Best Practice: Intranet Value

The global intranet offers anyone with access the ability to connect and share information. Modern employee intranets are based on the same premise, and are designed for internal company use. However, as we look at how intranets have evolved, it becomes clear that they require a level of sophistication that meets employees' evolving needs and demands. 

In this resource, you'll find information about the value of an intranet, how to discuss that value to your business stakeholders, and how to evaluate who should govern the intranet. 

  • Value: How an intranet will benefit employees and the overall company 
  • Capabilities: New features that are offered in a modern day intranet 
  • Navigating the conversation: The importance of an intranet goal and a governance committee 

Value

In its most basic form, a modern intranet helps employees better connect with coworkers and find the information they need to do their job. Companies often measure the impact of an intranet on two fronts: by improving overall employee engagement and boosting employee productivity.

An intranet helps employees:

  • Stay informed about important company communications such as important news, strategy, and events.
  • Find and connect with the various experts across an organization.
  • Socially communicate with coworkers, share personal news, and discover shared interests.
  • Access critical information, data, knowledge, and documentation to complete business tasks.
  • Collaborate with coworkers, particularly those across departmental lines or in different office locations

An intranet helps the company:

  • Tighten consistency in company culture across a distributed workforce and in times of rapid expansion with consistent messaging and engagement. 
  • Drive employee engagement with a digital workplace that encourages a place for employees to connect and communicate with the rest of the organization. 
  • Gauge company-wide sentiment and energy on the company’s momentum and strategy. 
  • Mitigate flight risk by documenting tacit knowledge, history, and processes. 
  • Improve overall productivity by making it more efficient for employees to find the information they need. 
  • Onboard new employees faster, improving overall time-to-productivity. 
  • Reduce support costs by encouraging self-service and streamlining common support processes. 
  • Streamline mandatory processes and make it easier to complete administrative tasks (i.e. HR workflows, IT support processes, financial approvals). 
  • Drive adoption of other productivity tools by making the intranet a ‘go-to’ hub that connects the rest of the digital workplace. 

Capabilities

While corporate intranet capabilities will vary from organization to organization, the new modern intranets are demanding new capabilities that weren’t commonplace in previous generations. Oftentimes they include:

  • An immersive, contemporary user experience with a consumer grade UI that employees intuitively know how to use. This makes it easier to drive intranet user adoption and decreases time spent training users. 
  • Strong integrations with connectors to your other cloud based applications. This helps define the modern intranet as the hub of the digital workplace and not just another point tool.
  • Underlying intelligence with an AI-powered infrastructure and smart search capabilities. Data science is helping employees more easily connect with the information and people they need.
  • Social intranet collaboration capabilities that connect and engage employees. These capabilities help employees collaborate across departments and physical locations.
  • Effortless configuration capabilities with point-and-click administration that requires no IT oversight. That way, with an intranet, technical resources no longer become bottlenecks and administration can be distributed across departments and locations. 
  • Strong content organization with document management integrations (i.e. Box, Google Drive), document versioning, and flexible content management options. This makes it easier for employees to find the correct information and prevents the intranet from becoming a dumping ground. 
  • Interactive directories to find and get to know coworkers. This makes it easier for people to find, approach, and ultimately connect with other employees.
  • Mobile capabilities with apps that connect and engage employees on the go. As the workforce is becoming more distributed, a good mobile experience makes the intranet easier to access outside the office.

 

Navigating the conversation

The purpose of an intranet is to connect employees across the enterprise. This can’t be done by excluding employees. The following functions are critical and should be included in your governance committee: IT, Marketing, Internal Communications, Human Resources, the office of the CEO, and Legal and Compliance.

When discussing the value of the intranet to your stakeholders:

  • Be clear on the intent and set goals to progress the charter. Explain how it is a best practice to have a core group who curates company-wide content, oversees Site managers, reviews analytics and metrics, and polices the intranet for inappropriate activities.
  • The core group will need to understand the importance of aligning internal communications, strategy, and culture.
  • Ensure there is agreement to ownership of the intranet and that there is executive support and commitment to the intranet success.
  • Upon identifying your group, it is important to set clear expectations around the roles and responsibilities within the governance committee.
  • Enable the core group to meet regularly (i.e. monthly, quarterly) and the group should reflect cross-functional business units and locations, committed to the ongoing representation and communication on the intranet.
  • Develop measures of success as a team with analytics review to ensures accountability to each other and to employees. 
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