ACF Connect – Intranet for the Administration for Children and Families

Roles: Project manager, content strategist, editor

When I joined ACF in May 2016 the intranet was essentially dead. The existing platform was a series of static HTML pages, many of which could not be updated for a variety of reasons. The plan was to start over.

Agency-wide surveys and listening groups in late 2015 had narrowed down some of the top tasks and requests from employees (there had been no analytics for the old site) – access to pay and timekeeping, benefits and HR information, forms, and the cafeteria menus. An internal task force had set a vision statement – that the intranet be agency-wide, current and accurate, functional and able to grow, and most importantly, employee focused.

Creating the IA

The employee focus was immensely helpful in reinforcing that user tasks should take precedence over the desire of individual programs to claim territory. This drove the creation of the IA to divide along common buckets – benefits, training, services, communications, and rights and responsibilities (ethics, EEO, policies, and collective bargaining). The last section – news and information – would house timely content, and in time replace the deluge of emails going to all staff.

Writing the Content

For content creation, the process required training subject matter experts from HR and other functional offices in how to present their information in plain language and in a digital platform. We also created a process that took each piece of content past several sets of eyes to ensure it was technically accurate, legally vetted, and written well.

We succeeded in creating a site that kept the immediate needs of the employees front and center, translated scattered and complicated policies into plain language, and gave the organization a platform to communicate with employees.