Improving co-worker access to intranet information within IKEA

Presented by Martina Strandh (IKEA) Intranätverk 2015: Malmö, 24 September

During her presentation at Intranätverk 2015: Malmö, Martina Strandh from IKEA spoke about the challenge to make information more easily accessible for co-workers within the company. A journey that has lead to several changes and a lot of improvements on both IKEA:s intranet and extranet.

Martina Strandh belongs to the corporate communications department within IKEA. She puts a lot of time and energy on working with solutions that support information and knowledge sharing, as well as working with IKEA:s digital workplace in general. Martina is employed by the IKEA Group, which has 315 stores in 27 countries across the world. A total number of approximately 147, 000 people work within the IKEA Group.

IKEA:s vision is ”to create a better everyday life for the many people”. According to Martina, this vision also applies to the co-workers within the company, meaning that they should be provided with the best possible everyday work-life. To be able to reach that vision, IKEA has put a lot of focus on working with internal communication for the last six to seven years, as well as developing a proper digital workplace.

The intranet

IKEA:s intranet is called IKEA Inside and has about 100, 000 active users. Martina explains that the intranet in fact is a business tool and one of the main communication channels that the co-workers rely on. They use the intranet to get information, get access to other tools, strategies, activity plans, portals etc.

The intranet has one common home page, but what the employees see when they visit the homepage depends on in which company as well as in which geographical site they work. Some information is also targeted to specific job titles. It’s basically about getting access to the information that’s relevant to the person in question.

News

Martina explains that she and her colleagues have broken away news from the intranet in order to make it available from external devices. The news consists of global news, national news as well as local news that are based on site and company. The employees also have the possibility to personalize the way they see the news feed by re-arranging in which order they want the news to appear. In addition, they can also add tabs for different news topics, countries or sites directly to the intranet’s homepage.

Improving co-worker access to intranet information

Although a lot of improvements have been made regarding news on the intranet, a lot of co-workers at IKEA don’t have the possibility to access all the information during their working hours. Martina explains that most of the employees work in stores or in distribution centers, and therefore don’t sit in front of the computer everyday. A big challenge for Martina and her colleagues was to improve the possibility for these co-workers to keep up-to-date with what’s happening within IKEA, as well as making it possible for them to make use of the benefits that the company offers. In short, they needed to find a way to make all the  intranet information more easily accessible for everyone within IKEA.

In order to accomplish this, Martina and her colleagues decided to work together with the global HR-department and merge IKEA:s extranet, which had been in place for a while, with the improved news solution.

IKEA Inside Outside

This resulted in IKEA Inside Outside, which basically is a merge of the news that exists on IKEA Inside with links to the key HR-content. This solution made it possible for co-workers to access all the information they need from outside of work – either on their home computers or their mobile phones.

In addition to this, Martina and her colleagues have also made it possible to access Yammer from IKEA Inside Outside. They’re currently working on providing each and every co-worker with an e-mail address, which will allow them to log on to Yammer whenever they find it suitable.

The pre-requisites

According to Martina, the pre-requisites for a fully functional IKEA Inside Outside are as follows:

A digital identity: Everyone at IKEA has a digital identity, although some of the employees don’t necessarily know it. Martina explains that this is a communication challenge for the managers as they need to speak to the co-workers and tell them about their possibilities.

Internet access: The goal is ”full internet access to everybody at IKEA everywhere”. This is currently being rolled out and will probably be in place rather soon.

IKEA e-mail address: Everyone needs their own e-mail address. As mentioned before, this is in progress.

Trust & leadership

Although most of the technicalities are already in place, there’s still quite a big hurdle regarding trust and leadership. Martina explains that the co-workers need to trust the system as well as being able to see the benefits of using these solutions. In addition, the managers also have to lead by example and show trust in the co-worker’s capabilities of using the solutions in the best possible way.

For more in depth explanations, please have a look at Martina’s presentation at Intranätverk 2015: Malmö in the video below. More intranet videos.

You can also take a look at her presentation on Intranätverks archive on SlideShare.