It’s time to cut back on your meetings. And your emails. It’s time to streamline communication and make work more efficient.
So, it’s time to get an intranet.
Intranets are powerful tools, but they’re often the unsung heroes of the modern workplace toolkit.
The word is associated with clunky nineties software that’s impossible to navigate and full of outdated files.
But, the world of work has changed a lot since then. And some intranets have evolved to keep up. Now they actually help you get work done, rather than inhibit it. Here’s how.
11 benefits of an intranet
1. Improves internal communication
A modern intranet encourages communication to flourish across your organization:
Teams can have open discussions
Individuals can share knowledge
Leadership can to stay in touch
Departments can provide updates
And, the best part is that communication flows both ways. Anyone can share information and articles, and everyone can comment and provide feedback.
In this way, an intranet both streamlines communication by bringing it into one place and empowers individuals with a voice and company knowledge.
“For employees to be highly productive, they require clear role expectations, the ability to do what they do best, communication about their organization’s mission and purpose, and learning and development opportunities [...]. When employees’ needs are met, they don’t just become “happier”—they become better performers." - Gallup [Source]
2. Connects your company across locations and time zones
Your intranet will become the central hub for your company online. It’s where conversations take place, company news is shared, and events are planned.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see how it brings multi-location teams together. Each employee and location has insights into what’s happening throughout the company, regardless of where they’re based.
3. Helps employees find information
An intranet is a rich pool of information. There’s everything from Social Committee updates to the most recent dental form.
All of this information is valuable for helping people get work done and stay connected to the softer side of the business.
An intranet with a simple user-interface and rich search tool will enable employees to stay in the loop and find the information they need.
4. Boosts recognition and reward
Recognition is an essential part of the employee experience, and it serves to improve employees' satisfaction and engagement levels.
Research shows that the recognition or reward doesn't need to be monetary or excessive (it can be a simple 'thank you'), but it does need to be timely.
It's easy to do this with your intranet if it has a live-feed and/or an integration with a peer-to-peer recognition tool like Bonusly.
"Every instance of recognition adds a little more to (or takes away from) your company culture." - Tori Fica, BambooHR [Source]
5. Simplifies employee onboarding
A good intranet makes onboarding simpler than ever. New hires can use it to find their feet with easy-to-access documents, up-to-date organization charts, rich bios on their peers, and a vibrant news hub that provides information and insights into the culture of the company.
6. Provides organizational clarity
Intranets with clear and dynamic organization charts provide clarity on the shape and set-up of your company.
Other features, such as individual bios or profiles, add rich layers to this clarity and help employees understand the roles and responsibilities of individuals throughout your business.
Want to propel your intranet to the next level?
7. Encourages knowledge sharing
Intranets allow organic knowledge sharing to grow, as the person-to-person connections increase and deepen across your company.
Knowledge experts are more visible, and it’s easier for people to connect with them. Experts can also get involved in forum-style conversations, or release a blog article series that helps to disperse learning throughout the company.
In this way, the company’s knowledge can grow rapidly, as a multitude of individuals share their independent learnings.
“There is no limit to the amount of knowledge that an organization has. However, where the issue of knowledge sharing is concerned, it is most important that employees share their job-related knowledge with each other, so that they will be able to perform their job better and eventually lead to higher organizational performance." - FaizuniahPangil [Source]
8. Reinforces your brand and values
If you’ve ever wondered how to reinforce brand and company values, your answer is here.
Intranets provide many avenues for putting your company values front and centre, such as:
Publicly recognizing employees for living out company values
Sharing web articles relevant to your values
Asking employees to share examples of the values they see in daily work life
"One of the ways the Jostle intranet has been fantastically useful is for reiterating our values." Jo Berrington VP - Brand, YOTEL
9. Reduces emails and meetings
If you find that your inbox is cluttered with emails and your calendar is stuffed with meetings, it may be time to invest in an intranet.
Intranets with a good, integrated chat feature make discussions easy. You’ll be able to ditch the dreaded reply-all email and have productive conversations away from messy inboxes.
With improved internal communication, it’s easier to keep everyone informed and garner feedback. Which means you won’t need as many large group meetings that suck up time from multiple calendars.
10. Brings your workplace culture to life
A company is not a company without its people, and modern intranets are about those people. Bringing them together, bringing out the best in them, and enriching your company culture in the process.
Through the actions mentioned above—peer-to-peer recognition, leadership articles, brand messaging, and more—a good intranet becomes a hive of activity that takes on the characteristics of the company itself.
It's a hotbed of company culture.
11. Improves employee engagement
Employee engagement is a hard topic to crack. But, we know it’s incredibly important. Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and less likely to leave.
An intranet can improve engagement in a number of ways. As the company culture (mentioned above) comes to life on your intranet, it’s easier for employees to understand the bigger picture and feel part of it.
And, as an intranet is a place for active communication, employees can use it to stay connected with their team and get feedback from managers.
"The majority of workers, 62%, are not engaged—that is, emotionally detached and likely to be doing little more than is necessary to keep their jobs." - Gallup [Source]
I wish I could say every intranet will help you in this way, but unfortunately they can’t. The intranet market is a congested and confusing place—a lot of very different products fall under the intranet umbrella.
If you’re shopping around for an intranet, be careful about the one you choose.
Without knowing your specific needs, it’s hard to say which intranet will be best for you. But, if you want to experience the benefits listed above, be wary of these two types of intranets:
1. File repositories. A lot of intranets are old-school file repositories, with limited functionality. Often the information and articles come from the top down, limiting two-way dialogue and employee engagement. They’re often a collection of cluttered pages that are hard to navigate. The files quickly become out-of-date.
These intranets offer a poor user experience and won’t help generate or improve communication amongst individuals, teams, or leadership.
2. Social intranets. While the intent of social intranets is good—to connect people, generate conversation, and bring out the human side of your business—they often fail. They commonly attempt to use overt gamification to keep people engaged. It’s both noisy and unsuccessful.
These intranets often result in an initial burst of non-work related chatter, and eventually fizzle out because they’re not work relevant.
An intranet can be a powerful tool. It can turn your employee engagement around, clarify internal communication, and streamline processes. But, you have to make sure you get the right one. Only then will you see the benefits unfold.