Intranet ROI

How is Employee Retention linked to Employee Recognition & Feedback

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Employee retention is linked to feedback and recognition. Organizations not making it easy for employees to give feedback are bound to face lower productivity and higher turnover.

Everyone agrees that Employee Retention is important factor in any organization. We all know that the longer are we in our jobs the more we learn and more efficient we become. On the flip side, the costs associated with hiring a new employee include:

  • Recruiting

  • Training

  • Effort related to more initial support and supervision

Apart from random events, it’s natural to assume that job and company satisfaction plays a big part in the retention.

So how can we predictably measure job satisfaction? When do you know there are issues to address?

As obvious as it may sound …

… first, we need to know what it means for us to be satisfied.

If I asked you today: “How satisfied are you in your job?”
What would drive that answer: recent events or objective evaluation of your career over time?

Even though we’d like to imagine we evaluate our career and come up with an overall rating on how satisfied we are, that’s not how our mind works. We decide on the spot based mostly on most recent or most significant events.

Also, negative events matter more to us and stick more in our memory!

We get a glimpse on how this happens in the study that was conducted in 90s.

Behavioral experiment

Researchers at University of Toronto in 1990s conducted an interesting study where they get a glimpse in how people rate their experience. Here is how it went down.

154 participants in the study volunteered to undergo a routine medical procedure performed without an anesthetic and causing some pain. The participants were prompted every 60 seconds to indicate the level of pain they experienced at that moment. The question went along the lines “indicate 0 for no pain; and 10 being - intolerable pain“. As the procedure went along, patients pain score was plotted on a chart showing the scale of pain over time.

behavioral study.JPG

As you can see, the experience of the two patients, illustrated in the graphs above, shows how they experienced the procedure.

First patient’s procedure only lasted 8 minutes; patient #2 wasn’t so lucky with 24-minute procedure.

Now consider this easy question: who from the above suffered more?

If you’re like most people, you’ll say that patient #2 suffered more. Their operation lasted longer, and they routinely indicated at least as much pain as the patient #1.

When the procedure was over, all participants were asked to rate “the total amount of pain“ they experienced during the procedure. Very similar to how you’d ask someone “how satisfied are you with your job/company/team etc“.

The answer was surprising. Patient #2 indicated much less suffering!

What’s happening?

This study revealed 2 patterns:

  • People rate their overall experience based on:

    • Their experience towards the end

    • Their worst possible moment during the experience

  • People neglect the duration of the experience when providing a rating

Averaging out our pain/satisfaction is not how we naturally remember our experience.

Most significant work experiences stick

Negative experiences happen at work. Unfortunately they stick more than positives and our overall opinion leans over time towards not being satisfied with work.

This experiment translated to a workplace also explains how employees who left the organization due dissatisfaction don’t come back and speak positively of it. Their overall experience is remembered by the last significant negative event.

Despite many positive events happening at work over years, it’s those negative one that slowly erode our satisfaction and build our overall perception.

So, what’s the solution?

Tackle Issues Early: Collect and Action Feedback

Sometimes organizations are afraid to create an area for ideas and feedback on the intranet.

What if negative comments are going to spread and create a moderation nightmare?

Although we recommend having guidelines and moderation, you won’t see many cases where you’ll need to enforce those. Just as people don’t post offensive post-in notes in the office kitchen, they’re even less likely to do anything similar when their name is attached to the post on the intranet.

Here are few other suggestions to include in your posting guidelines:

  • Check if there is a similar feedback/comment already posted

  • Think constructively

    • Propose a solution

    • Explain an alternative

    • No pointing fingers

    • Provide details

  • Specify category of feedback (technology, facilities, process etc)

As a moderator, be sure to:

  • Have a mechanism to get back to those who posted feedback

  • Redirect feedback to SME’s

  • Allocate regular time for moderation activities

  • Group similar feedback

Recognitions and Kudos

Meaningful employee recognition is important. In fact, many organizations have non-digital, highly formal processes to recognize their employees.

With your intranet, you can take advantage of the digital channel to simplify employee recognition and open it to the rest of the organization.

With some of the organizations we worked with, Kudos were opened to the entire organization so that everyone could nominate co-worker in a moderated channel.

To help organize Kudos you can suggest categorizing the type of recognition based on company core values.

recognitions and feedback.JPG

With Office 365 you can also roll up staff photos to make the feedback tool more engaging and personal.

What else?

Employee engagement is a key element at keeping everyone productive. It’s also an opportunity to understand the underlying issues your people may be facing daily and how to improve. Too often organizations discard useful feedback too quickly because it’s perceived as complaining or not actionable. Use your intranet and tools it can give you to categorize and tag feedback, crowdsource ideas, and gain momentum.

We’d be happy to help you get started with an objective intranet consultation.

Pre-built Office 365 intranet tailored to your organization.


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.


4 Best Practices for Evolving Internal Communications to Digital

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Many organizations switching from email, and analog communication channels (like this bulletin board above) struggle with adoption of their new intranet platform. These 4 best practices below will boost your engagement, build efficient communication strategy which includes people content, cultivates company culture, and promotes openness.

Internal communications are often associated with email blasts to everyone in the company or bulletin boards hanging in the staff area. Keeping track of updates and distributing important information in this way is not only time consuming, but often times ignored by employees.

With digital tools available, such as intranet, internal communications have evolved, but adoption rates often vary.

Here are the best practices that can help you get the most out of your digital communication tools.

1. Develop internal communications strategy

Switching from manual, bulletin board-style or email communication to digital involves a few more things than just moving your old content to the intranet.

Here are key questions about content you need to consider:


  • What is the purpose of communication (educate, inform, call to action?)

  • Does your communication cultivate the culture?

  • Can you re-purpose stories featured externally with slight adjustments?


  • How urgent is the communication?

  • How often things get posted/updated?

  • Does the publication schedule overwhelm your users?

  • How will the frequency scale with organization?

  • When do posts expire?

Audience and Roles

  • Does the communication need to be targeted to specific audiences?

  • Will leadership content be active on the intranet?

  • Who can post and where?

  • Who moderates content (if staff can post)?


  • Duplicating the content. People will come to the intranet if your original content is available on the intranet and not in numerous other places they used to come before.

  • Only featuring leadership content. People love to hear stories and not just important communication.

2. Feature employee content

Employee content has many different forms and is a great way to engage others.

Interesting Fact: People are psychologically drawn to individual stories rather than statistics. This is related to how our brain loves to associate and relate our own experiences through the lens of others. In psychological studies, people remembered content presented through individual story much better than the same content in a form of generalization or statistic.

Here are few ideas to include engaging employee content on your intranet:

  • Shout-outs or kudos

    • Gives an opportunity to inform everyone about who was working on what, which goals have been met, and which members of the team are collaborating well.

    • Executives also appreciate this type of content to see how employees are performing.

  • Crowdsourcing ideas or feedback site

    • Gives people an opportunity to provide valuable feedback and have others agree and comment

    • Excellent at building culture of collaboration, improvement and transparency.

  • People news

    • Provides a channel for employees to share their experiences at a conference, industry event, customer story etc.

    • Promotes awareness beyond corporate type of content.

    • Encourages other to contribute

3. Cultivate company values

Out of several tools and types of content mentioned above, building culture is the desired outcome for the majority. Communication is not just about building awareness, it’s also about reinforcing the culture through examples.

At Sharemuch one of our core values is Empathy. We try to embody that in the content we feature and highlight examples of empathy in executive decisions, employee and customer relations, and product strategy. Many of the stories we feature is how understanding and empathizing with customer pain points helped build amazing user experience on our recent projects.

Be sure to feature the content not just from the management team but also from the broader team. Content featured from the entire spectrum of the organization is perceived as more genuine and less scripted.

The communications team can leverage spotlight-type articles in their editorial calendar and help key contributors provide information for a spotlight story. For these spotlight type of articles, it’s best if the content shows as posted by the original author. This will draw attention and encourage other to submit their story.

4. Build areas for feedback and discussion

Companies which have an area for idea and feedback promote a culture of openness. To encourage employees to submit feedback, enable comments and likes so that the most popular ideas get featured at the top.

If you plan to add idea crowdsourcing to your intranet, here are the things to determine:

  • Set categories for submitted ideas to keep submissions on topic

    • Examples: Offices, Technology, Process, People, Facilities etc

  • Assign a moderator to update ideas as actioned/more information required/in progress

    • This is also a way to get back to the employee who submitted the idea

One of the ways for promoting this new area might be featuring a bright new idea in a company newsletter and mentioning that this was brought up using idea crowd-sourcing tool.

In Summary

Switching your communication to digital doesn’t have to be cumbersome. It requires a communication plan and strategy. Don’t forget to engage influencers within your organization to drive the content on your site to encourage others to contribute.

Effortless communication with Origami intranet tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the Director of Product at Origami, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from scratch. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at industry events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.


Social Intranet Features: What are They and How To Use Them

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Social intranets have a lot to offer, they are more than just an opportunity to bring people together. With a right mix of social tools and planning you will harness creative ideas locked in minds of your employees. Boost engagement and support for your social intranet features by featuring key contributions in existing channels such as company news.

What makes an intranet a social one?

Social intranet is a term often used to describe an intranet which uses features traditionally found in social media apps such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and so on. These features are packed into a product which now allows your staff to use them in a company context.

How it evolved

Traditionally intranets were targeted for employees to get their work done in a top down manner. Where information was authored by a department and distributed to employees.

In this scenario employees needed the following features:

  • Ability to search for files

  • Share documents and deliverables

  • Read company updates

  • Access policies

With the nature of the work changing to be more collaborative, processes are becoming less rigid as long as they align to a regulation (if there one for a given process). There are still departments but teams are being formed with cross-departmental members to work on a given project.

Those team members are often distributed and work independently on few tasks

Naturally this change calls for a different set of features:

  • Ability to instantly communicate

  • Find SMEs and contributors

  • Track tasks

  • Collaborate outside of organization

An intranet delivering on the demands from above is considered a social one.

Do you need a social intranet?

Question of Fit

It’s a question of organizational culture not just a technology initiative.

Here is how you can assess this question:

  • Think about your intranet as your digital office, do they match?

  • If you were to roll out some of the social intranet features (see further), will it jive with your culture? Or will it sounds off brand?

From ‘have to know‘ To ‘want to know‘

In the workplace with more social attributes the paradigm shifts from ’have to know, because’:

  • '“I’m required to know, my boss told me”

  • “To know what’s the process, because I don’t want to break rules“

  • “To know what are the expectations, so I don’t get in trouble“

To ‘what to know, because‘:

  • “I am accountable for the outcome, I want to succeed”

  • “I need to find a solution, to make the best outcome“

  • “I need to know who can help me, because I recognize other exterts“

Question of Cost

You don’t need a social intranet to have a fully functioning workplace, but sure pays to have one:

  • Social intranet features are aimed at reducing employee disengagement

  • Gallup estimates that 17.2% of workforce in the US is actively disengaged

    • Absenteeism

    • Missing deadlines

    • Negatively influencing employees that are engaged

  • In organization of 300 people that’s 50+ employees actively disengaged

  • Gallup also estimates cost of disengagement, and that is 34% of median salary

    • Disengaged employees are still productive but you loose more than 1/3 of their productivity

  • For organization of 300 (where 50 employees are disengaged) with average salary of 70K this translates to: 1,200,000/year in lost wages

What are some of the social intranet features?

Make it Work-Relevant

Every intranet feature you see below depends on the content.

The content needs to be work-relevant, otherwise it’ll become a dumping ground, here are some of the examples of work-relevant social content:

  • Posts related to the conference or a trade show attending

  • Posts about new industry trend

  • Interesting opportunity to attend external training or a competition

  • Idea related to a common customer request

  • Idea related to a process improvement

Here is a list of the most common social-work features:

  • Employee News

    • Example: Post your lessons learnt while at an industry conference

    • Employees get to contribute news posts

    • Employees get to tag their news (this is also the best way to organically self moderate the news posts so make sure to have clear categories and avoid the “miscellaneous”)

    • Moderator can approve posts

    • Other employees can comment and “like“ posts

  • Idea and Feedback Crowdsourcing

    • Example: Suggest lunch and learn on a new technology and see how many would like to attend

    • Employees get to nominate new ideas

    • Employees tag their idea (same self-moderation applies here as in Employee News)

    • Others get to comment and “like“ submissions

    • Most commented or liked ideas get to bubble up to the top

    • Moderator gets to tag ideas as they get through the “idea pipeline” … this also provides feedback as to what happened to the idea

  • Topic Discussion Channels with Office 365 Teams

    • Example: Rally potential participants in an external industry hackathon

    • Employees get to start a new channel in Teams

    • Others get to contribute

  • Staff Recognitions

    • Example: Give kudos to hackathon participants

    • Employees get to nominate someone for a job well done

    • Tags can include company values

    • Others can “thumb up“ or “star“ the nomination

  • Employee WIKI and How-To

    • Example: Suggest steps on how to create how-to GIFs

    • Employees get to create a how-to in a specific category

    • Moderators can approve the how to

    • Others get to rate the quality of the how to

    • Number of views gets tracked to showcase the popularity

How to roll out social intranet features?

Any intranet requires at least a part-time intranet manager as described in: 7 Reasons Why Your Intranet is Becoming Stale and Deserted. Social intranet also requires content moderation.

Before moderation, you need to assess how a specific feature you’re planning to introduce is going to be useful and what are the steps to roll it out.

Let’s assume you’re planning to add idea crowdsourcing to your intranet, here are the things to determine:

What are the categories for each submitted idea?
Who will be moderating submitted ideas?
How will you get back to the employee who submitted the idea?
How will you encourage staff using this new area and check whether new ideas are submitted?

One of the ways for promoting this new area might be featuring bright new idea in a company newsletter and actually mentioning that this was brought up by using idea crowd-sourcing tool.

We’re here to help

Struggling with a bland intranet? At Origami, we work with you to identify the culture fit and features to get your intranet buzzing again. We set you up with tools and templates to help maintain your new intranet with efficiency and ease. Have a chat with us and see examples of brilliant social intranets and digital workplace solutions we helped to build for our customers.

Office 365 intranet, tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.


7 Reasons Why Your Intranet is Becoming Stale and Deserted

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Despite all the excitement and effort put into building a new intranet, adoption is the major hurdle when it comes to sustaining one. It’s not uncommon for an intranet to quickly become stale, deserted, and just plain ‘dead‘ without a proper follow-up. Many of the reasons why this happens can be easily avoided. They stem from the lack of executive buy-in, resulting in issues related to stale content and difficulty in navigating the site.

1. Lack of Executive Buy In

Intranet initiatives require more than just executive sponsorship - they require executive buy-in.

When launching a new intranet, organizations spend effort and money on crafting content, building pages, configuring apps, and choosing colors. After the intranet has launched there are many activities that will keep your intranet going. These also require effort, time, and consequently buy-in from executives.


An average organization of 100-300 users needs at least one part-time employee to maintain the intranet. Be sure to set expectations at the beginning by asking for the time and effort allocation to cover this role.

The responsibilities of the intranet manager include:

  • Keep the content fresh

    • Help write news articles

  • Moderate posts

  • Answer requests

    • New sites, pages, etc.

  • Provide proactive support

    • Lunch and learns

  • Collect and sort feedback

All these activities require continuous time, effort, and support from the leadership.

2. Stale and Irrelevant Content

Do these sound familiar?

  • Stale news carousel with the same article appearing for months

  • Broken links

  • Pages with incomplete content

  • Duplicate content with various degrees of accuracy


  • Assign ownership of each area and page

  • Display page or section contacts and SMEs

  • Train contributors on how to create content

  • Supply tools to easily edit content

  • Add people news

3. Lack of people content

If you’re thinking of your intranet only as a document management system, you’re missing out. Intranet is there to connect, engage employees, and help them find and connect with others.

When people know about each other, who’s who, and who does what, it’s easier for them to start a small-talk, connect with their peers, and they’re more likely to ask for their help.

Consequently, you’re on your way to more collaborative and engaged environment. Workflow frustrations are reduced, and errors are avoided.

Here are few solutions to make your intranet be more people focused.


  • Allow staff to comment on featured stories

  • Add an area for people news

  • Add an area for recognitions and shoutouts

  • Add a poll with ability to add suggestions

  • Feature employee FAQ’s

  • Add an area for employee classifieds

  • Add an area for employee idea crowdsourcing

* Related: 13 Things You Should Move to Your SharePoint Intranet

4. Broken and Cumbersome Navigation

Not being able to find things on the intranet is one of the most common frustrations users report.

Oversimplified information architecture and structure is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of an intranet especially built in-house. Links and content are often organized by departments and this is proven to be very different how users expect to find content.


5. No Targeting (Lots of Noise)

Posting news content to everyone regardless of their location and job role can be perceived as noise by others who will start ignoring the site over time. For example: if CRM process changes will only affect the sales team, there is no need to target it to everyone.


  • Split news into global and targeted

  • Separate people news/watercooler from company news

  • Separate company-wide alerts (ex.: outage alerts) from news

6. Content unequally represented

Describe what’s mostly hosted on your intranet.

If your answer was a single type of content such as: “mainly news”, “majority documents”, or “basically templates”, there is a problem with equal representation of content on your intranet.

The issue here is that the staff whose content is not represented on the site will completely ignore the entire intranet. For example, if your intranet is basically a repository for news, people who are not interested in reading news may never go there.


  • Involve content area representatives from various groups

  • Ask those representatives to volunteer as part-time content authors

  • Create areas to introduce new types of content

    • Ensure your information architecture is intuitive

    • Assign relevant ownership and contacts to those areas

  • Communicate new areas with the rest of the organization

7. No one is logging in

You check your analytics and logs and see that percentage of usage is negligible.

If you addressed issues above (stale content, add people content, clear information architecture) then follow below solutions to revive interest in your intranet site.


  • Gather a small focus group, identify issues

  • Made major recent improvements? Organize lunch and learn to let people know

  • Build content around major company or industry events

    • Annual meetings

    • Offsite presentations

    • Leadership updates

  • Add people news

  • Implement employee recognitions and badges

*Related: 34 Intranet Launch Ideas for the Best Adoption Results

We’re here to help

Struggling with your intranet adoption?
Not everyone is an information architecture and adoption expert, that’s why we’re here to help you.
In fact, the Origami service delivery approach focuses on outcomes before we configure the product to your needs. We measure usability of our design to give you a solid evidence and confidence that your intranet is set to be alive and buzzing.

Office 365 intranet, tailored to your organization in 3-6 weeks.


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.