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Evolving Internal Communications with CMHA Toronto

September 7, 2023
7 min read
Evolving Internal Communications with CMHA Toronto

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto is a mental health non-profit, charitable organization in Canada. CMHA Toronto, established in 1953, operates 18 sites across the city, employing over 425 staff and serving over 13,000 individuals each year.

CMHA Toronto provides mental health workshops and trainings across Toronto to help people and organizations develop the skills they need to create and maintain safe living and working environments. It is also a partner agency of the City of Toronto's Toronto Community Crisis Service pilot program, which provides crisis workers in Toronto's northwest to respond to non-emergency, non-violent mental health calls as an alternative to police.

The Challenge

Improving the Employee Experience

As organizations grow and evolve, their internal communication and collaboration needs also change. Organizations need to provide their employees with an efficient and user-friendly platform to enhance their productivity and communication. This was the case for the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto (CMHA). They recognized that their existing staff intranet was no longer meeting the needs of their growing team.

A collection of devices from laptop, tablet and mobile with the CMHA Intranet

The existing staff intranet was difficult to use. Several of the internal communication features (on the current platform) were no longer supported. It was clear, a new strategy for their internal communications was necessary.

In response, our team had the opportunity to design and develop a brand-new intranet to improve communication, enhance productivity, and supply a better user experience. This was a perfect occasion to take advantage of Modern SharePoint publishing and the power of Microsoft 365.

“Implementing our new intranet with 2toLead was a breeze, they brought expertise and deep background of SharePoint and our new intranet is exceeding our expectation. Kanwal, Richard and the team took the time to understand our needs, sometimes even better than we did, then suggested and implemented a solution that is already bringing our teams together across our 18 different sites. We couldn’t have done it without the 2toLead team.” - Lee Shelson

In this case study, we will walk through our process and share how we were able to help this wonderful organization.


The primary aim of CMHA Toronto’s staff intranet was to improve internal communication and streamline document management within the organization. We aimed to solve these problems by supplying an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that would enable employees to excel at their tasks. Quickly finding the information they needed and communicating with their colleagues was also key.

In addition, the new portal was designed to support the organization's growth and expanding initiatives. With a growing number of programs and committees to manage, the new platform needed to be scalable and flexible to accommodate the organization’s evolving needs. A key goal was to empower more employees to contribute to the organization's mission.

Picture of the CMHA Toronto Intranet on a laptop.

The Intranet supplies a central location where employees can find information and access the tools and resources, they need to contribute effectively. Improved communication streamlined document management, and support for CMHA Toronto’s growth were the driving factors behind this intranet refresh. This not only helps to increase employee engagement but also allows CMHA Toronto to better serve the communities across Toronto and achieve its mission.


We began with a user-centred approach that focused on gathering insights and feedback from CMHA Toronto’s leadership team as well as frontline staff. An internal meeting was scheduled where we collected user feedback on the existing portal. We wanted to understand what employees liked about the current intranet and what they wanted to see in the new solution.

In addition, we conducted in-depth workshops to gain a deep understanding of their challenges when using the existing portal. This helped us find areas where the new intranet could be improved to better meet the needs of the organization's employees.

Once we had an appreciation of the current state, a development environment was built to help us evaluate our assumptions and preconceived ideas. This sandbox environment would help everyone understand the vision of what their new intranet could do. This involved testing information architecture, navigation patterns, site templates and unique features in an agile and flexible approach. It also allowed us to gather feedback from CMHA Toronto earlier, which helped us to name areas for improvement and refine the design.

Our method for this project was centred around a shared partnership. Working together, building an intranet was the common goal. This helped us to remain effective when defining key goals.

Design Process

Initially, we collected the current state features offered on the existing portal. Through workshops, we conducted user research to show areas where the portal could be improved. Based on this research, we found which features should remain, be removed, or enhanced in the new intranet.

A picture of the CMHA Toronto Intranet on a laptop using Viva Connections.

Once a vision was set for the new intranet, we created a Solution Blueprint that outlined all major aspects of the staff intranet. This plan outlined the overall architecture, navigation, user interface design, and the specific features and functionality that would be included. The Solution Blueprint was then used to build out a development environment where we could assess our core features in real time with the customer. This allowed us to adopt an agile development approach, adjusting and improving based on user feedback and testing results.

At 2toLead, we place a strong emphasis on user experience design, ensuring that the intranet was intuitive and easy to use. By partnering with CMHA Toronto, we were able to create a modern, user-friendly staff intranet that would serve their internal communication needs. By taking an agile approach, we were able to create a platform that met the needs of the organization's employees and supplied a better user experience. 

The Solution

Enhanced Productivity & Communication Features for a Better Future

The new CMHA Toronto staff intranet includes a range of new and improved features. One of the highlights includes a streamlined approach to internal communications. Now content authors can publish internal news across multiple teams. Staff can share their upcoming initiatives and keep everyone informed about the latest news and developments within their department, program, or committee. This was a major improvement over the existing portal, which was difficult to navigate and didn't supply an effective way to share information across different teams and departments.

An example of the News Feed on the CMHA Toronto Intranet.

In parallel, this update had a major effect on how the East Meets West staff newsletter was published and distributed throughout CMHA Toronto. With the new intranet, the newsletter could be supported and published more efficiently, allowing for greater collaboration and input from multiple team members. It is now easier for committees and special programs to work together and collaborate across different teams This was made possible through dedicated workspaces that allow team members to share documents, collaborate on projects, and stay connected in a secure and organized way in Microsoft 365.

The new intranet included centralized calendars, making it easy for staff members to follow key dates, major events, and mandatory training workshops. Helping employees manage schedules across multiple initiatives was made easier.

Communication and collaboration have received a major update. Each of these new and improved features helped to better meet the needs of the organization's employees and supply a modern employee experience.

The Outcome

Better Communication & Collaboration = A More Efficient Workforce

With its modern design, intuitive interface, and range of new features, the CMHA Toronto intranet has helped to make teams more productive and efficient. Creating a centralized platform for internal communication has improved and modernized cross-functional collaboration.

Team announcements are much more transparent within the organization and managed in a convenient place. Staff members can quickly begin their day and receive the latest news and developments inside CMHA Toronto. Staff members have a better understanding of what's happening across the organization.

A picture of CMHA Toronto Intranet on a Tablet device and a laptop.

With its user-friendly design and range of new and improved features, the intranet has helped by improving productivity, and collaboration and increasing transparency across the CMHA Toronto staff and volunteers enabling everyone to work more efficiently towards its strategic goals.


Working alongside CMHA Toronto as trusted partners, we were able to develop a platform that truly met the needs of the organization's employees.

One of the key findings from this project was the importance of listening to the needs and feedback of the client and their employees. By conducting an internal meeting and collecting user feedback at the outset of the project, we gained a better understanding of the pain points and challenges facing the organization and developed a platform that addressed these issues in a meaningful way.

This project also taught us about the importance of an agile approach to development. By creating a development environment sooner in the design process, we were able to evaluate core features and functionality in real time with the client. We could adjust and refinements to the platform on the fly, and to ensure that it truly met the needs of the organization.

Yammer was used to help build community and engagements across CMHA Toronto.

Open Communication is Essential

We learned that open communication and collaboration are essential to the success of any project. By keeping an open-door policy and fostering a culture of collaboration and teamwork between our team and the client, we were able to work together in a productive and meaningful way and develop a platform that truly met the needs of the organization's employees.

By keeping these principles in mind throughout the project, we were able to develop a platform that was well-received by the client and their employees, and that helped to improve productivity, collaboration, and transparency across the organization.

We Can Help with Your Employee Experience

If you're looking to develop your intranet, we'd love to hear from you. Our team of experienced designers and developers can collaborate with you to develop a platform tailored to your workforce's specific needs and challenges, helping to improve productivity, collaboration, and transparency across your organization.

Whether you're looking to streamline internal communications, enable cross-functional collaboration, or provide your employees with a centralized platform for accessing important documents and resources, we can help. With our user-centric approach to design and development and our commitment to open communication and collaboration, we can develop a platform that truly meets the needs of your organization's employees.

So why wait? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you build the perfect staff intranet for your organization. We look forward to hearing from you!

Need Help Evolving Your Internal Communications? Contact Us
Case Study Details
Org Size: 250-499

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