Technology has changed the way businesses keep in touch with customers, as well as how employees keep in touch with each other. Just imagine, for example, if Covid-19 had happened 20 years ago, back in the times when office work only happened in the office. There was no Zoom or Slack or Trello back then! 

Now, a lot of us have grown used to working from home, hence the essential role of intranet software and other employee collaboration and communication platforms. Even if you don’t have a company intranet yet, your team is probably already using a preferred set of apps and tools to do their jobs. But having a one-stop platform for building an online community for your employees is much easier to use than outdated intranet software, which means you can actually keep your employees engaged. 

Here’s what you need to think about when you’re choosing intranet software:

What is an intranet?

Although you may not hear the term ‘intranet’ very often these days, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer a thing. An intranet is basically any private network that consists of websites, news updates, and chat rooms. If you were at school or working for a large company during the 90s, chances are you’ve already used an intranet. These outdated portals made it easy for employees to share information and files, schedule work and organise events.  

Of course, you can also build your own intranet from scratch, but it’s not the easiest or cheapest option! Disciple, however, is ideally suited to businesses looking to create an engaged employee community with all the functions you’re ever likely to need from a company intranet.

What are the benefits of intranet software?

A company intranet gives your employees a community where they can share information and files and communicate via instant messaging and activity feeds, much like on a social network. 

It encourages better communication and engagement. Your team can have open discussions, employees can share knowledge, and community hosts can organise events. The best thing about this is that the conversation flows both ways – any member can share information, and everyone can provide feedback. In a nutshell, it’s effectively a social network that’s exclusive to your business.

A company intranet, in some form, is practically a must-have these days. It enables people to continue working together in a time when so many employees are working at home. It also helps connect your company across locations and time zones, opening up opportunities to work with people all over the world.

With readily accessible documents and training materials, a good intranet can also help new hires get up to speed, as well as assist those who are changing their roles. Choose an intranet platform that supports live-streaming. Other common intranet features, such as individual profiles, add clarity across your organisation by helping members better understand the responsibilities and roles of their peers.

In conclusion, a company intranet helps bring your company culture to life while giving your team a secure space to come together and collaborate. That’s better for productivity, morale, and engagement.  

How to get the most out of intranet software

The main goal of any company intranet is to boost employee engagement. The more engaged your employees are, the more motivated and productive they’ll be. Engaged employees are also less likely to leave the business, which is a huge financial benefit given how much it costs to onboard new hires. 

A recent Gallup poll found that 85% of the global workforce wasn’t engaged at work. Creating an employee intranet portal can help bring them into the other 15%, but you’re going to need some clear objectives in mind to keep your employees engaged.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Create a sense of community: Being engaged at work isn’t just about being good at the job. It’s also about feeling a sense of belonging and believing in the mission. In that way, you can think of your employees as internal customers. 
  • That’s why team-building events are so important. Your intranet must promote your brand culture and unite people under a common banner. Moreover, an intranet is a great place to promote events and hold virtual ones via live video. 
  • Simplify employee support: Intranets can contribute to employee experience in lots of practical ways too. Some serve primarily as support communities where people can ask each other for help when they’re stuck on a particular job. 
  • You might also use your intranet platform for training your team. If it supports live streaming, for example, you could hold regular training sessions to introduce new employees or further the professional lives of your existing staff. 
  • Make it easier to collaborate: Early intranets were little more than places to store and share files. But modern ones take things a lot further with instant messaging and livestreams to encourage collaboration. 
  • Making it easier for your team to work together will reduce frustration and boost morale. There are few better ways to improve efficiency than by giving your team an easy way to share files and information on the small screen no matter where they are.

Every company intranet needs to be work-relevant, but that doesn’t mean using it should be a chore! With a clear purpose that aligns with your business goals, you can build a community that makes employees’ lives easier to the ultimate benefit of your organisation at large.

Shortlist your requirements

When you’re building a company intranet, providing features that attract the attention of your employees is perhaps one of the biggest challenges. After all, a lot of intranet projects fail because they’re difficult to use. That’s often the case if your intranet doesn’t offer a modern, mobile-centric user experience. There shouldn’t be any learning curve either. Simply put, your employees should be excited to join your community and able to get started right away. That’s why it’s best to think in terms of the sort of actions you want to promote, rather than features themselves.  

  • Choose your integrations: We know integrations might not be the most exciting discussion point, but it’s important that your intranet works well with your other business software. After all, seamless workflows mean better user experiences. 
  • It’s easier if your intranet platform provides integrations right out of the box, but that’s not always possible. So, it’s best to choose a platform with a public API that lets you make your own integrations. You can find some of Disciple’s on GitHub. 
  • Determine your feature list: Yes, features are, of course, highly important, but let’s start with use cases instead. How will people use your intranet? This approach helps you choose features that improve the user experience and keep members engaged. 
  • For example, if you want to use your intranet for training new employees, you’re likely going to need a platform that supports live streaming. Event-planning features, like a built-in calendar, member groups, and push notifications will also help. 
  • Brand your company intranet: Your brand doesn’t just apply to your customer-facing content. Representing the personality of your brand, it’s just as important internally as well. With an intranet, it solidifies your company culture and keeps employees focussed.
  • If you’re building your own platform from scratch, the only limit to customisation is the availability of technical skills. But with white-label internet software like Disciple, you can apply your branding without any coding. 

When you’re thinking about feature requirements, the most important thing is to keep things simple and user-friendly. That’s why the best place to start your research is by asking your employees what they value most. After all, they’re the ones who will ultimately determine the success of your community! 

What are the best intranet solutions for a small business?

You need an intranet platform that’s easy to use and is affordable to maintain. So, you’ll want to stay clear of creating your own platform in most cases. The best intranet solution for small business is one that offers a modern user experience and encourages employee engagement.

If you want to build an internal social and collaboration network for your business,a customisable, mobile-centric solution like Disciple is probably exactly what you’re looking for. 

Final words

A company intranet can help drive employee engagement and create a happier workforce. It can become a powerful community-focussed platform that employees enjoy using both during and outside of work. And, above all, it provides a safe and privacy-first space that doesn’t play second fiddle to third-party advertising networks.

Here’s a quick recap of what to look for:

  • Decide what your employee community is going to be about
  • Shortlist your feature requirements based on use cases
  • Brand your intranet to keep your company top of mind

Disciple transforms the way your employees communicate with an internal social network. Get in touch today to find out more.

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