When we talk about intranets, our first thought is enterprise collaboration. But there are other scenarios in which an intranet can be greatly effective -- like Human Resource Management. 

Socially-enabled intranets deliver obvious advantages to a wide range of verticals within an organization. The latest Intranet 2.0 Global Survey from Prescient Digital Media reveals the key business drivers behind Enterprise 2.0 initiatives: knowledge management, employee collaboration, team sites, employee engagement and executive communications.

The 2.0 Adoption Council adds some business benefit flavor to this discussion, stating that with intranets organizations are primarily looking for increased productivity (23%), better employee communication (22%) and corporate culture (16%).

Naturally, business owners can improve decision-making, maximize employee efficiency, monitor performance, implement pervasive business processes and secure knowledge continuity. IT departments can streamline project management, while financial departments experience better business visibility and accountability with collaboration tools.

HR and Intranets: Perfect Match 

This whole debate misses one important vertical that is unfairly left aside despite the fact it is or could be very interested in implementing intranet solutions. Yes, I am talking about HR managers who are constantly looking for new ways to improve internal communications, spread corporate culture and convert alienated employees into a highly-motivated and solid body deeply involved in business development.

With HR managers we see an obvious controversy. On the one hand it is difficult to refute the fact they are potentially interested in social intranets. Practice shows that they do play a major role in this process in large enterprises as no large scale implementation goes on without their involvement. On the other hand, HR teams in smaller organizations are still reluctant in this area. What is the most surprising in both cases however, is that HR departments rarely, if at all, initiate the intranet implementation process.

One of the reasons for this state of affairs is the nature of intranet solutions. What is the first thing that comes to your mind about intranet benefits? If you’re an intranet professional it doesn’t count. This is a basically a rhetorical question. But you should admit that, presently, intranets are mainly perceived as providing collaboration or a knowledge hub which is again about collaboration.

The industry constantly contributes to the market repositioning and strongly pushes the idea that intranets deliver much more than just collaboration. However, changing the impression of outsiders is, by definition, a slow-moving process.

Learning Opportunities

Consequently, HR departments don’t pay much attention to intranets and the industry misses a very important ally in technology adoption. In an ideal world, HR would be an effective, even a common, entry point for an intranet vendor to start communicating within an organization. HR managers simply need the right reasoning that addresses their core needs.

HR Tools and Benefits 

Let’s have a closer look at what tools HR managers could be interested in and what benefits will they have.

A manager with even the keenest eye for hiring doesn't solve all of the company’s problems at that early stage. Experience in personnel management shows that it isn’t enough to simply hire the best -- it is no less important to create an environment conducive to productive work. The socially-enabled intranet goes far beyond traditional collaboration.

The job of creating a team from a diverse group of specialists is a cornerstone of modern business. From HR’s point of view, this duty can be broken down into the following major parts: 

  • Build communications among staff, give them convenient communication tools
  • Monitor the level of corporate culture, promote corporate patriotism and raise non-material motivation of staff
  • Provide an easy orientation pathway for new people on the team, give them necessary training and education

Tomorrow we will outline basic HR scenarios that can leverage an enterprise intranet and the benefits that are delivered in doing so. The scenarios we will look at include:

  • Intranet as a team member
  • Intranet as a time machine
  • Intranet as a conductor of corporate ideas
  • Intranet as a school of new skills
  • Intranet as an internal social network