“From 10% to 96% - staff satisfaction is higher than it’s ever been. We finally have a clear communication structure and the intranet has become part of the language and culture of the Trust”
When Laura Donaldson was given the task of steering the long-awaited upgrade of the intranet at the Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (QVH), she grabbed the opportunity.
As a digital communications specialist at QVH, Laura was responsible for managing the intranet, newsletters and communications in a variety of areas.
At the time, QVH were using a free application available to NHS organisations that was over 10 years old. Instead of helping staff communicate, the functionality had broken down and the application was solely being used to store policies.
The situation was so bad that it was one person’s job alone to use and edit the contents. Nobody else even knew how to use the system, making access and updates a painful process.
With an intranet that wasn’t technically supported anymore, Laura was struggling to get information to staff. Laura remembers:
“Everything was reliant on email and physical printed files. Important information would get buried in people’s inboxes between messages about lost property and policy updates, and there were out of date contact lists pinned up on staff noticeboards around the Trust.”
An organisation in need of structured communication
Without a centralised platform to distribute information, the Trust was struggling to communicate with staff effectively.
The staff directory existed as an Outlook address book, with such limited search capability that you had to know the names of the staff you were looking for in the first place.
When Laura started at the hospital, she remembers what a frustrating and long-winded process it was trying to get induction information:
“I had to go from person to person asking if they knew who I needed to talk to. It just meant that I spent the best part of my first weeks chasing people and trying to decipher the structure”
So when the Trust finally decided to upgrade their platform, Laura was more than happy to find herself at the helm of the project.
Choosing a solution with fast turnaround and predictable costs
Laura spent a year working with a steering group to decide what was needed for the new intranet.
The Trust considered both bespoke and full SharePoint options, but with a limited budget and resources, both were far from ideal.
When Laura eventually presented Hadron as a solution, some staff were wary as there was no existing SharePoint experience within QVH.
However, once they were shown Hadron’s success in other NHS organisations, the sceptics were convinced of the benefits that a simplified, user-friendly SharePoint solution would give them.
Factoring in the advantages of a fast turnaround, lots of technical support and predictable costs, the decision became clear, and Cloud2’s solution was selected.
Hands-on technical support enabling a rapid roll-out
While Laura herself struggled to believe Cloud2’s initial turnaround promises, in the end it took just 8 weeks from deployment to launch. As Laura remembers:
“The technical support was a big part of the appeal of Hadron. With a tight budget and limited resources, the support really fuelled the quick turnaround and installation.”
The Cloud2 team worked alongside the IT department and early content editors. “None of us had any SharePoint experience,” Laura admits. “But it didn’t matter, the support team were always there to help, guiding us through the process.”
And even when a problem did occur, it was resolved quickly and Hadron launched 6 weeks later, with all essential policies and content loaded, plus training in place to encourage staff uptake.
Increased department visibility and connectivity between teams
Due to the research and planning that went into Hadron, Laura’s hard work is paying off.
QVH’s new intranet, branded as Qnet, is opening up information to all staff across the organisation.
Thanks to features like news and events banners on the home page, it’s easier than ever to distribute messages and draw attention to urgent matters.
Laura no longer has to go knocking on people’s doors to find colleagues with the addition of Hadron Connect. As a comprehensive employee engagement hub, it’s easy to find staff details, ascertain their place in the Trust’s hierarchy, and work with teams across different locations.
The foundations are in place to improve communication between teams - making collaboration more achievable and increasing department connectivity.
Laura is also cutting down paperwork and processing delays by increasing communication between departments through Hadron and Connect.
Rather than sending spreadsheets round by email or struggling with version control in shared folders, by creating secure sites within Qnet, the Trust can easily set up logs where the information is input directly and accessed instantly by the relevant team.
And now that staff can see the potential of Qnet, they are more confident approaching Laura regularly with things they want added to the platform. Staff are actively engaging in how they can share information with each other.
A culturally integrated intranet evolving with the Trust’s needs
Now approaching the 1-year launch anniversary, Laura’s planning a Qnet branding refresh. After doing a new staff survey, she’ll be working with Cloud2 again to implement improvements, plus additional functionality such as the ability for individual departments to make announcements.
Laura already runs monthly clinics to help staff get to grips with the intranet, and Cloud2 will be running drop-in sessions to support the new changes.
After such a long period without a functioning intranet, Laura is continuing to convert staff to the possibilities of Qnet and reducing the level of email reliance:
“I asked staff before and after the launch if they were satisfied with the intranet overall. Before Hadron the result was only 10% satisfaction - now a year after launch it’s at 96%.”
Qnet has well and truly become part of the language and culture of QVH.← Other stories