8 min read
The benefits of an intranet are often overlooked. Here are 11 ways they could help your business if you find the right one.
It’s time to cut back on your meetings. And your emails. It’s time to streamline communication and make work more efficient.
Maybe it’s time to get an intranet, you think. Intranets are powerful tools, but they’re often the unsung heroes of the modern workplace toolkit.
Intranets aim to be powerful employee tools and claim to be unsung heroes of the modern workplace toolkit, even though the word itself is associated with clunky nineties software that’s impossible to navigate and full of outdated files.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. Some intranets have tried to evolve to keep up. Now some might actually help you get work done, rather than inhibit it.
A modern intranet aims to encourage communication across your organization, so:
And the best part is that communication flows both ways. Anyone in the company can share information and articles, and everyone can comment and provide feedback.
In this way, an intranet could streamline communication by bringing it into one place and empower individuals with a voice and company knowledge.
Most intranets aim to become the central online hub for organizations. It’s a place where conversations occur, company news is shared, and events are planned.
With this in mind, an intranet could bring multi-location teams together. That is, if each employee and location can see relevant insights into what’s happening throughout the company, regardless of where they’re based.
Intranets can become a rich pool of information for a company or business, where their employees can find everything from Social Committee updates to the most recent dental claim form.
All this document sharing is valuable for helping people get work done and stay connected to the softer side of the business in real-time.
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. One that’s too information-rich, though, can end up becoming difficult to navigate.
Recognition is an essential part of the employee experience, and it serves to improve employees' satisfaction and engagement levels.
Recognition and appreciation doesn't need to be monetary or excessive (it can be a simple 'thank you'), but it does need to be timely. Some intranets could make this easier if it has a live feed or an integration with a peer-to-peer recognition tool like Bonusly.
A good platform 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 company's culture.
Company 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.
Intranets aim to allow organic knowledge sharing to grow as the person-to-person connections increase and deepen across your company.
You want your knowledge experts to be visible and make it easier for people to connect with them. Subject matter experts can also get involved by leading forum-style conversations or publishing blog articles that help to disperse learning throughout the company.
In this way, the company’s knowledge can grow rapidly even with remote workers. And as more people share their learnings, you can target relevant information to specific groups throughout the platform and avoid the risk of unnecessarily spamming employees.
You can use an intranet to help reinforce your company values in many ways, including
"One of the ways the Jostle intranet has been fantastically useful is for reiterating our values."
VP - Brand, YOTEL
If you find that your inbox is cluttered with emails and your calendar is stuffed with meetings, an intranet platform could make sense for you.
Intranets with a good, integrated instant chat feature make discussions easy. At least, you’d be able to ditch the dreaded reply-all email and have productive conversations away from messy inboxes.
And if this does improve communication, it could make it easier to keep everyone informed as well as garner feedback. This means you won’t need as many large group meetings that suck up time from multiple calendars.
A company is not a company without its people. Intranets are supposed to bring your people together, 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 should become a hive of activity that takes on the company's characteristics itself.
Employee engagement is a tricky topic to crack. But, we know it’s essential. The goal of engaging employees is to make them happier, enjoy improved productivity, and be less likely to leave.
An intranet could 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. Be careful not to mistake engagement with frustration, though. Engagement metrics may appear sky-high in your analytics. But that could be a sign of wasted effort searching for “the right” information.
We wish every intranet would 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.
Even worse, some solutions can even make it more challenging to achieve the benefits you’re looking for. If you’re shopping around for an intranet or similar solutions, be careful about the one you choose.
Without knowing your specific needs, it’s hard to say which intranet could align with your goals. But, if you want to experience the benefits listed above, be especially wary of:
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 usually a collection of cluttered pages that are hard to navigate. Although aimed at streamlining document management, the files quickly become out-of-date.
While the intent of employee engagement is good—to connect people, generate conversation, and bring out the human side of your business—they often fail. Employee engagement tools are plagued with irrelevant clutter, endless notifications, and disjointed page structure.
In fact, doubling down on employee engagement might make employees disengage. These products overlook enabling their people. Instead, they contribute to the information-overwhelm that employees experience.
Engagement needs to come with enablement. Otherwise, investing in an employee engagement tool alone is like putting a more powerful engine in your car but not having any wheels.
The potential benefits intranets offer are important goals to work towards. They can turn your employee engagement around, clarify internal communication, and streamline processes. But, you have to make sure to explore options and align those solutions to your company goals. Only then will you see the benefits unfold– and won’t risk intensifying the very things you’re hoping to solve.
Jostle’s employee success platform is where everyone connects, communicates, and celebrates at work. Find out more at jostle.me. © 2009–2022 Jostle Corporation. All rights reserved.