Siemens Industry, Inc.’s SharePoint-based intranet serves more than 22,000 employees in the U.S. When engagement and readership waned, the company turned to Webtrends to track internal content and campaigns. Siemens used the data to create a more community-centered site, adding videos, contests and chances for readers to contribute. Readership grew 162 percent and employees started contributing content, making internal communications more effective overall.
Want a high-speed train? A gear box the size of a Volkswagen Beetle? How about some car headlights? Siemens makes them all. How does the company’s internal online communications team keep all their thousands of employees on the same page? That page starts with a SharePoint intranet.
The team does not create intranet content itself. Instead, it trains more than 450 users to make their own with SharePoint-based collaboration sites.
The internal online communications team has had good content and management support: senior execs blog on the company intranet. The messages were fine — designed to inform and raise morale — and they drew a lot of comments. But readership and engagement had waned after the novelty wore off. The team needed data to show what was happening, and to test ways to fix it.
The team created a dashboard to show engagement, top downloads, visits and locations, and sent it to all business units and management regularly. It experimented with link and content types and placement, learning which combinations worked best.
The findings: Users love video. Text, not so much.
The internal online communications team, in conjunction with the Employee and Leadership Communications team, moved toward more open forums, letting people post videos and interact with other employees. The team kept the executive blog, but also let others post “day in the life” videos, contests and other content.
“As soon as we added the interactive SharePoint forum that hosted contests and employee engagement, it worked really well,” said Irene LeCourt, Siemens Manager of Internal Online Communications. “Unique visitors went up 162 percent.”
Siemens found that marketing tactics used on its external website, like contests, also worked on the intranet. Employees were eager to embark on an online scavenger hunt and search for clues, which included watching a C-level exec video carefully — noting the color of shirt worn as a sign of engagement.
“We got really good readings on how well people could find what they wanted and where were they searching, even into deeper parts of our website,” said LeCourt. As colleague Richard Anderson put it: “Webtrends helps us identify platforms which are not succeeding and makes us rethink our strategy.”
The team also learned how content updates increase SharePoint use, prodding contributors to post new material more often — boosting usage and productivity.
Next up, the team wants to optimize internal search as part of a plan to match internal metrics with strategic business goals. “We want to streamline information and distribute those reports to the right people at the right time,” LeCourt said.