Are Intranets Still a Thing? Heck, Yeah – And Here’s Why

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Intranet
Intranet

If you’ve ever worked in a call center or tech support, you might know what an intranet is. You could even have fond memories of sifting through knowledge base articles to find the answer to a customer’s problem. What you may be surprised to find out, though, is that intranets are still popular.

Here’s the thing. Organizations need a way to communicate efficiently and effectively. And a bunch of emails and in-person meetings just won’t cut it.

It’s easy to forget what someone said at a meeting or lose your notes. Plus, sorting through emails (even if they’re maintained and organized well) can be a nightmare.

Promoting internal communication is what intranets are good at. These local networks of information give employees what they need to do their jobs.

Team members can share knowledge in a single location and easily refer back to it. Intranets can increase morale and collaboration, especially when some or all of the team works from home.

Intranets are also a good way to market the organization internally and manage talent retention. Here’s more on what intranets can be used for:

Intranet
Intranet

Keeping Everyone Connected

The great thing about intranets is that they can include whatever information a department or organization feels is important.

Want to start an online peer recognition board or have a space for virtual employee introductions?

An internal network can do that.

You can also create space for teams to talk about projects, exchange knowledge and suggestions, and ask questions of leadership.

Some companies use their intranet to post interactive directories of all employees, including email addresses and phone numbers. That way there is no more asking two or three co-workers for someone’s contact information.

Intranets can help knowledge and discussion flow freely between workers with different personalities. Meetings are notorious for feeling like a waste of time.

One or two employees who like to hear themselves talk usually end up dominating the conversation. Those who prefer to listen and process new information first get overlooked. Intranets offer a solution to this problem.

Reticent employees can write out their thoughts and share them on the internal network.

Alternatively, intranet software can support videos, pictures, and other interactive tools. By giving everyone space — and different means — to communicate, employees who would otherwise get drowned out have a chance to be heard.

Increasing Productivity and Efficiency

How much time have you spent going through your inbox searching for an email that was sent six months ago? On the upside, you were smart enough to keep it in case you needed to refer back to it someday.

You might also have anticipated that the email contained important documentation someone else would need. Unfortunately, neither of those prescient thoughts puts the needed email at your fingertips right now.

Searching for something you know you saved takes time — precious time you don’t always have to spare.

Wouldn’t it be easier if those details were in a place where your co-workers didn’t have to ask for them?

With an intranet that’s possible.

You can create a knowledge base about things every employee in the company needs to know. Critical details can be separated and indexed according to department, function, and even position level.

For example, HR can post a list of hotel chains eligible for reimbursement or direct billing that traveling employees can reference.

Marketing can post and update style guides for the creative team. A finance manager can leave behind a procedural manual for a future successor.

All of this readily accessible information can cut down on the need to have meetings and make phone calls.

You won’t have to craft as many emails only to wait (sometimes days) for a response. The entire team will be able to focus on completing tasks essential to their roles and the organization’s success.

Building Morale and Collaboration

With more employees working remotely or in separate locations, an intranet can bring everyone together. Leaders can initiate remote team-building activities that encourage entire teams to share insights.

Weekly updates keep team leaders and members informed about each employee’s workload. Each person has a chance to learn from others about how their work and role fit into the organization.

An intranet can serve as a way for employees to share news and other types of announcements. Employees who recently got promoted or made a lateral move to a new role can receive recognition.

Virtual work anniversary celebrations and excellent performance acknowledgments can remind employees of their value.

Another way to build morale and collaboration in an online space is through employee spotlights. These can be put into short snippets or blog posts with pictures.

Video posts of the employees describing their roles and recent accomplishments are an additional way to highlight their contributions. Either way, spotlights are a great way for workers to learn about each other.

A common reason behind low morale is a lack of communication and transparency from leadership. An intranet can contain posts from managers and executives, including updates on where the organization is headed.

Posts about why leaders made certain decisions can help employees feel they’re in the loop. So can communication about internal mentoring opportunities and how managers are engaging with teams across the company.

Marketing to and Managing the Talent Base

Struggling to communicate to workers about what your company stands for?

Finding it tough to get employees to buy into the organization’s mission and vision?

It may be because they don’t know what the company wants to accomplish and what it values. An intranet can help clear up misinformation and close the awareness gap.

A few interactive posts about brand pillars, the organization’s evolution, and its overarching goals can work wonders. Let employees know how they can help accomplish the company’s goals.

Post opportunities to increase involvement or serve on internal committees that shape the company’s direction.

An intranet can serve as a talent retention tool, beginning with an employee’s first day. Explaining and promoting the culture can reinforce why someone decided to join the company.

Provide access to corporate branding videos, career development paths, and “day in the life” posts about departments and positions. Make it easy to access standard information and forms about benefits.

Intranets can be more than a collection of random knowledge. By putting thought into its design and functionality, an intranet can become a dynamic means of managing relationships within your team.

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