The business world has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Technology has progressed remarkably since the 1980s, and it's now possible for just about anyone with a laptop and the right skills to launch a business. While some technological advances flash and fade, social intranet software has endured.
In fact, intranets have revolutionized business operations. From their humble beginnings and limited functionality, these virtual communities now drive productivity, allowing staff to exchange information and manage projects with ease. Managers and CEOs are often astonished at how quickly the right intranet can boost the bottom line.
Let's take a look at 21 intranet benefits and how they can deliver results for your organization.
Improving employee engagement is a key challenge for leadership. While there's no single solution for every organization, a social intranet can inspire staff to contribute more fully to projects and initiatives.
By logging into a common space every day, your staff is regularly connected to each other and to your mission. The intranet is the "team huddle" that unites and motivates employees.
Even in the Information Age, communication remains a challenge. Staff can become isolated from each other and from management, leading to a "silo mentality."
Intranet software can break down these barriers, enabling direct, clear dialogue among staff and leadership. Your team can share ideas and constructive feedback, and your managers can interact transparently with staff.
Through the benefits of your intranet, you can crowdsource information, identify trends, head off potential issues, and make better strategic decisions for your business.
Intranet software is packed with features that streamline communication, but an instant messenger system is the most direct way to generate easy and immediate conversation.
When built inside your platform, the benefits of intranet software are tenfold; drag-and-drop files and videos, search old conversations, create group chats, and enjoy social features, such as emojis, to communicate with colleagues in one centralized place. A straightforward channel will also optimize the workday by eliminating unnecessary meetings through quick and collaborative capabilities.
You've engaged your staff, you've improved communication, and now it's time to work as a team. One of the major intranet benefits is streamlined collaboration tools.
Staff can partner on daily tasks and long-term projects by working within the structured space of your intranet, which allows them to share files, store conversations, and reference pertinent data. A robust intranet transforms ideas into action.
To communicate and collaborate effectively, you need to manage information efficiently. Social intranet software will organize and channel your business intelligence with laser precision. Rather than sifting through emails, staff can view key information at a glance in a dashboard format.
The intranet's structure prevents information overlap, so that staff members work with only the files they actually need. And, since the paperless office still requires a filing system, intranet document management is your best option. Simply upload and tag your files for fast access.
Once you've launched a project, you need to manage it to completion. Intranets enable you to track your projects in real time, as you monitor staff progress and resolve issues. By following staff conversations, you'll gain deeper insight into the challenges and resources that emerge during the project cycle.
Social intranet platforms allow you to consolidate standard business processes, reducing the need to purchase multiple software applications. Accounting, marketing, and human resource activities can be centralized in your digital workplace, creating efficiencies and benefits that translate into profit.
An HR intranet can benefit and reshape the hiring and onboarding processes. Companies that want to leverage their current talent by hiring from within use intranets as internal job boards. Managers can use staff profiles to identify experts within the organization for specialized tasks. Outside hires can log in to the intranet to access training materials and new employee documentation.
Tracking staff schedules and meeting spaces becomes more intuitive and beneficial with the right intranet platform. You can access personal and shared calendars in one space, eliminating the need to toggle between platforms when you're trying to schedule an event. Some intranet platforms even integrate with third-party calendars, such as Outlook in Office 365.
"Working from home" used to be the exception, but it's become increasingly common, particularly for businesses whose employees are located throughout the country or across the globe.
Social intranet software allows far-flung colleagues to collaborate, it allows you to manage remote workers, and it expands and benefits your organization's reach.
Your intranet can also improve your interactions with outside vendors. Invite trusted vendors to join selected areas of your platform so that you can handle your orders within your digital workplace. In the process, you'll engage your vendors more fully as true partners in your projects.
Intranet software has valuable tools to improve productivity and work relations at the same time. Direct chat options, spaces, task management, and notifications, are some of the many features on the market that nurture efficiency and transparency.
When staff can easily communicate with colleagues and management, questions and feedback are immediate and clear. Employees become true team members and accomplish their tasks together. Expectations are also clear from leadership.
Tools that support this direct interaction increase transparency through strong communication features. This keeps every person within your business connected and informed.
Storing important documents and conversations in a secured place is perhaps one of the greatest intranet benefits. It's crucial that platforms are equipped with trusted security systems and permission settings, thus protecting customer data, employee information, and sensitive documents.
You need a strong application security, safeguarding your information against attacks and spammers, and a sturdy backup and recovery system.
You can also control user security by granting specific individuals access to parts of the system with roles and permission settings.
Whether you're a business of 50 or 10,000 people, launching a new company intranet can be overwhelming. Often, businesses rely on their IT department for rollout and training.
If the platform is not easy-to-use, the upkeep, customization, and ability for department heads and users to upload content can require IT personnel indefinitely. Thankfully, you can avoid this.
A great example of intranet design has simple layouts, built-in templates, and is operational by all users. This will save time and cut costs, specifically when it comes to your IT department.
When pressing situations occur outside of the office, you'll need a mobile intranet to access important documents or contacts on your phone.
We've all been there... you just left work and someone has a question about a form you created, so you need to view the file. Or perhaps you need an employee's contact information. Whether you're resolving an issue or checking a task, a mobile intranet transports your work desk to your phone.
Receive notifications about anything work-related and conveniently access important information on the go. All that's required is a smart device and a platform with a mobile app that has these features.
There's an emphasis on internal connectivity when discussing intranet benefits, but the right platform will also incorporate external communications. This keeps every department informed about news outside of their scope.
If a department doesn't handle external communications, it's easy to become isolated. Your intranet is the perfect solution to avoid silos within a company... keeping every member briefed about what's happening outside of their department.
When a new article is posted on the corporate blog, for example, an announcement linking to that article can be created within the company intranet. A simple action like this ensures every employee is aware of anything published to the public.
Quantifying employee engagement is a difficult, albeit imperative, component to your business' success. A company intranet can gather and manage analytics within your business in organized, comprehensive reports.
The benefits of intranet data are endless. Use this information to evaluate what content within the platform is helpful or needs improvement. Pinpoint what questions are frequently asked and how you can enhance clarity for that issue. You can even use employee analytics for targeted emails within your organization.
There are other intranet engagement features, but an analytics tool offers immediate information about all content posted in the intranet.
The intranet benefits management just as much as it benefits team members. When staff can get answers quickly, they can do their jobs more efficiently.
Through Q&A forums and helpdesks, intranet platforms have answers to questions in one designated place. Team members can easily search or send links to information. This frees time for directors and empowers staff to have all the knowledge needed to seamlessly complete their tasks.
A knowledgeable, passionate staff with strong internal communication is the engine behind your company's success. As your business grows, so does your intranet.
Each day may bring a new employee, a new policy change, or a new lesson. Notify authors to update content by setting expiration dates. Have new members complete their employee profile, so that they are people and not just names. As your staff grows, your digital employee directory will expand, too. The org chart will update automatically, allowing everyone in the company to visually understand your organizational structure.
The intranet is an extension of your business and should reflect these changes in real time.
The company intranet can motivate staff in numerous ways. Its customization tools allow businesses to create vibrant, exciting, and on-brand pages that makes the platform, and the tasks performed within the intranet, an enjoyable experience.
There are also intranet gamification features that integrate friendly competition into the workday and recognize positive behavior. With these tools, you can award badges and points to employees. Give your colleague a "Thank You" badge for helping a new hire with a task… or set a challenge of writing three wiki pages and award the winners. You can even recognize your "Employee of the Month" with a badge.
The benefits of intranet software go beyond function; it inspires. Engage your staff with fun challenges and acknowledge members for their contributions.
On a daily basis, apps and tools used to run your business can be disparate. The email service provider may be separate from the document-sharing program, which is also separate from the CRM. This adds an unnecessary annoyance to the day and takes time away from productivity.
A Launchpad stores apps you need in one place. True to its word, a great intranet is the ultimate one-stop-shop for everything your business needs and wants... even if the program is not built-in the platform.
The right intranet platform can transform your organization and its bottom line. Use the above intranet benefits to your advantage ... don't lose another day to a lack of employee engagement, endless email threads and stalled projects. Revolutionize your business with social intranet software, and you'll be amazed at the results.
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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