Intranet Features For Employee Communication
“Company intranets should be built by stout internal communication programs. The achievement of an intranet is about 60 percent communication, 40 percent technology.” Bob Cohen,
An intranet is just like an umbrella under which one can get every required information relating to the company and the day-to-day work. It is known as the communication platform where we will get the dashboard showing a 360 degree view around the company activity. Precisely, it is a private, safe online network where employees can generate content, involve in certain communication processes, act as a team, accomplish tasks and events, and build up the organization culture.
It is known as the company home-platform, where teams congregate, build an essential repertoire, multi-efficient communication device, and more. Like an internal communications network, an intranet is more than the amount of its parts.
The intranet is a one-stop shop for everything. The intranet design should commensurate with the employee needs and participation. It is a common platform that aids in communication (two-way), teamwork, knowledge management, content development and sharing, social networking, employee involvement, and scheduling.
Every developing company can benefit from the intranet. The below ten questions would actually act as checklist points that rectify any issue and help in proper implementation of the intranet.
Fig 1: Intranet Design Checklist Points
We must make dig deep inside of different features of an Intranet.
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Intranet sits in the core of Communication
Three ways it helps an organization –
- Top-down communications that is nothing but the leadership-to-employees communication
- Feedback of the employees or the employee-leadership communication
- Team discussion in the form of employees-to-employees communication
Now, a brief highlight on this will clarify the whole thing.
- Intranet Terminates Basic Email Issues
All kinds of email issues can be easily tackled by a well-designed intranet when you forget keeping someone in the loop of an important mail or when you overlooked a crucial update as the email was lost in a series of mails, or when you are stuck in a reply-all lists. Intranet liaises with people in different ways and streamlines both instant communication. In the same pedestal, one can easily do host of things: chat with the colleagues, build up communities on different topics, do announcements on various company-related matters, write blogs, upload articles, and build up knowledge dashboard relating to company proceedings.
Some internal communications statistics are given below:
- Only 48% of the emails in connection to the internal communication sent are opened
- And about only 23% of those communications are actually opened
So, it is clear that a major chunk of company communications are in fact not opened. For all the targeted recipients to open the communications, only sending email is obviously not a good idea.
- Intranet aids in gathering the employee feedback
The employee engagement is evaluated by the proper employee feedback. You can easily quantify the employee satisfaction, keep track of employee improvement gaps, and some issues that would have direct impact over the employee turnover.
Employee engagement feedback surveys are great to conduct if these are not siloed in different departments; in most of the cases, the surveys are conducted by the third party tool. On the contrary, if these surveys are done through an in-built tool hosted in the intranet, one can easily fetch the correct data housed in the company server and share among different departments and teams for the betterment of the productivity. Also, the employees all across would be aware of this tool as they interact with it on a day-to-day basis. This would ultimately increase the communication in the workplace, and thereby the employee satisfaction as well.
Fig: 2. Employee percentage accepting communication process
The pessimism at the workplace stems up because of below three communication-centric causes:
- Management is not properly directing the employees towards a common purpose by 38%
- Overall poor communication by 14%
- Regular changes that are not well-informed by 12%
For the sake of proper employee communication and output, it is very much required to have a common platform where all the employees can congregate into a shared cause. More often than not, the same message would become different when everyone is not properly synced. This would be precarious that there needs to be a centralized location from which people should collect content and connect with the other.
- Intranet creates a platform where everyone can communicate together and have things done
In most of the cases, you can find an intranet is equipped to let you connect with your colleagues through some team page or project page. Employees can collaborate and share content of the mutual interest. You can create pages for host of the subjects:
- External portals on customers
- Knowledge banks
- For employee induction
- Campaigns marketing
- Service or product introduction
So, your intranet would actually shape your communications, jobs, and content in any manner as per what you aspire to make the company communications better.
- Project management and task management are simplified by intranet
An intranet helps set and manage projects and tasks in the same pedestal. It is the platform to look after similar other business activities. The intranet aids the project team complete the project. In real time, one can easily check the progress, fix any problem without the emails flood, and follow linked discussions to get deeper understanding on encounters and supplies.
And task management keeps an eye on your own work progress, helps allocate tasks to others, and ensures perfect completion of the project-related tasks. One can swiftly share files and data in one room without even putting it in the Dropbox or in other shared reserves.
- Intranet serves internal stakeholders
Through an intranet, one can combine a normal process and connect solutions among different departments, including HR, marketing, IT, etc. Chat, forums, open discussion trails, and isolated messages are some ways the pioneers help others to solve any issue. Below are some services to start:
- Submit different policy documents of the organizations
- Build a knowledge bank or internal wiki
- Announce various company-centric or department-wise communications
- Give an opportunity for an instant chat for briskly solving the problems
- Broadcast a step-by-step video
Intranet acts as the Knowledge Management tool
Just think about a situation when you are searching an important file in several locations that you think you kept: Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, Company Website, or your internal server. And searching in various locations simply make your head spin and you have not found the file at last. So, in such a situation, intranet can help you store your important documents in an orderly manner.
- Intranet always empowers to integrate your documents
File management as part of the knowledge management services is a way to upload your file in the intranet to your best advantage. In both cases when we directly upload a file or put a link that carries the actual document uploaded in safe somewhere, we are helping ourselves and others to find the file in future without having to waste time on this. You can consolidate the documents the way you want. When in cases, you are unsure where you kept the documents, just make a vivid search to get the desired file. Plethora of documents is saved in the intranet:
- One can build up a knowledge repository wherein one can put different documents, e.g., HR on-boarding documents, project related file, etc.
- You can easily send files through intranet and via chat; also, the chatting conversation is automatically archived to help us get the date-wise history
- Intranet increases productivity
The success and failure of any project depends more on the proper storing of the data and files. It not only saves time, and thus would have direct impact on the ROI, but also it reduces the tensions and frustrations. For instance, when you are giving a final touch to a project completion, you are rest assured to pick the right document for your client. In case of giving on-boarding files to the new joiners, you can easily send the HR page link that houses the pertinent documents meant for them. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, you can actually reduce the time used for searching any document by about 35%, thus relieving 6% of the time to be spent for other important tasks.
- Intranet always creates a real-time knowledge base
A right intranet design helps create a knowledge base to document recurrently positioned files and documents, for example:
- Policy and Practices
- Value materials
- News and success stories
- Important FAQs
- Employee albums
- Training materials
- HR handbook
- Important links containing helpful tools and files
And these are not all. There are some more items that are uploaded in the systems – questions asked in forums, team discussions, and tickets raised in the helpdesk. All of these could be uploaded in the intranet and added in the knowledge base that you can use time after time for different needs. Also, there could be a tab by the name of ideas that invite public ideas. This tool would actually drive ideation at various levels.
Intranet gives social networking option
An intranet always gives a chance to virtually liaise with the peers from different departments thus reducing the barriers and silos; the employees can easily connect to each other and share feedback on the topics of mutual interests, and learn. And this improves the communication and knowledge sharing at company levels, different teams, and departments. The employees will get to know people inside and outside their teams. The managers can get to know the subordinates, and this would finally break the conventions and together they can grow, thereby having an indirect impact on the productivity.
- Intranet builds internal communication channels
Without even leaving the desk, making calls, or sending mails the employees can connect to each other in the form of giving feedback in the discussion trails on any specific topic. Thus, connection with geographically spread teams would happen to inspire teamwork.
- Intranet aids in finding and knowing your employees
Just because the team is geographically spread or someone works from home, it is impossible to find and know your employees all the time even in cases we work with them physically or virtually. In such cases, the employee directory in the intranet is actually helping us get in touch with our intended peers and community can be built. We can get to know the skills of our team members, work history, and successes. Therefore, we can take their help in resolving any issue or advise others to follow them on such specific needs. You can motivate your peers by sending Congratulation badge on any project success or send Thank You badge for any job well-done.
- Through Intranet you can create, share, and publish any good content across boundaries and departments
Through intranet people create content, share in the public posts that others consume, and comments on. The users use different spaces where any new content is uploaded an automatic update will go to everyone in that specific posts. They then start using those content. Thus, intranet gives chance to users generate content that could be used by others. The following content is generally uploaded in an intranet:
- Blogs and new trends about the industry
- New skills for others to follow
- Big team win
- New launch
- New strategy or process
- Cool photos and videos
Employee involvement and growth centre: abolish employee disappointment
At every organizational move, the employee engagement is seen as the bottom-line. Through employee engagement, the productivity is enhanced and employees are motivated. This finally positively impacts the customer satisfaction and employee morale.
Employee engagement stats
- The Del Carnegie Training study shows nearly 71% employees from large companies are not engaged
- In another study by Gallup Research, the employee disengagement is about 18%, thus hampering the overall productivity
Engaged employees loyally advocate the companies they are working for. They proudly mention the company product or service to the customers. They jointly create knowledge for the benefit of others and help others achieve their goals. Whereas the disengaged employees are the burden. They damage company’s reputation and build up discontentment among others and virally impact the productivity. At this juncture, the intranet would actually help develop plans to engage employees by allowing them to use resources and tools and training them in their aspired fields to build up their careers. They would be more empowered to decide their careers.
- Intranet binds employees with the company mission, vision, and values
We often think if every employee is aligned to the company mission, vision, and value! And are they properly aligned and emotionally connected to it? A study done on 40000 employees by TINYpulse survey shows only 40% is aware of it. Employee engagement process is giving access to all the employees to get themselves emotionally attached to the company mission, vision, and values. Intranet is giving everyone this access in a central location. In different formats and segments you can reach your employees, and reinforce them in multifaceted ways: through blogs, discussion, articles, videos, and personalized page to promote the brand.
- Intranet creates developmental opportunities for employees
Employees would be more satisfied if they have ample scope to develop themselves. A company can create different career growth plans for employees, thus reducing the attrition. And just by reducing the gaps between resources they need for their growth and their deliverables, a company can streamline mismatch. Intranet here does this perfect job in supporting and tracking the employee growth programs in the following manner:
- Consolidating the training materials and best practices
- Collecting feedback of employees for the betterment of the programs
- Relaying the company culture to everyone
- Tracking the progress of every employees
- Allowing ever one of them a chance to monitor their developments
- Intranet chances a viral connection with all on developmental plans and unique ideas
When it comes to communication that is doled out to employees through email, there is a probability that those email messages might be lost in the inboxes, or people might not take initiatives to open those mails. It is very commonplace everywhere. An employee might miss the important communication that is sent to him on his personal developments. And sometimes, this may tend to make them feel left-out or insignificant.
An intranet always gives the employees the access to reach what they require the most – important updates, every single prospect, and every planning change. The information may be public or specifically tailored to the right people; as part of dual communication, an email might be sent to them. At the same time, they can share their unique ideas in the viral space, and others in this space can access these information and post comments. Hence, a good communication thread develops leading to successful developments for everyone. The people who may not take part in the public discussion can also engage themselves in such online discussions.
Intranet also empowers employees to utilise their roles and careers:
- Own projects and similar important tasks
- Share creative ideas
- Avail opportunities
- Monitor their goal development
- Advise the process progresses
- Watch out for additional drill and education
- Keep a watch on what others inside and outside the teams are doing
Steve Roesler, noted communication strategist, chalked out ten important questions that would aid engage employees in the workplace. These checklists are effective in formulating the easy solutions to intranet problems:
Intranet acts as a scheduling tool
Intranet makes it easy for all to schedule and monitor meetings, events, and appointments. All the employees would be benefited out of this extraordinary facility.
- Easy planning for meeting inspiring employee participation
People might have more than one tool to schedule their engagements, but those are ineffective as it would be time consuming process. This feasibility ensures good employee participation. You can send emails to employees regarding the meetings or events, but this process is cumbersome. The emails can be lost in inbox, or important persons might be skipped. The easiest and smart way is to schedule a shared calendar in your company intranet and get a quick look of everyone’s convenience. Thus one can schedule a time for meeting.
- Creating attractive events
Other than setting time and calendars, there are some more information relating to the events that make the events interesting and popular.
- Complete information of the event
- Photos and videos relating to the event to make it more enticing. Soon after the event is over, there can be an even update along with photos and videos
- Detailed road-map to the events
- Information of eateries, shops, and any other noteworthy places to drop in
A proper intranet design is always a stepping stone for an effective internal communication. It always gives an edge to people to liaise with the colleagues on any shared topic and gives endless utilities. We have seen people widely accessing the proper use of intranet to increase the mass effectiveness of the platform. It is the platform where they source and search anything, create, share, learn, and motivate others that, in turn, increase the efficacy of the work, impacting directly the ROI. This is not right though to say any negative thing, but it can always be said that a proper intranet design is always half the work done ever since right two-way communication channels are concerned.