A modern intranet portal can help managers accomplish their goals by providing an intuitive way to communicate with their teams and employees. An intranet portal can be a valuable tool for managers to engage with their teams on various projects and initiatives while also providing an opportunity to keep employees up to date on company news.
This guide discusses how to build an intranet portal that meets your needs while providing the best possible user experience for your team members.
Purpose of an intranet
But, first, a quick primer on the purpose of an intranet.
An intranet is a private network that consists of web pages, files, and other resources only accessible to employees within an organization.
An intranet portal serves as the public face of your business’ internal processes. It exists for team members who are already part of your company or have been invited into it.
Its goal is to improve internal communications and the sharing of information about policies, procedures, rules, benefits package details, etc. throughout the organization – in short, everything an employee needs to know to integrate with the rest of the company successfully.
A modern intranet portal provides three main benefits to your company: improved communication between management and their team members, increased productivity, and better integration across departments or offices.
Features to consider when building an intranet portal
When building an intranet, there’s no-one-size-fits-all solution – every organization has different needs based on how the company is structured. However, modern intranet solutions should have the following features at the bare minimum:
- Information management features: These features help manage information across an intranet portal’s different tools by making it easy for managers and employees to find what they’re looking for. Examples include search, tagging, and categories, digital asset management (DAM), e-discovery tools, file sharing capabilities like Dropbox or Google Drive integrations, webinars/virtual conferences, RSS feeds, an events calendar, task management features.
- People management features: These features help managers manage their teams by providing a central location for announcements, links to resources such as training materials or HR information. This category also includes tools that allow you to schedule and coordinate meetings and features that let employees book conference rooms right through your intranet portal.
- Productivity features: These tools help employees improve productivity by giving them access to the correct information at the right time, anywhere. These features include customizable home pages, which allow team members to see tasks assigned to them or due dates for projects they’re involved in. They also include personalized news feeds and notifications of updates from apps your organization uses.
- Social intranet applications: These are communication channels for collaboration, staying connected, and team building. The tools in this category include asynchronous intranet messaging, collaboration capabilities, forums, and in-system notifications.
- Intranet customisation features: Intranets need to be flexible to meet the needs of your organization. The features in this category allow you to change aspects such as navigation menus, color schemes, and widgets for personalization.
Key considerations during intranet evaluation
There are several key considerations when evaluating different intranet solutions. Some of the issues you should take into account include:
- Your business goals: What are your specific intranet goals? Before choosing a solution, know what you’re trying to accomplish and how the intranet will help achieve those goals.
- Integrations and features: How well does the solution integrate with other technologies your organization is using? What types of integrations does it have, and what functionality do they provide in the context of your business goals?
- Your budget: How much money can you spend on a new intranet solution, and which features are most important to your team members when deciding between different options?
Choosing the name and design
Why is the name and design of your intranet important?
Well, just like your website needs to be eye-catching and appealing, your intranet portal needs to be easy-to-use and look good for your employees. That means choosing a name that evokes your values and may include keywords related to your business goals.
Building your intranet strategy
Deploying an intranet involves many moving parts and deadlines. Therefore, your deployment strategy should include:
- Page creation: Your intranet portal will have pages for different types of content. How many will be needed, and what should be included? For example, an HR-related page might consist of a list of the company’s open positions, a list of upcoming HR-related events and workshops, and the company’s benefits package.
- Page templates: Once you have a list of pages, it’s time to create templates for them. What kinds of information should be included on each page? How should it be organized?
- Governance: Some intranet platforms use wiki-style editing, while others are more traditional. The platform you choose will have a significant impact on your intranet’s design and how it functions.
- Content inclusion: What types of information or content will need to go on each page template? For example, the HR-related pages might include information about company events, job openings, and benefits.
- Documents: What types of documents should be included on your intranet portal? For example, you may want to include employee manuals or FAQs.
- Surveys: After your intranet portal is live, you’ll want to ask for feedback from employees about what they like and don’t like about it.
- Employee access: Your employees need to access the portal whenever they’re in the office, and there needs to be access control for different types of employees.
Once you’ve considered all factors and narrowed down your options to a handful of finalists, it’s time for pilot tests with employees or departments before launching an intranet that everyone will use.