Schools and intranets have a shaky relationship, at best, Intranets have a reputation as being seen as old school, enterprise, boring, and clunky. Meanwhile, schools are a breeding ground for creativity, learning, growth, and progress. The contrast here is one of the main reasons why schools have a difficult time finding a way to engage teachers and staff in an intranet. Beyond that, most intranets are constructed for corporations and traditional business models. And while many of the needs are the same--centralized internal communications, information sharing, and connection--schools are unique in the variation of roles within them and the day-to-day schedules of the employees that run them.
A quick Google search will tell you that there is not much, if any, research around the success or failure of school intranets, let alone how to construct one in a way that suits the needs of its users and incites engagement and community. That is, until now. Happeo has surveyed and discussed intranet successes (and failures) with their education-base customers and unearthed some key data points in a new report about what works and, conversely, what does not. Here are some key findings:
Teachers and staff want an intranet. Many schools experience stagnancy in intranet adoption and engagement, but when we surveyed our education customers, we found that 97% of them visit their intranet site at minimum of once per week, and 67% at minimum of once daily. Teachers, staff, and leadership often find themselves dispersed across classrooms, offices, buildings, and campuses. They have a desire to stay connected to important news, updates, and announcements. So when schools can provide them with an intranet experience that is catered to their unique needs, it's natural for engagement to grow.
Their roles vary, and so should their intranet experiences. Teachers, support staff, and school leadership have days that look very different. Teachers are always on the go, with very little time to scroll an internal site for information. They need an intranet as agile as they are. Support staff sit in offices, oftentimes disparate from the hustle, bustle, and goings-on within the student and faculty body. They need a way to stay connected and also provide vital policy information and documents to their classroom counterparts. Leadership needs ways to oversee activity across locations and share top-level news and announcements. Based on our customer feedback, all three core roles use features in differing ways and frequencies. Overall, if a school intranet can't provide all of these things in one, its success will likely suffer.
They need personality. School spirit is typically seen and felt across all aspects of a school. From sporting events, bulletin boards, school merchandise, and the external school website, there is vibrancy and energy. If transitioning to an intranet feels as though you've stepped back in time a decade or two, schools may struggle to engage employees, let alone encourage them to share their own knowledge and updates. Education is all about progress, so having a modern intranet to match is vital for peak adoption.
There are 3 stand out features that schools need to find intranet success. Across all roles, the data showed very clearly that there are three keystone use cases that make up an active and engaging school intranet. First, users need precise internal communications. A poster with one-way announcements isn't enough. Staff and teachers need to be able to react, comment, and engage in two-way dialogue. Next, is the ability to find information in a centralized, reliable, and speedy manner. No more tracking down colleagues, or sifting through email hoping that that file is the most-recent version. Intranets need to mirror the same crisp, accurate search engine experience all modern consumers are accustomed to. Finally, school intranets must provide an optimized space for urgent and important real-time news and announcements that enable every employee to feel in-the-know and on top of it.
Some use cases are less important. Within traditional business intranets, social connection and onboarding (among others) are two principle use cases for an intranet, but schools are different. Onboarding for educators takes on a heavily in-person model, since teachers are rarely parked in front of a screen all day. Almost 60% of school leadership surveyed told us that their intranet has not improved onboarding, And since teachers and staff are so busy, they aren't finding the time to create content on intranets that isn't relevant to their work.
This data, and more, can found in the full report, which will be available on February 27th, when our own Happeo product expert and educational experts from C-Learning and Inspire Education Group sit down in a free webinar to discuss how to create a successful intranet experience for Google-run schools.
Join us for helpful insights and a free copy of the full 2024 Happeo Education Intranet Data Report for Google-Run Schools.