How to name your intranet

Take a user-centred approach to build interest and engagement

When you’re launching a redesigned intranet, a name change can signal to the organization that it will be a new, exciting experience. It’s more than a label. Your intranet’s name is another opportunity to connect employees to your company’s culture and purpose and communicate the role your intranet will play in helping everyone work smarter.

We’ve spent over 20 years helping organizations connect and collaborate through digital workplace solutions. In that time, we have seen our fair share of intranet names (hello, “the Hub”) and learned a few things about how to choose a name that will delight and inspire your employees – and clear the pathway to increased adoption.

Start thinking early

When you kick off an intranet redesign, the name is probably the last thing you’re thinking about. Even though it seems like a small finishing detail, it’s something you should keep in mind from the beginning and build into your change management plan.

You’re following a user-centred design process for your digital transformation, right? Of course you are! The naming process is part of that. When an organization chooses our GO Sharepoint intranet, we begin with a research and discovery phase, where everyone can gain a deeper understanding of the employee experience and the role the intranet can play in their daily work life. The design phase which follows is a chance to see your brand with fresh eyes and consider its character and personality.

Every insight you gain along the way can inform your choice of a name.

Find creative ways to get everyone involved

To build excitement and interest for the launch, craft a campaign that involves employees in the intranet naming process and gives them some say in the final outcome:

  • Hold a contest. Ask employees to submit names and offer a prize to the winning name. You’ll likely receive a wide range of suggestions, so it’s a great idea to establish a selection committee to review and make the final choice.
  • Put it to a vote. Similar to the contest – but in reverse! Publicize a shortlist of suitable names and let employees cast the final vote.

Does your organization offer platforms for discussion and collaboration? This is a great opportunity to use channels like Yammer or Microsoft Teams to initiate or facilitate brainstorming sessions.

Whichever method you choose, you’re sure to receive a variety of suggestions or opinions! From silly to inspired. To give people a framework within which to exercise their creativity, share the purpose and principles of the project, as well as any criteria you’ve established around naming.

Define your evaluation criteria

When narrowing down your list, it’s helpful to set some evaluation criteria to make sure you stay on track. Choose a name that:

  • Ties into your external brand. Think of the intranet branding as the younger sibling to your external brand. It should be recognizable as part of the family, but more fun and interesting.
  • Reflects your company’s culture, purpose and values. Choose a word that resonates strongly with what you stand for and reflects the voice and tone of your organization.
  • Has longevity. Make sure you select a name that will support the long-term vision of your organization, as you grow and evolve.
  • Is friendly and easy to say. Your intranet will be supporting employees in their daily work. Consider how the name sounds when spoken out loud and how it might be abbreviated.
  • Works equally well in other languages. If your company is multilingual, will the name resonate for all employees? Think of what the word may mean in other languages or how it could sound.
  • Speaks to the purpose and role of the intranet in your organization. Think of words that convey connection, collaboration, trust and relevance.

Intranet name examples and inspiration

Intranet names typically fall into one of these conventions. If you’re drawing a blank, it can be helpful to brainstorm around each category and see which approach sparks the most inspiration.

Acronym

Work with your company’s values or other meaningful words to create an acronym that’s fun and easy to say. British Columbia’s Provincial Health Services Authority named their intranet POD, a catchy acronym for PHSA on Demand.

Culture

Think about how you would describe your workplace culture and how the intranet supports that. At Barton Mallow, over 50% of employees work on construction sites. Their intranet, Dirt, conveys the nature of their business and the culture of their company. Dirt is the starting point for all construction projects, and the intranet is the place where all Barton Mallow employees begin their day.

Function

The intranet is a connector and it’s common for names to focus on this function: variations on the hub, gateway and portal are sensible but don’t always convey the unique culture of a workplace. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario put their own twist on this convention with their intranet, The Junction.

My[company name]

Simple and straightforward, this option fosters a sense of personalization and ownership. Coast Capital launched myCoast to widespread engagement and positive feedback. This option won’t work for everyone, though; depending on your company name, it might not be so easy to say. 

Persona

Some companies create a persona that represents a friendly and knowledgeable colleague that employees would turn to for helpful information. The name might be an actual long-standing employee known for being a reliable expert, or just a name that resonates across the organization. It’s a fun approach, if balanced with a view to longevity.

Spread the word

Once you have chosen a new name for your intranet, you’ll need to communicate it as part of your change management plan. It’s helpful to explain why the name has changed to signal what employees can expect from the new intranet. Think of how you might use the name in your intranet launch and rollout strategy in a creative and memorable way. For the launch of their intranet, Black & McDonald, a Canadian provider of construction and related services, distributed stress relief cubes with the name “The Wire” written on it. With every stress-relieving squeeze, employees were reminded of their new intranet.

After launch, use the new name consistently and be sure to update any referral links and labels from your other channels. Think of how you can use the name as part of your intranet launch and rollout strategy. 

Enjoy the process

Naming your intranet can be a fun part of the design and launch journey, so enjoy it! It’s a fun way to engage employees in the process that doesn’t require a tonne of their time and allows you to gain a greater insight into your current employee culture. In the end, you’ll have created an identity for your intranet that has the potential to connect employees around shared purpose and values.

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