It is hard to get the word out at large companies. Even companies who try to disseminate information have a hard time getting the right information into the right employees hands. Some firms have company-wide meetings to disseminate important information that has broad appeal, and then use newsletter, intranets, and mass emails to spread other information. The problem is that people become overwhelmed with information and end up not seeing the small things that they may actually be concerned about in the flood of irrelevant information.

Newsletters are great, but the information is not targeted, and many people quit reading them because they don't feel there is value in doing so. The same thing happens with intranets, they work great in the beginning, but as the variety of topics increase people find it harder to focus on the content they are interested in. And, mass emails are many time sent directly to the trash bin.

So how can a large company target the dissemination of information? How can a company effectively share the knowledge of its employees?

Read my possible solutions after the jump.

I was in a meeting discussing this subject one day when an idea struck me. Our company attempts to block external advertisers as a courtesy (or to save bandwidth) when user browse the internet, and the blocked content is replaced with a notice that it has been blocked. I thought that instead of simply telling the user that the content had bee blocked, we should replace the external ad with one of our own. Instead of seeing the advertisement for Coca-Cola or the "advertisement removed" banner, why not show the users an advertisement for a new internal HR benefit or show them a tip on how to build widgets faster.

As I thought about this concept another idea came to me, we should also place targeted internal ads on our intranet. Then, when a user searches for help on Word they get their search results as well as an "advertisement" that provides a link to our companies document templates or documentation standards.

To make this effective the company would need to have an efficient central location for finding information (perhaps a Google Search Appliance, or similar technology), otherwise employees will continue to waste time digging for material in the various locations that they think it may be located and miss our attempts to help them.

Veteran employees have an advantage when it comes to finding information in a large company because they have the experience to know where to look. New employees could get up to speed faster and information would flow between departments faster with a centralized searching system that also uses targeted advertising to guide people in the right direction.

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Published: 2009-11-06