So build it – well, build it right – and they will come.
Intranets, for companies big and small, have been around for a while. They are supposed to be a source of information, but due to neglect, poor management and underfunding, have in many cases become outdated, ineffective and finally unused. Here are some tips on how to evolve your intranet to a resource that will engage employees and increase productivity:
Content organization and navigation
A successful intranet still relies on useful, updated information that is easy to find. Employees won’t really care about what technology is used as long as they can find what they need – phone numbers, tool sharing, pay statements – quickly. Put a premium on easy navigation, such as a search function, especially on the homepage. If you use the intranet for company news and corporate communications, update it frequently with short updates or even an external news feed for industry news and information.
Personalization and optimization
Adapt your intranet to serve the needs of executives and employees who are on the go and utilize mobile device to do business. Optimize the content so it can be consumed on mobile devices, supports multiple browsers and automatically detects new device types for those in the field. Another key is to connect the intranet to data and applications used throughout your business to deliver on functionality. According to the International Data Corporation, companies on average waste $11,000 per year per salesperson because of activities like searching for information. More than just a place to house documents, these intranet upgrades are all part of the personalization process for each employee.
As a technology, social media can augment the purpose of an intranet – to share information. The next step after information is engagement, which will foster communication, collaboration and productivity. Utilize social media capabilities with tools like discussion forums, instant messaging, wiki sharing, Twitter feeds and comments/ratings features.
Above everything else, an effective intranet serves the needs of your company and employees. To that end, have a strategy and commit company leaders to help guide it to increase support and continuous improvement. Provide a mechanism for employee feedback to help drive engagement and buy-in from all levels of the company.