If you build it, they still won’t come

It’s a tale as old as 1994: you spent countless hours and resources creating the perfect intranet for your organization, added amazing functionality, and rolled it out to great fanfare and kudos… but a month later no one is using it. You keep the content fresh, and when new items post, there is an uptick in usage, but it doesn’t last. What else can you do to get your users to engage more frequently? One solution that is starting to gain traction with our clients, and the industry as a whole, is the concept of intranet gamification.

Gamification is traditionally used to get employees and customers to engage with a product or service by adding game-playing elements, such as points, competition, and rewards, to other areas of activity. This is not a new idea; here are some examples that you are probably familiar with:

  • Starbucks gift cards awarded to the best performing team
  • Publicly tracking the number of sales made by salespeople this quarter
  • A pizza party if yearly company goals are met

Ideas like these have been proven to increase productivity, provide intellectual stimulation and create stronger connections between employees. But how can we apply these concepts to driving intranet adoption?

I’ve got Pacman intranet fever

What kind of “games” can we add to an intranet to get people to visit? Here are some intranet gamification ideas that we’ve seen our clients use to great success:

Scavenger hunts

We have a client that creates weekly scavenger hunts by either hiding a small image somewhere on a page or by asking a question that can be answered by reading content only available on the intranet. They don’t offer a prize for correct answers, but they do have a SharePoint list that shows the successful “hunters” for the current week which is displayed prominently on the intranet front page. It has become a point of pride amongst the users to be listed and their engagement remains strong.

And engagement isn’t the only benefit… by placing the targets of the hunts in locations with new content, or content that people might not know existed on the intranet (such as employee benefits information), it serves to educate the users as to what is available to them.


People love to voice their opinions, so why not put that to good use? A few of our clients are putting up weekly surveys asking basic questions such as:

  • What is your favorite ice cream flavor: Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry?
  • What is your favorite movie franchise: Star Wars, Marvel, or Harry Potter?
  • Which is your favorite holiday: Valentine’s Day, Halloween, or Christmas?

The percentage for each answer is displayed on a chart on the home page, next to where new content is being featured. We have found that people come back during the week to see if their choice is winning, and in doing that are being exposed to any new content.  Also, discussion about the quizzes is happening outside of the intranet, which is a fun way for employees to bond.


The game itself does not have to exist on the intranet. Thinking of the example from above of the salespeople’s quarterly sales, in the past, these numbers would be posted on a bulletin board or big chart somewhere in the office. Since a good portion of us don’t go into an office anymore, that bulletin board has become the intranet.

For any kind of contest within your organization, placing the current “score” on your intranet is a great way to get people to come back often.

Not just games

In a previous blog post, Creatively Using SharePoint Lists – Column Formatting, Steve gave examples of how to use SharePoint lists to create “Shout Outs”. The idea with Shout Outs is to allow users to acknowledge their fellow employees with a short blurb that will be displayed on the home page of the intranet.

Since we first rolled this out for a client, almost 100% of our subsequent clients have asked for the feature after being shown a demo. Our follow-ups with these clients have shown that employees love getting (and giving!) Shout Outs. Not only is it a nice way to appreciate a co-worker, but it also drives traffic to the intranet (and really, which is more important?)

Explore the next post in our Evolving Intranet Series

The Evolving Intranet – Highly Personalized Communications

Player one start

Whether you decide to implement fully interactive features such as hunts, quizzes or Shout Outs, or something more “offline” like a leaderboard, Compass365 is ready to help you get your game on!  Help is just an email away – please reach out to us at any time for a free, no-commitment consultation.

Compass365, a Microsoft Gold Partner, delivers SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Power Platform solutions that help IT, and Business leaders improve the way their organizations operate and how their employees work.