Intranets By the People, For the People!
The traditional way to think about Intranets is a one-way push of information. Management posts files and resources, and employees download and use them. But the result of this traditional thinking is often a lifeless Intranet that employees see at best as a one-sided tool, and at worst as a last resort. But what if the Intranet made it easier for staff to collaborate? What if it asked THEIR opinions about issues? And what if they could control some of the content, helping themselves and their colleagues to do their jobs BETTER? Well, that would be just fine, now wouldn’t it? Here are five collaboration-packed features that will help your employees connect with the Intranet, and with each other.
Consider creating a dedicated space on the homepage where users can create a list of their favourite links – either internal or external to the Intranet. Or, make your homepage modular, meaning users can move chunks of content around – bringing to the fore what they use more often. Giving employees some control will help them use the Intranet more efficiently, and they’ll start to use it as a home base every time they go on the web.
The result of traditional thinking is often a lifeless Intranet that employees see at best as a one-sided tool, and at worst as a last resort.
Wiki / Knowledge Base
If you’re like most companies, you have a knowledge base that’s specific to your industry and your company. In fact, much of your more informal, yet valuable knowledge is trapped in the heads of your employees: what did they learn during the last project, certain client preferences, etc. By creating a user-generated content area on the site in the form of a wiki (think wikipedia, but smaller), employees can contribute their knowledge, and share it with their colleagues. As it’s a wiki, they can attach related documents, links and other resources to build a rich entry. As things change, wikis are super-easy to update.
Employee Bio Pages
Bio pages let your organization connect with employees on a more personal level. Depending on your corporate culture, these can be more personal or more on the professional side, and are especially useful in large corporations where employees may not all know each other. We’re not talking about duplicating Facebook here – users should be able to post things like their bio, photo, contact information, location, designations, career aspirations, interests, etc. Everyone should be able to manage their own page, and bios should be viewable across the company. Make sure contact information is front and centre so making a connection is easy.
What if the Intranet made it easier for staff to collaborate? What if it asked THEIR opinions about issues?
Whether it’s used primarily for business or fun, a poll can be really a useful tool. You can use it to gather serious information about a benefits policy, or you can use it in a lighthearted way to poll employees on the best-dressed at the Christmas party. Both ways can be beneficial and give employees a voice.
Simply giving people the ability to comment on news stories, blog entries, photos and other media helps to bring a more social element to the Intranet. Is this always productive? Well, no – not all the time, but it’s been proven that employees that feel connected to colleagues (and to the company itself) are more productive and happier in their jobs.
Whether you’re working with an existing Intranaet, or starting from scratch on a new project – putting these tips into action will help you build an engaging Intranet that your employees actually want to visit. If you’re worried about budget, just remember that if approached correctly, a well-used Intranet will pay for itself in short order.
If you want to know how an Intranet can help your business, give us a call at (780) 989 0606 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.