Getting your people interested and involved in your business website

I see it all the time, companies have a great website which they have paid a great deal to get made but hardly any employee is interested in it. There is no buy in internally and nobody from your company visits the site.

That begs the question, isn't your website for customers and prospects and not for employees? That is partly true; a website is a powerful sales tool. But it can also be an equally powerful tool to utilize in-house to evangelize the business, its goals and values and to keep employees updated.

An internally focused (partly) website can do the following:
  • Keep your employees updated on the latest news about your company including press coverage.
  • Gives employees a feel for how the business is facing the customer. If the website truly reflects the company sales approach, this can be conveyed to all employees, just not the sales dept.
  • Keeps employees up-to-date on the latest products and services and if they visit regularly they can follow the chain of product development activities.
  • Allows employees to contribute by providing a channel to express their thoughts, views and experiences. This can add a rich layer to the customer experience of the company at the same time improving employee morale.
So how do you get employee buy in?

Someone who is enthusiastic about the internet and has a bit of tech savvy can take on the role of the 'Website Champion'. This person's responsibility would be to act as a cheerleader for the website (and for all related digital marketing efforts) within the company. The success of the website externally and also internally must be made his/her responsibility and must be a significant part of his/her KRA.

An important point to note is that this must be a volunteer position as it requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm from the person and cannot be dumped on just anyone. The 'website champion' must really be a Champion in every sense of the word.

2. Top Management must buy-in and evangelize it to the rest.

If the top management realizes the power of the website they will enthusiastically promote it within the company themselves. The website can be a powerful tool to talk about the management's position on a variety of issues and communicate directly to employees. However they do have to push the site in their day to day activities either by mentioning it often or posting critical information on it regularly which brings me to my next point.

3. The website must be used daily in all the business activities.

A portion of the site can be cordoned off and available only to employees either through a password protected system or via a VPN system only accessible in the office. This part of the site can used in the day to day working of the business by uploading critical information and tools. The idea is that the more the website is used in the day to day activities the more likely are the employees to reach for it when they need information.

Now some might argue that there is no reason to use the site in their business but that is just a lack of imagination. Like customers, employees must also be enticed onto the site till it becomes a habit for them.

Some ideas for drawing employees to the website

  • As a knowledge base for storing manuals and reference documents
  • Posting notifications regarding employee activities like holidays, promotions etc.
  • Putting up special offers for employees on company and non-company products.
  • Highlighting a group of employees on the site using a war stories section
  • Using it as a platform for a charitable activity supported by the company

and many more such ideas.

4. Using the website as an important part of the training programme for new employees.

Putting a part of the training programme online and asking employees to use it for learning can become a great introduction of the website to them and also conveys to new hires, the importance of the website in the overall business scheme. It will also habituate employees to turn to the website for information from early on.

5. Appointing an agency to provide interesting information on the site and update it regularly.

You can turn the website into a company magazine by hiring an agency to develop unique and interesting content for your website. This content can range from interesting articles to games and offers the employees can take part in. The agency ensures that the site is always buzzing with new content and initiatives and also frees employees from the task of maintaining it which might not be there area of expertise.

In Conclusion I would like to see more and more companies draw the site into their business and use it as a great tool it really is.


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