DougKristin Fuller, Manager of Community EngagementHow many of you are from non-profits? For profits? Government?How many of you represent communityengagagement/volunteerism/CSR departments in an organization.How many of you are web developers?How many of you are corporate communicators (i.e. Internal Comms or PR)How many of you have no web development background, but would like to know more about developing an intranet?How many of you would identify yourself as IT or as technologists?How many of you use your intranet for community engagement?
DougHow has our intranet presence evolved? What process did we use to gather requirements.
DougStarted in 1973Apollo Group, Inc. was founded in 1973 in response to a gradual shift in higher education demographics from a student population dominated by youth to one in which approximately half the students are adults and over 80 percent of whom work full-time. Apollo's founder, John Sperling, believed—and events proved him right—that lifelong employment with a single employer would be replaced by lifelong learning and employment with a variety of employers. Lifelong learning requires an institution dedicated solely to the education of working adults.Subsidiaries include: University of Phoenix, Apollo Global, Apollo Education Services, and Western International University.Our Largest learning platform is University of Phoenix.425K Students, 275 Learning Centers, 42 States1,700 Programs (Certificates Doctoral)32,000 FacultyPioneer of online learningApollo has approximately 20,000 Employees
DougIn the past we did not have a clear giving strategy. We entertained many requests and gave out money as the requests came in. Over the last several years we refined our strategyBy focusing our giving giving strategyAllowing 2 Paid Days off to our employees170,000 Hours of Service$20 Million
Before 2008 we had no formal Community Engagement Project. We didn’t collect (much) data. Most of the volunteering initiatives were performed at and by individual campus and departments with no specific strategy in mind.From 2008 – 2010 we implemented volunteer match and sent out lots of emails. We collected some data, but sharing of it was limited to newsletters and executives.After 2010, the intranet site was “plugged into” volunteermatch, we were able to allow employees to tell their own stories, we created more of a self service model, and we did a better job of communicating our engagement strategy.
DougAssess: Hired Josh. ***Interviews with CSR staff and identified themes.*** Reviewed potential Social Media technologies and approaches. Reviewed current design and identified deficiencies. **2 Staff members to manage communication, creation, and events for 18,000 Employees**Plan: Identified Content Areas, Functionalities, with Timeframes and Stakeholders. Identified obstacles based on our Platform Constraints.Design: Several iterations of wireframes and design strategies.Create: Iterated on the functionality, but rolled out all at once.Monitor: Create reports, but admittedly our weakest area.
STOP and ask “What the general characteristics of an intranet?Web based – the main component of an Intranet is typically a web page, site or portal depending on the complexity of the Intranet. The web based component typically acts as a central gathering area for the hosted resources. Focused on the Organization – while some large departments may have their own Intranet, typically for small and medium sized businesses, the intranet is built and used as a corporate tool.Focused on Collaboration – one of the main goals of setting up an Intranet is to aid in increased collaboration. Intranets give easier access to internal resources such as documents and tools, and allow collaboration across departmental lines.Focused on Communication – communication is another large component of Intranets – most Intranets have a corporate announcements section to give employees insight into the business or to simply act as an internal bulletin board – posting information about corporate events and holidays.
DougMission and Objectives of the site
DougMission and Objectives of the Site
DougManual ProcessSpreadsheet and email drivenDependency on technologistsHard to find informationDifficult to interpretpolciesToo few resourcesPaper based
Reducing Complexity allows our staff to be able to meet the needs of our employees instead of answering questions and dealing with tasks that only add time to the process, but not value.
DougAutomating Workflows: CSR team is too busy processing and answering phone calls to think strategically. It’s my responsibilty as a technologist to provide solutions that frees the CSR team from mundane tasks so they can add higher level value. Automating workflows does this byStreamling repeatable business processes. Create forms that trigger tasks and emails.Remove manual decisions by creating automated rules. The system needs to be focused on the rules – not the humans.Streamlines repeatable business process makes adoption easier. Employees have too much going on to have to learn another system, so this system needs to be intuitive.Intuitive InteractionFewer clicks to find contentRollup new content on the home pageTabs/modal dialogues to organize and display content based on contextIntuitiveSomething that employees can see and know that we are doing good.Clean
JoshOur employees were doing a lot of good on their own. Individual campuses and departments have long been active in their communities. But we wanted to take things to the next level. By telling our story, we can raise awareness about the good work that our employees are doing. This also allows us to show employees that we have a CSR strategy so they can focus their CSR activities around our strategy.We do this by showcasing the major events that our CSR department organizes and participates in via the intranet. On top of that, we also enable our employees to submit their own stories about their individual or team CSR activities. This ensures that the company sees our top-down, high-impact initiatives as well as all of the grassroots efforts our employees are doing on a daily basis.As a result, we’ve seen our employees rally around our CSR strategy when they are choosing a community activity to participate in. This has also added a sense of inclusiveness because employees are able to share their stories and celebrate the stories of others.
JoshHow do we tell the story? For starters, we post news articles about our major CSR events to our intranet site. They roll up to the home page as well as the landing pages of each department within External Affairs. Visitors can quickly see what we’ve been up to recently without having to hunt for articles.
JoshIn addition to the articles we post, employees can submit their own stories and photos of their CSR activities. This has become a very popular feature due to its ease-of-use. Employees need only fill out a form to submit a story and upload photos.
JoshThese stories are then featured in our Story Corner. The Story Corner is a section of the website dedicated to employee-submitted articles. The CSR department doesn’t post any content to this section; it is 100% employee-driven and has become one of our most popular features.
JoshOur site also provides a personal dashboard for every employee. This allows employees to see how they are interacting with the website. They can view the stories they’ve submitted, the pictures they’ve uploaded, the comments they’ve left, and articles they’ve liked. We also provide a link to submit a story directly from the personal dashboard page.
JoshGetting the word out via communication channels beyond our own website is important. We partner with our Internal Communications team to post links to our featured news articles on the intranet home page. Every employee has this set as their browser’s home page by default, which makes this a great channel for telling our story to the entire organization.
JoshWe also include a summary of our latest events and activities in the bi-weekly company newsletter. Employees who might have missed an article on the intranet home page have another chance to view them thanks to the newsletter.
JoshSimply putting the information online doesn’t guarantee that employees will see it or read it, so we also directly promote the website to employees. Our manager of Community Engagement has a monthly teleconference with our CSR ambassadors. These ambassadors are employees who have taken a leadership role within their campus or department to organize community activities for their teams. By showcasing new website features to the ambassadors, such as the campus dashboard which rolled out a few months ago, we can gain important feedback and spread the word about our site and drive employees to visit it via word-of-mouth.The campus dashboard is a great example of how we’ve worked directly with employees to customize the website. The ambassadors wanted to quickly and easily view what their teams have been doing in the world of CSR. Based on their feedback, we created a dashboard that displays all stories submitted by employees at a specific campus along with the service hours that campus has reported. CSR ambassadors can also post announcements to their campus dashboard and nominate employees for the Spotlight on Employee Giving, which highlights an individual employee for his or her community involvement.
JoshOne of our biggest successes has been the campus honor roll. Our CSR team used the Story Corner as a tool for gauging the amount of community participation our campuses were doing. This provided some friendly competition and also encouraged campuses to share more of their stories with the rest of the company. We saw a 354% increase in Story Corner submissions once the campus honor roll program was launched.We have also demonstrated our site to other intranet site owners within the company. This has included sharing technical information on how it was developed as well as just spreading the word that it exists and is a destination for employees. Many other site owners now provide links to our site from their own home pages because they recognize the value of CSR and want to drive employees to learn about and participate in community activities.
JoshWhile employees are visiting our intranet site, we want to engage with them as much as possible. Social features are a big part of the internet now, and we want to tap into that for our intranet site.Why social?People are used to it and even expect it when visiting a websiteGives every employee a voice, a sense of trust and empowermentLets us see what employees are excited aboutLets employees see what other employees are excited aboutBefore we had these features, communication between CSR and employees was one-way. Now our employees can communicate back to us and to other employees.We also had little concrete information about how our employees viewed our CSR activities. At best we had some anecdotal evidence that employees were engaged and proud of the CSR work we were doing. Now we have a history of employee engagement and feedback through our social features. Our commenting system has been a huge success and shows us definitively that our employees are engaged and excited about the CSR work we are doing.
JoshThe two main social features are the “Like” button and the comment system.
JoshEvery article we publish has a “Like” button that displays the number of people who have liked the article. This also drives the “Most Popular” widget, which lists the top four articles with the most “likes.” It’s a great way for employees to discover popular content on the website and have a say in what others may want to read about.
JoshArticles and photos also have a comment system so employees can leave comments or ask questions. Many employees leave encouraging comments on stories that their coworkers have submitted, sharing in their team’s success. We also receive the occasional question in the comments, which provides a great way to open two-way communication in the context of a specific event or activity that otherwise might have gone unanswered.
JoshIn addition to all of the features we added to the site, we wanted to make sure it would stand out among the rest of the intranet.There are literally thousands of pages on the intranet, and it can be easy for employees to lose track of where they are if everything looks the same.The quality of content also varies a great deal because the intranet has no central ownership or governance.By developing a unique and recognizable brand for our intranet site, we can ensure that employees know they are on our site simply by the look and feel of it. We can also enforce a consistent level of content quality by adhering to a style guide and maintaining that look/feel throughout our website.
JoshRight away you can see that our site uses brighter colors than the rest of the intranet. We are still using the company’s brand color palette, but by choosing brighter colors employees can at-a-glance see that they are on our website vs another intranet site.We have also incorporated more whitespace in our design. Most sites on our intranet feel slightly crowded with a lot of information crammed into smaller spaces. We wanted to open our pages up and let the content breath a little, so we used moderate amounts of white space to separate page sections on our site.Lastly, we used a tried-and-true 3-column page layout based on a grid system. Everything on the page lines up to an underlying grid, which tightens up the design and immediately makes the page more visually appealing and easier to scan than most other intranet sites which use haphazard and wildly varying layouts.
DougTraffic# Page ViewsVolunteerism# VolunteersWebsite Effectiveness# Visitors of the site who ultimately become volunteers
DougNumber of Page views / Unique visitors / etc.Number of CommentsNumber of “Likes”Number of PostsHow does this site contribute to increasing Community Engagement at my company?
DougWe capture metadata for each article and photo.This enables employees to easily view all articles or photos for a particular partner, tag, department, campus, region, etc.Relevance
DougWe can also filter articles, export the data to Excel, or create live views of KPIs for dashboarding.
DougWe can also filter articles, export the data to Excel, or create live views of KPIs for dashboarding.
Using your Intranet to Engage Employees to Volunteer
Convened by National Conference on Volunteering and ServiceLeveraging the Intranet to Inspire Employee Engagement #NCVS3010
Presenters Doug Golden Director, Technology and Process Solutions External Affairs Apollo Group Josh McCarty Web Developer External Affairs Apollo Group
Overview• What’s our story?• What did we end up with?• Q&A
Who is Apollo Group?• Started in 1973• Innovative Learning Platforms• University of Phoenix• 18K Employees
Apollo & CSRFocused School and 2 Paid Giving workforce Days off For employees to Readiness and volunteer in their sustainability communities initiatives $20170,000 million In donations, Hours of service scholarships, in-kind since 2007 contributions and volunteer hours (FY 2011)
Apollo and Community Engagement 75K Reported Volunteer Hours FY 2008 – FY 2011 44K 13K 5.5K FY08 FY09 FY10 Volunteer Hours FY11
Tell the Story• Why is telling the story important? – Empowering users – Everyone understands our strategy.• Whose story are we telling? – CSR department – Individual stories• What has been the ROI of this? – Consistency – Inclusivity
Promote to Employees• Monthly teleconferences with CSR ambassadors
Promote to Employees• Campus honor roll used CSR story submissions to track campus participation – 20% increase after site redesign – 354% increase after launching campus honor roll• Show and tell with other intranet site owners
Social Features• Why social? – Expected on modern websites – Gives everyone a voice – Shows what employees are excited about• What is the result? – Two-way communication – History of employee reactions to our CSR activities
Social Features• Like button – Most Popular Widget• Comments – Recent Comments Widget