Intranet Profile: Setting Guidelines for Profile Photos

24 Oct Intranet Profile: Setting Guidelines for Profile Photos

Intranet Profile Photo

Community managers of a company’s intranet or Enterprise Social Network can spend countless hours answering the same questions around profiles when rolling out a new platform. Believe it or not, one of the most challenging parts of getting employees to fully complete their intranet profile is uploading a profile picture. Depending on the size of the organization, following up with people and asking them to either upload a photo or to modify their uploaded photo can be a huge time commitment.

Having a current photo connected to each profile is important. The common practice of using a default profile photo, a photo of an inanimate object, a favorite animal or family pet, or a photo that is low quality or is 20 years old must be avoided. Establishing clear guidelines from the start is key to minimizing policing down the line and setting expectations.

Provide size of the profile photo for the intranet profile.

— Giving users the exact size/dimensions required for the photo before they upload their image will help alleviate frustration or frequent questions to community managers if they run into difficulty.

Provide image file formats for the intranet profile photo.

Some ESNs restrict the type of format of the uploaded photo. Providing the type of photo your ESN supports will help alleviate frustration when uploading the photo and minimize questions for the community managers.

Specify to users if they should be uploading JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF or PNG.

List expectations for what community managers expect from the intranet profile photo.

In addition to sending out the format of the profile photo, it is also important for community managers to highlight and outline specific expectations for the photo that align with the company’s culture. While some environments encourage whimsical and playful photos, others are more traditional. Is the expectation a professional headshot or will a selfie suffice? The more information people have at roll-out, the better.

Some people are camera shy and maybe hesitant to upload a picture of themselves. It is important that the uploaded profile photo be uniform and fits company standards. When community managers clearly outline the reasoning for wanting a crisp, clear headshot of each individual, people become more comfortable and less self-conscious. Sending out these request prior to people uploading photos is ideal.

Common guidelines to highlight are:

Recent photo (head & shoulders)- Uploading a headshot helps people more easily recognize you. Having a profile of you that is over 5 years old or far away is not helpful when trying to put a name with a face.

Subject of the photo should be only you- Having multiple people in a profile photo makes it difficult to identify who the profile belongs to

Work appropriate photo – Wear professional or business casual attire

Making a list of don’ts is also helpful. Some common ones are:

No hats

 No pets

No sunglasses

No automobiles

No tank tops  or sleeveless shirts

Specify a specific background for the photo if desired

Once guidelines have been created, store the profile photo help guide on the company’s Enterprise Social Network or intranet. Adding these guidelines and similar help resources to the FAQ section of your ESN or to the the support section of your intranet helps to build the best practice of using the platform as a resource. While many companies have employee handbooks to establish clear guidelines, it is always beneficial to have guidelines specific to your intranet as well.

What recommended guidelines do you have for your intranet profile photos?

Andy Jankowski

Andy is a Global Executive in IBM's Talent & Transformation Practice and the Global Leader of IBM's Managed Employee Services offering. With a background in enterprise technology and management consulting, he's spend the last of 26 years helping companies understand, plan for, adopt and use new technologies to transform their businesses. He is known for his view that lasting, meaningful business transformation happens from the inside out, and focuses almost exclusively on business objectives, outcomes and new, better ways of working. A few examples include: Forbes: “From Inside Out, Speed Your Company’s Transformation” BBC News: "Online Chatting at Work Gets the Thumbs Up from Bosses" Forbes: "How Employers And Employees Collaborate To Create Better Work" Andy is a frequent keynote speaker on the topic of using new technologies to transform the way business is done. When not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and two children, boating, road cycling and playing electric guitar.

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  • Martin White
    Posted at 10:11h, 25 October Reply

    Please do take into account the implications of data privacy legislation, especially in EU member states., A personal photograph may be regarded as Sensitive Personal Information under the Directive and associated country legislation. This includes the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject, their religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature and their physical health or condition, All these might be able to be deduced from a photograph. Under this legislation the data subject has to give their permission for the photo to be added. If they do not wish to have a photo on their profile then that is an end to the matter. The requirement cannot be added into the employee contract as a condition of employment.

    Moreover they may be willing to have their photo available within the EU (where there is equivalent legislation across all member states) and not elsewhere, such as the USA.. The fact that a person has a pass badge with their photo on it does not mean that they have given blanket permission for this, or any other photo, to be posted on an ESN or similar. This is because there is requirement for the permission to be related to specific requirement. A badge carried personally for security reasons does not translate to the same photo being used on a global network.

    Increasingly the fines for contravention of data privacy legislation are very high indeed. I would strongly recommend that any programme of adding employee photos is signed off by a qualified lawyer, who also approves the information to be given to each employee. In a global business this will vary from country to country. This is especially important in countries such as Germany where there is a Workers Council.

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