Intranet 2.0: Making a Big Company Feel More Connected
One of the unloved parts of an organization’s tech stack is the intranet. While the traditional intranet was present in most Fortune 500 companies, it was never used or liked much. But COVID-19 changed everything, including the way companies engage with their employees. The Intranet 2.0 promises to connect the distributed workforce efficiently and transform the traditional corporate intranet into a social communication tool.
Intranet 2.0 is an evolved version of traditional communication methods and has the potential to build a close-knit network in a company to increase employee engagement. This article will give you in-depth knowledge of the benefits of using a social intranet in organizations.
What is Intranet 2.0?
Simply put, intranet 2.0 is a term used in organizations and industries for an intranet using social features present in apps, such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Intranet 2.0 is often referred to as ‘social intranet’ as it contains the same features as a social networking app. Social features are added to a company’s intranet to drive employee interaction and engagement.
A corporate social intranet can be a complete social platform or a third-party app like Yammer or Microsoft Teams. The key difference between a social networking platform and a social intranet is that the latter enables employees to connect with co-workers across multiple regions instead of connecting with millions of users around the world.
Along with allowing employee interaction, intranet 2.0 also allows an easy flow of knowledge-sharing for members of different teams across the globe to collaborate over shared goals.
Advantages of Intranet 2.0
- Social intranet tools are compatible with most mobile apps and provide employees the flexibility to communicate, collaborate, and connect remotely.
- Employees can connect more efficiently with team members across the globe to collaborate on projects and share documents.
- Colleagues can follow social profiles and comment or react to blog posts, leadership updates, and news items shared by co-workers.
What does the new generation of potential employees expect?
Modern employees want seamless two-way communication with teams and employers. Communication plays a vital role in a distributed workforce, a significant part of a digital workplace. Employees also want a personalized engagement channel that helps them with work communication and provides a platform for freedom of expression.
Employees expect the corporate intranet to help them connect better with their work-family and make them feel part of a large corporate culture. They want access to secure resources and documentation whenever they need them. With the intranet being the main channel of work interactions, the modern workforce wants organizational news and events, such as company initiatives, new job openings, work events, company social events, and more, to be shared with them first via an intranet.
These expectations highlight the need for an employee-friendly intranet with a streamlined and easily accessible content portal. An intranet must motivate the employees and fulfill their desire to contribute to society positively with their organization. To do that, the modern intranet must contain social features.
5 pillars of Intranet 2.0
The success of any software is based on pillars that ensure smooth and effective functioning. A social intranet has five core needs: content, communication, collaboration, business process, and people.
Content repositories in intranets should be more flexible and dynamic than static. Intranets should capitalize on content (knowledge from company databases) and share it to enable social learning.
The intranet should allow employees to express themselves in various ways, such as comments, status updates, and content sharing. Information and communication must flow seamlessly, both horizontally and vertically.
Intranets must empower online collaborative workspaces. It should be a platform for social games, socialized project management solutions, and the exchange of ideas and solutions.
Including business apps and processes in the corporate intranet helps to rally all employees to engage. The intranet should enable the workforce to create, collect, analyze, and publish data.
Corporate social networks work better when companies stimulate and moderate employee communities. Sharing equally in the community and inspiring the employees is a must for organizations to connect with the workforce and inspire them.
Main features of Intranet 2.0
Some of the best social intranets incorporate features that make it easy for team members to collaborate toward shared goals. Let's consider some of these features.
Social intranets enable employees to comment, react, and follow user profiles, news updates, blogs, articles, or shared goals of colleagues that they find inspiring or motivating.
Appreciation & recognition
Social intranets allow users to thank their colleagues for a job well done. Participating in an employee recognition scheme for good contribution helps the company to maintain and encourage employee motivation and effective functioning.
Users can measure success and learn what employees care about with the help of real-time analytics reporting. Companies can look at the insights and make corresponding changes to evolve the intranet into an enhanced platform.
Intranets allow users to connect with people and enable knowledge-sharing. A people directory makes it easier and more convenient for users to collaborate with their co-workers and find internal experts.
Users can publish their stories, upload videos, and share images with several blogging features and front-end creation on an intranet. Employees can stay updated with instructions and information related to work.
Third-party integrations with platforms like Yammer, Slack, Teams, etc., make the everyday interaction among workers even more exciting. The digital workplace becomes a fun place where employees share interesting news and insights that may help them.
Ideas and feedback sharing
Social intranets enable employees to discuss and brainstorm ideas for upcoming or ongoing projects. Employees can share feedback on related projects or tasks fostering an interactive collaboration.
Topic discussion channels
Intranets enable users or employees to create discussion channels specific to certain topics. It creates an organized flow of discussions and knowledge-sharing.
Employees can collaboratively add, manage, and edit employee wikis or content that are highly relevant to a company. It streamlines processes and reduces time spent searching for information.
Do you need a social Intranet? 5 questions to ask
If you are simply curious whether an intranet might work for your business or seriously considering upgrading your internal communications strategy, here are a few questions you need to ask as an organization.
Are our employees engaged and satisfied with the organization?
Measuring employee engagement is a critical tool for overall business success. Find out how your employees are feeling through employee surveys, pulse surveys, or just plain feedback suggestions. An efficient intranet will build an engaged workforce by giving them a voice and connecting them with their peers.
Can our employees access accurate information at all times?
Information management is crucial to a company. Employees require access to the right information regardless of location, time, and devices. A centralized intranet with cloud-based storage and a mobile app provides secure access to information anytime.
Does our current internal communication tool meet employees' needs?
There are many communication tools available, but the question is whether they meet the engagement needs of your organization. Analyze engagement patterns and insights to find out. An intranet satisfies the need for business-wide communication and builds a virtual culture that enhances the digital employee experience.
Does our organization have a strong employer brand?
Employee advocacy communicates to the outside world what your company is like to work for. It is a powerful differentiator, essential to attract and retain top talent. An intranet will help you establish your brand as an employer by communicating values, purpose, success, recognition, and development opportunities.
Are our employees as efficient and productive as they should be?
Employees need centralized access to all information, processes, and workflows to be productive and efficient. Without it, they will waste time and resources on manual tasks or searching for information. An intranet can be the focal point of your organization supporting your employees to be productive.
Significant benefits of Intranet 2.0
Since 2020, many organizations have given modern social intranets a chance and have observed significant benefits in the functioning and performance of the workforce and the organization.
Let's look at some prominent benefits of a modern intranet.
Intranets enable employee collaboration whether they work in the same region or on a different continent. Organizations can create dedicated channels for projects or teams to update everyone in real-time. Employees can find support and help from colleagues and internal experts on time.
Gallup reports that one in every five employees working remotely is struggling with loneliness. With the post-pandemic workforce being disconnected and siloed, an intranet helps to overcome work isolation by helping create communities with shared interests. It reintroduces social connection digitally and aids employees in building stronger connections with their peers.
McKinsey reports that using modern intranet tools can boost employee productivity by 25%.
A social intranet allows teams to check in on one another, reach for assistance, find quick updates, and progress together with the organization. Enhanced engagement improves efficiency and productivity.
A survey of Cisco of C-suite executives states that 85% believe that attracting and retaining talent is critical to a digital workplace. Employers can utilize a social intranet to help their employees feel heard, recognized, and valued. Employees can also appreciate and thank the contributions of other employees. A strong and appreciated employee community will remain loyal to the organization.
4 tips to ensure a great social intranet
Integrate collaboration tools
Ensuring that users or employees can seamlessly share content and documents across channels and platforms is one of the most critical measures any organization needs to be mindful of while launching its social intranet. Third-party social collaboration tools like Slack, Donut, or Teams can significantly help employees reach out to one another whenever needed. It also supports knowledge-sharing and social learning. Employees can seamlessly share content that they find helpful.
Add channels for shared interests
Every organization must ensure that its social intranet platforms have channels for employees to discuss their passions and interests. Bringing people together to share their hobbies and social life is a great start. Creating dedicated channels for such activities keeps interaction better organized. Employees can dedicate time towards starting a conversation with co-workers or posting something publicly.
Include training and development
Including channels that encourage or provide training and development will hugely benefit employees. They can improve their skill sets through various training and development programs organized on corporate intranet platforms. Training sources, such as explainer pieces, will help users understand the workflow better. They can also like, comment, and share valuable information on these channels.
Encourage your employees to contribute to the overall social experience by introducing gamification features like leaderboards, gauges, and badges. Such features help keep the employees engaged and motivated. You can also tag colleagues who might be interested in relevant content and encourage activities that help highlight employee achievements regularly.
Make it accessible
Given the diversity and vastness of digital spaces, mobile functionality is essential for members working remotely. You can ensure that your social intranet is mobile-friendly and accessible. Push notifications can help employees stay updated, especially when they are on the move.
Social Intranet 2.0 - A collaboration ecosystem
Remote work is driving demand for connected global workforces. Evolving technologies can facilitate collaboration in the digital workplace with a distributed workforce. Intranets are also evolving to incorporate advanced capabilities and features with seamless integrations, AI, and other innovations.
Including the social in the digital employee experience is essential for organizations, especially as we move into a hybrid future of work. If you are looking to drive more value from your corporate social tools or implement a social intranet in your organization, chat with us to strategize on how to engage your employees efficiently.