Digital workplace transformation: Do intranets still matter?

By Gabe Scorgie

5 min read

Digital workplace transformation: Do intranets still matter?

Your organization’s office may not be as packed with people as it used to be. Many employees are working from different locations and in different time zones—some in the field, others at their desk. How can you find a solution that meets all these competing needs, while keeping everyone engaged and connected to the organization? 

That’s some of the reasons why employers are investing in a suite of digital tools to boost employee engagement, communication, and collaboration. This is known as a digital workplace transformation.

Organizations undergo a digital workplace transformation to better integrate computer-based tools and technologies. The idea is to use technology to improve communication and collaboration, which can result in a more engaged workforce, easier collaboration, and increased efficiency.

Intranets were traditionally used to solve this problem, when the workplace was less complex. But today's world of work requires us to leave them behind. 

For your digital workplace strategy to be successful, people need to be at the center of every decision. Intranets have continually shown that they do not do that. Try as they might, they more often succeed in disengaging employees than anything else.

How Jostle can help

4 reasons intranets can’t be part of a successful digital workplace transformation

1. Intranets become a cluttered mess

Modern intranets are like the junk drawer in a kitchen, what you’re looking for might be in there, but you’re going to have to sift through a bunch of random stuff to find it. They quickly fill up with outdated information and dead links. Employees can’t reliably find what they need and stop using it as the source of truth that it’s supposed to be.

Productivity plummets when employees can’t find what they need. Spending 30-minutes looking for a simple document is a hair-pulling experience. It pulls people out of their flow state and distracts them from what’s important.

2. Intranets are too noisy

Because intranets are such a cluttered mess, it can be really, really, ridiculously hard to get content seen. Orgs combat that by sending a barrage of noisy alerts. Everyone starts getting sent notifications about updates that only matter to a small handful of people.

Noisy, irrelevant notifications make employees mute their intranet. That’s not good. Important updates start sailing through inboxes without receiving so much as a passing glance. Nobody knows what’s going on and everybody is frustrated.

3. Intranets feel cold and isolating

Employees struggle to connect to their co-workers. To combat the barrage of noise and mess of documents, departments set up their own intranets within the intranet. A little corner where they might have a chance of finding what they need. But this creates a silo, cutting them off from the rest of the organization.

Without any connection to what’s going on, they begin to feel as if their work isn’t important. That they aren’t part of something that matters. Before long, they begin to disengage from their work. They’re less productive, less satisfied, and more likely to be pursuing other jobs.

4. Intranets don’t enable people to get work done

All of the above points create one major issue. Intranets create a harsh environment that is the total opposite of what employees are looking for when they want to be productive.

Employees want to do a good job. But when you can’t find what you’re looking for, when your inbox is blowing up with junk notifications, when you feel disconnected from your fellow co-workers, it’s almost impossible to do your best work.

What a people-centric digital workplace looks like

So we’ve established what doesn’t work. But if an intranet isn’t the way forward, what is? Here’s what a platform that puts people first looks like:

1. Brings people together

Part of a digital workplace transformation has to take into account that people need social connection to thrive. This is why one of the most important aspects of a digital workplace is creating a sense of community. Community can come in many forms. It can be structured or informal. But it’s an essential piece of the digital workplace puzzle.

Creating a community in the digital workplace can help to improve employee engagement, encourage knowledge sharing, and facilitate collaboration—all of which is very important to keep employees happy and motivated at work.

Employees need to feel like they belong. That means having a culture that employees can buy into and makes them feel like they’re part of something larger. Platforms that put people first ensure that teams are brought together and connect with the organization’s values.

2. Becomes a hub for (silent) communication

Making it easy to communicate across the organization is a huge part of a digital workplace transformation. Information needs to be sent to the right people, and it needs to be seen by them.

Embracing a platform that allows for targeted notifications means employees trust that they are only getting sent information that’s relevant to them. Keeping the notifications silent also means that they can be checked when the employee is ready, instead of having their focus broken by a loud alert.

3. Enables people to find what they need

The digital workplace needs a single source of truth for employees. A place where they can go to find the information, people, and resources they need to do their job.

Your platform should be easy to use and navigate. No complicated search features or mess of old, outdated files. Employees should be able to find what they’re looking for without having to sort through a maze of broken links and old information. 

The file library should also be tailored to the needs of your employees. That means creating different views and access levels based on an employee’s role within the organization. For example, a front-line worker will need different information than a manager. Having specific permissions depending on an employee's role will reduce the overall noise and make sure they only see what’s relevant to them.

A platform designed for your digital workplace

A digital workplace transformation can be a daunting task. But it’s one that’s necessary to keep your employees happy and engaged.

Intranets cannot be part of your transformation. Their design does not put people first. Instead, it creates a mess of broken information, while making employees feel isolated from the rest of the organization.

Instead, invest in an employee platform that puts people at the center of every decision. One that creates a sense of community and allows employees to easily find the information, people, and resources they need to do their job. A platform that promotes communication and makes it easy for employees to celebrate their successes.

Doing so will create a digital workplace that employees will love and have them showing up to work excited for the day ahead.

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Gabe Scorgie

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