How to implement an internal communication tool successfully

In many cases the reason why the implementation of an internal communication (IC) tool failed in a company and, consequently, the employees don’t want to use it, is caused by mistakes made at the beginning of the implementation process. After making such mistakes, the future of this IC tool is predictible.

To implement an internal communication tool successfully, we can’t focus on its technical aspects only. Often during such wrong launching, we just inform our employees shortly about a new tool that is ready to use, which is not enough. We just publish some posters or send one email with simple information about the new tool to appear in our company. It’s not enough. And it’s bad. Don’t do this.

My scribbles above show this process. You can see a pie chart with two numbers – 99% and 1%. This is how the implementation of the IC tools sometimes looks like. 99% of our effort is put into the technical implementation of the tool to prepare it to be used by the employees. And then, when we’re very tired of this long implementation process – often longer than we expected – the rest of our energy is spent on planning a quick and short message to be sent to inform our users about the new tool. Our expectations are big. We believe that this IC tool prepared for such a long time and expected by some many employees will finally improve the internal communications and the cooperation among them. And sometimes instead of fireworks and champagne we end up with nothing. The employees don’t want to use it, the first interests decline fast, we’re disappointed and leave this new tool without any attention. It exists and gathers dust. The money spent went down the drain.

Do it properly
So how to implement the internal communication tool properly? I showed it in the upper part of my picture. I heard about this idea from the Head of IC at Pandora at IntraTeam Event about digital workplaces in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is how they organised their work on the Sharepoint global implementation in their organisation. I really like this idea (check this pie chart below).  

While implementing the international intranet at Pandora, the budget allocated to it was divided into 3 parts:
1.    33% of the budget went to a technical implementation – it was the technical preparation of the tool to be launched for its users,
2.    another 33% was spent on promotion – when the intranet was ready, the IC team started promoting it among the employees to make sure that as many as possible of them would find out about the new solution to communicate and cooperate,
3.    the last part of the budget – also 33% was spent on the education campaign to explain the employees how the new tool works, how it can help them communicate and cooperate, and so on.

And the idea isn’t to divide your budgets and actions into 3 equal parts, but you can still do it. I just want to show you a totally different way of thinking about the IC tool implementation than preparing one email or some posters only. I want you to remember that promotion and education are as important as the technical implementation itself.  

Lack of these 2 parts is often a reason why we failed during the launching and why the tool isn’t popular among the employees. We skipped these important parts or they weren’t good enough.

The implementation of the tool is just the beginning
Moreover, we need to remember that the launch of the new internal communication tool, its promotion and education, it’s just the beginning of our work. While implementing the IC tool, we should plan at once what our next steps are – how we’ll maintain the tool (it’s the last part on my second picture). And not only the technical maintenance, but also its communication part (another promotion to keep the employees’ interests in using it, another one for education about its functionalities, changes etc.).

To sum up, plan actions for all 3 parts which are: technical issues, promotion and education campaigns – first to launch the tool and then to maintain it. It should help you divide all the actions needed to be done in this launching process. Good luck.


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Photos:; MB