There is no doubt that intranets are a great way to collect and distribute essential content. But the big question remains: what type of content should be distributed via intranet, and how can that content further engage your employees?

An intranet is like a well-oiled machine with the ultimate goal of connecting your organization, and like any machine, your intranet is made up of a series of important parts. Parts like design, software, and content all come together to capture the engagement of your workforce. But even with the launch of a successful intranet, companies still struggle to answer one crucial question: How do we engage users on our intranet?

Content and information run rampant on the intranet but how can we be sure that the content is truly resonating with the staff? After years of producing successful intranet launches, Interact has uncovered a pattern in the types of content that attracts all sorts of intranet users.

The following list shares six types of intranet content that will attract the attention of your workforce and deliver a long-lasting value to your organization as a whole.

1. How-to content & tutorials

There will always be a place for how-to’s and tutorials on your intranet, simply because the demand for knowledge among employees will always be high. All people love a good how-to, whether it be a step-by-step guideline or a short DIY video, and your staff is no different.

Employees respect valuable information, especially news that pertains to their every day, and hosting how-to content on your intranet gives employees a home for all their questions when they need to know how to do certain things.

Save your HR department from answering the consistent “how do I…?” question by dedicating specific content areas on your intranet. Consider including user-friendly guides and tips on how to best utilize the intranet and enable your employees to handle their needs quickly and unaided.

Providing a single source of truth for what is considered standard company practice guarantees that your employees consider the intranet as its primary internal comms resource.

Kent Community Health NHS Trust intranet patient care page

(Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust utilizes their intranet, ‘flo’, to host vital content, further information, and training or support materials for staff. In the Patient Care area here, staff can watch videos around best practice for patient care.)

2. Employee directories

Another user favorite comes in the form of a people directory. In many companies, the ability to turn to your peers for assistance is not just ideal, but essential. However, that easy connection is not always possible, especially in larger companies with an abundance of distributed workers.

Incorporating a people directory with rich people profiles that cover everything from a person’s expertise to their personal interests is a simple but effective way to connect your staff with the people who can help them most. Interact’s People Directory makes it easy for co-workers to expand their network, identify those who best fit their search requirements, and allows staff to endorse those who possess valuable expertise.

Its popularity stems from the fact that your employees crave not only a professional connection but also a social one, and by updating profiles with content that encompasses both professional and personal interests, staff members can match with colleagues that share similar interests.

Intranet people directory

3. Collaborative content/discussion forums/quizzes

Our best advice for the success of your intranet — Focus on the social element. While some might find the prospect of having a social intranet to be a distraction, we have discovered that social capabilities such as forums, blogs, and other methods often make the difference between having an engaging intranet or having a failed project.

Not only does content like discussion forums and quizzes give you a good idea of what your staff is thinking, but it also acts as a community where employees can voice their thoughts, share stories, and connect with each other.

Mattress Firm does a great job of integrating the social aspect with their intranet through their “Gr8 Ideas” discussion board.

Staff can share frustrations with processes or suggest improvements in the ‘Gr8 Ideas’ section

The Gr8 Ideas forum allows employees to submit ideas for everything from process and product improvements, to “how to” advice and cheat sheets. This two-way feedback approach to communication quickly became popular among Mattress Firm employees and ultimately became essential to the success of the organization. In the first six months of launch, they had more than 252 threads created and 8,556 visits to GR8 Ideas section.

These types of social and collaborative content have longevity as staff members will depend on these comment sections, and discussions to stay abreast of issues and questions and news happening in their work community.

4. Forms/templates/applications/re-usable documentation

When to comes to content, the types that we may feel are the most boring or tedious are often the most necessary, and your staff knows it.

Any intranet that is expected to be used should host these critical HR forms. Documents for things like health benefits, leave requests, web application and more are undoubtedly the most trafficked areas of your intranet. They should be easy to access and even easier to fill out online if you expect your employees to consider your intranet necessary.

Your staff will appreciate anything that saves time and helps them complete their tasks more accurately, so consider making forms and reusable documents such as proposals, project plans and presentations available via your intranet.

Make your intranet the hotspot for all your essential documents and guarantee that your staff keeps coming back.

Make a Wish intranet homepage

(Non-profit Make-A-Wish Foundation utilizes a toolbar at the top of its homepage, Daily Wish, to signpost staff to essential and high-demand content as quick links.)

5. Corporate content and top-down communication

Your staff will always want to hear the latest news and updates, especially if it crucial to their role in the organization. What better way to keep everyone informed than to post corporate communications right onto your company intranet. Content like mission statements, annual reports, press releases and internal news all fall under the umbrella of corporate content and should be posted and shared as a way to promote transparency and drive engagement amongst employees.

Sharing valuable information with staff does not have to be a dull or tedious task. CEO of Travelex, Anthony Wagerman, takes a less traditional and more creative approach to their corporate comms on the company intranet, “The Lounge”.

He drives traffic to the platform by uploading a monthly vlog across the business, in which he shares what he’s been up to each month, where he’s been, how the company is performing.

Whether its publishing weekly “Friday Night Updates” to the 76 members of the senior leadership team or taking an active role in employee forums and discussion, Anthony has perfected the art of communicating to his staff in a way that is authentic, engaging and creative.

Travelex intranet homepage

(Travelex’s intranet, The Lounge, boasts a variety of content but uses its homepage to push important company news and updates in a visual and engaging manner. Top-down comms from CEO Anthony Wagerman is shown to have a positive impact on staff engagement, who feel informed and involved in the direction of the business.)

6. Recognition content

It is almost shocking how many corporations overlook the value of their most valuable asset — their employees. What better way to engage your staff than to give them content dedicated to recognizing them and their peers. Success stories are a hit wherever you go, and the intranet is the perfect place to highlight the very people that you are struggling to connect with.

Users will instinctually resonate with more personalized and intimate content that features stories on themselves or even their colleagues. Adding that personal touch introduces an element of authenticity and genuineness that this modern day workforce craves.

Features like employee spotlight, awards and recognition are favored ways to share stories about great performances, promotions or other good work employees are doing in your organization.

Our customer New York Racing Association did a fantastic job giving exposure to their hard-working employees through their intranet’s “Employee Spotlight” and “Water Cooler” sections.

New York Racing Association intranet homepage

The employee spotlight highlighted outstanding employee performances or introduced members of the team who exhibited role model behavior while the Water Cooler became an area dedicated to showcasing employee milestones. The companies diversity was showcased in a way it never had before by shining a light on staff members who were not often acknowledged.

These features served to reach employees that may have been previously disconnected and championed the idea that the company values their staff. Dedicate space on your intranet for your employees and watch the level of your employee engagement grow.

Your intranet should be the place employees turn to for access to up-to-date, accurate and relevant information meaning that your approach to your intranet content can make or break your success.

This list will help you determine what kinds of content should part of your intranet content strategy to ultimately deliver the best results for your organization.