Nowadays, choosing the right intranet for your organization can be extremely challenging. There are so many different options out there and it’s tiresome trying to figure out if the features they offer align with your needs.
After reading testimonials, product feature pages, and case studies, you’re left scratching your head trying to figure out if an intranet that worked well for X company would be just as good for yours.
So what makes a good intranet? Is it the features, the time it takes to launch, the participation rates?
In my opinion, it’s the results. An intranet with all the bells and whistles is great, but if those features aren’t delivering positive results for your organization, the intranet probably isn’t much of a success. So, in this article, we’ll take a results-oriented look at what makes a good intranet.
What makes a good intranet?
Before we even get started, you need to think about why your company needs an intranet. If, for instance, you want to get your people more engaged, an intranet offers a space for them to congregate and participate in your culture. To make an intranet successful, it needs to be utilized efficiently and strategically.
First off, how do we define a “good” or “successful” intranet?
A successful intranet is one that’s used to connect people and make work easier. That’s really what it boils down to.
But how does it do this? A good intranet will solve communication problems, bridge disconnects between teams, build culture, centralize information and activity, simplify processes, and improve workflow. In other words, it produces tangible, measurable results that improve the quality of life and productivity at your workplace.
To properly understand what makes an intranet “good,” let’s break down a few of the key outcomes a good intranet should deliver.
1. Solve communication problems
Your intranet should provide multiple ways in which your people can communicate with each other. As a communication tool it creates space for discussions around projects and tasks, direct messaging, the sharing of files and information, and internal communications and announcements. It moves the conversations away from outdated and cluttered forms of communication (like email).
But perhaps more importantly, it should open up lines of communication that previously were blocked, disconnected, or absent. For example, at some companies, leadership is unapproachable. A good intranet creates an equal playing field where all team members are given a voice and a chance to interact with one another, no matter their job title.
2. Bridge disconnects
A good intranet bridges the divide between teams and people by centralizing discussions and workflow. It’s where the exchange of information and data happens, where different and/or remote teams come together to discuss interdisciplinary projects and objectives, and where the results of their activity are broadcast to other teams via recognition and company-wide news articles.
By providing positive feedback and facilitating collaboration, intranets move projects forward and reconnect teams who might otherwise be operating independently of each other.
News and activity features reveal what’s happening in other departments and what other teams are working on. This creates an holistic view of an organization for each employee, which can increase engagement and foster a more open and interactive company culture.
3. Centralize information and activity
A good intranet is where employees at your organization go for help and answers. It’s where important documents and data live. And it’s a place where any employee can go to learn about policies, procedures, and what’s happening at your company. It’s where they go to read about (and plan) for upcoming events, too.
Although many intranets operate as document repositories with pages and pages of links, a good intranet puts them all in one searchable, easily accessible place. By consolidating company documents, your intranet can also cut training and onboarding costs.
4. Build culture
A good intranet helps develop, strengthen, and amplify your company’s unique culture. Using an intranet to help build your culture is perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your company. It can improve onboarding, employee engagement, and employee experience.
Broadcasting achievements across your organization via your intranet helps create a culture of engaged, purposeful employees with a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. Internal communications, news articles, and active culture champions turn your intranet into a space where your company values can become more firmly rooted.
Now that you know what makes a good intranet, it’s time to resume shopping (I know, I know). But don’t fret. By this point you have a good idea of the problems you want to overcome and how an intranet can help solve them. Good luck!