Is your company intranet looking dusty, neglected, and underused?
The temptation, of course, is to write off intranets entirely. “They’re a hangover from the mid-noughties” we hear you cry. “No-one uses them anyway, no matter how much we update it.”
We’d like to assure you that nothing is further from the truth.
With a moderate amount of effort, you could transform your outdated intranet into a major internal communications and employee engagement tool that builds connections, knowledge sharing, and performance across your organisation.
Are intranets obsolete?
In a nutshell – absolutely not.
Whilst traditional intranets have shifted from the static homepages of previous decades, the intranet is very much alive as an internal communications tool.
Not only that, but businesses of all sizes have been using them to great effect throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Consider that, over the course of the pandemic:
- Sodexo claims that intranet sales incentives have delivered a 100% increase in leads
- IBM used intranet-based e-learning to achieve benefits worth $284 million
- Liberty Mutual employees can find key information 70% faster thanks to their intranet, delivering millions in savings
- The teams at Apprenticeship Connect were able to keep teams engaged throughout lockdown as a result of their intranet.
- In other words, intranets work when delivered right. Your company intranet will only die if you don’t adapt it to the needs of a modern workplace.
Three easy ways to revive your intranet
If your intranet isn’t performing as well as it could be, there are a couple of simple actions you can take to rectify the issue.
Ultimately, a major communication tool which centralises key workplace information should be a great way of increasing employee engagement. With the right approach, you will be able to achieve excellent buy-in for your intranet software.
Use the tips below to increase intranet usage across your organisation.
1. Make sure your intranet looks the part
Would you bother using a software tool whose user experience hadn’t been updated since 2007?
The answer would almost certainly be a resounding “no”.
The same goes for your intranet. If it looks out of date and the design is dated, your employees won’t use it. Even if your intranet’s design was world-beating a few years ago, it may well feel clunky and difficult to navigate now.
If your intranet is looking neglected, sprucing up the user interface is a great first step to increase user engagement with it. This will make it easier for your workforce to use, and will draw people in with a refreshed, modern look.
Take the intranet homepage below as an example:
(Image source: claromentis.com)
This is an intranet homepage designed for Apprenticeship Connect, a UK-based training provider and recruitment company, specialising in connecting individuals with high-quality, job-specific apprenticeship programmes.
Straight away, you can see that:
The familiar, user-friendly structure and prominent navigation menus and search bar make it easy to find key information
The design is crisp, clear, welcoming, and uncluttered, with clear sections for company news, upcoming events, new knowledge articles, and a big link to the company’s mission statement reflecting the site’s purpose as a collaboration tool, information repository, and centralised hub that brings the whole company together
The entire intranet is optimised for mobile, meaning it can be accessed easily on the go
And intranet designs and branding don’t have to be static.
In fact, the great thing with Apprenticeship Connect’s intranet is that, by using our intranet design tools and content management system, the company is able to run “takeover themes” and completely rebrand the site in celebration of key calendar dates like LGBT+ History and Black History Month.
The company frequently creates customised designs to promote awareness and facilitate discussion about these topics, reinforcing the company’s culture and values.
(Image source: claromentis.com)
2. Move your intranet to the cloud
What’s one simple reason that your employees might not be using your intranet? They might not be able to access it!
If your intranet is hosted on-premises, it can be very difficult for remote and frontline teams to access it. It’s not impossible, but it takes a lot of coordinated effort, and many organisations lack the IT resources to provide it.
Intranets with cloud-based mobile apps are significantly easier for people to access on the go – particularly from smartphones and tablets. Simply install your intranet app on a mobile device for access anywhere with an internet connection.
As organisations large and small start to consider their ‘back to work’ plans after over a year of working remotely, being able to access information from anywhere will become increasingly important.
McKinsey predicts 20-25% of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home three to five days a week post-COVID.
(Image source: mckinsey.com)
Meanwhile, the majority (57%) of workers who have worked remotely across the pandemic want to continue to do so long-term, at least part of the time.
(Image source: yougov.co.uk)
If you want to leverage remote working options to attract and maintain top talent, a fully functional digital workplace will become essential. Hosting your intranet in the cloud is a great way to do this.
3. Incorporate social features and lead by example
With modern intranets, it’s easy to incorporate a range of social network-style features that your employees can use to build bridges across the organisation.
Two-way publishing, content management, commenting, tagging and discussion forums can all elevate your intranet from a boring company news publishing site to an interactive, engaging employee experience tool.
Social features allow employees to share best practices with colleagues, celebrate successes, and create useful, professional connections across your organisation. They also help employees situate themselves and their role as part of the wider organisation, so they can see how their success helps others.
It’s also crucial to make sure your senior staff, managers, department heads, and execs participate enthusiastically on your intranet. This is because:
Senior managers set the standard of behaviour across an organisation
People will be naturally less interested in social features if they can’t network with higher-ups
This could be posting updates and blog posts, engaging in discussions, or simply recognising good performance with a ‘like’ or a ‘share’. Remember – instilling good organisational habits starts at the top, so you should be particularly enthusiastic about getting highly visible senior staff on board.