Taleo Software was growing quickly and needed a professional intranet to communicate to their employees around the globe. The current one was only HR related and the informaiton was out of date in most areas. Taleo had very limited budgets, a timeline of less than three months, could only dedicate one person to the project and, on top of that, the site had to be availalbe in both English and French as the company was founded in Canada. Mimi Denman was hired to take on this task while also running the entire internal communications practice. She knew it would not be possible to do on her own and she'd have to get volunteers. But how?


Mimi knew that having a poor intranet was a pain point for employees. She sent an email to all employees asking, "Are you creative? Want to be a part of designing our new Intranet?" The email included a link that invited them to attend a simple online meeting that was a week away. The response was very strong (over 10% of all employees) and an intranet team called "GrassRoots" was established. Every single person who replied received an email thanking them for their interest. This was the start of a great deal of personal attention and recognition to the GrassRoots team that she felt was absolutely necessary to motivate and keep the team encouraged.
Each member was asked to join one or several teams. Each team was independent. They selected their own leader, and also a communications person who took notes and followed up on tasks. Everyone was asked to give their ideas and suggestions. Mimi created a SharePoint collaboration space with sub sites for every major project. It included a sign up sheet, images, articles, best practices, PowerPoint templates for ongoing meetings and more. 
We kept the design very simple. We created a rich home page and three other organization templates in addition to the “Locations” and “How Do I?" page templates. Just like a restaurant, first impressions are key. We wanted our “patrons” to want to come back often and be delighted with what they found. We knew this intranet would be rolled out in Phases, and Phase 1 (while comprehensive and a huge improvement) was just the beginning.
New authors were identified and trained. We built out every page of 78 sites with images we purchased from stock sites. We trained over 40 contributors, created Quick Start guides, FAQs, additional training, Submission Guides, and more. 
We created a fun launch program that included a scavenger hunt to find items on the new site with a grand prize of a trip to any Taleo location. Mimi also created a weekly newsletter with article captions that linked back to the Intranet. 


The new Intranet was an overwhelming success.
  • Page hits increased by over 1000%.
  • Went from 48 hours to 10 minutes to publish
  • 80% of company visited the site at least once a day.
  • We used SharePoint’s analytics to track unique visitors, etc.
We learned a lot. Here's just a few of the key essentials to launching a successful intranet:
  • Collaboration is everything. Ask for help and be appreciative. 
  • You must have the support of your senior management and allowed to be autonomous. Committees would have slowed us down and made decision making highly difficult. We did not have time to present options or debate right or wrong – we had to move forward. We knew we could always make changes later.
  • You need to brand your site and make it visually appealing as well as intuitive. A good Intranet can change culture, reward achievement, increase productivity and to quote Bill Quirke “Turn strategy into action by engaging, informing and directing employees" but only if they read it... and often.
  • Don’t underestimate training for your content owners. If you have the budget, customize it and record it. This was a very time-consuming part of the job.
  • A grand opening or launch promotion is essential if you want to have high readership of your intranet. In addition to the contest and thank you gifts for GrassRoots members, Mimi presented at various All Hands meetings, met one on one with interested groups, and wrote weekly blogs. There were posters and an email intoduction campaign. No one in the company was unaware that they had a wonderful new intranet and it became the most important vehicle for internal communications by far.

Want to learn more and see the site?   Click here for a Powerpoint Presentation that goes into all the details and shows many pages and more.
Questions?  Email Mimi.