When developing a new business website, there is one vital aspect that frequently gets ignored: the role and input of the employees themselves. Companies will frequently invest in customer testing and feedback and incorporate the views of high level stakeholders such as corporate leaders and senior execs, regardless of how close they are to the end-customer and the processes that will be incorporated into the new website. However, the views of front line staff often fail to be taken into account, and valuable wins are lost as a result.
Why Engage Your Staff?
By asking for the ideas of your employees, they can feel listened to and important in their roles. Remember, your front line staff speak to your customers every day. They understand their frustrations, and the opportunities that your business has to do things better. What’s more, they are likely to be highly motivated by being asked to input into the development of a business asset as important as your website. It is also important to gauge their views as they are the ones who represent your business on a daily basis. For example Billericay Funeral Directors would want to ensure that the website reflects the service that their members of staff give to the families who engage their services. This can only truly be achieved by asking for their input in the website design and text content.
How Should You Engage Them?
Ask for volunteers across the business to get involved in the project. Look for cross-functional representatives and ask your people managers to encourage junior and front line staff to get involved. Write it into job descriptions and responsibilities if necessary, so that it becomes something against which reward and recognition can be gained at performance review time, rather than simply another work requirement.
Involve these employee representatives in the creation of the brief itself. Get them together off-site if necessary and with the agency who will be building the site (or your in-house team).
Create a culture of team work that is inclusive and which encourages listening and idea sharing. Remember, more junior staff may be shy, but they very often have superb ideas and creative approaches which will reap rewards in the long run.
Involve the group in user testing as the site is created, and then seek their feedback and ideas for further refinements and development phases. You can also look to create internal digital champions who further the internal discussion and adoption of your business digital assets amongst the broader staff base.