Is your intranet award winning?

We’ve all heard the spiel about the digital workplace improving every corner of your business, transforming the way employees work. Intranets, we’re told, are a productivity engine, making everyone’s life a little easier. Yet despite this, intranets rarely get much attention from bigwigs. And when they do, it’s often negative.

One sure-fire way to get your execs to sit up and take notice is to win an award. Here the Intranetizen team offer five reasons to enter (and win) award schemes.

1. Gives you a way to compare your intranet against others

If you think intranet managers have a tough time getting a peek at other intranets, spare a thought for the users. Even new starters will only have seen a couple of intranets at most; for your longer-serving staff, yours might be the only intranet they’ve ever seen. This means they only have their experiences of the web to compare it to. How many times have intranet managers heard their colleagues ask why it can’t be more like Facebook, Google or any other web site?

By scooping an award, you create an opportunity to show how well your intranet compares against others and are able to give your users some context.

2. Celebrate a job well done

You’ve worked hard on your intranet project, and – if you do say so yourself – you’ve done a sterling job. Getting a pat on the back from the industry gives you and your team an opportunity to celebrate your success.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be proud of your work.

3. Career development

There are only a handful of award schemes for intranets, but these create a big noise within the industry. Winning an award for your intranet management skills raises your personal stock, attracting attention from headhunters and competitors. If you’re keen to stay where you are, an award gives you a firm basis on which to negotiate, and strong evidence of success, when bonuses are being discussed.

4. Put your intranet in the spotlight internally

Winning praise from external judges gives you a prime opportunity to publicise your intranet (and yourself) within your own organisation. Your execs will sit up and take notice.

It also gives you a chance to tell the story of your intranet’s development, helping to engage your users with its success.

5. Make a noise about your intranet externally

Win an intranet award and you’ll find your intranet in the spotlight for many months, attracting the attention of the industry press (and blogs like this one).

Conference organisers are keen to showcase award-winning intranets (and intranet managers). Taking home an award more often than not results in a raft of invitations to speak at conferences all over the world – and, in turn, allows you to network with the vibrant community of intranet professionals creating further opportunity to learn from others.

Which Awards should you Enter? 6 awards to consider

1. StepTwo Intranet Innovation Awards

Entries are now open for this year’s Intranet Innovation Awards. These awards, run by Step Two, celebrate cutting-edge intranet developments.

Here at Intranetizen, we’re big fans of the Innovation Awards (and not just because we’ve scooped some prizes ourselves!). What sets these apart is that they don’t look for the ‘best intranet’, because that’s impossible – the best intranet for your business would be completely different to the best intranet for mine. Instead, it showcases great ideas, well executed.

If you’ve developed something really special for your intranet this past year, the innovation awards are a wonderful opportunity to give it the attention it deserves.

Entries close on 31 May.

2. The SCM Awards

The SCM Awards have several categories that you should consider for your intranet project including the “Excellence in Technology”  and “Small Team Award”. Depending on the nature of your intranet and the nature of your delivery team, you could also consider the “Excellence in Employee Engagement”  and “Internal Partnership” categories.

Entries close on June 29 [updated date from May 25]

3. Digital Communication Awards

Hosted by Quadriga University of Applied Sciences, the Digital Communication Awards are the first awards in European PR and communications that exclusively honour outstanding achievements in online communication. Primarily focused on external digital excellence, they do have a dedicated intranet category.

Entries close on July 12.

4. Institute of Internal Communications

The IIC awards celebrate the kind of work being done every day by IC professionals in the UK. They cover everything from campaigns, innovation, digital media, print media, writing, events and design. There are no specific awards for intranets here, but rather celebrate IC success in the round.

Entries now closed (last date February 17).

5. Neilsen Norman’s Design Annual

The NNG Awards are yearly snapshot of the best in intranet design. While we’ve been somewhat critical of this before, it’s still the gold standard of intranet prizes.

Call for Entries July 2012.

6. Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards

The Ragan EC awards have five awards under their Intranet category. The categories cover design, headlines and blurbs, social, interviews and profiles and value to the employees. In 2011 the Ragan awards received over 350 entries and will continue to grow in popularity.

Entries will open for 2012 in December.

Are there any others? Let us know in the comments below.


There are 18 comments

Add yours
  1. Alex

    Great list Sharon and thanks for the mention of Step Two’s Intranet Innovation Awards (currently open for submissions – http://www.steptwo.com.au/iia/enter).

    Whether our programme or others, it’s definitely worth considering a submission. It’s not as hard as it may sound! We’re always, happy to chat with people and talk through ideas for submissions.

    Alex, Step Two Designs

    • @sharonodea

      Thanks Alex. It’s really no exaggeration to say winning the IIA made my year (professionally, anyway – it was always going to come second to my wedding on the personal front!).

      Quite apart from the fuzzy warm feeling one gets from being recognised for a job well done, it led to a string of conference speaking invitations, calls from headhunters and was instrumental in landing my new job.

      I’d strongly encourage intranet managers to give it a shot. Applying wasn’t too hard either, and iirc you get a copy of the final report if you submit and entry.

  2. Jan

    If you think a jury is the best to judge your intranet, then maybe thats the way to go.
    If you dare ask your own intranet users what they think and then benchmark that result with other companies and THEN win an award, then you truly are the king/queen of intranets. As a bonus you’ll get loads of info of what areas you can improve your intranet because you’ll get a good SWAT as well. No jury will give you that!

    • @sharonodea

      Jan – I think both methods have their positives and negatives, and the different awards employ different methods to decide upon winners – although very many of them ask for evidence of the impact the change has had on end users.

      Benchmarking relative user satisfaction does have its benefits, but I wouldn’t neccessarily agree this is a ‘better’ way of measuring success. Most end users have little experience of intranets otjher than their own, while judges for these awards have usually seen hundreds of intranets and worked on many intranet projects, making them very well-placed to assess how good your intranet project is when compared to others.

      This post was intended to set out the benefits of entering (and winning) awards in general. I hope it’s succeeded in persuading industry peers to throw their hat in the ring for whatever award scheme they feel is most appropriate for their own organisation.

      • Jan

        Sharon – I think that if you ask your intranet users more than once and see how different areas improve, you reach your goals in improving weak areas etc, AND score high on the benchmark, then I would certainly say that it is a success.

        But as you say, different reasons for doing both and the combo must be really rewarding.

        The juries are most likely super users and do not represent the actual users.
        If the normal users don´t get the intranet, then it is not a very good one, regardless of the features.

        • @sharonodea

          You’re right – you should definitely ask your users what they think of your intranet, using both quantittive and qualitative methods to measure improvement over time. Intranet surveys, for instance, are a good means of measuring objective satisfaction. Luke commented recently that he spends a day a month watching real users on his intranet, to get a more detailed idea of what’s working and not working.

          But you can do all these things AND get external review of your site by experts.

          Perhaps we need a post on user research methods.

      • James Robertson

        Sharon, I’m with you on this one.

        The Intranet Innovation Awards and WIC serve very different purposes — and are completely complementary.

        The Awards helps to share great ideas with the rest of the intranet community, while the WIC gives useful insight into the feelings of users, and how this compares with other organisations.

        I say: enter both! 🙂

  3. Steve Bynghall

    Sharon, Thanks for highlighting the Intranet Innovation Awards. Just to clarity the awards close on 31 May not 11 May, so there’s still plenty of time!

  4. mark t

    If you want to get a peek at other people’s intranets then go onto Pinterest and type in ‘intranet’ into the search function. There are lots of people willing to share

  5. Jane McConnell

    Nice post Sharon, and a good roundup of “intranet” awards.

    However, I am very distressed to see that nearly every one is focused on communication. The word “business” appears nowhere. Numbers 2, 3, 4 and 6 have “communication” in the title. Number 5 is about “design”.

    I’m one of the judges on the Intranet Innovation Awards run by Step Two. Therefore I know that one of the questions is “What business value has your intranet brought?”. It also asks “How have you measured that?” However, that’s insider knowledge and it’s not obvious to potential applicants and the intranet world at large.

    Many complain that management does not pay sufficient attention to intranets. That’s not a surprise if we rarely address business issues!

    • @DigitalJonathan

      Maybe there’s space for another intranet award in the mix Jane? Smart observation.

    • @sharonodea

      Jane: That’s an excellent point. That’s why I like the Intranet Innovation Awards; they’re the only awards which look at how the intranet can deliver for the business and help people to do their jobs better (rather than just know more about their company).

      I’m not aware of any others – perhaps intranet specialists need to look at entering awards in other fields, such as HR delivery, or IT? I’d be interested to hear from any intranet practitioners who’ve tried this.

  6. When’s it time to quit your intranet job? | Intranetizen

    […] Getting to the ‘big bang’ launch is the hardest but most noticeable part of the journey. Your users and stakeholders will visibly notice something has changed, and they’ll like it.  You might have budget for a comms campaign to tell everyone why the thing you made is awesome and everyone should use it. The big bang year is the year you’ll be the company golden child and get a decent bonus, and the year you should probably submit for external recognition. […]

Comments are closed.