I think it’s a real mistake for intranet operators to restrict user rights too much, but it still happens. And before you know it, you need special permission to publish a page that everyone can see. Approval process – that sounds pretty much like a safety net that you can incorporate as an extra on top. But it also acts as a deterrent and hinders the use of the system. 

Last but not least, the emotional level plays a role here as well – the key concept being “instant gratification.” This is an effect that comes into play when you’ve completed a job and can reap its rewards directly. A simpler example would be a colleague’s smile when you’ve done a job for them and they tell you they like the results. The instant gratification effect can also kick in when you press the publish button on the intranet and see a preview image of your post along with a teaser text on the intranet’s homepage. And it really kicks in for anyone making posts when you see the first comments and likes. An approval process delays this process – sometimes for days or weeks, depending on who’s responsible and how much time and energy they put into the task. As a rule, these people do not enjoy the task. For them, it’s more of a bureaucratic hurdle they often perceive as a chore and often postpone. 

For authors on the intranet, long and uncertain approval times can quickly become a hurdle. First of all, the process deprives you of the joy of having your post published quickly. Sometimes, employees also need the feeling of security that being able to carry on working with the published content gives them. What if you want to send the URL for the page you just published in an email or chat message? If you have to wait for approval first, you can’t. The URL will only work at some unspecified time in the future. You’ll have to interrupt your workflow until someone approves it. 

It should be a matter of concern to employee representatives that the intranet team trusts the workforce and largely does without approval processes, at least in the context of testing, even though it can be set up in just a few clicks. Or to put it clearly: every intranet team should be able to come to this conclusion without the involvement of the works council. However, the works council is a formal advocate of co-determination in a company. 

The intranet, which can be a fast, uncomplicated, and powerful mouthpiece for all or at least as many employees as possible, is an appropriate tool for this. 

Monitoring Performance on the Intranet Is Nonsense and Should Therefore Be Prevented

“Pressure should always be exerted on the workforce!” a manager from a more traditional background once told me when we were planning a new intranet for his company. He was convinced that if his employees weren’t put under pressure, they would start to relax and only perform to a fraction of their ability. Digital systems represent a temptation. This manager was already looking forward to being able to use the intranet to see even more clearly who is really making a contribution to the company and who is just “slacking.” It took almost two hours to make it clear to him that an intranet is not suited to performance measurement of this kind because the value creation processes relevant to an organization cannot be fully mapped in a system of this nature. 

I do believe that a modern intranet can touch upon and positively influence almost all value creation processes. But a lot happens outside the system and outside of the digital space as well. 

You can’t measure performance with an intranet.

Let me give you an example from my own past, one that I am not proud of, but that illustrates this point very nicely. Back then, when we launched our very first wiki, we still had individual target agreements with our employees. Fortunately, we did away with these years ago now. At the time, they worked in the same way as they do at most other companies, that is to say, hardly at all. Targets were always defined too late and were quickly out of date, but were still pursued intensely, especially when the end date was fast approaching. During the actual measurement process itself, both eyes often remained closed. Here was a target that always fit very nicely.

One standard target for our employees, for example, was to perform one hundred wiki edits a month: simply click “Edit” on a page, make a change, and press “Save” again, one hundred times a month. That was easy to measure and analyze, it always seemed to fit – and seemed to work as well. Our people edited thousands of pages and created new ones. After a few months, I found out that the target was being discredited internally as a “spam reward.” That was because our employees had started creating pages that didn’t add any real value to the company. This constantly resulted in nothing better than more or less good summaries of Wikipedia articles and similar results. So, we threw the spam bonus overboard with all the other target agreements as well.

A key task for the works council is to stop managers from attempting to use the intranet to measure performance. Even if this is a crazy idea, it can still have a toxic effect on cooperation and real and relevant contributions. The following can be found in almost every company intranet agreement I have seen so far: 

Neither the company, nor the human resources officer, nor anyone else is allowed to use data for monitoring and performance measurement purposes. 

Monitoring performance over the intranet is nonsense anyway. But if you insist on evaluating nonsense, you’ll get some pretty dubious results. And the temptation is always there. You should stop this from happening at all costs!

Link to this page: https://seibert.biz/intranetbookparticipation

The Social Intranet

Foster collaboration and strengthen communication. Be effective with enterprise intranets mobile and in the cloud.

Virtual Collaboration in Companies: Social Intranets as a Digital Home 

Never before has the business world been so overrun by cloud software and specialized vendors as it is now. There is so much software out there that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of things. It is all the more important for the future of work to have a place for digital meeting - a reliable home port meaningfully networked with numerous other systems that makes it quick and easy to navigate. This will increase transparency in the company and make collaboration more effective. Based on many years of experience, this book tells you how it already works in today's digitalized world and which trends you probably should rather than shouldn't follow.

About the author

Martin Seibert was 17 when he founded the software company Seibert Media. Twenty-four years later, it has nearly 200 employees and generates 35 million euros in annual sales. He has been sharing his enthusiasm for technology in YouTube videos for many years - and now also in his new book about social intranets.

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This content was last updated on 03/31/2021.

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