A company’s choice to integrate an intranet into their office infrastructure can be of great and, importantly, a controlled benefit to the workforce’s communication and shared knowledge resources. Data sharing within the confines of a firewall, yet still with greater web access outside of this safeguard, is at its foremost reassuring to the organization that any sensitive information cannot be accessed outside of the company, yet still, the workforce is not shackled by limited web access.
But, be that as it may, and assuming that the firewall that your company has in place is effective in keeping out any uninvited traffic, threatening or otherwise, the real success of an intranet is measured by what happens within the safe confines of the firewall. Indeed, what makes a modern-day intranet great is its social dynamic, and the capabilities it has to engage the company’s internal users.
Let’s look in more detail at the features that create a successful intranet.
Accurate, Up-to-date and Well-populated User Profiles
One of the most useful pieces of information that a well-functioning intranet can provide for users is for them to be able to see who else is using it. If your company has a medium to large workforce – anything above 30 employees, really – it is unlikely that an individual employee will be accurately informed as to whom all of the other employees are, exactly what the chain of command is, and who precisely to turn to if they are encountering a specific problem.
Profile completeness across the board eliminates this problem in an instant. Profiles should all be headed with a picture of the employee, their job description, and a work in progress profile so everyone can be continuously informed as to what is happening in the company. Other information can include which project teams or workgroups the individual is involved with, plus identification of skills, knowledge and expertise, so the right person can always be accessed for the right information at the right time.
Clear Communication Pathways
Your successful intranet will also provide clear channels of communication going in all directions around the hierarchy of your enterprise. Senior leaders and management heads must be able to communicate all organisational messages to all of their employees individually and en masse if necessary.
What’s more, those same employees must also have access to communicate their feedback, queries and complaints right up to the top of the ladder. Peer-to-peer pathways are also essential and should be encouraged to maximise communication, which inevitably leads to better organisation, an increased team ethos and better productivity.
Collaboration Platforms and Portals
Going far beyond the reach of emails, your intranet can put in place platforms on which a team can begin to convene ideas through knowledge sharing and instant messaging, as well as building up a catalogue of internal and external links to essential knowledge and information surrounding the project, upload videos and start to build an action plan. Once the project is underway the same platform or team-site can be used for members to keep each informed as to progress, any help required or problems encountered.
Policies, Payslips and Pensions
Yes, holidays, travel expenses, pension plans, payslips, benefits etc. are all part of running a business and looking after the rights and privileges of your employees. Using your intranet to provide a one-stop platform for your employees to carry out all requests and transactions streamlines these often time-consuming back-end details of your business, saving time and administration costs for the company.
Making sure that your intranet is populated with engaging, well-written content is just as important as it is when marketing yourself out there on the World Wide Web. Content authors are responsible for crafting the culture, personality, ethos and tone of voice for your company, which your other employees must adopt and reinforce as they make their communications with your customer base at large.
The intranet content that your authors create will provide the gateways for all of your employees to attain essential company knowledge. What is more, is that this information is forever stored on your intranet, so there can never be a case of an employee leaving the company and taking with him all the essential knowledge of the job in his head. Indeed, the database of company knowledge that your intranet will continuously grow will be one of the most beneficial tools of the system.
The intranet is most certainly not a thing of the past, though in order for it to be a successful platform to increase your company’s productivity efficiency then you must embrace it in every corner and fold of your business. But, once it is all in place, it will prove to be an invaluable communication network for all company knowledge and all employees going into the future.