governance is one of the most significant aspects of intranet management. Most organizations benefit from having a framework in place to guide the planning and decision-making for their intranet.
An intranet governance document or policy provides support to the intranet users for running and maintaining the system. It gives the teams an understanding of what the intranet is, what it is meant for, and how to use it. Creating an intranet governance document ensures consistency of intranet operations and makes it easy to handle potential conflicts with the staff and the intranet team.
A properly designed intranet seems to run by itself. Though a perfect intranet is self-regulated to some extent, the management should make some intervention to keep it on track. This is referred to as 'intranet governance'. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to creating an intranet governance document.
Let us look at some of the most important elements companies would need to get started with a governance policy.
Every intranet requires outlining a strategy that defines its governance model. This can be a simple, single-page document explaining where the intranet is at the time, where it goes, and what it will deliver. The intranet strategy should align well with the overall business strategy, goals, and aims.
This element of the governance document involves creating and defining relationships essential for the intranet function. A knowledge of who is authorized to make decisions and who takes the charge in case of conflicts proves to be important in the decision-making process.
Roles and Responsibilities
There are several roles involved in running an intranet including strategy planning, hardware management, content creation, and others. The roles and responsibilities should be defined among individuals and teams covering the steering committee, intranet team, owners, site managers, and users. Some organizations assign one responsibility to one or more people while a single individual takes up multiple roles in other organizations.
This element should define all the content governance measures, the types of content, their purpose, and the mode of delivery. This part should outline what content goes into the homepage and what other sections of the intranet should contain. You should also indicate what type of content is not accepted.
Policies and Guidelines
Publishing standards and guidelines for structure, formatting, and tone should be clearly laid out to facilitate good practice and consistency and avoid any confusion. To handle situations that demand strict control, it is important to define how rules are made and how non-compliance is dealt with.
The governance policy should consist of mechanisms to collect feedback and the processes to act on it. User feedback is not only useful for improving the intranet but also for reporting where issues arise. You should have a system for users to submit feedback, report content, and provide suggestions. You can also create a group of content owners, super users, and users who give structured feedback on a regular basis.
Clear support processes in place result in effective handling of queries, faults, functionality requests, and everyday maintenance tasks. Apart from the roles and responsibilities, processes indicating what should be done when problems arise help ensure a smooth running of the intranet.
The governance document should include the process for training required for content owners and editors, authors, super users, and general users on the intranet. For new users, the training about navigating can be supplemented with information about the purpose of the intranet and the type of information found on the platform.
When setting up intranet governance, there is a lot to consider. It can take some time to understand the difference between beneficial governing principles and poor ones, but once you get started, you begin recognizing trends and patterns and things get simpler.
Here are some of the best practices that help you streamline better Intranet Governance Best Practices.
Create two governance committees
Form a Steering Committee with high-level roles for the intranet like budgeting, policies, and prioritization. This involves a cross-section of roles from different teams like marketing, HR, and IT. These people will define the mission of the intranet that the working team adheres to.
Another committee consists of the Working Group that serves as the backbone of your intranet. These people will defend the content, outline requirements, train and guide the content authors and create workflows.
Make a content authorizing matrix
Next, generate a matrix that outlines the locations of the intranet with a dynamic space. Also, define how often they should be reviewed and updated, who is responsible for which tasks, and when they should be done. For example, the corporate news should be updated weekly while the employee spotlight can be updated once a month. Determine who is responsible for which tasks.
Create style guides
If your intranet site doesn't have the standard fonts built-in to the text editor, you should create style guidelines to avoid any inconsistency. Look at the needs of each department and define what size the images should be, what format they should have, and where they come from. Also, outline the page layout and the length of each piece of content.
Embed the intranet into workplace culture
Consider creating a suggestion/feedback system to collect ideas and ask managers to keep reminding employees to contribute their thoughts. As most organizations now follow routine employee reviews, it is a good idea to assign an article to an employee every quarter. This will help the manager achieve goals and populate your intranet with different types of content.
Microsoft's cloud-based intranet service helps organizations share and manage content, tools, and applications for better collaboration, teamwork, and quick access to information. The governance plan for SharePoint should be created in the context of the overall Microsoft 365 governance plan. The plan will evolve with the growing needs of the organization.
There is no 'one size fits all' solution for intranet governance and it can be different for different types of content. The ideal approach is to look at the elements and decide what is necessary for your business. The approach and decisions can be based on your organization's culture and audience and the overall expectations of the Microsoft 365 governance.
Here are some of the most important elements you should consider as a part of your SharePoint governance plan.
A good governance plan helps define roles, responsibilities, and priorities and incorporate them into goals and job descriptions. Intranet governance includes policies and guidelines but should also consist of a plan for monitoring usage, user training, behavior, and communication of expectations to stakeholders.
Sitting down to write an intranet governance document can be challenging. You might need to identify the audience for the policy, the topics to include, and look at how other organizations are doing it. A simple way is to break down the policy into the important topics you want to cover like a table of contents and then fill in the details.
You can use samples and templates to get some ideas and inspiration. Let us look at the topic areas you should consider including in the intranet policy.
Here is a small sample table of contents for intranet policy to give you an idea of what all should be covered.
You can also find several intranet policy templates on the web to make your governance document easy to compile depending on your organization's needs and structure.
If you want your intranet to work without centralized governance in place, you need to put in some effort. The secret is to keep all the employees on the same page about what is acceptable on the platform and what is not compliant. Though you can do this in several ways, the most effective way is to set clear intranet guidelines in a written format. Intranet governance document available on the platform comes in handy. It can be concise and comprehensive and need not be too extensive.
Each organization has its own set of policies and guidelines concerning the use of the intranet. Some general topics include site design, site management, content oversight, security, branding, and user experience.
There is no single perfect intranet governance; each organization is different and its governance policy differs from others. Creating a governance document can take some time and effort but the right approach and best practices would make it easy. It is worth producing guides that result in a successful intranet and streamline the processes. It will also keep your intranet content fresh, ensure a great user experience and establish consistency while reducing risks. Good intranet governance leads to a great intranet so organizations should consider spending some time to get it right.