Thursday, February 12, 2015

Employee Engagement Metrics: The ROI of the Intranet

This Valentine’s Day, instead of flowers or candy, count the ways your intranet helps you achieve your organizational goals!

An organization’s intranet is no longer just a vehicle to publish corporate information to its employees. Today’s intranet is an interactive digital workspace: the place where employees across the country, or across the globe, come to access authoritative resources (both content and people), collaborate through an enterprise social network, and ultimately do their work. A significant amount of time and money is invested to create this engaging user experience and real-time activity to help employees feel included in the action. How much does your digital workspace provide a return your investment (ROI)? Let us count the ways.

Let’s use Organization A as an example. Organization A built a new digital workspace for its 10,000 global employees to replace its outdated corporate intranet. Organization A realized that in order to quantify the benefits of its investment, they first needed to understand the goals of the organization and what activities could be performed to achieve those goals. Below are some examples of the goals for the new digital workspace along with some quantitative activities.

Goal: Increase Productivity

Depending on your job description, there are a number of ways to measure productivity. Here are two that tend to apply to most employees.

Reduce Time Spent Searching for Resources (Content or Expertise)


Time spent searching for a resource



Number of attempts per week


Time that could be spent elsewhere each week

Time saved each month

(4 weeks)


8 minutes




40 minutes

160 minutes

Reduce Time Spent Responding to Inquiries (Improved Self-Service)


Number of emails received per day (old intranet) – Number of emails received per day (new digital workspace)



Time to respond to each email


Time that could be spent elsewhere each day

Time saved each month (30 days)


(15 – 5)


4 minutes


40 minutes

1,200 minutes

That’s just a calculation for one employee’s time savings. Imagine if that applied to 25% of employees at Organization A!

Goal: Increase Collaboration

Many digital workspaces feature Team Sites – areas where cross-functional teams can share documents and collaborate. Measuring the number of active Team Sites (i.e. sites where there has been activity within the past 30 days) can be a great way to gain insight into whether teams are collaborating online.

In the first month, expect that all Team Sites will appear active, but over time, that activity will likely decrease and then stabilize as they become the norm for many employees.


Goal: Increase Employee Engagement

It could be said that a successful intranet is measured in satisfaction. Seeing an increase over time in the following could be considered valid measures of increased employee engagement:

% Increase in readership of news articles or newsletters
% Increase in the number of likes and comments on news articles
% Increase in the use of enterprise social network feeds for discussion
% Increase in completion rates of satisfaction surveys
% Increase in positive feedback

A few things to take into consideration as you begin define the value of your intranet.

Consider the Audience

Although there are 10,000 employees in Organization A, we don’t typically see ROI estimates based on the total population. Different audiences have different resource needs that may or may not be realized through the use of the intranet, which makes achievement of 100% engagement unlikely. Instead focus on the target population that you know is likely to use the intranet to perform daily tasks. Executives and those employees who do not commonly work with, or have access to, a computer or mobile device should therefore not be included in the target measure.

Calibrate the Results

Allow time to gather and measure results and realize ROI. Observe monthly usage and behaviors to use as your yardstick, especially around using an enterprise social tool. Look at usage trends over time – let the tool get absorbed into daily activities; substantial adoption doesn’t happen on day one. Don’t be afraid to adjust your success measures over time as the organization’s maturity with the tools evolves. Consider leveraging the Roger’s Adoption Curve below to try and predict upticks in usage.


Don’t leave your ROI up to chance. Create a tailored and thoughtful approach to inform employees and promote the new ways of working. Show your digital workspace how much you care, and count the ways it delivers ROI.