- My name is Peter Lyons- Internal communications coordinator at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre or MCEC- I’ve worked in both the public and private sector in both Queensland and VictoriaIn Queensland – Brisbane Racing Club, Events Queensland, Department of Transport and Main RoadsIn Victoria – Department of Sustainability and Environment and Stonnington City Council - Now at MCEC working as the internal communications coordinatorMy role is to make sure our 500 plus employees are connected with company, industry and employee news through a number of communication channels, such as the intranet, newsletters and social and corporate events.A majority of my role is managing MCEC’s intranet which includes writing and publishing news articles, using intranet tools to improve department processes, offering training and advice for best intranet use and ensuring positive user experience. I also played a large role in it’s redevelopment last year.
- This gives you a good picture of what MCEC is about- As you saw MCEC is about connecting people through memorable experiences by holding meetings, events and exhibitions- It isn’t just about connecting our customers- MCEC also places a big investment in its people and one way it invests in its people is through internal communication.- 27 working departments which fall under 7 divisions which includes Executive team, Administration and Corporate Planning, Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Sales Marketing Club Melbourne and Technology Operations.- MCEC employs 500 employees, including 180 permanent full-time and part-time employees and 350 casual employees – all of which work in different areas of the building and require different communication needs – different roles and tasks – e.g. desk-based, loading dock.- One of our biggest challenges is communicating to our 350 casual employee workforce who often only come in for their shift and have limited time to read about MCEC news.
MCEC’s previous intranet was good in that you could personalise the background, but that was the only thing good going for itBoringNot engagingNo intranet nameThe homepage was very staticNot user friendly – why do I need to know MY contact details?Inconsistent brandingAll content uploaded by one personVery hard to find informationWasn’t first point of contact for employeesContent was very out-dated as the back end system was very clunky and hard to useExtremely difficult to make major page changes as it required our team to contact an external intranet agency to make the change, which was often a 1 week process
Intranet redevelopment was a first for MCEC.Main aim of redeveloping the intranet was to provide off-site intranet access for casual employees and improve communication among departments.The intranet redevelopment was the second stage of a larger project to change MCEC’s document system from paper-based to electronic.The Hive was created as part of MCEC’s first cultural framework called unity, including the development of a company vision, mission and guiding principlesThe Hive was seen as a crucial tool in the culture program’s success.The intranet redevelopment took just under four months and involved a committee with representatives from key business areas – communications, IT and administration – and an external intranet agency called JacobsThis structure proved to work well as we were able to use the expertise of the intranet agency Jacobs and our IT team for technical support and use our communications experience for ensuring employee user experience was kept top of mind.We also included employees through all stages of the project to make them feel part of the new intranet – I will talk about this in more detail later on.
Launched in March 2012 at special unveiling event for employeesUses SharePoint 2010‘Out of the box’ features, with the only change being the branding, which was created by a creative agency, OgilvyWeb parts use Amrein EngineeringCan be accessed from any desktop or tablet such as an iPad, not mobile devices.Homepage is very simple and we’ve chosen to only include key features as our employees are very busy and only need to see what matters most to themKey features of the homepage include:All areas on the homepage are made up of web parts. Use Amrein Engineering web parts.Scrolling news carousel.Photo viewer – displays most recently updated.Buttons to key areas of the intranet.People search box - search results return employee profiles with phone number and email.‘I would like to’ drop down – attached to a ‘list’ and includes most frequently accessed areas. This list generated through employee feedback.Chief Executive blog (Peter King) – PK’s Posts and updated weekly. Written by our Chief Executive.Division specific and department specific announcements – linked to each Divisions’ ‘Workspace’ (or Team Site) and is audience targeted depending on which division and department you belong to.Bottom right-hand corner is the only area we change every week or so – can be interchanged with ‘Spotlight On’ (links to Profile), quick polls, feedback forms or promotional buttons.
Since launching in March 2012, The Hive has seen a 57 per cent increase in daily unique visitors72 per cent increase in the average amount of page views per dayIn April this year, we were ranked 18 in the world and fifth in Asia-Pacific in the Worldwide Intranet Challenge:#2 for homepage design and content being accurate#3 for intranet look and feel, finding information, understanding company values and culture and seeing what’s new or updated#5 for providing feedback and comments#7 for news about organisation and industry
I believe our success isn’t just in the intranet itself; it’s everything we’ve done outside of the intranet.One of our key reasons for success was engaging with employees from the start A lot of the activities we did to engage with employees cost very littleThis ensured we met their expectations and we had their buy-in.Held an intranet naming competition, with an iPad as the prize.Generated hype through other internal communication channels, such as posters and noticeboards.Launch eventReal-life bumble bee – at launch event and visited offices throughout the day – generated hype and excitementRecorded through online streaming program for casual employees to watch if they weren’t able to attendHoneycomb chocolates made in-house by kitchen teamPurchased a comprehensive selection of bee artwork Changed computer screensavers to The Hive branding on launch dayComputer terminals located around MCEC to make accessibility easy for casual employees before, during or after their shiftThroughout the redevelopment I frequently sought feedback from employees. One way:Two focus groups – one before work began on the new intranet and one two months after the launchIncluded ten permanent and casual employees from across all departmentsOne hourIncluded same participantsBoth focus groups asked users for feedback on the old and new intranet’s features, usability and whether additional changes needed to be made. Some of the questions included:Information they rely on during a normal working dayType of headings which mean more to themPreferences of overall look and feel
I use Microsoft InfoPath to encourage feedback on employee communication and eventsMakes them feel included and ensures we can improve on future communication and intranet features.THINK innovation programWe have integrated MCEC’s innovation program, THINK, through The Hive as one way to encourage employees to visitTHINK is MCEC’s innovation program designed to encourage all employees to think of new ideas in their team to improve the overall performance of the company – these ideas can range from small and simple to large-scale.Promote innovation ideas and fun articles.We often utilise video communication through the THINK blog.
We continue to engage them through a number of fun and interactive activities throughout the year.For example, we celebrated The Hive’s first birthday this year by holding a special event in the employee cafeteria with a birthday cake, real-life bumble bee and running the Worldwide Intranet Challenge survey– generate more interest.
Another reason for The Hive’s success is that it’s always kept up-to-date and is centrally managed by the communications team Often intranets are managed by an IT team or is only a small part of another role.However, at MCEC one person updates the content every day and understands the importance of effective communication and engaging with employees.Three ways we help employees with staying up to date with The Hive is by sending out a weekly eDM which summaries everything that’s been updated. This was created soon after launch as we received feedback from employees that all of the new information was overwhelming and hard to keep up-to-date. We also have an electronic screen in our employee cafeteria which includes the most recent news articles and employee events – updated by myself through a spread sheet.I also create a hard-copy newsletter which summarises the most recent news articles and placed in employee eating areas.Because it’s managed by myself it also means communication across all channels, including the intranet, can be planned and sent at specific times so it doesn’t get ‘lost’ among other communication.This is managed through an electronic planner in Excel that maps out the channels and publishing dates.It also means that key messages can be driven to employees about our company vision, missionand values.We can also ensure new starters are kept top of mind by ensuring content is easy to read and placed in an easy to find area.By educating them of the importance of sending through updated information means content is always up to date.
Not all good newsOnly been 18 months since launching and although we had great successes since the launch, there are still many opportunities available and areas for improvement to help evolve The Hive to become a business-critical toolWe will be implementing a 12-month strategy for The Hive in 2014A key component of this strategy will be to use employee feedback from the Worldwide Intranet Challenge and our own internal surveys, online polls and focus groupsSome of these changes will be to:Improve interactivity – enable employees to interact with each other through The Hive, better commenting features, areas to discuss work topicsIntegrated approach – collaborative intranet with information from all areas. For example, social media and other work sites. Exploring giving employees ownership – through content page ownershipForming intranet committee to have intranet ‘ambassadors’ from each division.Look and feel – homepage features and functionality, use new technologyAccessibility – mobile site.We hope that by through these improvements we’ll see a positive impact on our participation in next year’s Worldwide Intranet Challenge.
If you’re about to redevelop your intranet, here are my top 3 tips:Listen to your employeesKnow what they wantInvolve them in the planning from the start to ensure their buy inBe creative Aim high, but be prepared to compromiseParticularly important if you’re limited with budget – aim high and be creative but there may be some things you’ll need to compromise onE.g. when we were creating The Hive we had some really good ideas, such as cool features for the homepage and collaboration toolsHowever these came with a price which wouldn’t fit within the budgetInstead, we worked with our intranet agency to develop similar tools that cost very limitedE.g. photo viewers – SharePoint web part photo viewer, social platforms – commenting feature instead.Use the latest technologyTechnology outdates very quickly, so make sure you’re using the most current technology and ensure the technology you choose offers the right accessibility for your employeesE.g. offsite access.
Challenges- I was new to the organisation- Issues faced with redevelopmentGetting buy in from management- Use employee engagement as a key selling tool and how it can positively impact company culture and productivity- Wasn’t a challenge for MCEC – intranet coincided with launch of culture program.Why SharePoint?- Part of a wider project to make MCEC’s paper-based documents electronicWhat would I do differently- Conduct thorough research about intranet trends and better layout of the home pageo Redevelopment was rush – done in only four months - Extend redevelopment period longer than four months- Not over Christmas period.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Overview of today’s presentation
• What is MCEC?
• An overview of MCEC’s intranet redevelopment project
• Key outcomes from the project including results from the Worldwide
• How we achieved success through employee engagement
• What’s ahead for MCEC’s intranet
• Top tips for redeveloping an intranet
• Question and answer session
• Intranet redevelopment first for
• Main aim to provide off-site access for
casual employees and improve
communication among departments.
• Created as part of MCEC’s first
cultural framework, unity – intranet
redevelopment crucial for culture
• Redevelopment took just under four
months and involved committee from
key business areas.
Introducing The Hive
• 57 per cent increase in daily unique visitors.
• 72 per cent increase in the average amount of
page views per day.
• Worldwide Intranet Challenge (April 2013)
• Ranked 18 in the world/Fifth in Asia-Pacific.
• #2 for homepage design and content being
• #3 for intranet look and feel, finding
information, understanding company values and
culture and seeing what’s new and updated.
• #5 for providing feedback and comments.
• #7 for news about organisation and industry.
Reasons for Success
Overall look and feel
Reasons for Success
Understanding values and culture
Information for new starters
News about organisation/industry
Seeing what’s new and updated.
• Lots of opportunities.
• Implementing a strategy for The Hive.
• Key component of strategy will be to use
employee feedback from the Worldwide
Intranet Challenge, online polls, surveys
and focus groups.
• Key changes:
• Improve interactivity
• Integrated approach
• Homepage features
Top Three Tips
1. Listen to your employees.
2. Aim high, but be prepared to compromise.
3. Use the latest technology.