It’s not hard to find examples of intranets failing. They've been around forever—they're practically prehistoric in internet time—and were created for a completely different way of working. The tech simply can’t keep up with today's hybrid, information-rich, and fast-paced world.
So it's no surprise to learn that 90% of intranets fail. User adoption is low, maintenance is too specialized, and things start to break as an organization grows. Why does this happen? Because their design is cluttered and the user experience is painful.
In this article, we explore several examples of what intranets aim to accomplish, why they fail, and the common challenges that organizations face with these solutions.
1. Work becomes way too noisy
We all have periods in the day where we want to focus on a single task. The headphones are in, the phone is locked in a safe, the coffee and snacks are within arm’s reach. We are ready. And just as we’re ready to get started…*ping* a notification. A message from a co-worker. An irrelevant update sent to your entire department. These *ping* notifications seriously disrupt our focus. Especially when *ping* these notifications are happening at *ping* random.
As the review above suggests, Igloo poses a huge amount of distraction for remote workers through noisy notifications and spam emails that “folks are incredibly put off by”.
That’s a huge problem. Workplace tools should help people work. If they don’t, they’ll either be thrown to the curb by employees or become a focus of frustration for the entire organization.
There’s no reason for noisy intranets. Other software solutions understand that employees want to get work done. That means checking notifications when it suits them, not when software tells them to. Also, having a central place where teams can discuss projects and share files means no more pesky email blasts.
2. Information is hard to find
SharePoint intranets are the OG file repository for companies. They aim to organize your important information and policies in a way that makes sense. Unfortunately, most of the time nobody can find what they’re looking for.
With a standard employee intranet, each department ends up with its own site within the intranet homepage. Each of these sites becomes its own information silo. That’s not good. One of the key reasons companies use intranets is to bridge these silos. So when their silo-stopping software is actually just creating more silos somewhere else, there’s an issue.
On top of that, the user experience is often poor. The random use of widgets and templates means that each page looks and feels different. Employees never know what to expect and they rarely know where to look and people stumble across outdated versions of content. Everything gets cluttered and disorganized and employees give up looking for information on the intranet.
It’s possible to break free from silos and unite all your information in one, easy to search place. A central reference library allows everyone to quickly find key information. Combine that with a universal search tool and Google workspace and Office365 integration, and employees will always know how to find what they’re looking for.
10 ways employee intranets break and clutter:
3. Employees become disengaged
Some intranets are clear products of the social media age. Their goal is to connect employees and improve engagement by encouraging people to participate in company culture on a regular basis.
But the only thing intranets succeed at is disengaging employees. When notifications and updates are constantly thrown in an employee's face, they start to question what they’re supposed to focus on and what their priorities are. This leads to them getting overwhelmed and ditching the software entirely.
Employee success software understands that people want to work, not be distracted. Silent notifications allow users to check their messages when it's convenient for them and an easily organized task list means that people always know what needs to be done and when it's due.
Moving on from modern intranets
As we can see by these intranet examples, they're prone to clutter and fail. Even "modern intranets" are already outdated, despite masquerading around as the new, high-tech solution. At best, they’re noisy and irrelevant to people’s work. At worst, they get ditched entirely and become a ghost town. Neither is the solution that organizations are looking for.
To truly find a solution that can satisfy your communication and employee needs, consider a tool that takes a proactive design approach to eliminate frustrations and blockers in the workplace. There are alternatives, such as an employee success platform that’s designed to focus on what people need to feel successful at work.
The impact? Happier employees who want to stick around and contribute even more.
90% of intranets fail. It’s time for a different approach.