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Hidden benefits of an intranet: 4 ways to support HR goals


Facing the HR communication challenges that come with being a mid-sized business, many companies today are capitalizing on the benefits of intranet sites, which can serve as a central hub for cross-departmental communication.

Intranet sites are private networks that can only be accessed by employees, and they contain common human resources tools, company news and often much more.

While you might already have an intranet site already in play, how can you be sure your company is using it effectively? How can you incorporate your site into a part of your overall HR strategy?

Follow these four tips to get the most from your intranet.

1. Make your intranet a reflection of your company culture

Like any other content created by your company, you’ll want to ensure everything that’s on your intranet reflects your company culture. This reinforces your company values to employees and gives you a chance to make a positive impression on new employees entering your workforce.

For example, you might use your intranet to share company news, achievements, promotions, retirements and even failures and lessons learned. By taking the time to explain, you let employees know that you’re staying on track with your getting-better agenda, while showing them how you plan to continuously improve.

You maintain transparent leadership when you make information like this readily available to employees – regardless of where they sit on your org chart. It also helps to build trust and respect throughout your business.

Organizations with multiple locations will find this is especially necessary as employees might otherwise hear news through the grapevine without it.

2. Show employees you care about their user experience

Make your site as appealing to employees as possible. This helps to reinforce a positive relationship between you and your employees, and it demonstrates your commitment to effective communication across the organization.

As you think about user experience, tap into your marketing, communications and design talent to get the right look, feel and tone. While you’ll want it to remain professional in nature, you can also make the experience more personable since communication is limited to your internal audience.

Additionally, pay attention to whether the content is engaging enough for your employees. How can you encourage employees to return for more content, while fostering goodwill and showing that you care about them?

You could highlight the employee of the month winners or share photos of employees who are volunteering in the community.

Visually, the homepage should be both organized and engaging. For example, you might have a colorful, attention-grabbing banner on the homepage that changes with every news update.

Consider developing a unique brand for your intranet site, so it becomes familiar and recognizable to employees. Get creative with the name. Try to craft something catchy and concise that speaks to the purpose of the site.

Pay close attention to your site navigation. Put yourself in the shoes of an employee and think about how they are most likely to use the intranet. Then cater to those needs. Are employees looking for guidance on policies and procedures? Or, do they need details on an upcoming event?

If you’re using an intranet tool that allows employees to comment on content through social-commenting functionality, make sure it’s appropriately monitored. You want to ensure that employees aren’t left feeling frustrated when questions go unanswered, and that false information isn’t being spread across the company. If your company doesn’t have the capability to monitor social comments, consider turning off this option.

Overall, when you make your employees’ experiences a priority, you show them that you care. This promotes a positive company culture where employees are shown just how much they are valued.

3. Update employees with relevant information

For your intranet to be effective, it must be consistently updated so that information maintains relevance to your employees. This often means that more than one person will need to contribute to your effort.

Assign gatekeepers who will be accountable for keeping information current on their section of their intranet. Be sure to appropriately train these leaders, as their role will be critical to success.

For example, you might:

  • Provide guidance on how frequently their section should be reviewed and refreshed.
  • Develop guidelines on how to approach communication.
  • Outline any communication approval processes, as needed.

With attention to the right details in your training, you’ll have an army of communicators equipped to support your effort.

4. Allow employees to be more productive

Emails get lost, and paper forms often get filed away into unknown realms. However, an intranet can serve as a key spot for employees to get their questions answered at any time.

When employees have a resource like this, it reduces the need for them to interrupt your day with questions, and it also helps them to better stay on task with their own duties.

Here are a few key items to consider including:

  • Company news
  • Calendar of events
  • Employee handbook
  • Policies and procedures
  • Compliance training
  • Change of name, address or emergency contacts
  • HR contact information
  • Organizational chart

By incorporating the right features into your site, you’ll give both leaders and employees time back in their day-to-day routine.

Get ready for launch

With consideration of company culture, user experience, key gatekeepers and employee efficiency, you will have all the right elements incorporated to make your intranet site a working part of your HR strategy.

Your business will reap the benefits of streamlined communication and help to increase employee engagement. All the while, you’ll cut down on emails, phone calls and other interruptions that might be slowing down your productivity.

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