Building a unified identity
Pihlajalinna is a strongly growing, private social welfare and healthcare services provider that aims to become the leading player in its field in Finland. Because of corporate acquisitions and municipality outsourcings, implementing common practices was challenging as there were several channels for communication. That is why Pihlajalinna chose to give up all old intranets and start planning for a new intranet with a clean slate.
Three main goals were defined for the new intranet: unify processes and ways of working between different branches of the group, act as the primary channel for internal communications for the group, and build community spirit for the employees. The aim was to make the front page so clear that the user would get a good overall picture of what is going on with Pihlajalinna at a single glance. Despite the branch, all employees working at similar positions will get the same information and instructions. It was important that the intranet would convey the attitude of teamwork, which builds and consolidates communality and unified identity. Additionally, the new intranet needed to be a generally functional, easy-to-use and enjoyable tool for daily use for the employees. Tailored to Pihlajalinna’s needs, the intranet would also guarantee a seamless brand experience.
No technology-first decisions
The intranet was built on WordPress content management system because we wanted to make a user-friendly and visually appealing online service that works on every device. The main idea behind this technology decision was that the service needed to meet the company’s requirements rather than making the company settle for a ready-made software. Instead of license fees, it was more important to invest in service development and user experience. Since a majority of the staff does not have their own workstations, using the service and updating content needed to be easy also on mobile.
The design of the intranet was done in cooperation with the client. At the beginning of the project, we had workshops with the Pihlajalinna project team, where we defined our goals, main contents, and functionalities for the service as well as the development roadmap of the service. The actual development of the intranet has been agile and continuous. The first Minimum Viable Product version (MVP) included video greetings from the CEO, a news section and a questionnaire for the users about their needs and wishes, on which we based the further design.
In further development phases, we have added a search functionality for branch and personnel, a message board, and a section for guidelines and materials that are much needed in health services. The development has been done using the Scrum model with approximately two-week sprints. Scrum has made the project more transparent and directed development to the most essential functionalities.
The Pihlajalinna intranet includes integrations to, for example, Microsoft’s Active Directory (Single Sign-On) and the SympaHR system, so that the personal data and intranet users are always up to date. Frontend implementation uses modern JS libraries (including Vue.js) that made developing the interactive and maintainable frontend implementation easy.
Since the first version, the amount of users and content on the intranet have multiplied. Also, for this reason, we have paid special attention to the usability of the service and findability of information.
Everything is easy to find
The intranet was fully adopted in March 2017. From April 2017 to March 2018, the user amount has quadrupled. On average, 10% of all users are mobile users. The most popular content types are news and different kinds of instructions.
What has been most praised about the new intranet is its efficient search tool and how easy it is to find contact information. Based on the feedback, we have developed both of these features even further.
In the intranet, there are now plenty of instructions for different kinds of activities and guidelines for employees. All internal communication within the group is centralized in the intranet. Also, some of the subsidiaries and branches actively use the intranet to communicate with their personnel.