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Bringing Employees Together with a SharePoint Intranet

Open Systems Technologies

A technology firm based in Grand Rapids, MI transformed corporate communication and are positioning themselves for growth through improved employee experience with Bulb’s guidance and expertise launching a modern intranet.

The Problem

OST had an old on-premise intranet that was so outdated it became relegated to simple collaboration between a few internal teams. The lack of a centralized internal communication platform meant most corporate communication occurred through email and was difficult to use. They desperately needed a single repository for information, documents, and resources for their employees. With robust growth plans in place, OST needed to use modern workplace tools to clear the way to their goals.

OST had a failed attempt at launching an intranet in the past, which caused a negative employee perception of this type of initiative and threatened a successful future launch.

The Talent Experience team had taken ownership over improving the company’s communication gaps. This led to increases in individual requests, which in turn created risk of employees receiving dissimilar information depending on who they asked.  Onboarding and communicating with employees became increasingly time consuming.

Through our preliminary discussions, we identified 3 specific problems we needed to address:

  • Create an internal communications platform built for growth
  • Overcome a negative employee perception
  • Relieve pressure on the Talent Experience Team

The Approach

OST partnered with Bulb Digital to organize thinking around content delivery to employees. We took the following approach:

1. Discover

Bulb Digital supplied both a framework and a proven strategy to gather and organize our client’s information. We started with a kick off exercise to gather the team’s Hopes and Fears about the project, this allows us to obtain their true wishes and worries so we can address real pain points. The next step was to conduct in-depth discovery via user interviews across departments.

2. Pilot high value content

We built an intranet on SharePoint while addressing specific company needs with a variety of tools from Office365. The newly created intranet was built as their portal for content, holding anything from benefits information, onboarding tools, procedures, and more. OST also desired specific employee information to be clearly available via a readily accessible employee directory. We were able to customize a build off Office 365 profile data that appears clean and seamlessly integrates into their intranet, complete with custom fields for birthday and anniversary data as well as employee strengths. High-value content was identified to pilot  

3. Launch full features

Using most effective strategies for their specific needs learned from the pilot, we launched the full set of features and set them up for future development. OST utilized our technical expertise to build out their taxonomy and navigation, but also embraced our emphasis on helping them gain the knowledge necessary to build out and maintain their own intranet going forward. OST avoided the project from fizzling out like past attempts by embracing Bulb’s drive to uncover the genuine issues in all situations, allowing us to deliver what particularly solves the problem and elevates OST’s success in relieving their pain points.

“The ease of communication, and the deep knowledge and expertise of SharePoint. I also appreciated that Matt and the team never said, "we can't do that." Instead, they would try to find out what we were really looking for or needing and offering alternative ways to get at what we needed.” – Client  

The Results

We were able to accomplish the following:

  • Launched the new fiscal year’s initiatives on the new intranet platform with a consistent format
  • Organized all benefit information in a central location for all employees
  • Reduced amount of questions directed at the Talent Experience Team
  • Centralized corporate communication and news structure
  • Built staff knowledge so they are comfortable building out the site further and delivering content on their own going forward

With their successful modern workplace launch, OST is now positioned to leverage the technology they have for many areas of their business. They are better suited for hiring and retaining talent, which is a huge competitive advantage in their industry. The Employee Experience team can now be more productive without being bogged down with information requests. They are seeing an improvement in overall cohesion and communication, along with a better process for delivering messages which improves the reception on the other end. Ultimately, their company growth goals are more attainable for the team helping onboard and guide new employees, as the new tools allow them to handle greater numbers of employees and provide them better information the first time, every time.  

Bulb has been an EXCELLENT partner for this project. One thing I really appreciate is that I personally feel incredibly supported. Your team hears every little "little thought/question" I have and honestly addresses it. It's clear you are just as committed to the success of our project as we are, and that level of support is invaluable.

Lizzie Williams - OST