What makes a good employee?
Someone who is friendly? Knowledgeable? Resourceful? Generally speaking, they should add value to the organization, but studies show there are very specific traits a person should have to be a key contributor to business success.
The same can be said about an intranet. Like any good employee, an intranet needs to add value and knowledge, and possess specific traits to play a part in the company’s success.
In a recent poll taken by Interact, we asked intranet managers: ‘do you think your intranet is serving its purpose?’ The results weren’t surprising but nonetheless disappointing to us…
To help you determine if your intranet is serving its full purpose and potential, let’s look through the key traits that make a great intranet.
1. Is it knowledgeable?
Is your intranet capturing knowledge? Are employees contributing? Is it the central depository for information and the single version of the truth?
When employees trust their intranet as a reliable source of information, usage and engagement skyrockets!
(Employee forums help gather one searchable version of the truth)
The best intranets out there engage their users with knowledge. Knowledge sharing tools such as discussion forums, document libraries and blogging are key in generating the valuable and engaging information employees want!
(Blogging on your intranet can drive employee engagement)
TIP – To drive employees to your intranet, try asking your HR and IT teams about their most commonly asked questions. It’s probably going to be something like “can you send me the information for our benefits plans?” and “how do I order a new mouse?”.
If HR or IT upload frequently asked questions to the relevant department/team area on their intranet, they can simply refer colleagues to this section of the intranet or tell them to simply ‘search for it’.
2. Is it friendly?
Like people, your intranet needs to be approachable, familiar, and accessible if people are going to trust it and use it.
For me, friendly also includes traits like familiar and easy to use. The incoming generation of workers expect workplace technology to mirror the social technology they experience in their daily lives.
This rise of social has set a new standard for ease of use. Social media is becoming the primary place for people to pick up news and communicate with each other. An intranet should serve the same purpose in the workplace.
TIP – You should be providing tailored content to each employee. An intelligent timeline is a familiar concept in social tools outside of the workplace, but is an essential platform for collaboration inside the workplace too. An intranet timeline presents the tailored content employees need to get work done.
(Show colleagues targeted and relevant content to help boost productivity)
3. Is it efficient?
It’s all about the search!
In another recent intranet poll conducted by Interact, we asked intranet managers ‘what would make your intranet help employees save time?’ 45% identified ‘better, faster search’ as the key component in saving time.
Furthermore, IDC data shows that the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.
Allow me to take us back to ‘user friendly’ and those social tools that are setting the new standard for workplace technology. Intelligent search is everywhere; on ecommerce sites, social platforms and even smart devices. A truly robust search will not only give the user exactly what they are looking for, but will also improve accuracy, suggests best (or better) matches, and adapt to the user’s vocabulary.
(‘Best bets’ ensure accurate, efficient work)
We’re getting to point where we expect ‘search’ to know us better than ourselves!
TIP – Efficiency adds ROI to your intranet, something intranet managers constantly struggle to quantify. Just look as those stats I mentioned above! Make it easier and be sure your intranet has intelligent, efficient search.
4. Is it adaptable?
“If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.”
From talking to countless intranet managers, I’ve learned that this is their biggest fear. What if we build it, spend all this time and money, put the information there, and they don’t pick it up and use it?
If you think about it, adaptability is the theme of this blog. Successful intranets are constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing standards of the social workplace, embracing new features and concepts such as intelligent search, ease of use, integration functionality, and more.
Writing for The Nest, Neil Kokemuller regards adaptability as a core personality trait for employees – so why should your intranet be any different?
To ensure your intranet is fit for purpose, you need to be constantly updating it to hold the links to and information for the things users can’t live without, such as vacation booking, HR forms, expense reporting and people directory.
With integration functionality, your intranet homepage can also act as a ‘portal’ into your key business applications: not only streamlining employee processes, but giving them that much-needed incentive to come to the intranet time and again.
So, make the intranet homepage a one-stop ‘go to’ location for all your user needs. Ensure it is user-friendly and simple to navigate. Set it up as the default homepage when they access the internet, so it remains front of mind.
(Engaging designs like the award winning Make a Wish intranet homepage encourages users to log in again and again)
Not sure what’s missing from your intranet? Basic analytics and “zero search results” reporting will key you into what your users are searching for and need! By ensuring you continue to plug the gaps, your intranet will remain fit for purpose and grow with your business.
TIP – You need employees to WANT to visit the intranet:
Diversity is key. Avoid your intranet becoming a DMS filled with dry corporate policies and documents: adapt to provide what most interests your employees by including interesting company news, rich media, rewards programs, photo galleries, polls and contests.
Is your intranet serving its purpose?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of these 4 questions, your intranet may not be reaching its intended or potential purpose, and like an employee, that needs to be addressed.
Your intranet doesn’t necessarily need a ‘rip out and replace’ but with information and tips I’ve outlined, you should be on your way to helping your intranet serve its purpose!