The more remote your team is, the more important it is to have one central place of communication, engagement and collaboration. Within the past months, we have all seen that being connected to co-workers is necessary when it comes to employee motivation and their general will to continuously contribute to the company they are working for. And this is why both usage of communication tools such as Zoom and Slack, and the importance of having a winning intranet solution, grew massively.
In the following article, we would like to give you an overview of our 10 intranet best practices, which help you to implement a successful intranet – meaning an intranet that engages everyone.
What makes a good intranet?
A best practice intranet site is an intranet that works for everyone. That means it should not be too complicated, but still involve important tools that employees need to finish daily tasks and even long-term projects which involve team-work.
Also, an intranet should not only be the place for work, but also for entertainment. It could, for example, be used to create virtual corporate events, to offer workshops and classes and to even have communication channels for random topics. Everyone needs to talk about different topics other than work once in a while.
The best intranet platform is the intranet that you feel most comfortable with – and the intranet that works best with your corporate culture, your team, and of course, the basic idea of your enterprise. When looking for the best intranet for you, you should always question yourself what you really want to have in your intranet. Why are you even looking for an intranet? What would you like to improve? Once you find answers to those questions, you can browse through various intranet platforms and find the best choice.
What problems does an intranet solve?
An intranet can be the solution to a lot of problems that you might have encountered in your last years of business. Foremost, an intranet will offer your company structure. Once implemented as the central spot for communication, engagement, and collaboration, you will quickly notice how easy it has become to talk to coworkers, to reach out to other departments and to contact those that are physically far away. Also, an intranet can help you find a structure for file storage and data organization as most of them have integration features to cloud-services such as Google Workspace.
Implementing an intranet is only one side of the coin as success will only be generated once the intranet is being used in a proper and structured way. But how do you manage an intranet? The first thing that should be considered is to have a clear strategy that tells everyone the goal of using the intranet. As a second step it's necessary to enlist community managers. However, since everyone in your company is (ultimately) using the intranet, you should make sure that everyone actually knows how to use it. Only then your intranet can be used as a valuable communication tool, a content management system, and as a way of sharing files and collaboratively working on them.
#1 Make sure to have the best intranet features
When choosing an intranet, you should make sure to have all of the needed intranet features. What do we mean by this? Well, imagine just having implemented an intranet that everyone knows how to use, but then realizing that you still need other tools and features that you can only find outside of the actual intranet. This problem can be avoided by checking from the very beginning whether features such as integration with third party tools, social features, a mobile application, and 2-way-communication, are part of the intranet that you would like to use.
#2 Your intranet needs to engage
Having an intranet that bores everyone is not really the point of investing all this money, right? You should change this by engaging everyone with your intranet. This can be established by actually asking your employees what they would like to see, what they need and what they want in their intranet.
Once you’ve done that, you know how to create content pieces that engage. Start by working on proper content management in order to publish pieces that employees are interested in. Apart from that, you can always use your company's news feed to publish polls, statistics, and, even better, fun content that everyone would like to see. An intranet is valuable for a lot of serious tasks – but it can easily be entertaining and engaging.
Examples of highly engaging content pieces:
Interesting blog posts
Meaningful videos or podcasts
Public recognition of great work
Thought leadership pieces
Announcement of events, conferences or trade fairs
Questionnaires & surveys
Remember: The heart of the intranet is always a content management system (CMS). This should, of course, meet your company's intranet requirements. Compare the functions of different CMSs with your requirements. Prioritize the features you want: no CMS on the market can meet all your needs 100 percent. Therefore, choose an intranet CMS that has its strengths in the areas you value most: core intranet, collaboration, social intranet, portal, search.
We mentioned earlier that there is no point in implementing an intranet that nobody really understands. So make sure to opt for an intranet structure best practice that has a well-developed interface, a great user experience and an appealing design. You should never forget that you are implementing an intranet to ease things up. Don't make it more difficult than it already was and keep it simple. Keep in mind your key features and what the intranet was actually supposed to do and find the best solution for you, your enterprise and your team.
#4 Your intranet should have the best user-experience and intranet design
A strong end-to-end customer experience has long been a top priority for companies. Motivated and well-informed employees are essential to this customer experience, and so more and more companies are now recognizing the importance of the employee experience. Companies can actively influence and shape these employee experiences using their own intranet. Influencing factors are culture, tasks and the physical workplace, and in times of remote work, the digital workplace, meaning the intranet. Offering a great user experience and having a nice and fun intranet with design best practices can not only increase your employees' engagement but also their general motivation.
#5 Your intranet should be measurable
Measurement and statistics play a key role when it comes to the success of your company. Whether it's the conversion rate that eCommerce companies are measuring, the open rate that is being looked at from an email marketing point of view or whether it's the likes and comments on any social media channel – measurement is one of the most important things to do in order to achieve goals and, well, to become better in what one is doing. When it comes to intranet success, a clear measurement is also inevitable. But how do you measure a winning intranet? Well, there are plenty of ways. You could check how many people reacted to certain posts, which communication channels are being the most populated and what your employees' are searching for the most. Everything can be measured.
#6 Ensure your intranet is the preferred mode of communication at your workplace
As we said in the very beginning when we talked about the features that your intranet should have: make sure to have an intranet that really integrates the main tools and features that you need to use or that you have been using before. Especially your communication tools should be a part of your intranet. Once your employees move somewhere else to communicate to each other, your intranet solution has basically failed. Make sure to keep your intranet as a major source of information and communication.
#7 Use a mobile intranet app for wider reach
In times when everyone is working remotely, you also need to make sure that your intranet can be easily accessed via any smartphone or mobile device. This way everyone can easily get in touch with any colleague, can access files without having to wait until they are back home and receive notifications about any company news or time-sensitive matters. Above all, by having a mobile app for your intranet, you keep the employee engagement high and make sure that nobody misses anything that is happening in your company.
What features are needed to give your remote workers the possibility to access the intranet also from on the road?
Speaking of content management again, it is also vital to have a structure which makes it easy for everyone to actually find the content that is being created. There is no point in having an intranet that is unstructured and chaotic.
Make sure to have a strong intranet search functionality in place so that your employees can easily access any kind of information they are looking for.
#9 Implement personalisation
One way to make everyone feel integrated is by having a strong corporate culture that is being implemented throughout every part of the company and that also involves your intranet. Make sure to give your intranet a personal touch by for example using your company's key colours, by keeping the same tone as in all marketing and PR materials and by giving everyone the opportunity to personalize their account.
#10 Your intranet should integrate with other apps
We gave you an introduction to certain features that your intranet should have at the very beginning of this article. Now that we've reached the end we want to underline this again by telling you that one of the key components of having an intranet that is successful is the possibility of integrating other apps into your intranet. What do we mean by this? Various intranets offer different options, but one of the most important of them all is the fact that you need to be able to integrate certain features such as communication apps, cloud-sharing tools, calendars, contacts and many more. If this is impossible, you might as well skip the whole idea of implementing an intranet into your company. Also it is super important to have an intranet which is able to have new features integrated. Trust us, nothing is more annoying than having to set up a new intranet just because a vital feature cannot be integrated.
Now that you have the basic knowledge of intranet best practices and of what a successful intranet might look like, it's up to you to find the right choice and integrate an intranet into your own company. Make sure that you find a solution that will fit your corporate culture, your company's needs and your employees' interests.