A corporate intranet is like a website for your company’s internal users (employees). Just like a website, your company’s intranet is a shell for containing content, and the type of content you include in your company’s intranet largely determines how it is used and how useful it is to your team.
Most companies will include some basics in the corporate intranet – usually basic information that all employees will need (employee handbook, list of people to contact for specific problems, an org chart, etc.). Most will include some sort of news feature where the higher-ups can publish information for the team. Beyond that, the company’s intranet will often be tailored for the specific company and its needs.
Social networking may seem like a useless add-on, but in companies where there are multiple offices or people work remotely, social networking may be an important aspect of the intranet. Social networking features may include one-to-one messaging, one-to-many publishing, and even many-to-one feedback systems. Where offices are separated, social networking can help geographically displaced employees feel like an integral part of the team.
In companies and organizations that value collaboration, the organizational intranet may include tools to help with collaboration. For example, project management tools, collaborative document/graphic tools, and tools that allow and encourage comments and immediate feedback can help companies and departments to collaborate more effectively.
Many companies designate a section of their corporate intranet for initial onboarding and ongoing training. It can be useful to have training modules located on the company intranet so that they’re readily accessible to all employees and departments, and by encouraging new employees to do onboarding through the intranet, it’s a great way to introduce the intranet to new team members.
Mobile Work Tools
A corporate intranet may include some functionality that allows the user to access important work-related tools when they’re away from their main office, but this will depend largely on how the intranet is set up. For example, a corporate intranet that allows employees to access it from home or on the road may provide them with access to email, payroll, travel vouchers, expense reports, and even client or product data. Some companies prefer not to allow intranet access away from the office, which eliminates the need for these tools, as they can then be accessed on a work computer instead. But providing easy access to “office” tools may be a way to help your road warriors and remote workers be more productive and efficient.
What Do They Want?
The first consideration in planning (or re-planning) a corporate intranet is to determine what your employees want from their tools. If they’re looking for more information about company happenings, you’ll want more news features. If they feel like accessing payroll or training is difficult, making a clear and secure way to handle those communications may be a major selling point.
The HR department may be an excellent resource for gaining information about what your employees need, but individual department managers may have requests specific to their own departments. It’s also important to talk to individual employees, as their needs may differ from those of their managers.
There are hundreds of different intranet providers that can provide you with the “shell” for your company’s intranet. Some providers even set you up with various tools and modules to get your intranet started. But before you can even think about which modules to use or which shell to go with, you’ll need to make sure that your security needs are met. Companies that deal with trade secrets or confidential data will need a higher level of security than companies that don’t. If you’re in healthcare, you may want a system that will protect HIPAA information. Depending on your industry, location, and specific needs, you may need a system that meets GDPR, ISO, or FISMA requirements.
When your employees work away from the primary office, mobile accessibility may be a common request. “Overwhelmingly, information workers consume content on mobile devices in their personal lives,” says Rich Wood. Where security allows you to integrate mobile tools, apps, and solutions into your corporate intranet plan, you may find much higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction with the intranet if at least some portions of it are mobile-accessible.
If you’re using a corporate intranet platform, it may have a mobile app or mobile responsive website like Staffbase, MangoApps, or Jive. If you’re building your own custom platform, you may want to include a mobile responsive version, or you can hire a developer to create a custom mobile app to accompany or access your intranet.
Your organization’s intranet can act as a communication hub for your company, reducing email traffic and making communication easier to read and sort than with a traditional email inbox. It can boost collaboration within and between departments, provide mobile access to corporate resources, and improve employee engagement. By creating a central hub for your company’s information, news, resources, and employees, you can help make your employees happier, more efficient, and more productive.