Good communication is key to effective collaboration. This is why open-plan offices were the rage in the 1990s and why breakout areas have become so popular with large enterprises – they allow for an organic meeting of minds, and have produced some of the biggest and most successful ideas in corporate history. That said, communication and comfy sofas are only a part of the collaboration equation. The introduction and uptake of effective intranet software can really supercharge your company’s collaborative efforts. Here are 10 ways it can help:
1 – Offer training
Offer training to all intranet users, from top management to front-line staff. Intranet software is great for fostering improved communication, as it brings different levels of employees together – managers and team members can communicate openly and freely when they’re provided with a dedicated space for collaboration. To really get the best of out of it, however, you need to provide your staff with the right tools. Gamified e-learning software, which can be a segment of your wider digital workplace, offers great potential when it comes to training and upskilling your team.
2 – Encourage input from all
The software will be used by all of your employees, so it makes sense that they should all have a say in how it is designed and deployed. Ask for input from everybody, listen to proposed ideas, and implement those changes that are feasible and beneficial. Not only will this help encourage all team members to use the software, but it will give them a greater sense of ownership so they will be more likely to use it.
Encourage everyone to contribute to the design and development of your intranet
3 – Include company files and documents
If you want employees to collaborate on work, you will obviously need to include work documents on the intranet. You can also include company documentation, such as employee guidelines, regular newsletters, and more. The more often you encourage users to use the software, the more likely they will see the benefits of doing so. Incorporating company documents into your intranet also enables anybody, whether they are physically in the office or gain access via a remote digital workplace, can enjoy easy access to the documents they need.
4 – Turn staff into content creators
No matter how attractive your intranet is, or how powerful the software, it is only as useful as the content it includes. Simply adding a long list of documents won’t encourage the degree of collaboration you want, but you’re unlikely to have the time to dedicate providing unique, insightful, and informative content on a regular basis. Fortunately, you have a list of people ready to undertake this task for you. This decentralised approach to content management empowers employees to create their own intranet content – and don’t be afraid to let them post the occasional funny meme or inspiring video!
5 – Make it social… but not too social
Funny memes and inspiring videos are a great way to break up the monotony of the working day. They will also encourage people to use the intranet more often. Allow people to share the occasional video, but put some ground rules in place to ensure that your intranet isn’t drowning in funny cat videos (as great as they are). Allow sharing, tagging, direct messaging, and other social features, but do put policies in place to govern exactly what is considered acceptable use, and what isn’t.
Cat videos are great… but maybe don’t clog up your intranet with them!
6 – Lead by example
If you really want your intranet to come alive, you will want everybody to get involved, and this includes every member of the team from the CEO down to part-time admin staff. Make it inclusive, and consider asking team leaders, executives, and even the CEO to post their own regular updates. You could have a regular spotlight feature and encourage a different department head to post their own insightful piece on what a typical week is like for them. Once team members see that managers are using the software, they will be more inclined to get involved.
7 – Celebrate success
Whether your company has won a major new contract, successfully completed a project thanks to the collaborative efforts of the team, or one of your employees has just got a promotion, post about it on the intranet. Seeing success in bright lights is a great way to motivate your staff. By allowing sharing and tagging, it can also encourage people to brag about their achievements a little, and encourage others to reach the same heights.
Promote good news on your intranet to celebrate your teams’ success
8 – Make it searchable
Once your intranet becomes popular, it will become busy. There could be hundreds of users, thousands of documents, and tens of thousands of calendar entries, messages, and other pieces of data. Rather than just providing navigational menus, add a search function that enables users to quickly and easily find a document that they’re looking for. Not only does this provide greater convenience, but it will streamline the process of finding relevant information.
Make finding information easy with intranet search functionality
9 – Add a Q&A
There will inevitably be times when people cannot find what they’re looking for, or when they can’t work out how to do something. Adding a Q&A forum means that other users can help answer questions quickly and from their own experience, and it can also negate the need to have to offer regular training updates, freeing up time for your managers and training staff. The Q&A can be further expanded to incorporate other areas of business and turn any digital workplace into a powerful training and research tool.
10 – If all else fails, incentivise use
Incentivising the use of your intranet doesn’t have to be a last resort. In fact, turning the use of your intranet into a professional, social game, very often results in the amount of content and the level of interaction from your employees rocket.
The modern intranet is a highly customisable and powerful piece of collaboration software. It can bring teams and entire companies together, whether they are based in the office or utilise a remote, digital workplace; encourage greater communication; and it can be used to streamline many of the processes within your business. However, simply setting an intranet up and expecting it to change your business isn’t enough. Experiment, encourage, and always look for ways in which you can improve and you will reap the rewards!