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. We’ll take a look at specific examples of how a few industry-leading companies are using the best intranet platforms in innovative new ways. We’ll also look at why yesterday’s intranets simply don’t work anymore, and how modern employee communication and engagement platforms can now extend the capabilities and benefits they can deliver.
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What Is an Intranet—And Why Should You Have One?
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 share 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.
Social Intranet Software that Encourages Employee CommunicationFinally, a Better Intranet Experience Your Employees Will Love.Learn More
How has intranet technology and the workplace changed?
The current work environment is radically different compared to 20 years ago or so. Back in the old days, employees used a company intranet largely to save and share files. The interactivity features so commonly today were virtually unknown. The intranet was, as such, of little value to employees, if not a waste of resources. Fast forward 20 years and you’ve got a digital-, collaboration- and interaction-oriented workplace. Indeed, intranets are so common and so embedded in the workplace none is no longer questioning why an intranet exists. This does not mean, of course, that intranets are deployed for no underlying rationale or only for collaboration and interactivity purposes. The importance of intranets has grown in recent years so much so performing day-to-day activities without intranets is unimaginable. Essentially, intranets are increasingly used to ensure strategic alignment, achieve employee engagement, and act as corporate memories. Then again, intranets are used for more immediate and practical purposes such as content delivery – now in much more effective and interactive ways. The following section shows how intranets help companies become more effective.
3 Examples of How Different Industries Use Intranet
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.
Example 1: Finance Technology
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 another employee engagement-wise 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.
Example 2: Health Care
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.
Example 3: Commercial Real Estate
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, an 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.
What Should You Look For With a Company Intranet?
In the present-day digital age, it is important to have a tool that keeps your company connected. Here’s how you can utilize an intranet in your workplace to keep your company in sync, productive, and having fun.
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. Modern intranet solutions now offer powerful analytics to see what’s working for employees—across different topics, locations, job roles, and more.
Social Intranet Software that Encourages Employee CommunicationFinally, a Better Intranet Experience Your Employees Will Love.Learn More
7 Benefits of Integrating a Company Intranet
Clear and concise communication is essential for any role in a business, and the quality of a company’s internal communication sets the stage for the future.
1. Enhances Internal Communication
An effective intranet solution encourages communication to flourish across your organization:
Teams can have an open dialog
Colleagues can share and contribute knowledge
Leadership (managers/supervisors) can stay in touch
Different departments can provide and share updates
The best part is that communication moves in both directions. Anyone can share, comment, and provide feedback. An intranet both streamlines communication by bringing it into one place and entrusts individuals with a voice and company knowledge.
2. Connects Your Company Across Locations and Time Zones
Employees anywhere can instantly share information, keeping everyone in sync and improving overall employee performance. Your intranet will become the central hub for your company online. Each employee and location have insights into what is happening throughout the company, regardless of where they are located.
3. Boosts Recognition and Rewards
According to the SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. Employee recognition software empowers every employee to recognize and be recognized on an equal playing field.
4. Simplifies Onboarding
An intranet software makes onboarding easier than ever. New hires can use it to find their place with easy-to-access documents, up-to-date org. charts, rich bios on their peers, and a dynamic news hub that provides information and insights into the culture of the company.
5. Increase Employee Efficiency & Productivity
One of the keys to working more efficiently is to get a single communication system. This idea is supported by the fact that almost half of US workers prefer to communicate with colleagues online, saving on productivity.
6. Inspire a Culture of Workplace Happiness
Amplify the office atmosphere and experience through increased employee recognition and engagement. A company is not a company without its people and most intranets are about the people. Bringing them together, bringing out the best in them, and enriching your company culture in the process. Transform your company culture, cultivate your people and help retain the highest performing talent.
7. Improves Employee Engagement
Fully engaged employees are far more likely to be satisfied, motivated, and committed to their work and company.
Overall, an engaged employee is more:
Positive in their work approach
Committed to developing and maintaining careers at their organization
Creative in solving problems
Motivated to meet and exceed goals
Proactive about learning new skills and starting new projects
Connected to the mission of the company
Workmates: A Comprehensive Intranet Solution
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!
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