The magic of employee-friendly information architecture

With most of your workforce working from home, now is a critical time to get your employee portal’s navigation on point. You’ve produced all the forms, processes, policies, etc… All of this information is on the portal, ready to use…but are you speaking your employees’ language? Somehow, even with all the information available, employees cannot find what they need themselves. This puts a bottleneck on the service desk function, particularly in IT and HR, as they constantly have to answer the same questions and show employees where to find information.

The structural problem

Most employee portals are structured based on which department produces the content. For example, There is a finance body of knowledge, then one for IT, one for HR, another for Legal, and so on. While this makes it easier to manage the bodies of content by the appropriate department, it wreaks havoc on the employees who need to use the information.  

Imagine you’re an employee looking for stock purchase plan information…where should you go?  Oftentimes this kind of information is found in the Legal body of knowledge, but 99% of the time employees don’t go there to find it. 

We need to rethink how the information is structured so that it meets the employee’s mental model.

The technique to a simple and effective Information Architecture (IA)

Intellective has done extensive research in the IA space. They understand the employee psyche: how, when and why they need information…and how they will look for it. Specifically, they helped one of their clients to go from presenting 51 knowledge bases (based on department ownership), to only 7 categories that actually resonate with their employees…and kept the department content owners happy. Here’s how we did it.

Card sort path analysis

First, identify the categories that are part of the existing structure into cards. Then ask your employees to group these cards into broader categories and name them. Using an analysis tool specific for this purpose,  you’ll easily see the most common groups that the users came back with. This should drive the information architecture of the portal. You can apply this newfound pathway to any type of information directory.

What you may find is that your users expect to have a common IA so that they can access all relevant information based on their understanding.  Having a common IA leads to better business outcomes as well, such as increasing the self-solve rate.  Associating resources together is now an easy task as a result of the common IA.  For example during a service request process, the relevant knowledge base articles can be shown and can help with deflecting that service request.

Why you should get started

  • You’ll have access to Intellective’s years of experience and best practices in the IA space.
  • You will drive your self service KPI higher with this proven approach. 
  • You will have higher engagement and satisfaction from your employees. 
  • You will relieve your support functions from answering questions that have been answered before.


If you have any questions or would like to find out more, feel free to contact us