Intranet Basics: What You Need to Know for Today’s Workplace

Explore the basics of intranets, their importance in today's workplace, & how Assembly provides customizable solutions for teams.

July 31, 2023
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Information has always been an essential part of our lives and is one of the reasons why the Internet originated in the 1960s. 

The word intranet was coined from the words "internal" and "network". In the mid-90s, Intranet became a thing as companies needed a private place to store and retain information. However, it didn’t gain much momentum until the 1990s, during the global adoption of the World Wide Web (WWW). 

Intranet and extranet are words often used in the same conversations. For clarity, they don’t mean the same thing or have the same functions. An intranet is a virtual place where staff interact, communicate, and internally generate resources. On the other hand, an extranet provides information access to authorized clients, suppliers, partners, and other third parties under restricted circumstances.

Nowadays, most companies rely on intranets to securely store shared resources, information, and communication tools. With the help of this artificial intelligence, an intranet can increase productivity and decision-making in your organization. 

This article will discuss intranet basics and how you can maximize its potential for your workplace. 

How the Intranet Works Step by Step

  1. Planning and Design:

The first step is to plan and design the intranet. This involves understanding the organization's requirements and designing it in line with the goals of the intranet. It also involves determining the scope of services and resources to be provided through the network.

  1. Network Infrastructure: 

An intranet is built on an organization’s internal network infrastructure, typically consisting of servers, routers, and switches. The organization sets up the necessary network infrastructure to support the intranet

  1. Content Creation and Management: 

Next, the servers are configured to serve web pages, host databases, and manage applications, allowing employees within the organization to update relevant information timely. 

  1. User Authentication: 

The intranet requires user authentication to maintain security and control access to sensitive information. Users are provided with unique login details or granted permission by authorized personnel to access the system. 

  1. Knowledge Management:

Once authenticated, users can upload and share knowledge within the organization. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing tools include email services, instant messaging, discussion forums, and shared calendars. These tools help employees communicate, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.

  1. Maintenance and Improvement:

As the last step, organizations need to assess the effectiveness of the intranet regularly. By gathering feedback and identifying areas for improvement, the feedback loop helps to enhance the intranet's functionality, design, and usability over time.

step by step of how the intranet works

What Are the Three Types of Intranets?

  1. Collaboration-Based Intranet: 

This type of intranet centers on team collaboration and communication through discussion forums, chat, and project management tools. It often integrates various communication and collaboration tools, such as shared calendars, team workspaces, and chat spaces to support teamwork and cooperation..

  1. The Internal Site: 

Some organizations use this intranet to publish information internally. It is a one-way relationship where admins disseminate information through workflows and approvals for the whole company. It is a secure and restricted network accessible only to those within the organization, and it operates independently of the public internet. It serves as a central repository of documents and policies.

  1. Distributed Intranet: 

This kind of intranet spans multiple locations or sites within an organization. Each location may have its own servers, data, and network infrastructure, but are interconnected to form a cohesive network. This setup is particularly useful for large organizations and organizations with geographically dispersed teams or offices. 

What Should be Included in an Intranet?

  1. Company Policies and Employee Directory: 

This allows companies to store official records and documents in one place to reduce the time spent searching for these files. Also, updating policies when stored in an intranet is more effective. 

  1. Communication Tools: 

Employee engagement and communication are crucial in every workplace. An intranet is a place to facilitate real-time communication. You can keep a section to update employees on company news, events, and important announcements.

  1. Collaboration Spaces: 

While engaging with each other, it is also a place to ensure collaboration among your employees to share ideas, brainstorm or just inform. This would drive them to work together to meet the organization's goals collectively.

  1. Knowledge Base: 

An intranet is a safe place to keep a repository of best practices, frequently asked questions, and guidelines to help employees.

  1. Employee Experience: 

Human resources departments can optimize employee experience by making relevant employee-related documents, like benefits, evaluations, and policies, available to all staff. 

  1. Brand Assets: 

Your brand guidelines and assets should be stored in your intranet to ensure cross-functional collaboration and consistency. 

  1. Tasks and Workflows: 

Without a distinct workflow and process, new hires might continuously need clarification about who does what in the organization. Storing this kind of information can increase efficiency and reduce frustration for employees.

  1. Customizable Dashboards: 

The modern intranet is an integral part of organizations. It is advisable to work with intranet tools that enable you to customize your dashboards to fit your specific needs. 

What Is the Key Aspect of an Intranet?

The primary role of an intranet is to store information and keep your employees engaged. While there are other roles of an intranet for an organization, it is crucial to get an intranet that is customizable to the company's needs. Each team may have different scenarios and designs, so an effective intranet should be customizable for every type of team. 

Other aspects to look for when choosing an intranet are: 

  • Easy navigation and search options
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Secured and multi-layered access
  • Supports collaboration
  • Third-party integration
  • Supports employee learning

What Is the Role of an Intranet in the Workplace Today?

The need to foster employee engagement and team communication must be emphasized as the workplace evolves. Before now, the intranet was used basically for information dissemination. 

Recently, organizations have found a way to keep employees engaged through the intranet. The intranet now focuses on employee experience rather than a tool for employers. 

According to a study by The Nielsen Norman Group, while businesses with less than 1,000 people frequently don't develop intranets, it is an effective way to help small businesses, especially in cases where staff are distributed across several locations.

In large organizations, there is a need for central repositories to keep all employees updated and engaged so knowledge isn’t lost when people leave an organization. The intranet can store information centrally in smaller settings and keep everyone informed. 

Can You Build an Intranet to Fit Your Needs?

Yes, modern intranet systems provide a great level of customization and flexibility. It is important to look for key features to determine which solutions suit your organization. Customization is one of the powerful features to look for when choosing an intranet solution. 

Assembly enables you to customize and build the best intranet for your organization, and you can jumpstart your employee experience through intranet templates. This flexibility guarantees that your intranet can meet the specific needs of any department in your organization. 

How to Implement an Intranet in the Workplace

  1. Decide What Your Business Needs: 

Conduct internal research to learn what your organization needs and how an intranet can cater to those needs. You can also speak to various team members to know their needs and decide what areas the intranet needs to cover. Speculating on your business needs wouldn’t help at this stage.

  1. Choose the Right Solution: 

This is one of the most important stages when implementing the right software. Choose the best solutions suited to your business needs. You can refer to the section above on “What Is the Key Aspect of an Intranet?”. Assembly enables you to create a robust employee experience. You can update your employee with a general news feed to share all the current happenings with them in real-time. 

  1. Develop a Usage Policy: 

Now that you have signed up for the best intranet solution, you need to outline a clear policy on its usage and define what type of information can be shared. Streamlining these processes saves time and reduces information overload. Also, you should develop a clear plan for the intranet’s structure and navigation to ensure a seamless employee experience. 

  1. Migrate Content: 

Each department and stakeholder can upload relevant content to the intranet platform based on the defined usage policies. Encourage each department to designate intranet content upload duties to a specific teammate to foster efficiency.

  1. Create a Launch Pad: 

After launching the new intranet with the company’s relevant features in mind, it’s important to create baseline metrics from prior systems to define adoption and engagement goals. Ensure your various departments are on board and will promote the platform's usage. 

  1. Soft Launch and User Training:

You can start with a soft launch to ensure everyone is on the same page. During the soft launch, provide comprehensive training to familiarize the employees with the intranet features. Be ready to answer questions regarding the software and understand the user’s challenges.

  1. Launch and Adoption: 

You launch the solution at this stage and promote its usage across your organization. You should continue to encourage active participation and feedback. 

  1. Continuous Improvement: 

Measuring the adoption and gathering feedback regularly to improve and optimize your intranet performance is important. 

Create an Enjoyable Work Experience with Assembly

Intranet solutions have changed the way organizations store information and keep their employees engaged. 

In today's era of dynamic and interconnected workplaces, understanding the basics of intranets is crucial for fostering effective communication and collaboration among employees. As we've explored, an intranet is a secure and private network, providing employees with a centralized platform to access resources, share information, and work together seamlessly.

Investing in a well-designed intranet can enhance a company's internal communication, boost employee engagement, and job satisfaction. Providing a cohesive and intuitive intranet experience also empowers employees to access the information they need, find the right expertise, ultimately leading to a more efficient workplace.

With the right intranet solution, it will remain a cornerstone of effective internal communication and collaboration for your organization.

Modern intranet solutions like Assembly ensures great employee experience with ready-to-use templates, keeping your employees engaged and updated in one place.

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

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.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered