16 features for an employee platform that people will use

By Elle Holder

12 min read

16 features for an employee platform that people will use
Illustration by Justin Alm

It’s not uncommon for the 21st century work environment to have a well-designed internal website or intranet. In fact, some would say they are a necessity. Employee platforms of any kind typically act as a central hub for communication, collaboration, and access to important company information. But the fact is, traditional intranets often fall short. They can be clunky, difficult to navigate, and even filled with outdated content. Eventually, that can lead to frustration, wasted time, and ultimately, disengaged employees.

The good news is that next generation intranets were designed to be user-friendly, engaging, and packed with features that can empower your employees to be their most productive selves. Let’s take a look at several features that would make up a perfectly balanced employee platform.

User-friendly design

For an employee platform to be successful, it will need to have a user-friendly design. This means prioritizing an interface that’s both intuitive and adaptable.

First, intuitive navigation is a must. Imagine an intranet that required clicking through endless menus and subfolders to find a specific document. This not only wastes time but can breed frustration. A well-designed platform would have navigation that’s clearly labeled, have a logical hierarchy, and powerful search functions that will allow employees to find what they need quickly and efficiently.

Secondly, customization can go a long way toward boosting user engagement. Since employees often come from diverse backgrounds and have varying work styles, the ability to customize a platform — making allowances for this diversity — can create a sense of ownership.

Bring your people together

Real-time communication tools

For your employees to be productive, they need to be able to communicate and collaborate efficiently. Modern employee platforms go a step beyond old-school static announcements and integrate real-time communication tools that help bridge the gap between employees, whether they work in-house or remotely.

One key feature is a robust messaging system. Many platforms allow for quick questions, project updates, and informal discussions. This can create a more dynamic work environment and eliminate the need for never-ending email chains and unproductive meetings.

Additionally, the availability of video conferencing tools removes the barriers that remote work can create — enabling face-to-face interaction while building stronger connections and a more collaborative spirit.

Mobile compatibility

It seems like the modern workforce is always on the move. If you want to truly empower your employees, your employee platform needs to be accessible anytime, anywhere. This is where mobile compatibility comes into play.

First, it’s important to have a responsive design. Assuming your employees can access your platform from their personal devices, you’ll need to make sure your design and layout displays properly on desktops, tablets, and a variety of smartphones.

Additionally, offering a dedicated mobile app provides greater convenience. Employees can access company resources, communicate with their colleagues, and stay updated on the go, ensuring they’re never out of the loop.

Personalization options

These days, pretty much everything is data-driven, and employee platforms are no exception. So it’s important to incorporate features that cater to individual preferences, making them more relevant to individual users.

One way to achieve this is user profiles that allow employees to showcase their skills, interests, and areas of expertise. Not only will this help build a sense of community, but it also helps colleagues connect and collaborate more effectively.

And you can build on this by offering content recommendations that are based on user activity, which will further personalize their experience. This could be suggestions for training materials, social events based on past interactions, or relevant news articles. This targeted approach means your employees see the information that is most valuable to them, maximizing their time and engagement.

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Robust search functionality

We’ve all faced information overload at some point in our careers. An employee platform that’s overflowing with documents and resources can lead to lost productivity. To combat this, consider robust search functionality.

Platforms should have simple keyword searches that can immediately extract the document you’re searching for, eliminating the need to sift through endless folders. Powerful search tools should be able to crawl through various content types, including text documents, videos, and presentations.

Also consider the ability to refine searches by using filters and tags, as this allows users to retrieve information based on a laser-focused search. When they can find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently, this keeps them focused on their tasks.

Document management

Don’t just casually manage your documents, keep them streamlined. Your employee platform should be a central repository for storing and accessing important company files.

First of all, secure document storage is critical, as it ensures that sensitive information is always protected from unauthorized access. Platforms should utilize encryption and access control features to keep your data safe.

Additionally, robust version control and easy sharing options make collaboration much simpler. Version control allows your users to track changes made to documents, ensuring everyone is always working on the latest version. And easy sharing options, like permission-based access and guest links, make for seamless collaboration and will eliminate the need for emailing large files back and forth.

Task and project management tools

If your company wants to meet deadlines, you need to stay organized. Employee platforms can be powerful tools that help by offering integrated task and project management tools.

These tools should allow your employees to create, assign, and track tasks with ease. This could include features like setting due dates, adding reminders, and prioritizing tasks based on importance.

In terms of team collaboration, look for features that allow your teams to discuss projects, share files, and track their progress in real time. This promotes transparency, accountability, and ultimately smoother project execution.

Social features

By integrating social features into an employee platform, it can create a stronger sense of community and deepen employee engagement.

Consider a platform with a newsfeed where colleagues can share company updates, celebrate achievements, and even post fun team photos. Doing so can help create a more transparent and connected work environment.

If your aim is to encourage interaction and discussion, consider features where users have the ability to like, comment, and share. Not only can employees stay informed about company happenings, but they can also provide feedback and recognize each other’s contributions. This can help promote a more positive and collaborative work culture.

Training resources

Never forget the importance of upskilling your workforce — provide continuous learning. Your employee platform can be transformed into a powerful learning tool that offers a comprehensive suite of training resources.

Consider a platform that provides access to a wide range of training modules and educational content, as this can empower your employees to develop their skills and knowledge. You could include everything from onboarding materials and compliance training to in-depth courses on specific software or industry trends.

And give them the ability to track their learning progress, since monitoring their development helps them identify areas for further improvement. Features like progress bars, completion certificates, and personalized learning recommendations can keep your employees motivated and engaged while learning.

Customizable dashboards

An employee platform should never be a one-size-fits-all solution. Providing a customizable dashboard allows employees to personalize their experience and focus on the information that is most relevant to their daily tasks.

Consider a dashboard that gives an employee the ability to see key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to their role or department — every time they log in. This type of real-time data empowers them to make informed decisions and track their progress towards individual or team goals.

To build on the above, widgets for quick access to frequently used tools can further streamline their user experience. Employees should be able to customize their dashboards to include shortcuts to frequently accessed reports, applications, or internal links. This level of personalization helps ensure that they have the information and tools they need readily at hand, maximizing their efficiency.

Accessibility features

You likely have a diverse workforce, so your employee platform should cater to that. And that diversity may include users with disabilities.

Make sure you’re compliant with accessibility standards such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). This includes features like screen reader compatibility, keyboard navigation options, and alternative text descriptions for images. Then further prove your commitment to inclusion by incorporating features for users with disabilities. In addition to those mentioned above, you could include features like adjustable text size and color contrast options, closed captioning for videos, and real-time transcription for audio content.

Companies that prioritize accessibility ensure all employees have an equal opportunity to access information, collaborate effectively, and thrive in their workplace.

Security and privacy controls

Ransomware attacks are in the news practically every day, so every company needs to stay on top of data security and user privacy. Since employee platforms house a wealth of sensitive information, make sure you have robust security measures in place.

To start, your platform should protect any sensitive information. This includes features like data encryption, strong password protocols, and regular security audits. These measures will help safeguard your company’s data and employee information from unauthorized access or cyber attacks.

Transparency is key. Make sure you have clear privacy policies that outline how data is collected, used, and stored, as this will build trust with your employees. Additionally, features like giving users control over their personal data, such as the ability to opt out of certain data collection practices or to manage their profile information, empowers them and demonstrates your commitment to respecting their privacy.

Feedback and survey tools

Effective communication is a two-way street, so your employee platform should foster a culture of open communication by offering integrated feedback mechanisms.

Your platform should provide multiple avenues for employees to provide feedback, such as anonymous surveys, suggestion boxes, or even open forums. This gives them the opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas in a comfortable and safe place.

Surveys can be a powerful tool for gathering employee insights and suggestions on a wider scale. Many platforms offer prebuilt templates for common topics like employee satisfaction, company culture, or specific initiatives. When companies actively seek and analyze employee feedback, they can gain valuable insights that will help them improve on workplace policies, boost morale, and ultimately create a more engaging work environment.

Recognition and rewards programs

Employee recognition can be a powerful motivator. Having the right employee platform can amplify your efforts by integrating seamlessly with recognition and rewards programs.

Your platform of choice should offer features for recognizing employee achievements. This could include a digital recognition wall where managers and peers can publicly acknowledge a job well done or a system for awarding points that are redeemable for various rewards. Public recognition promotes a sense of appreciation and can motivate others to strive for excellence.

By integrating your platform with existing rewards and perks programs, you allow employees to redeem recognition points for things that they truly value, perhaps gift cards, extra vacation days, or even charitable donations. When you link recognition efforts to tangible rewards, your company can create a powerful system that boosts employee morale, engagement, and their overall satisfaction.

Analytics and reporting

Any platform should increase your ability to make data-driven decisions. When you incorporate robust analytics and reporting tools, your company can gain valuable insights into how effectively your platform is being used and to what degree it’s building on communication and engagement.

Your employee platform should have the tools to track usage and engagement — metrics like login frequency, feature utilization, and the time spent on any specific content. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas where the platform is excelling as well as areas for improvement.

Reports on the effectiveness of internal communication can shed light on how well information is flowing within the organization. This could include metrics like the reach of your messages, employee participation in discussions, and sentiment analysis of feedback. These insights can help you tailor communication strategies, content creation, and any additional platform features that would better meet the needs of your workforce.

Continuous improvement

The success of your employee platform could hinge on its ability to adapt and evolve alongside the needs of its users. Here are a few ideas on how modern platforms can foster a culture of continuous improvement:

  • Regular updates and new features based on user feedback: An effective platform will gather user information through surveys, polls, and direct channels. This valuable input can help to inform future development cycles, ensuring the platform remains relevant and that it continues to address user needs.
  • Beta programs for testing new functionalities: Beta programs allow a select group of users to test new features before a wider rollout. This provides valuable insights into usability and functionality, helping to iron out any glitches and ensure a smooth user experience for everyone.

Conclusion

An effective employee platform isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. By incorporating the features that we’ve outlined above, you can transform your traditional intranet into a modern platform that fosters engagement, streamlines communication, and ultimately empowers your workforce.

Remember, an effective platform is an ongoing journey. With that in mind, we encourage you to gather feedback from your employees and continuously refine your platform so that it meets their evolving needs.

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