Choosing the Right Intranet Portal for Your Company

Here’s how to pick an intranet that empowers your employees to get their work done faster and collaborate effectively.

June 30, 2023
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When most people think “intranet”, they picture outdated software with a clunky interface and glacial load times.

But a modern intranet can be more than just an intranet portal - it can become your new digital workplace

The right intranet software doesn't just act as an employee intranet portal, but also becomes a tool for project management, document management, and internal communications within the entire company.

Pick an intranet software that transforms your company intranet into a dynamic digital employee experience, fostering employee engagement.  This will not only improve productivity and employee engagement but also create a cohesive internal social network, keeping everyone on the same page.

Read on for our tips for picking an intranet your employees will use – and getting the most from it.

What are the keys to a successful intranet?

Launching an intranet with these key features can be your organization's ticket to taking your teammates' productivity to the next level:

Make sure it's intuitive to use

Firstly, modern intranet software should have an intuitive intranet site design, making it easy for employees to use and engage with the platform. Your intranet software should also have a seamless search function, enabling users to find whatever information they need from your intranet portal fast.

Make sure it's easy to search and navigate

If an employee can't find whatever information they need from your company intranet fast, they won't use it – and they certainly won't spend their time adding to it.

So, it's crucial you choose a platform that's easy to navigate and has a fast and reliable search function. If your intranet's search bar doesn't return relevant results and it takes your people more than a few clicks to get from the homepage to information they need then they aren't likely to use it for long.

Make it easily accessible

Accessibility is crucial - ensure that the intranet platform can be accessed anywhere, allowing employees to stay connected and updated even outside the office. An intranet software that can be tailored to suit different department needs and supports various document formats like Google Docs, Slides, and videos will be widely adopted across the company.

Make sure it's flexible

A platform that's flexible enough to be tailored to suit the needs of your HR department to your dev team will have the biggest chances of successfully being adopted across your company.

It's also worth noting that some people prefer to write out a process in a Google Doc, some prefer to create a slide deck, and some prefer to record a Loom. An employee intranet that supports all those formats will have the biggest uptake.

What makes a good company intranet?

A comprehensive and up-to-date company intranet can save each of your employees hours a week – and your company tens of thousands of dollars in improved productivity.

Here's some best practices for getting the most from the intranet you choose:

It's built with your employees' needs in mind

The more your employees engage with your intranet collaboration tools, the more of an impact it will have on your organization's productivity – and ultimately your bottom line.

A good company intranet encourages employee engagement and facilitates knowledge management. Having an employee directory, a document management system, and a company calendar integrated into the intranet portal can greatly improve business operations and employee productivity.

And the more you involve your employees in choosing and implementing an intranet, the more likely it will meet their exact needs. So, ask for volunteers from each of your company's departments to form a committee to help you get an intranet set up that suits your employees' real needs. Ask for their feedback every step of the way and use that to develop a platform that has all the features they need and none they don't.

Once your intranet is launched, the members of that committee are then the perfect candidates to be your intranet champions – the people who'll help promote the intranet internally and encourage their colleagues to use it.

Keep it simple

A company intranet should help your teammates get their work done faster, not leave them trying to figure out how to access a file.

The thing is: your employees will stop using your intranet the second it becomes disorganized and difficult to use. The simpler it's designed, the less likely it is to ever become a mess, and the more useful it will be to your teammates.

Fancy breaks, and a broken tool is no good to your teammates. Keep your intranet simple for the best results. Employee requests and feedback should be taken into account to continuously improve the intranet tools and the digital workplace as a whole.

Sell your teammates on the benefits

Most employees don't want to have to adapt to a new system or change the way they do things. That's just human nature – we resist change.

So, you're going to need to sell your teammates on your intranet's benefits if you want it to be a success – even if those benefits are glaringly obvious to you.

Your best bet here is to treat your intranet like a product and plan a marketing campaign around its launch. Sell your teammates on the benefits of your new intranet through internal comms like emails and all-hands meetings. 

Focus on what it's going to do for them: 

  • It will make it easy for them to find the information they need as soon as they need it – meaning no more urgent questions sitting unread in a colleague's inbox
  • It will make it easier to collaborate with colleagues across departments (especially for remote and hybrid teams)
  • Your employees will spend less time in meetings, as their teammates can just look up the information they need in the internal wiki rather than booking in a slot to get that information from them

The more your people believe in the benefits your intranet is going to bring them, the more likely they are to engage with it from day one.

How do i choose an intranet?

When evaluating your company's needs, consider the different features your modern intranet software should have. These can range from project management tools to an internal social network or simply an internal website for employees. Also, ensure that the intranet platform has integrations with your current toolstack.

Here are a few simple steps to follow to pick the right platform – and make sure its launched successfully:

Evaluate your needs

Before looking at employee intranets and corporate intranet portal options, think carefully about your company's needs and identify what features your intranet software is going to need.

For example, will you need:

You'll also want to consider your current toolstack and make sure your intranet of choice has all the integrations you need.

Make sure to consult the committee you've assembled on what their department's requirements are at this stage so your intranet caters to their needs.

And with all that in mind, you can best choose an intranet platform that meets your company's needs and goals.

Plan your information architecture

Planning your information architecture ahead of time can make it much easier for employees to navigate your intranet website. Designing an intranet that's intuitive, organized, and easy to use starts by getting to grips with the information your employees need to access and organizing it so it's easy to find a single document or SOP among thousands.

So, grab your committee and plan how all the information in your intranet is going to be structured to make it as intuitive to navigate as possible. You can do this in a spreadsheet at a computer, but you'll often have the best results with good old-fashioned sticky notes on a conference room wall.

Hitting pause to perform this step might seem like overkill, but trust us: if your intranet is laid out logically from day one and your employees will take to it like ducks to water. Get it wrong and its launch is bound to be a disaster.

Conduct a pilot

Moving every one of your company's important SOPs and documents to a new platform is going to come with its teething problems. But you can make the full launch much smoother sailing by running a pilot program first.

You might want to run this with your intranet committee or a single team or department – either can work. Just be sure to collect their honest feedback after a few weeks of using the new platform so you can course correct before you roll your intranet out to the entire company.

Plan your internal marketing and onboarding campaign

Finally, it's time to plan your internal marketing strategy, create your training materials and plan in training sessions, and elect your intranet champions.

Treat launching your intranet like it's a new product for the best chances of success. Planning your information architecture ahead of time can make it much easier for employees to navigate your intranet website.

The final word

Follow the steps we've laid out here to implement a modern intranet that unlocks hidden productivity within your organization, makes it easier for colleagues across different departments to collaborate with one another, and captures your employees' knowledge so it's not lost when they move on to another role. That's what any good enterprise intranet portal should accomplish.

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