3M Investing in Employees with a Reinvented Digital Workplace

Digital Workplace Experience / Retail / Manufacturing
3M is a company built on innovation and powered by 91,000 employees and 30,000 contractors who speak 15 primary languages and work in 70 countries around the world. Faced with a legacy intranet that was lacking in basic functionality, governance, and usability, 3M partnered with Rightpoint to design a centralized, personalized, and customizable digital workplace that would transform the user experience to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.

Starting with a Strategy

Conquering the Intranet Challenge: From Broken Legacy to Innovative Solution

3M’s legacy intranet was in desperate need of a complete overhaul. Over the years, it had devolved into a sprawling link farm that was highly disorganized, difficult to navigate, and visually unappealing. In addition, it included a decentralized collection of more than 25 country-specific intranets. In all, there were more than 300 site and content owners and 200 communicators across the globe.

What 3M needed was a completely redesigned, modern digital workplace that would provide for better discoverability, access, and accuracy. The motivation behind making the major investment in this project was 3M’s commitment to making sure their people have the tools and support they need to do innovative work.

Using this commitment as a guiding principle, 3M and Rightpoint set out to design a digital workplace that offered powerful functionality, aggregated all the company’s content and resources under one roof, and delivered an exceptional user experience.

Work

Creating the Vision: User Research, Design, and Usability

Rightpoint’s role on 3M’s multidisciplinary team was driving design and usability. The project involved three phases—context gathering, prototyping, and design documentation—as well as a consultative role on the content strategy and technical considerations of the massive undertaking.

Given the complexity and vast scale of the project, in-depth discovery with users and stakeholders was critical. In order to understand 3M’s specific user groups and their needs, Rightpoint incorporated insights from 3M’s extensive internal research, which involved more than 4,500 employees and communicators globally. Combining these insights with our considerable expertise in the art of discovery, we were able to read between the lines, help 3M prioritize needs, and deliver experience-based insights drawn from our industry knowledge base.

With key criteria, constraints, and objectives clearly defined, Rightpoint delivered sketches illustrating the intended UX. From there, the team further developed the design through meticulous evaluation and iteration. Rightpoint’s comprehensive and holistic approach to prototyping and usability included not only UX design elements, but also attention to technical feasibility, ongoing assessment of new functionality opportunities, and consideration of the back-end experience for content owners and editors.

At the end of the design phase, Rightpoint delivered a simple, clean, and modern visual design that had survived a battery of usability testing by a wide variety of users. The team prepared annotated wireframes, design documentation, and technical guidance for handoff to the development team.

Outcomes

The new “3M Go” intranet completely reinvented the user experience with an inspiring visual design, expansive personalization, and centralized access to all the tools and content 3M employees need. The project’s success earned the team a place on the Nielsen Norman Group’s 10 Best Intranets list. And the redesigned intranet helped increase employee engagement and productivity.
513%
increase in number of news stories 
400%
increase in news readership
56%
reduction of extraneous pages

Our Contributions

Capability

  • Experience Design
  • Experience Mapping
  • Usability Testing
  • Information Architecture Design
  • Design Taxonomy

Technology

  • O365