As more and more organizations learn to embrace the benefits of business intranet software, questions regarding how to get the most out of it are beginning to arise.
Business intranet software is designed specifically with ease of use in mind, but that’s not to say that teams don’t run into hurdles now and then. After all, transitioning to a new work method is difficult no matter how good employees might be, and overlooking potential issues won’t do your business any favors.
Fortunately, there are tried and true ways to improve how you and your team use your business intranet, many of which are easy enough to implement on a daily basis without having to take up too much of your time and energy.
Here are 7 tips for a successful intranet, all of which are worth putting into action.
It's easy when implementing a business intranet to lose sight of why you’re actually doing so in the first place. Many CEOs realize that business intranet software is an effective tool for streamlining the workday, but it’s not until you align your intranet with major business objectives that you’ll get the most out of it.
Chances are, your business already has set strategies and objectives in place, all of which you should focus on furthering via your social intranet.
Think about how you can use your intranet to not only tackle major business objectives, but actually save time and energy in the process — writing out a gameplan can be very helpful.
If there’s one thing that can cause a business intranet to implode, it’s not having someone to captain the ship.
All too often, employees become socially empowered via an intranet and are left to fend for themselves. Allowing this to happen is a double-edged sword.
In one regard, it means those in a managerial position can focus their efforts elsewhere, which is quite good for any company. At the same time, employees might find themselves without any direction, causing more harm than good even though their intentions are in the right place.
By taking a top-down approach, you can ensure that all of your business’s internal processes are running smoothly and without issue. It doesn’t have to be the CEO who handles this task, either. Anyone with managerial experience who is good at using software is a good candidate for managing a team, especially if they’re well-versed in project collaboration. Choose your best and brightest to fill this role, and don’t hesitate to enlist more than one manager for a given project should the logistics call for doing so.
All too often, managers become so excited about the potential for business intanet software that they ask too much from their employees from the get-go. Overloading employees with information and tasks can quickly lead to burnout. It’s a common issue that can certainly get in the way of having a successful intranet, yet it’s easily avoidable if you’re smart about your approach.
Instead of asking your employees to learn each and every aspect of their new business intranet right off the bat, ease them in with a few light training sessions. It’s much easier to internalize the basics of social business when you take them on one at a time, especially given how complex some social intranets are.
The more smooth you can make the transition, the less issues your team is likely to run into.
Your social intranet shouldn’t be viewed as a separate addition to your current business processes, but as a tool for integrating everything together into a central location.
Take your current business apps, for example.
Just because you’re implementing business intranet software doesn’t mean that these should be neglected. It’s almost always possible to incorporate current processes into your intranet, which can often streamline things by placing everything in a centralized space.
Marketing, sales and other processes are of the utmost important for most businesses, and neglecting this can cause a host of issues. It can take time to get used to changing how you approach these aspects of business when incorporating social intranet software, but you’ll be glad you put in the effort once you realize how beneficial it is for your company.
If there’s one major reason to embrace business intranet software, it’s the potential for the sharing and creation of benchmark ideas and solutions. Regardless of the platform, it’s common for employees to be timid when it comes to sharing an idea they might have on their mind. Breaking down this and other barriers is an essential part of creating a successful intranet and should never be ignored.
From the very beginning, explain to your employees that the reason for implementing business intranet software in the first place is to empower them to communicate their ideas. Once this is understood, solutions will pop up faster and collaborative ideas will come to light.
Collaboration, after all, is impossible without the minds of your employees.
It’s no secret that social intranet software is typically implemented for professional purposes, such as sharing documents, knowledge, and ideas. This being said, it’s important to inject an element of fun into your business intranet to maintain employee morale.
Working tirelessly on a project can be exhausting, and you want to do everything possible to avoid having your employees run into a situation that could potentially cause burnout.
There are countless ways to make your intranet more fun. You can hold contests, create games, or simply encourage your employees to interact on a more personal level. It’s the major reason why offices such as Google and Facebook feature entire rooms devoted to relaxation and enjoyment — recharging can make for a more productive workday.
There are so many different options that finding the right one for you and your business can be a head-spinning process at times.
All business intranet software is not created equal, and some options come with a host of features that might not be found on other platforms. Getting the most out of this software requires finding a solution that fits your business, and it can take a fair amount of trial and error if you simply dive right in.
Perhaps most importantly, avoid software that takes a “one size fits all” approach. You need a social intranet that will grow alongside your business, and the only way to ensure that this is what you’re getting is to work off of a platform that can be modified as time goes on. If you can’t tailor your software to your business needs, you’re only going to be seeing a portion of the picture.
Embracing change is never easy, and obstacles are to be expected throughout the process. Once you learn the basics of creating a successful intranet, you’ll have a hard time understanding how you and your team ever worked without one in the past.
Take the above tips to heart, and you’ll no doubt find yourself on a track towards success.
Tim is a co-founder and president of Axero and the author of his forthcoming book, Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Break Down the Invisible Barriers to Employee Engagement. He's spilt insightful ink on the pages of Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur.com, CNBC, Today, and other top publications.
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