In this guide, we’re going to explore the world of company intranets and how they can make your team work better and smarter.
What is a company intranet?
While you might not be familiar with the term ‘intranet’, chances are you probably already have one of sorts. An intranet is basically any internal network that your company uses to share information between employees.
Company intranets were a big thing back in the 90s and early 2000s. Back then, the internet was something of a Wild West; it was slow, cumbersome, and plagued by security problems. So, companies decided to build their own internal networks instead.
But these old-school intranets don’t adapt very well to today’s working world. They lack mobile capabilities, search ability, and a raft of other important modern features and functions.
Today’s company networks are quite different. Modern intranet software is all about making things accessible. Employees now rely on a variety of apps and platforms to work smarter and faster.
Introducing the modern company intranet
Now imagine an employee intranet platform that’s more like a private social network. Instead of being a complicated multitude of business apps nobody likes using, you can have a mobile-centred user experience that employees can enjoy anywhere. It gives your team a way to communicate and collaborate from home and on the move. Meanwhile, management can use analytics to better understand their employees and create experiences that people look forward to.
A dedicated company intranet can be a powerful collaboration tool, allowing team members to easily access important information, stay engaged and productive, and communicate with each other on a day to day basis. Before company intranet was an option, searching for information could spiral into an all-consuming task sometimes taking hours to carry out – this no longer needs to be the case. Sharing documents can also be made more secure since the company intranet is built to be a private network.
That’s quite a step up from a web-based intranet, which limits people from easily finding what they’re looking for or not being able to actively engage with other employees. And, it’s a lot safer and more private than using social media to engage your employees, especially if you’re sharing sensitive data or documents.
At Disciple, we’re passionate about building online communities that help companies to grow their business. While online communities are a great way to engage your customers and build loyalty, don’t forget that your employees are equally important. A company intranet provides you with a safe space to engage your global workforce in a way that’s modern, convenient, and fun.
Things that make a better employee experience:
Find out what your employees want
A company intranet helps you evolve and grow your business in lots of different ways. With the backing of a clear purpose, your employees will be delighted to use it.
Here are some examples if you’re looking for inspiration:
- Knowledge management: It costs time and money to get new hires up to speed, and the same applies when an employee is changing roles. But who likes reading manuals and training documents? Probably no one!
- How about making it a social experience instead, where people can share feedback and suggestions or simply get to meet the team? You could even hold live-streaming events and training sessions to welcome employees into their new roles.
- Product ideation: No doubt, lots of great ideas get lost in an endless stream of emails. When an employee has something they want to share, the last thing they want is for their efforts and insights to go unnoticed.
- But what if you had a space where your team could start live discussions and share those lightbulb moments with everyone else? There’s just no better way to encourage innovation than by tapping into a diverse range of voices.
- Employee support: Employee support works a lot like customer support, and it’s just as important. After all, how can you expect your employees to support your customers if they’re lost in the dark themselves?
A company intranet helps bigger companies deal with support queries faster and more efficiently. Moreover, there’s less chance of questions getting lost in email or getting garbled as they’re passed around between different departments. And employees are able to easily find the answers when they need them most by searching through conversation threads.
Take a look at your top business objectives, and you’ll no doubt find some opportunities where a company intranet can really help bring your team together.
Build a secure online space to communicate
When you’re discussing potentially sensitive company matters with your team, it’s hardly the sort of conversation you want to have on Facebook. Rather, you need a secure and private online space which is just as accessible and easy to use. In other words, it’s about fostering a sense of connectedness by building a community that lets you connect with employees and partners around the world.
Here’s how to make it happen:
- Brand your company intranet: Why would you want to bother branding an internal social network that no customer is ever going to see? Well, the answer lies in creating a sense of community and promoting your company culture.
- Branding your intranet software helps keep your company front and centre stage. This reminds your employees that they’re working towards a common goal instead of being part of a loosely knit group of individuals.
- Make sure it’s easy to use: When we talk about company intranets at Disciple, we’re not talking about those slow and cumbersome online portals of old. We’re talking about a platform that offers a modern experience today’s employees can relate to.
- A company intranet should make it easier for people to work as a team, so the last thing you want is for it to be difficult to use. With a simple and instantly familiar interface, employees don’t have to burden themselves with a steep learning curve.
- Create a sense of belonging: With working from home being the new norm, and many companies working with people all over the world, it’s often difficult to maintain a sense of belonging. Using the right intranet platform can change that.
Aside from making sure your content is readily accessible to all, a platform that brings people together with instant messaging and real-time updates encourages discussions and helps people get to know each other. Also, when employees can share photos and videos, they can connect on a more personal level.
Consider how the right intranet software can help you connect with employees everywhere, no matter whether they’re working from home, in the office, or keeping in touch on the move. But let’s not forget – it’s not all about work. An employee community can also strengthen your company culture by bringing people together.
Provide easy access to files and information
No matter the purpose of your company intranet, your primary goal is to connect employees and information. For example, if you’re going to use it for on-boarding new hires, you’ll want to make your training materials readily available. Similarly, if you want to provide a way for people to share project files and information, you’ll need a platform that features a centralised content library. But don’t forget – it’s not just about sharing information; it’s about connecting people as well.
Here are some of our top examples:
- Create events: Company intranets are perfect for promoting events as well as hosting virtual online events, such as training sessions. Add live streaming into the mix, and you can host online seminars and more.
- Many of Disciple’s clients use the platform to provide online courses and training to their customers or employees. Community members can also keep track of everything that’s happening with the event calendar.
- Encourage innovation: Innovation isn’t about technology. It’s about people and good teamwork. After all, no one ever came up with the next big idea without piggybacking off the successes and failures of their predecessors to some extent.
- A company intranet is more than just a knowledge hub. It’s also a place to encourage productivity and boost morale. For example, you could showcase employee milestones in a virtual water cooler or run polls and surveys to collect valuable feedback.
- Manage content on the go: Remember what we said about work only happening at the office desk? Well, that’s certainly not the case anymore thanks to today’s mobile-centric user experiences.
- Most of us carry our phones with us everywhere we go, so it’s safe to say that your company intranet should offer a mobile-first experience. Even your community admins should be able to track engagement and upload and manage content on the move.
- Make it easy for people: Employees are much more likely to use your company intranet if it offers a mobile-friendly experience. After all, it’s much easier, and it’s a great opportunity to make those so-called micro moments mean something.
Examples of micro moments include any brief but meaningful interaction. This could mean sharing an interesting news story or highlighting an important milestone. It’s all about capturing experiences in the moment, and that’s something that usually only happens on the small screen.
The way we work is changing fast. Employees outside the office are no longer disconnected, people can work from home, and geographical boundaries are no longer a factor. But to take advantage of these exciting new trends, you’ll need an intranet platform that offers a modern, connected mobile experience.
How to create a company intranet
You don’t have to be an experienced software developer or web designer to build a company intranet, at least not these days. And besides, creating an internal company-only website isn’t going to offer the sort of experience your employees want.
The best way to create a company intranet is to use white-label software that lets you apply your branding, set up your activity streams, and provide a familiar user experience to all. Sure, there’s always room for some experimentation, but why go to all the trouble and expense of reinventing the wheel when you don’t have to?
There’s simply no better way to engage your employees in the age of remote work than by launching a company intranet or, more correctly, an internal social network that keeps people and information connected no matter where they are.
Here’s a recap of what you need to consider:
- Align your company intranet with your business objectives
- Offer a branded online space that provides a sense of belonging
- Make it easy for people to use and access files and information