If your organization has an intranet, wouldn’t it be great to know how well it’s doing its job?
That’s what intranet benchmarking can do. When done correctly, benchmarking can give you data-driven insights into how well your intranet is performing across the metrics that matter most to you. From engagement to adoption to access rates for specific materials, you can learn exactly how well your intranet is doing and how to improve it.
Intranet benchmarking might not be something organizations focus on with much intensity. But if you’re ready to get real answers on how well your organization utilizes your intranet (and clear ideas on how to address any weaknesses you find), benchmarking is the place to start.
So here’s everything you need to know about intranet benchmarking: what it is, how it can help your business, and steps to get started.
What is intranet benchmarking?
Intranet benchmarking is the process of measuring an employee intranet against a set of performance standards to determine its effectiveness.
You can create these performance standards internally by comparing current performance to past performance. Or, if you can access the data, you can base it on the intranet performance of your competitors or peers.
Benefits of intranet benchmarking
Why would an organization invest time and resources into intranet benchmarking? Because once you invest time and resources into the intranet itself, it’s worth the effort to ensure your team is using that intranet to its fullest.
These are a few specific ways intranet benchmarking can benefit your organization.
Boosting performance against competitors
An intranet is an internally-oriented resource, so a performance boost against competitors isn’t the most obvious conclusion. But when your team makes better use of its intranet, team members are better informed and higher performing.
Benchmarking against competitors and industry data (where available) also gives you a better sense of your performance compared to everyone else’s. You’ll get a picture of both your strengths and areas for improvement. With a competitive analysis, you can make more strategic decisions for the company.
Implementing best practices
Benchmarking can also identify gaps in how well your organization follows intranet best practices. Chances are, if you find your organization lags behind its peers, you’ve likely encountered an area where best practices are not being followed, and it’s time to revamp your intranet strategy.
Gaining a competitive advantage
Modern intranet platforms like Workvivo offer features designed to give organizations a competitive edge through improved communication and collaboration. When people communicate more clearly and directly with one another, they understand faster and increase performance accordingly.
Improving user experience
Benchmarking can also produce crucial data on how an organization can improve the user interface, navigation experience, and overall user satisfaction of its corporate intranet.
This matters because you need your people to actually use your intranet. Doing so keeps them engaged and on track, which is a big deal considering that disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion in annual productivity losses.
Workvivo’s social intranet prioritizes user-centric design and features to enhance intranet usability. It’s easy to navigate, enjoyable to use, and the social features keep employees engaged and coming back for more.
Allocating resources effectively
Benchmarking aids in resource allocation by prioritizing areas of improvement. When you know what’s not working as well as it should, you know where to focus your resources.
When using data-driven decisions to optimize resource distribution, you’ll get data-driven results. And that always leads to a better outcome than making decisions based on feel, vibe, or the loudest voice in the room.
The intranet benchmarking process
Follow these steps if you’re ready to start benchmarking your intranet.
Define your objectives (and metrics)
First – and we can’t stress this enough – an organization must set clear objectives and define the intranet metrics that are most relevant for its benchmarking process.
Well-defined objectives serve as guides for the entire benchmarking process. Without them, you’d be launching into a benchmarking initiative with, at best, a fuzzy idea of what you want to get out of the process.
So start with objectives: what exactly do you want to learn? What outcomes do you expect?
Once you establish your objectives, take time to settle on the metrics and KPIs that will help you achieve those objectives. In other words, you need to measure the metrics that matter to your organization.
Choose sources for benchmark data
Next up is finding and selecting the sources you’ll use for benchmark data. This can be tricky because benchmark data locations vary based on industry and type of company.
In some cases, you’ll work from well-defined industry standards, such as reports and surveys from the industry. You might also look at competitor data (when it exists and you can access it).
Industry best practices can inform your benchmark data as well, and there are also some firms and services that claim to offer access to competitor benchmarking data.
You might also pull data from internal sources. Historical performance data can be a great way to measure how your current intranet performs compared to a previous solution (or prior to updates and improvements).
Some organizations might also pull data from an internal comms audit. For more information, check out our free resource on how to perform an internal comms audit, which includes a free template.
Collect all baseline data
Now, with clearly defined objectives, metrics, and benchmark data sources, it’s time to collect your own baseline data from your intranet.
How you go about this depends greatly on your intranet solution. The best intranets, like Workvivo, offer easy access to powerful data insights, making it much easier to collect this baseline data.
As you collect that baseline data, make sure to be as complete as possible. The more comprehensive your data collection, the more accurate your comparisons.
Gather your benchmark data
Next, you’ll need to gather benchmark data from the sources you identified earlier. This process can vary widely depending on the sources you use and the ways you access the data.
Analyze data against benchmark sources
You’ve now collected data from your own intranet and from your benchmark sources, and it’s time to engage in some intranet analytics to compare the two. Assuming you have like sets of data from both sources, comparing the two should be as simple as lining up the data sets.
Once you do this, you can quickly identify areas your organization needs to improve (performance gaps) and areas where your intranet is performing well (strengths).
Identify opportunities for improvement
Analyzing benchmarking results helps uncover areas for better intranet management. This information will make it easier to identify areas where your intranet’s performance lags behind, which sets you up to make improvements and create an action plan.
Set up an action plan
Identifying opportunities for improvement is good – but actually improving is better.
So don’t stop at the identification stage. Take it another step further by workshopping ideas on how to improve the identified areas. Once you settle on the ideas you want to pursue, create an action plan that lists the steps you’ll take to improve, based on benchmarking insights.
As you do so, remember to keep your goals actionable, measurable, and realistic. ‘Increase engagement’ is realistic and in some ways actionable, but it can’t be measured.
‘Reach 100% engagement’ is actionable (assuming you have supporting steps for how you’ll do it) and measurable. But if the benchmarking data suggests that 60% engagement is an industry average, 100% might not be realistic.
In contrast, ‘Increase engagement by 15%, reaching 65% engagement by Q4 using the following three strategies’ – that’s an action step that’s measurable, actionable, and realistic.
Implement and monitor changes
Even creating a detailed action plan isn’t enough. You’ll also need to systematically implement changes based on that action plan. Improving weak areas in your employee intranet takes effort, so you must plan and manage that effort along the way.
Then, once you implement the changes, make sure to continuously monitor their impact. Keep collecting data so you can track improvements and troubleshoot issues.
Workvivo includes powerful workplace insights tools that can help organizations implement and track improvement initiatives created from benchmarking efforts.
You can easily measure content performance and reach throughout your organization’s social intranet, tracking what works and what doesn’t. You can also track how well critical internal communications perform in terms of reaching the intended audiences.
Communicate the results with relevant stakeholders
Sharing benchmarking results with key stakeholders increases stakeholder engagement. This is a vital (if often overlooked) final step in the intranet benchmarking process, because no single individual – not even the CEO – can implement change on their own.
Lasting results require education, understanding, buy-in, and commitment over time. By clearly communicating the results – both the good and the bad – with stakeholders up and down the food chain, you’ll reinforce your organization’s commitment to transparency and encourage further buy-in from others.
Improve your organization’s intranet with Workvivo
Intranet benchmarking delivers significant overall value because it has the potential to enhance organizational performance and create an improved user experience.
But sometimes, the real problem isn’t with setup or execution – it’s with the intranet design itself, often due to dated or ineffective intranet software.
In other words, sometimes you need a new intranet.
Workvivo delivers true intranet success, transforming the employee experience and handling digital communications, knowledge sharing, and much more in a way that’s built for today’s digital workplace.
Workvivo is the modern social intranet platform designed to grow employee engagement, improve communication, and provide businesses with the data and insights they need to keep improving.
It’s a better way to intranet – and a better platform to use for intranet benchmarking too.