Building a Company Intranet Your Employees Will Love (and Use)

Looking for an effective intranet to help your employees? Click to learn how to build the intranet you need.

October 4, 2023
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In the ever-evolving world of modern business, companies need to seek more efficient ways to manage internal communication, data sharing, and collaboration. 

And that’s where a company intranet solution comes in!

An intranet is a private network that enables employees to access information unique to their organization. An effective company intranet portal plays a crucial role in boosting employee engagement. It provides a platform for employee recognition and appreciation, fostering a positive corporate culture. Additionally, the intranet facilitates social interactions and encourages teamwork, allowing employees to connect and collaborate easily.

In this article, we will delve into the world of company intranets - what they are, how they work, and why they are so important for businesses today. We will also explore the components of a successful company intranet, potential pitfalls to avoid when creating one, and the impact it can have on employee engagement and productivity. 

Let’s begin!

What Is A Company Intranet?

A company intranet is a private network exclusively accessible to employees. It is a centralized internal communication, collaboration, and information-sharing platform. Features like news feeds and document management enhance efficiency, employee engagement, and company-wide communication.

A well-designed company intranet includes critical components that enhance organizational communication and collaboration. It should provide a centralized hub for company news, updates, and announcements, allowing employees to stay informed about important information. 

Socialization features aren’t left out! Social features encourage employee interactions and engagement, fostering a sense of community with genuine connections. 

Do Companies Still Use Intranets?

In the past, intranets used to be static data archives only accessible within a company's network. Today, they have developed into dynamic centers for collaboration that provide real-time communication, accessibility from anywhere, and integration with cutting-edge tools and systems.

Intranets facilitate remote work, improve productivity, and create digital workplaces. Modern intranets offer advanced features like team collaboration and mobile apps, making them indispensable tools for organizations.

What do companies use intranets for?

Companies use intranets for various purposes, including enhancing employee communication and engagement, serving as a centralized knowledge base, facilitating project management and collaboration, streamlining business processes, and enabling company-wide announcements and updates.

These cutting-edge intranets improve worker engagement, permit remote work, and offer personalized experiences, revolutionizing businesses and encouraging practical cooperation throughout the organization.

Additionally, a user-friendly intranet enhances employee onboarding and knowledge management. Incorporating company intranet features into day-to-day activities benefits the organization by breaking down communication barriers and providing easy access to information.

What Do Companies Call Their Intranets?

There are various creative intranet names to inspire your naming, and some of those examples include:

  1. Exchange
  2. The Grid
  3. Pulse
  4. Gateway
  5. Planet
  6. Insite
  7. The Forum

When picking an intranet name, several factors will increase the chances of its functionality and efficiency. Some tips to help inspire your creativity and tip the naming in your favor include:

  1. A company should consider a name their employees find relatable and inviting.   
  2. Keeping the name simple and easy to remember is essential, making it easier for employees to access the intranet daily. 
  3. The title should be relevant to the company's culture or mission, reflecting its values and identity. It could be an inside joke, a term relating to the industry, etc.
  4. Ensure that the chosen name is appropriate and has no negative connotations.
  5. Involving employees in the naming process can create a unique and memorable intranet name, as it allows for different options and perspectives.

What Should Be On A Company Intranet?

When building a company intranet, you should include various components to enhance organizational communication and collaboration. A great way to begin is to encourage employees to develop ideas to incorporate into the core functions of your intranet based on their needs.

The components of a company intranet should have the essential features that enhance its functionality and benefits. They include:

  1. It should give employees access to important company news, updates, and announcements, informing them about the latest happenings. 
  2. Employee directories and profiles should be available to foster connectivity and encourage collaboration among colleagues. 
  3. Essential documents and resources should be easily accessible for knowledge sharing and smooth workflows. 
  4. It’s important to incorporate project management tools and task lists to facilitate seamless coordination.
  5. Social features like discussion forums and social feeds can promote interactive communication and employee engagement.
  6. Easy access to information is crucial, so consider having a well-organized navigation system. This includes chat and messaging features to facilitate real-time communication and collaboration, enabling seamless teamwork. 
  7. An analytics feature is a need-to-have. It helps measure intranet adoption and engagement levels, allowing organizations to assess effectiveness.

How to Create a Company Intranet?

Several steps are involved in creating a company intranet to meet the organization’s unique needs. While these steps may vary based on the organisation’s needs, some processes are a given.

Here's a step-by-step guide to creating a company intranet that employees will enjoy using:

  1. Define Objectives and Goals:

It’s important to start with answering questions like, what problems are you trying to solve? What are the company’s values and priorities? Is improving communication and enhancing collaboration a must-have or a need-to-have?

  1. Gather Requirements:

Identify the specific features and functionalities your intranet should have that would answer the questions in step 1. This may include document sharing, news feeds, project management tools, social features, etc. You can also get input from employees to ensure you address the actual needs, not perceived ones.

  1. Method of building:

Next, decide whether to build the intranet from scratch or use an existing platform or intranet software. Popular intranet platforms include Assembly, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and various content management systems (CMS) like WordPress.

  1. Design User-Centric Navigation:

Create an intuitive and user-friendly navigation structure. Organize content logically and make it easy for employees to find what they need. Consider using categories, tabs, and search functionality. You can also curate the design to represent the look and feel of the company through brand logos, fonts, and colors.

  1. Set Up User Permissions:

Implement role-based access control for both confidentiality and accessibility. Permissions ensure that employees only have access to the information and features relevant to their roles. This is crucial for maintaining security and privacy.

  1. Populate Content:

Start adding relevant content to the intranet. Content comprises the information and features you’d like to access in your intranet. It includes company policies, documents, announcements, employee profiles, and other information relevant to your organization. Some common features include tools for collaboration, communication, and project management.

  1. Test, launch, and monitor:

Testing, getting, and implementing feedback before launching the intranet is important. Once you're confident in your intranet's functionality and usability, it’s launch time! 

Building a company intranet is an ongoing process that requires monitoring and continuous updating. So, success ultimately depends on your ability to adapt to changing requirements and user feedback.

Common Mistakes in Intranet Development

Intranet development mistakes are more common than we think. However, they’re all part of the learning process when developing a company intranet solution. But knowledge is power, and learning what mistakes to avoid is the best way to learn from the mistakes without making them! 

  1. No employee input

Don’t neglect employee input and feedback in the design and development process. You miss out on the dynamic and wholesome perspectives needed to build an intranet that meets their needs and preferences by neglecting employee input. 

  1. Information overload

Another mistake is overloading the intranet with unnecessary features and information, making navigation overwhelming and challenging for employees to find important information.

  1. Lack of company culture and intranet alignment

Failing to align the intranet with the company's goals and objectives can lead to a disconnect between the intranet and the overall strategy. 

  1. Insufficient training and support

Not providing adequate training and ongoing support for users can lead to low adoption rates and a lack of understanding of the intranet's capabilities.

  1.  Ignoring Scalability

Not considering future growth and scalability can result in an intranet that becomes easily inefficient and costly to maintain as the organization expands.

  1. Neglecting User Experience

Focusing solely on functionality and neglecting the user experience can result in a clunky interface that frustrates employees and limits its usage. Easy navigation, mobile accessibility, and user-friendly terms are some features to consider.

  1. Skipping testing

Skipping thorough testing or doing inadequate tests can lead to technical issues, bugs, and performance problems that may become challenging after launch.

Avoiding these common mistakes in intranet development requires planning, involving staff, scheduling regular maintenance, and a commitment to meeting your organization's and its employees' evolving needs.

Building The Right Intranet For Your Company

Building a company intranet that your employees will enjoy using can move from an aspiration to a strategy that can be actualized. You're not just building a digital workspace but creating a community of engaged employees. 

A well-crafted company intranet isn't just a tool; it reflects your organization's commitment to its employees, clients, and growth. You can turn your intranet into a tool your employees love by focusing on simplicity, user-friendliness, functionality, practicality, and scalability.  

With the right intranet, you'll see increased engagement, more efficient workflows, and a team that’s excited to collaborate and innovate.

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