An intranet, not to be confused with the internet, is a local or restricted network that enables employees to store, organize, and share information within an organization. Often managed by IT and leveraged by various departments across the organization, the company intranet can be a powerful tool for addressing today’s digital workplace challenges.
The problem is that many organizations have dismissed the idea that their intranet can be useful. It’s there, it appears to be working, but it’s not bringing any noticeable benefits.
In a recent study, 80 per cent of employees working in medium-sized and large organizations said their company has an intranet, and that it’s a tool they rely on regularly. In fact, 81 per cent had used it in the last week. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this tool that employees rely on regularly is still slowing them down. The same report uncovered these surprising stats:
- 43% of employees have avoided sharing a document with a colleague because they couldn’t find it or believed it would take too long to find.
- Only 29 percent of employees knew how to submit an idea.
- Only 30 percent knew how to request resources from another team.
- Less than 25 percent knew where to find their corporate brochure.
- Only 50 percent knew how to submit an IT request or book a vacation.
What these findings tell us is that employees want to find value in their intranet – hence why they continue to log on – but that organizations haven’t done enough to communicate the purpose of an intranet and leverage its many features and capabilities to their advantage.
Why would a company use an intranet?
Before we dive into specific uses of an intranet, it’s important to set aside any baggage that the word “intranet” has accumulated over the years. Yes, intranet systems have been known to cause headaches – as disorganized dumping grounds for company information.
But thanks to modern, engaging solutions, we can leave those troubles behind. So, let’s flip this thinking around and consider five ways the company intranet can be used as a power for good.
1. Internal Communications
Consolidating internal communications on the company intranet – from leadership news to HR or IT updates – is an easy way to gather important information in one place. It allows the internal communications team to focus their time, effort, and resources – and it clears up any confusion among the employee base about where to find the latest news.
With interactive blogs, newsfeeds, and a virtual town hall center, you can transform your intranet into the ultimate internal communications channel. Plus, with social features such as liking, commenting, and rating, you can measure engagement with content and create an ongoing, two-way dialog between employees and the leadership team.
2. Employee Engagement
Closely tied to internal communications is employee engagement. The company intranet can be used for activities like contests, events, polls, and photo galleries. In fact, this is one of the best ways to get employees coming back to the intranet everyday. You can create a dedicated place for these activities – like a social center – or treat the whole intranet like your primary engagement vehicle, leveraging engagement features and solutions across several areas.
3. Content Management
One of the most common uses of a company intranet is content management. An intranet gives you a place to store and share company documents in an easy-to-use, easy-to-search location. Plus, some intranets integrate with third-party file-sharing apps like SharePoint, Dropbox, and Box, so it’s easy to find what you need – no matter where it’s stored.
A company intranet also allows you to document knowledge in the form of wiki articles. What you end up with is a central knowledge base full of company information that can easily be updated, with version control and automatic notifications when content has changed.
4. Team Collaboration
With the rise of remote work and virtual teams, being able to leverage your intranet as a team collaboration tool is critical. Managing team projects using email and shared drives can be complicated and unnecessarily time-consuming. Instead, you can create a team room on your company intranet where you can share files, important dates, and progress updates. It’s all contained, organized, and accessed by team members – wherever they are.
5. HR Programs
As the employee experience becomes a primary focus for many organizations, it’s essential that the company intranet can be leveraged throughout every stage of the employee lifecycle. From onboarding, to learning and development, to recognition and promotion announcements – all employee-focused programs and news can be accessible via the company intranet.
Start by creating an onboarding center that has the company’s mission, vision, and values – and introduces new employees to the company culture. Then weave the same messaging through the online employee handbook and recognition center to ensure consistency at every turn.
It’s time to put your intranet to work
All of these use cases could be addressed using different tools, each with their own technical requirements and barriers to adoption. But with a more modern digital workplace platform, you can bring them all together into one digital destination.
Like many large organizations, you might already have an intranet. It’s become a staple as the workplace continues to be powered by digital tools. But, ask yourself: what purpose is it serving?
You’ve already invested in the technology. What’s important is that you’re leveraging it for its intended purpose… and more. Just think about the business value you could realize by making it work a little harder.
Or maybe you don’t have an intranet yet, or you’ve been on the hunt for a better solution to one or more of the use cases above that your current intranet just can’t handle. If that’s the case, we can help.