Workers sitting around a circular table. Each person has a laptop or a tablet and they are communication and collaborating
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Company intranets aren’t new, but how people view and approach them has certainly changed. “We are starting to think of intranets as engagement tools,” says Katie Desmond, partner and chief business development officer (CBDO) at Imarc. “We know that engagement drives a number of business outcomes; employees who are more engaged deliver better customer service for example.

“The challenge for businesses is how to drive engagement. Our experience has shown that company intranets are a powerful solution. By creating a platform where employees can access the files they need while also communicating and mingling with each other socially, a company intranet supports a positive employee culture, which leads to a more engaged virtual workforce.”

Company intranets can contribute to better employee engagement, but only if they’re used regularly. Desmond suggests several best practices for increasing the effectiveness of company intranets. She also illustrates how intranets are beneficial to the entire organization – both now and in the future.

Establish Good Governance To Encourage Use

Intranets are only as good as the information put into them. To keep employees engaged and using the platform, content should be regularly updated. Establishing good governance over the tool from the very beginning helps set the precedent and encourages employees to use the system. There should be clear ownership of the tool – typically corporate communications with assistance from IT – to keep content fresh and current. “Once the intranet is live, you have to continue creating new and fresh content,” Desmond says.

Your company intranet should also be easy to manage and maintain, even for non-technical people. The point of the intranet is to make communications easier than working off of disparate systems; the last thing your team needs is a difficult process to host a file or post a blog.

Beyond Communication – How an Intranet Affects the Whole Organization

An intranet can improve communication in every department in your organization.

Right from the start, HR can onboard employees faster and more efficiently. This becomes even more critical as hiring and onboarding are done remotely. “Employees need to know how to access information, resources, and forms, which is going to be even more necessary as companies practice remote hiring,” Desmond says. “And potential hires are starting to ask savvier questions. It won’t be long before they are asking ‘What does your intranet look like? How is your corporate culture supported?’ during interviews.”

With personalized intranets, each user can set relevant notifications and alerts. For example, sales team members can enable notifications when new information is released, which they can then use when speaking with prospects.

Your HR or corporate communications teams can use the intranet to present information to employees, like health and wellness initiatives, fun daily polls, and more. This type of virtual, friendly connection among employees can have a positive effect on engagement, retention, and overall company culture.

And of course, when employees can spend more time bonding it leads to a more tight-knit company culture. This is huge in this age of remote-first working. Without a water cooler to stand around, employees need new ways to connect. Through a company intranet, they can do just that. “Being able to socialize with each other humanizes the workplace experience,” Desmond says.

Remote Work Requires Better Communication

If the last five years saw a slow increase in the importance of company intranets, then the last six months were an explosion. The digital disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to remote work for many office employees has emphasized the need for a company intranet and better employee communications overall. With the majority of office workers still working from home and not returning to the office until 2021 (if ever), companies need new and better ways of communicating with their workforce.

“Having a company intranet is no longer a nice to have; it’s now essential,” says Desmond. “With employees working all over the world, your company needs a better way to keep them engaged and productive. The last thing your employees want is to hunt through files or email threads to find what they need. Having applications, communications, and data accessible from a single point ensures your employees have what they need where and when they need it.”

When employee resources are accessible through a single point rather than from multiple points, it can have a positive effect on cybersecurity – a critical issue since the number of cyberattacks has increased during the pandemic. (1)

Conclusion

As we change the way we think about work, and our approach to communication, companies need a strategy that addresses how remote workers communicate and socialize, to bolster engagement and culture.

Company intranets are no longer nice to have, nor are they only for multinational enterprise corporations. A scalable intranet that’s customized to your company’s needs can engage employees from day one, ensure they always have the right access to data and files, and provide a place for workers to socialize and build trust and camaraderie. As we head into 2021 and companies look for ways to keep their remote workforce engaged, now is the time to see what a company intranet can do for your business.

Learn more about LOOP, Imarc’s new intranet solution at https://www.imarc.com/products/loop

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