Achieving a healthy Web culture
One of the most difficult challenges for a Web manager or content editor is how to establish and maintain an appropriate level of commitment to the website from everyone in the organisation. Quite often the complaint from Web managers is that no one else seems to care as much about the site as they do. They say it is difficult to get commitment from staff to provide or update content and be proactive in promoting the site. One of the most comon complaints we hear is that there is too little money budgeted to make any real improvements to the site.
Perhaps the most profound reason for a lack of commitment by an organisation to its website is that not all staff consider an online presence as part of the 'real' business of the organisation. If they did, time would be allocated in everyone’s schedule, job descriptions would formally acknowledge staff roles with regard to the website and budgets would be set accordingly. The challenge is to encourage staff not to think of the website merely as a project, but as integral to the 'real' business of the organisation.
Strategies to establish and maintain a healthy web culture in your organisation:
- Give them control: ensure staff have the tools and training to publish to the website easily and quickly.
- Workflow engineering: make the intranet the source of information for all inter-departmental information exchange.
- Awareness raising: ensure that the entire management team understands the Internet and the Web and what is possible through your website – organise for a very good trainer to give one-on-one, non-threatening tuition to any key management figures who you think do not understand the Web or your website.
- Shared management: establish a website management committee that meets regularly and consists of representatives from all sections of the organisation. Rotate the chairing of this group.
- Day-to-day use: ensure that every staff member has an Internet-enabled computer and email address and ensure your home page is the default home page of everyone’s browser.
- Trojan horse: establish an intranet or password-protected section of the website and put on it information or an activity that will entice staff to use it regularly – eg organisational info-sharing, links to interesting sites, newsgroups or simply sites of interest – wine, tourism.
- Exemplar: work with one section or department to improve the content and functionality of their section of the site and their understanding and use of it, which will act as an exemplar to other departments.
- Savings: calculate cost-savings on things such as paper, postage, photocopying, staff time re-keying faxed information and answering queries and publicise the savings in-house.
- What competitors are doing: show staff what similar organisations are doing on the Web and encourage them to consider an eclectic approach to improving your site.