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14 Tips for Intranet Employee Profiles

Many intranet commentators have noted the importance of accurate employee profiles in building the enterprise human network and fostering a culture of collaboration. People are at the heart of your business and should be at the heart of your intranet.

Identifying the fields that resonate with your business is an art (and will be the subject of a future post), but encouraging your employees to complete their profile is a ubiquitous challenge for all intranet teams. Here are a few ideas that will help.

Tactics for all data

1. Reduce the data workload on the employee by sourcing as much as you can from your ERP system. Look to connect your intranet with Active Directory and your HR tool

2. Add “Your profile is x% complete” text to all profiles. This tactic seems loved and unloved in equal measure but its efficacy is never in doubt.

3. Run in-house competitions for the 50th and 500th profile to be fully completed. You’ll need to tweak the numbers to work for your company. Get them to add a tag word for easier tracking.

4. Ensure that a complete intranet profile is a pre-requisite for entering company competitions. Add this to the terms and conditions

5. Run intra-department (or location) competitions for the % of employees with a completed profile. Create a league table and publish this prominently on your intranet. This also encourages colleagues to cajole others into action.

6. Demonstrate the value! Run intranet news stories showing how the profile data connected people and lead to business success.

Tactics for Adding Photos

7. Use the employee security badge photos. Whilst these are generally awful, every employee will have one. Correspondents have noted that in some countries — United Kingdom for example — you may not be able to do this without retrospective authority from the employee themselves. For new hires, ask them to approve intranet usage when they join.

8. Take a photographer round to each desk and take a photo. These are likely to be better than the security photos. Again, don’t forget the authorisation forms. Consider sending a photographer to staff conferences or inductions.

9. Whilst unlikely to be culturally acceptable in all organisations, consider running a profile photo theme to make this process less arduous. Hats, moustaches — be inspired and your employees might be too.

10. Ask colleagues to provide photos of each other! If the employee themselves doesn’t upload one, their colleagues get to nominate a photo of their choice instead.

11. Run a competition for the 50th, 500th photo to be added.

Now, encouraging people to use the profiles

12. Run a “Where’s Wally / Waldo?” competition where one employee has a replacement photo. Employees must search to find the right one.

13. A data treasure hunt. Working with a group of employees, add clues across a series of profiles that creates a chain to an answer.

14. Publicise the best intranet connection stories on your news section.
I hope these are of some help. Please share any additions or successes you have in your business.




There are 12 comments

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  1. EphraimJF

    Thanks for this great post Jonathan (and thanks to @andyjankowski for retweeting it). You really hit the nail on the head. I’ve got a few suggested additions, in case you intend to make this the “18 Tips…”

    Get all Executives to post profile photos

    Preferably real, personal shots rather than official, professional photos that would be used in the annual report. Once the Execs have photos, other employees will think “if a technophobe exec can do it, so can I” or they’ll see it and think that having a profile photo is actually important.

    Single most important text field: “Talk to me about”

    If you add one text field for people to fill in, I like this one. It get’s right to the point and triggers use of the keywords that will make topical search of the people directory more effective.

    Don’t require photos

    This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s not. If you make them necessary, at least a few people will immediately baulk and many will see it as a chore instead of an opportunity. Instead, use lots of carrots to bring people along. Most people are OK with posting a profile photo and the few who are not will eventually feel left out if they don’t have one up.

    Add profile widget to intranet homepage

    On the intranet homepage add a small widget that includes the following:

    – Thumbnail of profile photo
    – Link to profile
    – Link to edit profile
    – Percent complete indicator

    This can make it super easy for people to update their profiles quickly, with minimum searching/navigation and number of clicks.

  2. Martin White

    All these ideas are excellent, and it’s a great post. However it is not just in the UK that you need to be very very careful about photos. The UK, like all EU member countries, has to be compliant with EUdata protection legislation, namely Directive 95/46EC. Just how this is implemented in each member state varies slightly, and I would strongly advise that before adding photos to an intranet the Data Protection Manager at your organisation is brought into the discussion. If your organisation has an intranet that extends beyond the EU, and especially if it extends to the USA, then a new layer of complexity kicks in. This is because the USA, like most other countries in the world, has no equivalent legislation.

  3. Brian Lamb

    Its impossible to disagree with this list, its a great list. But I am curious about why it is so hard to get profiles complete and up to date? If they really mattered wouldn’t they just get done? I am very interested in the preamble statement “Identifying the fields that resonate with your business is an art ” I dont think it is an art I think it is a science or at least I know we can get data on it. I just ran a poll for 6,00 employee intranet doing just this. Hope to publish some conclusions next month, delighted to find this toipic being discussed.

  4. Jonathan

    @Brian — Identifying the fields is certainly a skill and we’ve had some fascinating conversations internally about the fields needed and wanted to constitute a completed profile.

    Your comment about fields “just getting done” if they really mattered. That resonates with me. In legal company intranets, such as BenNet, profile data is used to identify key skills and availability and as such, is business critical. I believe that’s the key (hence tip 6): creating a profile with business criticality and then talking about it very visibly.

    One tweet I received on this topic was from an employee at IBM who simply said that in his business profile non-completion was not an issue as people “got it” and “just did it”. We need more research on this.

    Thank you for commenting – look forward to your blog; be delighted to link.

  5. Jonathan

    @Martin the subject of the law and intranets is a hugely complex one. You touch on data protection, but it also has implications with equality and disability access legislation as you know. Intranets that cross borders, especially outside the EU have a whole set of laws to abide by — civil and criminal. I wonder how many intranet professionals are fully aware? Subject of a future post I suspect!

    Thank you for your comments — I’ll update this post accordingly.

  6. Ruth Barlow

    Purely from a user perspective, I don’t like having my photo taken and resist all attempts to get me to publish one on our intranet (we’re fortunate in that we are not required to wear photo ID – at least not yet). As for feeling left out, the idea has never occurred to me.


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