Behind the firewall: The secrets of an award-winning intranet

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Chesapeake won Ragan Communication's Best Designed Intranet in 2013. Ragan recognized MyCHK as an easy-to-navigate intranet that gives employees rich  customized information for workplace success.

How did they do it?

Led by Leslie Arnold, senior director of marketing and communications at Chesapeake, and Jared Ranum, Chesapeake’s senior interactive coordinator, the Chesapeake team designed an intranet with a distinct visual style that reflected the Chesapeake’s culture and identity. The old site hindered information discovery because it was bland, starved for good graphics and poorly organized.

In their presentation, Arnold and Ranum describe how they re-designed their intranet into a dynamic and valuable destination for employees.

Their new intranet features more timely news and feature stories, a quote of the day, a stock ticker, a weather report, suggestion boxes and links to company and community information. Employees get to the information in many ways. A resource library page answers employee questions and supplies facts, figures and graphics to those who are preparing presentations. Another page displays the company’s strategies and core values, reinforcing those important beliefs.

Users can personalize their intranet pages to make each visit a familiar experience. Personalization also reinforces the sense of individual employee ownership of the intranet.

Arnold and Ranum present a thorough picture of the challenges they faced and the improvements they pioneered to make their intranet a source of company pride.

The result: More than 80 percent of Chesapeake employees say they read the company’s myCHK intranet every day, says Arnold.

It wasn’t always that way.

Not too long ago the company’s intranet urgently needed a re-design. It had too much text. Graphics, illustrations and photos were few and far between. There was no personality, no sense of identity. The content blended together.

That’s when Arnold and Ranum and their teammates tackled a re-design that would win recognition as Ragan Communication’s Best Designed Intranet in 2013.

Chesapeake designers made sure that every piece of content on the revamped intranet tied to the company’s core values and business strategies. They wanted the site to showcase employees doing good work that moves the company ahead.

In “Behind the firewall: The secrets of an award-winning intranet” you will learn:

  • What so many intranets do wrong
  • How you can make your intranet content more digestible
  • What hinders information discovery on your intranet
  • What will enhance your intranet’s identity
  • How to say yes to requests for listings
  • How to personalize the site for each employee
  • What information lures traffic to your intranet
  • How to communicate strategies and core values on your intranet
  • How to generate timely intranet content
  • Tricks to making your intranet more than pages full of links
  • Special intranet pages employees will appreciate

Arnold says that the re-designed intranet is her company’s “best performing tool.” It reflects the culture of Chesapeake. It creates a sense of community and shared commitment among colleagues.

Does your intranet need an overhaul? You may just discover that the changes made at Chesapeake’s MyCHK (CHK is the company stock ticker symbol) fit your intranet needs.

Chances are that a better intranet could boost employee engagement at your workplace. Why not explore the possibilities? Start here.

November 2013

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Presenter bio: 

Leslie Arnold is the senior director of marketing and communications at Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second-largest producer of natural gas and the 11th largest producer of oil and natural gas liquids. She leads the company's marketing and internal communications. Before CHK, she was senior vice president for Porter Novelli's Washington D.C. consumer marketing group. She  led teams who won several PR Week awards, including the 2010 Public Sector Campaign of the Year (client: FDIC) and the 2007 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year (client: Abundant Forest Alliance).

Jared Ranum, senior interactive coordinator, manages digital communications for both internal and external audiences at Chesapeake. During Jared's five years at Chesapeake, he has worked closely in the development, design and re-launch of the company's intranet. More than anything, Ranum is passionate about simplifying the user experience and interface, making all forms of digital communication approachable and user-friendly, and reducing digital noise and clutter.