Over the past year, internal communications have played a pivotal role in the workplace as COVID-19 forced remote work onto traditionally office-based organisations.
The companies that thrived in this new normal were the ones with adaptable, innovative communication strategies that maintained productivity when team members were working from home during uncertain times.
Internal communication has been so central to productivity that nearly half (47%) of all remote workers who felt less productive at home attributed this to communication difficulties.
If you’re looking for a way to improve internal communications across a scattered workforce – either due to remote work or due to established, non-office-based teams in your organisation – a company intranet solution is invaluable.
Modern intranets allow your internal comms team to reach your entire workforce instantly with important updates and offer a fast and efficient way of ensuring key operational information reaches team members.
Here’s how you can use your intranet to improve your internal communications strategy.
How can an intranet improve communication?
An intranet can improve internal communications by providing a single access point for company news and other essential company information.
An intranet centralises all your communications into a single space
This includes both company-wide announcements (for example, passing a major milestone, changes in senior leadership or news of mergers and acquisitions) and more operational, day-to-day communications like rota changes and leave approval.
Traditionally, businesses have used different communication channels to reach different segments of the workforce. Whilst office workers could access a desktop intranet or email updates, mobile and frontline teams would typically rely on slower methods like onsite noticeboards.
With a modern, cloud-based company intranet however, all your employees have equal access to a digital workspace via mobile app. This means:
- Your internal comms team members only need to deal with one channel. They can therefore get news out quicker and have less chance of overlooking remote or frontline employees.
- All employees can be notified of important updates instantly, regardless of where they work. This has major benefits, both operationally and in the employee engagement sphere.
A strong internal communications strategy keeps employees engaged
Effective internal communication in the workplace is an essential part of building an engaged workforce.
The good news is that laying the foundations for strong employee engagement and a positive company culture starts an upward spiral. The more engaged your employees are, the more they communicate with others, and the more they feel like an integral part of your organisation.
An intranet solution is an essential part of laying these foundations. Employees appreciate both the immediacy of the updates they receive from the company, and the chance to build connections across your organisation. News and knowledge travel through your organisation more quickly, and employees start to feel more engaged with the wider organisation as a result.
What are the 5 steps to improve internal communication with an intranet solution?
Intranets work best as a single source of truth for all company news, announcements, updates, and operational information. To use your intranet to maximum effect, you need to make it the only channel you use for internal communications and wean your organisation off traditional channels.
Here’s how to improve internal communications using your intranet.
- Create a user-friendly, mobile-optimised intranet design
- Shift all major internal communications announcements onto the intranet
- Train team managers to use intranet software for operational communications
- Set up notifications and read requests to guarantee key messages are seen
- Encourage employee communication with two-way publishing and social features
1. Create a user-friendly, mobile-optimised intranet design
If your intranet isn’t intuitive to use and doesn’t make it easy for employees to find important information, they simply won’t use it. This can have a catastrophic effect on your internal communications strategy.
Create a site design that signposts each key function of your intranet clearly – and make sure you optimise it for mobile. Without mobile optimisation, you risk your intranet displaying unclearly or incorrectly on mobile devices. One of cloud intranet’s major strengths is remote access, so ease of use on mobile is essential.
2. Shift all major internal communications announcements onto the intranet
After a specific date, make it very clear that company announcements will only be published on your employee intranet, and deactivate your legacy channels. This prevents legacy systems undermining your intranet’s effectiveness by providing tempting workarounds.
3. Train team managers to use intranet software for operational communications
Any new software takes a certain amount of getting used to. Offering training to line managers helps establish your intranet as the go-to platform for day-to-day operational announcements, which is beneficial because:
- An intranet is by far the fastest way of fulfilling everyday management tasks like leave management, approving expenses or rearranging rotas.
- If employees need to check the intranet for useful everyday information, it makes it more likely that they will see wider company news promptly too.
4. Set up notifications and read requests to guarantee key messages are seen
Your company intranet should allow you to set up notifications for important announcements, so that no-one misses them accidentally. These should work across desktops, mobiles, and tablets.
To guarantee everyone sees an announcement shortly after you publish it, you can also add read requests to notifications. This means that your users will need to acknowledge that they’ve read the update in the app, so that you know your most important internal announcements are seen across the company.
5. Encourage employee communication with two-way publishing and social features
The most engaging intranets are interactive. If employees can discuss updates, celebrate colleagues’ success, share best practices, and build links across the organisation. This helps to create a thriving company culture in which different teams feel like they’re working towards a common goal.
Make use of social-style intranet feeds, with sharing, tagging, and posting options to encourage this. You could also consider setting up discussion forums on your intranet to facilitate sharing best practice across teams, departments, and locations.