Company Intranets Play a Surprising Role in Keeping Employees Engaged and Connected

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A modern intranet can align an entire workforce behind a company’s mission and bring new levels of efficiency to collaboration and knowledge sharing. Yet, intranets still bear the stigma of being clunky and unintuitive.

The old intranet was often a stagnant repository for information, but the intranet’s capabilities have evolved since then. Today, many companies use the alternative term “digital workplace” to more fully encompass the ways a contemporary intranet can optimize performance and house the organization’s operations in a central hub. With 57 percent of HR professionals feeling more pressure to improve engagement amid the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, a modern intranet appears to be one possible solution.

As with other technologies, implementation and integration must be stewarded by leadership and supported by employees for the intranet to reach its full potential. Here are a few ways that leading organizations are leveraging their intranets today:

A Single Source of Truth

Using your intranet as a central hub of information for the entire organization offers several key advantages. One is that it streamlines messaging across teams and functions. Establishing a home base for your company’s information, from product and marketing to HR updates, ensures that each employee can cross-reference crucial information from both their own team and other teams.

For instance, a sales rep may need data backing up their product’s ROI to prepare for a call with a possible client. Without a properly structured intranet, they’ll likely have to create unwieldy email chains, CC’ing every leader from product and marketing, to get this information. This way of working is inefficient, distracts other members from their core functions, and isn’t scalable. With an intranet, on the other hand, everyone knows exactly where to get the latest information.

In this case, the sales rep might go to the marketing knowledge base to download the approved ROI and business case materials. Some intranets will also give the sales rep an option to post questions for the team or leave feedback requesting future updates.

Two things are accomplished in this process: The sales rep gets efficient self-serve access to the correct information, and knowledge is captured and made available to other workers with similar information needs. This type of open dialog helps foster collaboration and remove barriers between otherwise siloed groups. It also saves time because people no longer have to hunt down information.

Another key advantage of centralizing information is that it reduces the number of tools or platforms employees must use in their daily workflows. A recent study by my company, Beezy, found that 41 percent of employees are overwhelmed by the number of tools and technologies they’re required to use. While the proliferation of digital tools is meant to keep employees connected, it often has the opposite effect: According to a report from Asana, 27 percent of workers miss actions and messages when switching between apps.

Streamlining communication and knowledge sharing — not simply adding communication tools and platforms — saves time and ensures your employees feel unified and heard.

Helping Teams Thrive in Hybrid and Remote Work Environments

While the pandemic has made it even more challenging to keep workers connected, many employees have felt isolated since before the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the term “remote worker” applied to a mere 6 percent of the full-time US workforce. This number has since jumped to 51 percent  as of May 2021. Before the arrival of COVID-19, 82 percent of remote tech workers were struggling with burnout, according to a 2019 report from DigitalOcean. The pandemic has only exacerbated this issue for many remote workers.

The main reason: In-office meetings and interactions often exclude remote workers. However, the impact of missed in-person conversations can be curbed by leveraging the intranet as a bridge between the physical and digital workplaces.

You’ll never put an end to the ad hoc face-to-face meetings, and you shouldn’t have to. Instead, you can use your intranet to share the outcomes of these conversations with all employees, no matter where they’re located.

It’s not just projects and workflows that benefit from smarter intranet usage. When an incident or emergency strikes — like the pandemic — an intranet can be a key channel for sharing accurate and timely information. Companies can post instant updates for everyone to see, share links or documents containing important information, and provide a forum for employees to ask questions and have discussions.

Restoring Trust

Thirty-six percent of Americans distrust their own CEOs. This distrust can largely be attributed to a lack of transparency. When vital information and insights are kept behind closed doors, employees can only speculate about the status of their companies and their own jobs.

Aggregating company information in an intranet can promote transparency by making important details and data available to the entire workforce. If your company values collaboration and trust, then it only makes sense to share insights across the whole company. Progressive and innovative companies don’t encourage employees to keep their knowledge to themselves; they encourage employees to spread it as far as they can.

At a time when workers have been pushed into their own homes, isolated from the community of the office, workforce unity has taken on additional importance. There is strength in sharing ideas, and doing so promotes growth for employees and companies alike. When implemented and integrated properly, a modern intranet can be one of your most powerful tools in fostering collaboration and connection between all employees, no matter where they are.

Mike Hicks is CMO of Beezy.

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By Mike Hicks