Today’s employees juggle too many applications: email inboxes, communication tools, Google Drive, HR tools, and IT help desks. Instead of a disjointed tech stack, a well set up company intranet can offer clarity to employees and help them be more efficient.
Employees agree, saying that they spend 25% of their time looking for the right information. A robust intranet allows your employees to be more productive by reducing time spent finding information, asking for support, and locating experts. Here are 10 ways that your intranet can help employees be more efficient, innovative and successful.
What is an intranet?
An intranet is a central repository for employees where they can find the information they need to excel in their jobs. Intranets have been around since the 90s, but today they’re far more comprehensive with social features, document sharing, and real time collaboration. They’re also much better suited for resolving problems and answering questions, all within one portal.
When building out your company intranet, include these key resources:
- Technical help documentation
- HR and company policies
- Collaboration tools
- Access to resident experts
- An internal corporate blog and team blogs
- Employee Resource Groups
In our fast paced corporate world, company intranets are a competitive advantage. That’s because employees benefit from increased knowledge sharing across an entire organization. They also improve collaboration by removing barriers across teams and time zones. Today’s intranets are most effective when they’re designed to align with company goals and strategies and operate on core company values.
What makes an effective employee?
The simplest way to define employee efficiency is to measure how many tasks and goals are accomplished within set time frames. For example, measuring productivity and efficiency can be done through deadlines and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Business leaders obviously want to see increased efficiency and to meet their strategic goals. But it’s also important for employees who want to feel that their work has value, makes a difference, and contributes to something bigger.
Inefficient processes and bottlenecks can take a toll on employee wellness and engagement. 53% of workers are not engaged at their jobs and they’re not connecting emotionally and intellectually to their work and company. Unless engagement improves, they’ll quickly leave for a better offer elsewhere.
10 ways a company intranet can boost employee efficiency
There are dozens of ways that a company intranet can help employees increase their efficiency–and their morale. Here are our top ten reasons for why creating or improving your company intranet is worth the effort.
1. Say bye bye to internal emails
The average employee receives 304 business emails every week. All this noise can be overly distracting. Not only that, important announcements and policy updates can be lost, ignored, or forgotten in a sea of messages. It’s also possible to unintentionally leave someone off of a critical email thread.
When it comes to efficiency, email slows things down. Only those included on the email chain can see and help resolve the problem. Employees may have to wait hours to get a reply to a question or, eventually, realize that no one in the thread actually has the answer.
Having a centralized and highly visible intranet allows anyone in the organization to answer questions and add to or update documents. This offers more oversight plus a speedy resolution. With centralized internal communication, you can reserve email for external conversations with customers, partners, and vendors.
2. Make onboarding a breeze
No matter the company, all new employees must be onboarded for their new role. Training usually focuses on the responsibilities and obligations of their job. In a traditional business, this can be harder for remote workers who are at a disadvantage. They can’t walk up to their colleagues and ask for help and must find many answers on their own.
Using an intranet helps bridge this gap and takes employees through the two most important onboarding modules as new hires:
- HR and IT set up: creating new employee accounts for payroll and installing security applications on their assigned computers.
- Corporate guidelines training: following workflows that guide new employees through technical training, office policies, security and compliance agreements, sexual harassment training, and understanding company goals and values.
Finally, mentors can be assigned to new hires and communicate through integrated video and messaging tools. New employees can have the confidence to ask the many questions that come up when you’re new, without feeling like you’re a burden to your peers.
3. Centralize all knowledge
Information silos slow companies down. Data can reside in old emails or even employees’ minds, making it difficult to share across departments. Intranets break down these barriers and connect employees with documents, wikis, and subject matter experts across the organization, expediting work and removing frustration.
Top resources and tools to include in your intranet:
- Information about company strategy, goals, and initiatives
- Sales decks, presentation templates, and product and services pricing information
- Technical answers for better customer support
- Org charts and employee profiles
- Employee survey and polls
- Access to learning management systems (LMS)
- Technical support/internal help desk
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for common IT troubleshooting issues
4. Enable comprehensive search
Organizations have a ridiculous amount of internal and proprietary data. Employees need comprehensive search tools to find the information they need. Strong search capabilities allow employees to find answers across discussion boards, wikis, employee-created content, documents, and communication tools.
Once they find what they need, @ mentions can alert others to any useful content. Effective search lets users rely on search navigation, rather than clicking through pages and pages of content. A truly comprehensive search function must deliver the most up-to-date search results so employees aren’t unknowingly relying on out-dated information.
5. Power up your communication tools
If you get rid of email for internal communication, you’ll need to replace it with flexible communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. Individual teams and whole departments should have their own intranet pages to keep communication centralized.
This benefits other departments as well. Instead of trying to find someone specific to answer their questions, employees can instead visit a team page like engineering, sales, marketing, or recruiting, to find answers. These pages should have internal newsletters that ping employees when there’s new announcements, policy changes, and content.
6. Identify experts through employee directories
Employee directories give context to an organization through employee profiles that clarify reporting structures, store contact information, and explain their role in the company. Profiles can be @ mentioned, making it easy to pull anyone into an important conversation.
If your company has multiple offices across countries and time zones, employees can connect and build positive working relationships with people from around the globe. Finally, employee directories make it possible to pull in experts who can swarm a challenging issue, saving time for everyone.
7. Access from anywhere
Today’s workers spend just as much time working through their mobile devices as they do through their computers. If your intranet is not mobile ready, it’ll be significantly less useful for your employees.
Mobile access is especially important for customer-facing employees who need immediate access to sales content and technical spics when they’re with customers onsite. A mobile app also lets employees reach your helpdesk to resolve any IT issues that are affecting their computers. Finally, mobile access improves employee engagement with your intranet.
8. Learn and improve
Intranets reduce the need for physical, in-classroom training that requires everyone to be in the main office. A centralized LMS makes it easy for employees to find and complete mandatory training programs remotely. It also lets users set their own pace for coursework so they don’t have to keep up with the quickest learners.
Completed certifications can be stored on the employee’s profile page and managers can pull up reports to view who has completed their training programs by the deadline. Mandatory training modules are just the beginning. Your Intranet can also host optional learning modules to help employees prepare for a promotion or to interview for another team.
9. Create surveys and polls
Instead of everyone using one of a dozen tools to survey, poll, and register their teams, give them access to flexible electronic forms within the intranet. Employees can confirm attendance for events, vote on new ideas, or give anonymous feedback to their managers.
Easy brainstorming and data collection tools benefit your business by:
- Speeding up the collection of data and integrating it with other sources of data across the organization
- Indexing new data so it can be used by other departments and projects
- Providing management with surveys to ask employees for insight on company policies, upcoming events, or employee wellness.
- Crowdsourcing ideas for new projects
- Collect feedback on employee satisfaction within the organization
10. Supercharge your help desk & ticketing
When an employee is dealing with computer bugs, login problems, or needs access to a new application, make your intranet the first place they visit for streamlined communication and support from help desk staff.
Ticketing portals also route employee questions to the right support teams like IT, human resources, or payroll. Companies can even automate workflows to answer frequent questions, without help desk staff getting involved.
What else can a company intranet do for your employees?
Intranets improve efficiency by removing the hurdles and barriers that get in the way of forward progress. Not only that, efficiency helps improve employee morale and productivity. Intranets can also be used to improve your employees’ sense of inclusion and belonging at your company, making it an even better place to work.
Tahera Ali Khan is passionate about creating a healthier corporate work culture. You can find more of her work on her blog, Human Worker.