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even though the word itself is associated with clunky nineties software that’s impossible to navigate and full of outdated files.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:
Teams can have open discussions
Individuals can share knowledge
Leadership can stay in touch
Departments can provide updates
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.
“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
2. Connects your company across locations and time zones
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.
3. Helps employees find information
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.
4. Boosts recognition and reward
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.
"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 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.
6. Provides organizational clarity
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.
Ditch your intranet and boost productivity at work
7. Encourages knowledge sharing
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.
“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
You can use an intranet to help reinforce your company values in many ways, including
Publicly recognizing employees for living out your unique company values
Sharing web articles so people can celebrate milestones
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, 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.
10. Brings your workplace culture to life
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.
11. Improves employee engagement
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:
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 usually a collection of cluttered pages that are hard to navigate. Although aimed at streamlining document management, the files quickly become out-of-date.
2. Employee engagement platforms.
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.
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.
It's time to ditch your intranet
Find out why people are leaving their intranets behind, and moving towards a modern platform.