Currently, many company intranets need to be updated. They typically function as one-way communication portals based on outdated technology that is difficult to maintain rather than as bustling hubs of activity. This is disappointing because intranets can be very beneficial when used properly. Read on to learn why.
What is a Company Intranet?
An intranet is a technology solution that helps organizations securely connect, communicate, and collaborate with their employees. It is a powerful instrument that can be used to work on projects, share knowledge, and network internally, especially within large organizations. While some companies have neglected implementing intranets, others have recognized their value.
What is the reason behind companies’ increased importance in implementing intranets in various locations, including the U.K. and the U.S.? One of the major reasons is the rise of the remote work model. Although remote work has many advantages, such as having access to a bigger pool of talent, increased worker productivity, and reduced expenses for operations and real estate, it presents certain challenges.
Some of these challenges include issues with communication due to varying time zones, language barriers, and a need for team unity. However, company intranets can be the solution to these difficulties. Company intranets offer a range of helpful features that help address or alleviate these issues, enabling teams to stay connected and focused on completing their work.
Effective communication within a company is still important as it reduces errors and increases productivity. However, how companies achieve this through intranets needs to be updated to modern standards. Suppose you have been assigned to create an intranet for your company. In that case, this post will guide you in creating an accessible, engaging, and secure one that will maximize your company’s benefits. Let’s begin.
How To Set Up A Company Intranet
It’s important to have a well-designed company intranet to improve productivity and ensure everyone is informed. However, different companies have different intranet goals. Follow these steps to create an intranet that meets your company’s needs.
Before choosing an intranet solution, it’s important to have a plan in place. To help guide your decision, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of implementing an intranet?
- What specific problems will an intranet solve?
- What plans do we accomplish with the intranet?
- What features and functionality do we need in an intranet solution?
- How will we gauge the success of our intranet implementation?
- What changes will the intranet bring to our organization and processes?
- How can we encourage our employees to adopt the chosen intranet solution?
It’s important to obtain approval from senior management and other relevant individuals in the organization. You’ll also need to form an internal stakeholder team to manage the process of selecting a solution.
Outline the purpose
An intranet can be used to automate business processes, document management, host social communities, and provide knowledge management capabilities. The features required and the technology opted for should align with the main intentions of the intranet.
Seek input from users
It’s essential to ask for their feedback. This information can guide the development of the intranet’s structure, features, and governance.
Suppose you want to create an intranet that promotes team collaboration. In that case, you should examine the current teams and inquire about the features they regularly use for their work, their favored communication channels, their work locations, and the devices they currently rely on. These details will assist you in determining the necessary features, such as task management, one-on-one and group messaging, and file sharing.
Identify the right solution
Once your stakeholder team is assembled, research the market and find suitable intranet products. Remember to remember the guiding questions when evaluating different vendors and their solutions. Do the solutions meet the criteria outlined by the guiding questions?
Aside from the guiding questions, it’s also important to consider exciting ideas for your company’s intranet that will make it more pleasing to employees. If you decide to enforce any of these ideas, be sure that the solution you select has the necessary capabilities to support them:
- One way to engage employees is by organizing competitions such as naming your intranet, taking photos of your products, or conducting raffle giveaways. It would be helpful to have a polling feature in the solution.
- Collect feedback on operational processes, department-specific items, managerial performance, and company news to allow employees to share their thoughts and feel more involved.
- An intranet with a social feed provides a familiar experience and encourages usage, which is crucial in today’s social world, where businesses must keep up with social trends.
- You can create blog posts that feature customer success stories, as well as personal and professional stories. This will give your employees a platform to share their experiences and feel connected with their colleagues.
- An internal marketplace where employees can safely buy, sell, and exchange items.
- Create an employee directory that provides comprehensive profiles of each employee, including their department, current projects, skills, and areas of expertise. This directory should make it simple for employees to locate colleagues who can assist them with projects, address issues, and offer guidance and mentorship.
Once you have restricted your list of potential vendors, your team must examine their demonstrations and choose the most suitable solution that suits your requirements.
Configure the solution
When choosing a solution, you can choose how much customization you want, from off-the-shelf to fully bespoke. However, even if you opt for an off-the-shelf solution, you will still need to configure it to suit your organization’s specific context and processes.
Your goal should be to create a user-friendly, organized intranet that is easy to navigate so that employees have a frictionless experience. To achieve this, you must set up different channels and usable areas of the intranet, which involves creating the structure.
Build the solution
In this section, you can add content to your setup areas. Remember that the content should not be fixed and should be regularly updated to make it engaging. Additionally, you can give your intranet a unique identity. This will also aid in connecting employees with the intranet.
Rolling out an intranet solution varies among individuals, but mostly it involves testing with specific groups before making it available to the whole company. Larger companies or more complicated solutions require longer rollouts. Besides, this is the phase where you determine employee roles and responsibilities, including content creation, approval, training, governance, policies, etc.
Finally, revisit the success metrics you created to enhance the solution. Analyze engagement levels and other analytics to identify necessary modifications to maintain your intranet as a valuable asset in your organization.
Pitfalls To Avoid
Without established guidelines for staff communication on an intranet platform, it can lead to a situation resembling the lawless American frontier. It can include arguments between coworkers who drag in other company members, leading to avoidable tension and disputes.
Before your intranet, deciding on the communication you want to promote on the platform is essential compared to other channels like email. Additionally, it is crucial to establish what behavior of users is acceptable or unacceptable.
For example, discussing non-work-related topics or using profanity is okay. Lastly, it is important to determine situations that require messaging someone directly. Effective intranet usage relies heavily on how well you train employees to use it.
Benefits Of A Company Intranet
Creating a modern company intranet requires effort and time, but it is worthwhile. By following the suggested steps and avoiding the pitfalls above, you can enjoy several benefits from your intranet.
Employees usually spend much time searching for and verifying information using traditional methods, leaving them less time to make decisions and perform their duties. However, highly organized and searchable intranets can save time for employees, letting them focus on more important tasks.
Promote information accuracy
Sharing company information through word of mouth or email can lead to clarity and understanding. This can be risky as employees may make costly mistakes based on incomplete or inaccurate information. A centralized intranet ensures all employees have access to the same accurate information, updated regularly.
Reduce knowledge silos
In larger organizations, important information and expertise often remain concentrated among a select few employees across different departments or units. Without an intranet featuring blogging, forums, or social capabilities, these valuable resources lack a platform for sharing their knowledge.
Organizations can avoid losing valuable expertise when these employees depart by implementing an intranet that promotes communication and collaboration across different areas.
Increase employee engagement
Employee concentration has been a popular topic in business for several years. According to a survey, 36% of businesses consider employee engagement a significant challenge.
Although an intranet cannot solve all the issues related to employee engagement, it can enhance the sense of connection among employees by facilitating social interactions, providing feedback channels for polls and other responses, and featuring employees’ talents and achievements through blogs and success stories.
Engaging employees from different departments to collaborate can trigger innovative ideas. Due to their exposure to various tasks, such as handling backend operations, interacting with diverse customers, and dealing with multiple contexts, they have different experiences and perspectives.
They can develop novel service and product ideas, selling techniques, and enhanced processes by creating platforms to share their stories and viewpoints.
- For the intranet to enhance productivity, more than relying solely on channels and direct messages is required. Employee conversations should be within the context of their work tasks. This means that communication should be threaded through files that are uploaded, tasks that are completed, and company updates that are read. Without threaded discussions, team members need to refer back to files or tasks before a conversation, which takes longer and can result in miscommunication.
- To achieve your organizational objectives, you need to complete several projects. For your employees to stay productive and complete all tasks, you must add a task management function to your intranet. With project management features, you can assign tasks to specific team members or groups. This way, everyone knows their responsibilities. You can also set due dates to ensure everyone knows when their tasks are due. You can use tools such as task dependencies, critical path analysis, and Gantt charts for more advanced project management.
- Cloud storage is an essential feature that you should have. It provides convenience by consolidating all your important documents in one place. This means that your team won’t have to spend time searching for files in long email chains. However, ensure your company intranet also includes an automatic versioning feature. This will ensure that team members always work with the most recent version of a file.
- Your organization deals with daily information exchange between different entities, including departments, managers, and employees. If there is no proper arrangement, this information can get transferred disorderly and may cause delays. However, having an automated workflow through a company intranet can help streamline the exchange of information. Information can be properly organized and delivered to the appropriate individuals at the necessary time.
- Your workers need to be able to easily search all types of content on your company intranet, including files, posts, tasks, comments, and users. This means being able to search for a specific word or phrase to quickly locate important information, such as a specific file or a note left by their manager.