How do we navigate content overload? With a personalised and targeted approach

Organisations around the world have been pumping out so much content for so many years, are we now living in an era of information overload? Not necessarily. The amount of content produced and available is irrelevant, it will continue to be generated and its important historical data continues to be accessible, having so much information at our fingertips is valuable to our everyday lives and our job roles. But they key challenge is how we navigate the content that is available to us and this is something businesses need to start thinking about seriously.

The other aspect of course is future content production, mass communications do not work as well as small quality group communications. At the end of the day we are dealing with human beings, speaking to people as if they are just another number is seen through.

The primary consideration needs to be the end users and understanding that there are multiple end users within organisations. How one person consumes data versus another differs completely. There may be several factors as to why; different job roles, different environments, different KPIs, different agendas to name a few.

Personalisation is key

Eben Illingworth, Marketing Manager at Engage Squared and Modern Workplace Alliance team member points out that if someone in a specific role has an identical experience of an intranet as people in very different roles, then their experience is one of frustration. They won’t find the information they’re looking for, and so will waste a lot of time. They’ll also feel that their organisation doesn’t view them – or their role – as important.

“Consider Big Corporations Company Newsletters for instance, yes they are great for keeping everyone up to date but how does the information relate to the individual readers? If you are talking about subject matters that are not relevant to the vast majority and doesn’t enhance or praise their personal roles, then how much do they really care about the content?” Says Eben.

Eben says the information employees really want is that that relates to their job, or to any upcoming opportunities.

“What’s happening now is a big focus on targeted, customisable content,” Eben says. “When I bring up a company-wide Intranet, I now don’t see the same thing as my neighbour. I have a different role and need different information, so I’m presented with what I need without having to search down through the same maze of clicks and menus as everyone else.”

“I can also customise how I present that content to myself. It makes me more efficient, but it also makes me enjoy my job more.”

Through his work with Engaged Squared and the Modern Workplace Alliance, Eben believes that targeted, customisable content has a major effect on daily productivity, staff engagement, and ultimately staff retention and turnover. He offers the following tips on how companies can personalise content for the end user.

  • Have a strategy Work out what you want to get out of the tech you implement – how will it align with your business goals? Then make sure your employees adopt it correctly.
  • Encourage real-time collaboration This includes making use of tools like Teams, video-conferencing and Yammer (a social media for business). Business leaders may be wary of encouraging social-media-like experiences within an organisation, but Eben points out these tools are good for business. “You create groups to talk about specific things and have free-flowing instant information you can put out company-wide. It unifies employees, especially if they’re not in the same office space.”
  • Use your existing intranet Sometimes organisations believe their intranet is too outdated to handle the latest collaboration tools. They think they need to replace it or spend big bucks upgrading it. But, says Eben, you don’t need to move everything at once to leverage today’s tech. “You can have a hybrid environment, or upgrade in stages, and still benefit from the cloud. Modern SharePoint, for example, is geared towards presenting data to users with their journey in mind.” Check too whether you’re already licensed for the tech you want to implement – there may not be any additional costs.
  • Make use of Teams Teams is the fastest-growing business app in MSFT history, and it’s predicted to overtake Outlook. It’s a real-time group communication and collaboration tool, integrated with SharePoint Online and the rest of the Office 365 apps. Custom workspaces keep teams focused and offer structured access to the business information stored across the organisation. Also, responses via text or video chat tend to be more open and direct than e-mail—which means higher productivity and employee engagement.
  • Don’t be afraid to be human. Using emojis and gifs is ok While some business leaders might see these as out of place in a business environment – serious people should be doing serious work! – the truth is that they are an effective way of conveying emotions that words in an email sometimes cannot. They can enhance working relationships, so make use of them!


So, what is the future of Content personalisation and targeting?

There is a lot of hype around BOTs presently and we are seeing real value from this form of artificial intelligence. They allow instant response to specific questions and allow employees to not get bogged down in frequently asked questions.

Yammer and Teams can have Bots built into their systems – a bot is a way to consume information.

For instance, MWA recently implemented a BOT for a local council to answer their Bin Collection day queries. The business issue was that so many calls were made on a weekly basis trying to find out when the bin collection day was for various suburbs in their catchment, that it was taking up valuable staff time answering and dealing with these calls. So a BOT was implemented using the bin collection schedule giving instant answers without taking up staff time. So successful was the implementation that now other councils are keen to jump on board an deal with this in the same way. There is no detriment to the end user, infact the end user gets the information far quicker than previously and therefore experiencing a far superior service.

Customer snapshot:

Aboriginal Legal Services Australia

This organisation provides legal council within small and remote communities. This type of environment means that the advisors are quite isolated and easy to feel lonely whilst doing really important work in the community. They need the support of their colleagues who may be miles away not only on a social level but for professional advice too.

One of our MWA members, Engage Squared, recently implemented Teams and Yammer for them which allows their advisors and others within their organisation to provide the support and community environment you would ordinarily get in a place of work. This gives their advisors the same connectivity and social collaboration needed to do their jobs better.

How MWA can help

If you’re interested in knowing how your business can leverage technology to allow better collaboration across business units while keeping the end user in sight, take our Modern Workplace Assessment.


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