Intranets have always been about helping small, medium and big organisations achieve faster communication, better social interaction and better management of employees.
According to statistics, the average rate of success for employees attempting to accomplish basic tasks on their intranet is at 74%. On the other hand, average-sized companies are said to gain $5 million per year by improving overall intranet design. Now that social intranet features are being integrated in most older intranets, marketers are faced with the question: how do you engage employees in a company intranet?
Before we get to that, let’s first understand what the benefits of an intranet are.
Benefits of an Intranet
An intranet is said to benefit companies as well as employee productivity. Here are the known benefits of an intranet:
- Reduces cost of day-to-day processes and eliminates paper use
- Improves productivity of employees through social interaction
- Increased security through levels of access
- Better customer service
- Improves employee to employee, management to employee, and employee to customers communication
- Increases employee capacity to collaborate and coordinate
- Internal and external information access
- Cross-platform capability
- Promote common corporate culture throughout the organisation
In the past, these benefits may not have been fully implemented for all intranet users. But as improvements are constantly being integrated, companies begin to recognise the possibilities of intranet to up sales and foster communication.
Some companies and organisations find it hard to integrate an intranet into every day work life. One wrong step can cost you a ripple of failures in the intranet world. But why do intranets fail? What mistakes could you be making?
Why Your Intranet is Failing
There are several reasons why your intranet might be failing. However, with careful planning this can be remedied. If you’re new to intranet, take this as something to learn from. Reasons your intranet could be failing include:
- Out of date information
- Poor search functionality
- Ineffective collaboration
- Untested among employees
- Not user-friendly
- Poor performance
- Poor design
- Not setting up metrics for monitoring use
- Not integrating social features and not building interaction
Let’s focus on how social features in an intranet may be contributing to the overall engagement and productivity of your employees.
Benefit of Social Intranet
The new trend in business is for positions that may not require a physical presence in the office. HR departments are getting used to adapting their policies to ensure the correct collaboration is still practiced within the organisation and from home.
Social intranet goes beyond the usual email exchanges and file sharing. Through a social intranet, companies may have the chance to harness the power of engagement, collaboration, information sharing, coaching, support and acceleration of employee growth.
Other benefits of social intranet include:
- Sharing of documents among employees
- Expanding of talent pool
- Tap on personalised insights
- Gather collective knowledge
- Serves as a hub to share best practices
- Help build company relationships
- Improve communication
- Harness natural learning
For the most part, social intranets make employees happy. Social intranets foster engagement, collaboration, contribution, two way conversations and interaction and it is first and foremost a tool which helps the employee voice be heard.
For those who are new to intranet processes, employee engagement might not come easily. It requires planning and practice. How do you encourage social interaction to grow? We have those tips below.
Tips to Encourage Social Interaction
Before an intranet can become successful in a social form, managers may need to consider other things such as software providers, features needed, design and the training of those who will be managing it and those who will be using it.
#1 Use tools
Never be afraid of too much interaction within your social intranet. You can add features made to encourage more interaction suited for a corporate environment. More users are likely to feel familiar with the social side of an intranet since it may resemble closely their interactions done on other social media platforms. After some time, employees will start to feel like a member of the community.
#2 User Friendly Interface
Remember how Facebook tends to tweak and change the site’s interface after a period of time? It’s because they find something that needs to be changed for users. Your intranet too should be attuned to the needs of your users. This means the interface needs to be easily navigated and user friendly.
Your social intranet need not be a copy of Facebook. Rather, keep it simple and navigable with all the right buttons in all the right places. You can leave this part of the intranet to your designer but it would be good to do a study of what users find useful in terms of design features.
You can start the interactive talk by releasing relevant surveys. These surveys can range from important company decisions to light and fun ones that can pull users together.
The survey can also be used as a way to gather feedback and to further improve your company intranet.
#4 Decentralise content creation and posting
You can gather a team to create content regularly but don’t limit it to this group of people only. Decentralising it s that ever department has a say can encourage interaction.
#5 Build a social network
Your social intranet should be fun for your employees and you shouldn’t be afraid of that. The fun will help users feel connected. Like social media, you can also make use of the intranet to recognise awards, introduce new employees, post birthdays and even hold contests.
#6 Post information to the intranet
And only to the intranet. Although this might sound like too much organising, posting memos and information in the intranet alone (minus the paper memo) will encourage employees to get to know the intranet and check it daily. Stop using emails for general information dissemination.
#7 Notify users about new content and news
To make sure your intranet is visited every day, keep your users updated. Have a part of your intranet homepage dedicated to “what’s new” in content and socials.
#8 Encourage non-contributors
No matter how you do it, there will always be employees who find it hard to integrate the intranet into their day-to-day work time. Now, these non-contributors can be turned to contributors. The thing is, you have to study the patterns and figure out if they are specific people who keep coming back.
#9 Hold contests
Hold monthly photo submissions or puzzle solving contests. You can get creative with some games while your employees provide their useful answers and contributions.
#10 Don’t shy away from questions
There will always be questions, and sometimes they may be hard to answer. This is where some intranets are afraid to let go. If you don’t know the answer to an intranet-related question, find someone who does know and ask them to answer the question, perhaps a senior member of the organisation.
#11 Invite experts to blog
You can invite experts from your field to blog within your intranet. This doesn’t mean that you are giving them access to the intranet, but you can simply publish the content, making it visible to employees and the wider public. This may lend some credibility to your blog posts. However, don’t discount content created by employees. If they have something to offer to the company, post it within the intranet for a deeper sense of engagement.
#12 Ask for feedback
How will you know if your intranet is strong or weak if you don’t ask for feedback? Give out periodical feedback requests or feature them with every new intranet feature you lunch. This way, you will be given insights as to how you can address problems in the next feature you will be launching. This will allow some forethought when fixing glitches and reinforcing the strong points in your social intranet.
Why go social? Because it’s the next big thing in the intranet world. If the Internet is going crazy about social media, the social intranet might just achieve the same levels of engagement among your employees, allowing for improved productivity in the workplace.