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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Top 5 Signs You Need a New Intranet: Healthcare Edition

By Christina Goodwin — Design Director, Interaction Design
Healthcare worker looking at brain scan images on two monitors
Top 5 Signs You Need a New Intranet: Healthcare EditionDesign Director, Interaction Design — Christina Goodwin
Healthcare worker looking at brain scan images on two monitors

When was the last time you gave your intranet a hard look? When was the last time you asked your team how they use it? Do you know if they even do?

The employee experience in healthcare is at a critical point. The United States will see a shortage of up to nearly 124,000 physicians by 2032, and 1 in 3 physicians are experiencing extremely high levels of burnout. Nursing assistants say recognition and support is often lacking. Even humble tools like an intranet can have a big impact on employee success.

At Rightpoint, we’ve seen that addressing the challenges manifested by a poor intranet experience often helps recognize deeper challenges and initiate important discussions as to how overall employee experience can be better. A new intranet is just the beginning in this journey.

Here’s 5 signs to watch out for:

1. Your employees don’t trust it

You read that right – your employees don’t trust the information they’re finding on your intranet. How do you know? When Rightpoint engages with your employees, we take a highly empathetic approach to investigate their challenges through in-depth 1:1 interviews across departments and levels. After reimagining hundreds of healthcare intranets, we’ve seen a common theme over and over – issues with trust and accuracy. When the latter is lacking, the former suffers. If a nursing team manager searches for a specific policy document but only finds something dated from 3 years ago, written by a team member they’ve never heard of, and multiple versions are listed, how can they be sure to trust its usefulness? Imagine the stress of this doubt, on top of an already demanding day of patient challenges or ever-changing protocols.

Search in and of itself is such a crucial functionality, its efficiency and fruitfulness become paramount. To support improved search, Rightpoint leverages tools like Knowledge AI to help establish a “single source of truth” and create a user-friendly index of your information, making critical resources easy to find.

Furthermore, if your employees want to provide updates or share information, a thoughtful governance process makes this easy and clear to everyone. If that governance is losing traction, and no one knows how to share important information or with whom to share it, that’s an obvious sign your intranet and its management need an overhaul.

Your team members do what they do to save lives. They need to easily find a resource or answer a question and get back to what they do best. Reducing churn and frustration is always a top priority in our work. Often this means lesstime on your intranet is a KPI for success. Intranet usage is about quality, not quantity.

2. Mistakes are happening…and it’s getting scary

When researching these challenges, it’s an honor to converse with healthcare professionals and hear how internal digital tools can impact their success. I’ll never forget when I was discussing the challenges around outdated content on an intranet recently, and a nurse manager paused, then stated: “It’s only a matter of time before there’s an adverse event.” She was fearing the day someone would find the wrong information, and lives would be impacted.

That intranet doesn’t seem so humble anymore, does it?

If your healthcare staff is constantly having to ask “should I do this? Is this right?” or if mistakes from following said content are happening more and more, that means your intranet can no longer support your team and its demands.

If there have been recent acquisitions within your organization, this makes the above topics far more pronounced. If the (new) parent organization’s intranet makes it hard to follow procedures, or it’s unclear what procedures from the acquired network are being maintained versus retired, the bigger risk is important procedures won’t be followed at all.

Rightpoint teams take the time to identify the best practices for content and information organization by learning how people think about your information. More importantly, how they depend on this information for their own success. Our dialogue with your employees can be a supportive activity in and of itself. By virtue of conducting the interviews, employees see that leadership is taking action to address challenges and want everyone’s voices heard.

Our team can also help you manage communications to your workforce about the new intranet we’ve created together. Establishing a new intranet experience is a big victory, so we want to help you ensure its benefits are communicated clearly and effectively at every opportunity.

3. No one goes beyond the homepage

A helpful intranet is usually part of a larger Swiss army knife of tools employees rely on each day to succeed. Measuring and reviewing analytics and usage data on how people are using these tools is an invaluable insight into your team’s behavior.

What are people searching? What are the top articles employees read? What 3rd party tools are employees using? When an intranet may no longer be serving its audience, a common trend we see is no one utilizes the intranet beyond the homepage. Usually this is a sign of high abandonment because of hard to use tools, or content that feels irrelevant or impersonal. How can the content you present everyday become more personalized and relevant to increase engagement and usefulness?

Data tells a deeper story even through the most innocuous behavior. If thousands of employees are searching for the same information, clearly it could be more prominent or easier to find. How could your intranet experience evolve to make it easy to access what everyone clearly is seeking to succeed?

Relevance is an important concept to define for a successful intranet. It’s not about expecting your employees to browse your intranet for hours. It’s about positioning content to them which they find useful and motivating. How do you create and deliver content which is not only relevant but enables success and productivity?

By engaging with your employees to ask the tough questions about how their employee experience could be better, you’ll ensure team members feel heard and seen. By understanding where the intranet’s user experience and content design could be improved, your team will become empowered with the most useful information and tools and use them on a regular basis far beyond just the homepage.

4. New employee turnover is high

On its own, this may not indicate a new intranet being needed, but in our experience, it’s an interesting phenomena we tend to see in parallel with the factors above. Our theory is new employees’ frustration over difficult-to-use tools compounds additional challenges - becoming of a bit of a “last straw,” if you will.

However, for new (tenure under 1 year) employees, this can be especially frustrating within their first 30-90 days of onboarding. In a recent Gallup study, only 12% of employees felt their onboarding was satisfactory. For nurses, 20% of voluntary turnover happens in the first 45 days, according to research from PressGaney. As you can imagine, a well-functioning intranet providing useful information and tools is critical to the process of onboarding nowadays.

For those who now experience a digital-first or remote-only onboarding experience, the first moment visiting a new employer’s intranet is a big moment.

Remember, it’s the new “digital office lobby.” Remember the first time you walked in on day one into that big, impressive downtown office building and felt a sense of pride? We must reimagine that big moment for a new generation of employees entering your organization and make those first 30-90 days as smooth as possible. A strong intranet can play a big part.

It’s also a wonderful way to clearly articulate your messaging around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for new employees. According to Beckers, “healthcare workers who believe their organization doesn't value employees from different backgrounds are more than four times more likely to leave their organization within three years compared to workers who believe the opposite.” Even humble tools like your onboarding experience can contribute to ensuring new team members feel valued and their voices necessary for organizational success.

Onboarding support specifically is a natural opportunity for a personalized intranet. According to a Glassdoor, 49% of employees who went through effective onboarding reported contributing to their team within the first week. Providing an outstanding user experience within your intranet signals to employees the care and consideration leadership has for their day-to-day, and their long-term retention with the organization. Anecdotally, I’ve spoken with several healthcare professionals who said morale was positively affected by having easy access to relevant news about their specific facility and seeing the promotion of coworkers’ achievements. Again, empathy and recognition can go a long way for your staff’s employee experience.

5. People are making their own intranets

You probably hired most of your team because of their smarts, proactiveness, and drive to succeed. After months or years of frustrations with a difficult-to-use intranet, that smart, proactive workforce will take matters into their own hands and create their own “mini-intranets” when the main one just isn’t getting the job done.

Departments and teams will often create their own version on an intranet with resources, documents, or links, as alternatives to have everything they need in one place. This leads to a “wild west” of tools, often with redundancies in their intention or content. Years of acquisition complicates this further.

After several months or years, it can feel insurmountable to review everything (while it’s still growing and changing) and determine what tools to keep or retire. By bringing in an objective party like Rightpoint, we can create an open dialogue to uncover why this is happening, what an ideal intranet experience looks like, and how to make it a reality. This becomes even more critical when teams realize money might be being wasted on licenses, seats, programs, etc. which it turns out aren’t being used, or tools have more redundancies than previously thought.

Getting Started with Rightpoint

After creating thousands of intranets for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, let us help your healthcare organization reimagine its intranet and employees’ suites of tools. With enhancements to your tools and content through Knowledge AI, Rightpoint can enable your team with an entirely rethought workflow, and get them back to what they do best: saving lives.

Rightpoint has been receiving recognition for several years for these incredible collaborations, and 2023 was no different. NNg, a worldwide expert on user experience, recently recognized Rightpoint in their 2023 Intranet Design Annual Winners for our work with one of our clients.

Rightpoint approaches transformation as an intertwined journey of Employee Experience and Customer Experience, and it has one of the most formalized alignment propositions among its peers.

– HFS Report Excerpt

Our robust Employee Experience practice has earned us 2022 and 2023 Microsoft Partner of the Year, as well as #1 in Voice of Customer from HFS’ Top 5 EX Services Agency survey.

Rightpoint would be honored to begin learning from you and your team as to how a reimagined intranet experience can facilitate deeper discussions around your employee experience to support team success. A new intranet is just the beginning in your journey.