5 Types of Intranets for the Workplace to Know About

Take a close look at the main types of workplace intranets to better understand which is the best fit for your organization.

August 8, 2023
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An intranet can empower your employees to get their work done faster, collaborate more effectively, and quickly get a grasp of what’s happening across your business.

But you’ll only unlock the benefits of knowledge sharing if you pick a platform that suits your organization’s exact needs. 

Here’s a close look at the five main types of intranet so you can get a better idea of which is the best fit for your business. 

The Different Types of Intranets

There are several different types of company intranets.

Here’s a rundown of the most popular so you can get an idea of which might be the best suited to your organization’s needs:

Internal Website

An internal company website can only be accessed by a company’s employees. It’s a static site that has to be updated through an intranet CMS, meaning it doesn’t come with the communication tools you’d expect from a modern intranet software. And while an internal website technically works across all devices, that’s because it’s accessed through a web browser – not because it’s been designed to work seamlessly on a smartphone.

Employee Intranet Portal

Much like an internal website for employees, an intranet portal is hosted on a company’s own servers. However, it’s a more modern and dynamic platform for employees to access all an organization’s important information, guidelines, and processes whenever they need them.

Social Intranet

Social intranets are people-centric platforms that double up as a private social network for your employees. Common social intranet tools help encourage people to build connections with teammates from different departments. This can do wonders for your company culture – not to mention employee engagement.

Front Door Intranet

A front door intranet platform serves as the main entry point for employees to access all the tools, applications, and resources they need to do their work. 

This type of employee intranet is designed to be a central hub where employees start their digital workplace experience each time they log in. To keep things simple and easy to use, a front door intranet looks and works the same across all devices, whether it’s being accessed on a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.

External Website

Today, more and more organizations are using an external intranet for knowledge management and cross-departmental collaboration. These modern web-based platforms come jam-packed with tools for knowledge management, communication and collaboration, and boosting employee engagement. And because they’re hosted in the cloud, they ensure every employee is always working from the most up-to-date version of a document or process – and can make real-time amends and suggestions to documents all their colleagues can see.

What Are the Two Main Types of Intranets Used Today?

Of all the kinds of intranets used in the workplace today, internal websites and external websites are the most popular.

Here’s why:

Internal websites are usually legacy platforms that once upon a time cost an organization an arm and a leg to build from scratch. These tend to have clunky, dated interfaces and not nearly as many intranet features you’d expect to see in a modern social intranet software.

Companies tend to stick with these platforms because they’ve invested a lot of time and money into building a platform that fits their exact needs over the years. However, adding new features to an internal website or attempting to make the interface more intuitive are time-consuming and expensive projects. Embarking on them often ends up being a case of throwing good money after bad.

Which is why today, more and more companies are making the switch to an external website when it comes to knowledge management and employee collaboration.

The reason being is that modern intranet collaboration tools are a lot easier and less expensive to maintain and update. They’re easy to set up and manage, designed to be as easy to use as possible, and even allow businesses to give external agencies and contractors restricted access to information they need to do their best work.

Plus, modern employee intranet portals come with a whole host of features that can help businesses boost productivity, engagement, and staff retention. These include seamless integrations with your current tech stack, workplace news feeds that make it easy to keep your employees in the loop, and even integrated recognition and rewards software.

The Intranet Future

The very first employee intranets were worlds apart from the digital workplace the modern intranet has become – and a decade from now social intranet software could well be unrecognizable from the intranet tools we use today. 

Here’s a closer look at ways intranet collaboration tools are set to be refined and reimagined over the coming years:


Any intranet worth its salt in 2023 works on a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. But they’re still primarily designed to be used on a computer. That could be set to change in years to come, as our personal and professional lives continue to migrate to our mobile devices. Intranet platforms may have to be designed for smartphones first and foremost to keep up with changing work habits in the age of remote and hybrid work.

Simple Customization 

The rise of no-code solutions over the last few years have opened up a host of possibilities when it comes to customizing software of all kinds. Knowledge management platforms are no exceptions, and leaders and HR teams can only expect to have more control over exactly how their intranet is configured – no coding skills required.

An All-in One Employee Hub

Modern intranet platforms have so many features that they’re fast becoming a central hub for your employees’ every need. Once you’ve adopted an intranet platform your employees are happy to use, it makes sense to transition all internal communications to the platform your people visit every day. In line with this trend, you can expect intranet platforms to cover even more employee services in years to come, from sending teammates their payslips to housing all internal communications.

AI-driven Revolutions

Artificial Intelligence is in its infancy right now, but even some of its early applications have been mind blowing. And it's a field that’s developing very fast, which means you shouldn’t be surprised if you see AI-driven features – such as personalized experiences, automated tasks, and improved search functionality – hit intranet platforms very soon.

A big advantage of opting for an external intranet is that you can leave staying at the cutting edge of what an intranet platform can do to the team behind your platform of choice. They’ll work on adding the latest and greatest features to your intranet while your team focuses on building your product or delivering your service.

The Final Word

The right intranet can transform your business. Stick to the tips we’ve laid out here to make sure you’re adopting a platform that will boost productivity, engagement, and retention across yours.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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