With organizations using a myriad of communication tools nowadays, it begs the question of whether the intranet is still relevant going into 2023 and beyond. In this rapidly transforming hybrid and remote work landscape, where does an intranet fit in with the variety of other tools that we use on a daily basis? Klarinet Solution’s Co-Founder and Lead Solutions Architect, Daniel Amaro, teamed up with D’arce Hess, Microsoft MVP, and Sam Marshall, Digital Workplace Expert, to discuss common questions people have regarding intranets and why organizations still need to focus on implementing an intranet for their employees. Read on for a recap of their discussion.
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Why Organizations Need an Intranet
Even though we have a variety of tools for communication purposes, such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Slack, Google Meet, and Zoom, having a consolidated knowledge base can still be very useful for onboarding and training purposes, and that’s where an intranet is still relevant. While it is easier than ever today to communicate with colleagues all around the globe, an intranet allows all employees to access a shared platform where knowledge and news is stored, and this can help to drive culture and communication further.
“It really is about knowledge-sharing, and the consolidation of where knowledge lives,” Hess explains. “Take an organization like mine that has 70,000 employees across the globe, and supports content in seven different languages. It’s a very structured and a very diverse population of people. It’s important to have one place where we can keep all our knowledge for continuity purposes, training purposes, compliance reasons, and especially for the ability to have all that content in each language, easily accessible by anyone who needs it. Being able to share and collaborate on that knowledge is a must-have for an organization of any size, and intranets really provide that capability.”
Ensuring that employees feel connected to the organization is essential for retaining talent, especially today, with more and more employees choosing to work from home or adopt a hybrid schedule.
While team-building events and happy hours may still be a thing for building connections and contributing to the company culture, many employees prefer virtual events they can opt in to from the comfort of their own home. To improve employee satisfaction, having a shared portal where team members can feel connected to the business is imperative.
Why An Intranet is Still Relevant in 2023
As the digital workplace experience can be fragmented, stitching together an intranet as the one place for all employees to visit can be a good opportunity to make everyone feel as if they are contributing. Employees can help drive KPIs and vision statements when they are given a platform to make human connections and build a strong company culture.
“With hybrid and even fully remote work being more the norm, a lot of companies have been grappling with how to retain company culture,” Amaro points out. “An intranet is hugely important to doing so. A lot of mature companies with established intranets and internal communications teams are seeing that they can leverage that for continuity of company culture. And what we’re seeing now is that smaller mid-market organizations that hadn’t invested in an intranet before are now really seeing the value of it for that different reason. An intranet is also uniquely suited to let users connect their day-to-day activities to the bigger picture, and see why it matters, something that’s really missing with remote and hybrid work”.
“It used to be that companies questioned the relevance or value of the intranet, asking how to see a return on investment or how much time would be saved,” adds Marshall. “Now, thanks to the pandemic, that’s gone away. An intranet is just the cost of doing business, and not having a mechanism by which you can engage with your remote workforce is a massive risk.”
The intranet also has an important role to play in the new ecosystem of collaboration and communication tools. It can help to create a cohesive experience across other platforms we use daily, to create a better user experience on all of them.
Intranet Pitfalls to Avoid
The intranet has always and will always continue to be relevant for small and large organizations alike, but they must be open to maintaining and updating content once it is built. Many organizations do not adequately anticipate or account for growth, causing their intranet to become outdated. Especially post-pandemic, it is essential that organizations avoid simply creating an intranet and then forgetting about it, as many employees rely on it as their primary source of company information.
“When we work with a new client, there are two things that are always the most difficult. Having them define the goal of intranet, and establishing a solid plan for content,” Amaro explains. “If you don’t even know what you’re solving for, you’re not starting the project with the right foot forward.”
Making use of intranet analytics can help you avoid these pitfalls too – monitoring who is using the intranet and what they’re using it for can be very instructive for maintaining and improving your intranet. This is especially the case when there’s a disconnect between what executives think is important in an intranet and how the rest of the employees actually use it.
Search is another area to be handled carefully.
“You have to understand how search works with your SharePoint intranet,” Hess points out. “SharePoint has all these opportunities to make search really great, but they’re very technical, so the actual implementation is a bit limited by the technical literacy of the people creating and maintaining content.”
“When people ask me ‘how can we fix search?’ I ask them ‘how many people do you have checking if your search is working?’ and the answer is no one,” Marshall continues. “It needs to be a bridge between the content producers and a search analyst, asking ‘what are people looking for and where is it breaking.”
To put it simply – ongoing investment in your intranet is crucial – it needs to be updated and evolved to stay useful and relevant for your organization.
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Embark on Your Modern Intranet Journey
As an expert in providing digital workplace solutions, Klarinet Solutions can help you streamline communication across your company by customizing an intranet solution for your team.
Get in touch with our expert modern digital workplace consultants today to discuss how we can help you enhance your internal communications and transform how your business engages employees.