Most of us are familiar with the concept of a corporate intranet by now. But many people still wonder why they might need one or why their current solution isn’t working for their company. You may be surprised to learn that modern internet solutions have evolved beyond traditional webpage frameworks to offer more functionality and deliver a wide range of new benefits.
Having a dynamic intranet is an important advantage because the parallels between superior employee experiences and business performance are striking. According to Gallup's 2016 Q12 Meta-Analysis Report, companies with highly engaged workforces are 21% more profitable than those with poor engagement levels.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at corporate intranets, including what they are, their top features, and company intranet examples of how companies from a variety of industries are using intranets in innovative ways. We’ll also look at how modern employee communication and engagement platforms extend the capabilities and benefits of the intranet models of yesterday.
An Intranet is an internal hub used by companies to store important information, communicate with employees, increase employee advocacy, streamline key processes, and encourage team collaboration. While there are many benefits to an intranet, here are some of the most compelling:
Improves internal communications: The most effective intranet solutions encourage communication by empowering workers to access and share information. For example, individual departments can upload important documents, leadership can make announcements, and product teams can share launch updates.
Serves as a content management system (CMS): Intranets function as comprehensive repositories of vital information for the entire company. They encourage a community approach to sharing and managing content and give employees valuable self-service access to all of the information they need, at any time.
Can be used with mobile devices: The most effective intranet solutions take information that exists on the intranet and deliver it directly into employees’ hands on their mobile devices. This eliminates the need to search for hard-to-find information on a non-intuitive site. Instead, updates and information can be found on employees’ phones or tablets.
Drives collaboration: By providing centralized access to the tools and information workers need to perform their jobs, employees can find what they need and work better as collaborative teams.
Improves efficiency: Intranet virtually eliminates the need for cumbersome email workflows that waste time and lead to version issues and confusion. Say goodbye to emailing someone for the latest form or document; say hello to enabling the entire workforce to focus on higher-value initiatives.
Provides better support: Departments can post important forms (e.g., HR forms and documents) and let intranets serve as the primary engagement point for support processes, such as IT help desks or HR open enrollment.
Unites geographically dispersed teams: Companies now use intranets to connect remote employees, field-based teams, and satellite offices. This decreases communication issues and increases morale, engagement, and productivity.
Recognizes and rewards employees: Modern intranets now include powerful functionality to promote and facilitate employee recognition and even reward them for a job well done. Rewards can range from a peer-to-peer shoutout or digital high five to a gift card or other giveaway.
These features provide a better overall experience and one that employees appreciate, if not love. The feelings are mutual: Companies that provide a better experience are perceived as a better place to work. This is an important distinction—a recent Seeking Alpha analysis found that publicly traded companies named to Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” list have more than doubled the returns of the S&P 500 over the last 10 years.
“Our staff has praised the increased communications level Workmates delivers. We use it to communicate important project matters and give staff specific ‘kudos’ or even recognize their birthdays. More importantly, we use Workmates to clarify important project details that needed rapid dissemination among the entire team.”
You may be saying to yourself, “a corporate intranet sounds great, but how will it fit into my company’s day-to-day activities?” Great question. It can be difficult to visualize exactly how an intranet will play its part in enhancing your company’s culture. That’s why we’ve outlined ways that three different industries can use a corporate intranet to optimize your team’s communication and collaboration.
Financial technology organizations, especially legacy businesses in desperate need of a culture facelift, can use their intranet’s powerful announcement feature to improve communications and strengthen their corporate culture.
Companies can develop a prominent company feed used to manage important messages and encourage their entire workforce to do the same. The intention of this feed is to publish various recognition announcements—such as appreciation posts, automated birthday and work anniversary congratulations, and more. This can help drastically improve an otherwise serious office environment and guide leadership as they work to create a dynamic culture.
Using Workmates’ kudos feature to offer recognition for employees’ hard work or any examples of exemplary behavior is also an excellent way to boost morale. This practice is extremely helpful in showing the entire workforce that the company appreciates their contributions—no matter how small—and how their efforts support larger accomplishments.
Health care professionals have to work together as a team to provide high-quality care to their patients, but with rotating shift schedules, individual employees’ work can often go unrecognized. It can be extremely valuable for health care companies to use their intranets to focus on employee recognition and rewards.
Using Workmates’ kudos feature to encourage employees to recognize and reward their peers is an efficient tool to create a collaborative and enthusiastic work culture in hospitals, clinics, and beyond. Employees can publish a post at any time to officially thank any other employee. A reward program where employees can receive gift cards, branded corporate items, or other thank-you mementos can also be created.
Even better: List top kudos recipients on a prominent leaderboard within your corporate intranet. This lets them receive even more attention, but it also fosters an ongoing culture where all employees now strive for excellence and higher levels of job performance.
A commercial real estate company can create an intranet with social feeds and a number of different channels to let each specific team send messages and updates to other departments or the entire company.
For example, any employee can post certain announcements to the social feed, including welcoming new hires, sharing employees’ personal events (a new baby!), shoutouts to other teams or employees (like congratulating a real estate agent for closing a deal), office culture updates, and more.
This experience makes communication and collaboration fun. Employees can upload pictures from a corporate event and share them with the whole company. They can also create and post surveys and polls—for example, “what type of cake should we get to celebrate Susan’s birthday?”
Employees can also post memes and hashtags to their social feed, all to increase camaraderie, collaboration, and teamwork. The company can even use a powerful analytics dashboard to track active users and the overall engagement level with the intranet over time.
When you’re using a company intranet for the first time, it may be difficult to distinguish what makes a good intranet. When it comes to culture-building platforms, communication is key. You will want to select a company intranet that has a vast array of features that make collaboration easier for your employees. Consider an intranet that includes one—or all— of the following communication tools:
Corporate data hub: It’s important for your intranet solution to integrate with corporate enterprise systems. This enables connected workflows and easy data retrieval. For example, HR Cloud users can connect and data with point-of-sale systems using Microsoft’s Power BI.
Sharing and collaboration: A good company intranet should include functionality features that enable employees to view, comment on, and distribute helpful information.
Social networking and employee advocacy: Don’t underestimate the value of integrated social media sharing capabilities. Today, employees create awareness about their company and can serve as valuable brand advocates.
Push notifications: Instant alerts help workers see new updates, including new project assignments or tasks, content updates, and specific conversation threads.
Organizational charts and contact databases: These are very helpful, especially for communication across departments. Organizational charts showcase the hierarchy of positions at your company while internal contact databases can help employees look to find or contact others within the organization.
Analytics: Many corporate intranets today simply don’t have the capabilities to report on employee activity metrics. This means companies aren’t able to measure employee engagement or other important usage trends in order to determine whether or not their intranet is truly improving company culture. Workmates offers powerful analytics to see which systems are working for employees across different topics, locations, job roles, and more.
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Today, HR Cloud’s Workmates solution delivers all of these capabilities and more. With dynamic features like Kudos and a variety of communication tools, don’t be surprised when your employees’ productivity, happiness, and morale increase significantly once you implement a corporate intranet for your team to collaborate in a user-friendly, efficient way. To see how Workmates is revolutionizing the way companies use intranets, request a free, no-obligation Workmates demo today!