A company intranet is fast becoming a must-have piece of software for any company with more than a handful of employees – and even smaller companies are learning to embrace the benefits of investing in one too.
For anyone who isn’t entirely sure what an intranet is, it is a private and secure online network which, essentially, allows employees to control and manage everything from internal communications to booking time off.
The benefits of an intranet vary for different companies. For larger companies with multiple offices, the ability to vamp up employee communication is invaluable, whereas, for a smaller business, keeping related documents and invoices in one place might be handier.
The one benefit which consistently convinces businesses of all sizes to invest in a company intranet is the cost-effectiveness. Not having to pay for various systems to handle different tasks, such as internal messaging, project management, and accounts, is a huge bonus (pun intended).
If you are considering investing in a custom intranet solution for your company, you may be wondering which features to include – it can be easy to miss things off the list. We’ve put together a list of features that many modern intranets are equipped with:
A good search and filter system
As the amount of content on your intranet increases, you’ll be thankful for having a suitably complex search system in place. It will allow you to find documents related to a specific topic or department.
For larger companies, the ability to filter employees by expertise can assist with project planning. If the project is related to a certain skill or expertise, you can easily find employees who match the criteria and are able to help out within the project. This brings me onto my next point…
Give your employees the opportunity to get to know others in the company and encourage a sense of community. Employee profiles listing their skills, experience, hobbies etc can be helpful for a number of reasons.
- If someone is looking for someone with a certain skill or experience for a project, a good search system and profiles make this a lot easier
- If someone is creating content (either for the company or for a client) and needs to speak to someone in a certain department or with knowledge of a certain field, employee profiles can help them out
- Giving them the option to personalise their profiles, much like on social media, this could encourage creativity and internal communication. If employees work remotely, for example, they could upload photos of their work stations, or even just how many cups of coffee they’re on today!
Again, this has lead on neatly to the next point. Being able to upload media, ask questions, and update the company with news can bring people closer and help people work better as a team (again, much like social media).
Quickly being able to suggest ideas and receive opinions and answers to questions can also increase productivity, and effectively produce a brainstorm of constructive ideas and suggestions.
In an online space where people can throw around ideas, an easy way to rate or thumb up/down ideas and content comes in very useful. Items that are ranked very low can be discarded quickly, whilst the most popular ideas will become clear.
Ranking content can also help to create prioritised lists and give an idea of what works best, which can inform future decisions.
Different work spaces
Creating different spaces for different departments to use will assist organisation enormously. As long as every bit of content has a place in one of the departments, you’ll have clear sections to look through in the future.
This will additionally allow the business to identify departments that have space for growth. Having a clear picture of each department in this way will make business expansion much easier.
Having somewhere to upload and share documents is a must for any company intranet. Having the option to set who can access it and having read-only options etc is also pretty important.
If content creation is important to your company, regardless of what kind of content that is, your intranet should include some way of helping employees to create that content.
Whether you make instructional videos, write documents and articles, create monthly reports, or publish posts on social media, you can invest in plenty of additional features that will make life a little easier for your employees.
Showing your employees that you appreciate their hard work is an important part of leading a team or managing a business. By incorporating methods of recognition into your intranet, such as employee of the month, celebrations of achievements, birthdays, and other events, you can personalise the experience for your employees and make them feel good!
This may not be the first thing many people think of, but when you first create your custom intranet, you may miss things, or misjudge what it is that your company needs to function productively.
By keeping track of how your employees are using the system, you can make changes to it in the system and adapt it so it works for your business. After all, there’s no point in having an intranet if your company doesn’t find it useful.
I won’t go into how your intranet should be easy to use and look nice etc. as you’ll already know that. Something you may not concentrate on, however, is how easy the network will be to make changes to in the future.
There are some things you will not be able to do yourself, regardless of how easy it is to change, such as incorporating complex new features. But, adding employees, departments, forums etc should be something you can do yourself. If you can’t, bring this up to your software development team before you give it the big OK.
There may be some systems and software that you do want to keep alongside your intranet – you might have an email marketing provider or messaging app that you want to continue to use.
You should be able to integrate these systems with your intranet – if this is what you want, remember to bring this up when in first discussions with the software dev team! Integrating certain systems and software can take some work, so it shouldn’t be something you bring up halfway through as a last-minute thought.
This isn’t strictly necessary, but for an intranet to be really useful, it should be available to employees on the go. You can also develop your intranet as an app, which will let employees use the system on their phones or tablet as easily as they could on a desktop.
This is more relevant if they travel for work or work from home, but it can be a really handy addition for any company.
Company announcement board
A company which includes all of it’s employees in it’s achievements and events is the kind of company employees want to be working for.
Consider having a section on your dashboard which contains any news from the company, in order to keep everyone in the loop and on the same page.