By Darryl Duke | September 30, 2015

Who knew that enterprise-wide collaboration can actually cause employee DIS engagement? A Harvard Business Review study found that when organizations introduce new means for transparency and team collaboration, more often than not, there's resistance. Enterprise content management and collaboration—sharing information easily and broadly—often creates a staggering need to document, sort, search, absorb, and digest data from countless sources. Consequently, employees disengage—especially younger workers. It's too much of a good thing and according to Harvard, the syndrome is called "information toxicity."

Enterprise content management and collaboration often creates a staggering need to document, sort, search, absorb, and digest data from countless sources.

What's good for the team is not necessarily good for the individual employee. For example, when you ask employees to post ongoing updates on a project, it can slow down their work. And it becomes hard to stay current on all that's happening. If the team is distributed or working virtually, it gets even more complicated.

Four Keys to Reduce Information Toxicity

Project your company culture.

Provide a strong information architecture.

Put the end user first.

Make it easy to find what you need.

So how are leading-edge companies reducing information toxicity and increasing employee engagement?

Here are four keys for building a corporate intranet or employee portal that will bring teams together in the easiest, most productive and most non-toxic way:

  1. Mirror your organization's 'look and feel' to project company culture. Brand it like your company or customize it to fit your team so folks feel at home and your corporate intranet feels like it's part of the company (and not a foreign body).
  2. Design your corporate intranet as a suite of communication and collaboration tools - include social tools, wikis for company policies, and task management. Wrap tools around a strong information architecture that acts as the foundation for how your team organizes company information and sets up internal communications.
  3. Put the end user first when you create your corporate intranet. Feature a simple interface, make it highly configurable by the team, and adaptable to business needs. A modern corporate intranet brings together social tools, applications, and workflow technology all together in one communication platform.
  4. Finally make it easy to find what you need. An enormous amount of time is wasted looking for the right document or data. That's when frustration, disengagement and ultimately information 'toxicity' sets in. Start with a great search technology that uses a customized hierarchy of labels so users can quickly drill down to find relevant results. Take a page from popular consumer shopping sites and feature faceted search capabilities.


Bringing a company's look and feel to Confluence is one of things we're most passionate about here at Brikit. We're also crazy about bringing our users instant gratification through relevant and targeted search results, and creating social networks to engage user with what's trending. Follow the links below to learn more about how we do it.