Is your intranet a document dump or a knowledge centre?
By Dave Graham
The best intranets engage staff and inspire dialogue. They reach everyone and react with speed. They enhance efficiency and empower individuals. By getting your intranet right, you can increase efficiency, enhance productivity, improve internal communications and boost morale.
The prime objective of most intranets is to act as a source of information – the place to find documents, policies and forms. But for too many intranets, however, this functional role becomes a modern Frankenstein’s monster. The intranet becomes the place where documents are dumped and forgotten, where policies go out of date and where logical navigation and accessibility become things of the past – it becomes impenetrable and out of control.
A well thought out intranet should provide an up-to-date knowledge base, a collaborative workspace as well as a flexible communications tool.
Build an accessible knowledge base
In order to create an intranet that is actually used, it is crucial to work with a smart information architecture, clear design and thorough content management. By using a content management system, you can continually evolve the site – making it fresh, dynamic and up to date. Three good-to-remember bullets for when revising your intranet or building a new one:
Build an intuitive site structure.
Make sure to have a working search functionality to ensure quick and easy access to information.
Design visually stimulating pages to draw attention to key messages and narrative.
Create a collaborative workspace
The best intranets go far beyond being just a source of information. They enable staff to work in flexible, new ways – increasing individual efficiency and enhancing collaboration. Collaborative workspaces allow teams to work with each other remotely in a secure, closed environment. Staff can share information, creating and maintaining version-controlled documents. They can ask questions, exchange ideas and discuss issues on Microsoft Teams messenger-type application.
And not to forget the important aspect that those kinds of applications also provide a sense of community to staff who work from home, remote locations or who travel as a regular part of their job.
Utilise a flexible communications tool
Intranets should always be seen as one of the most important internal communications channels. They have the ability to reach across an entire organisation and to provide personalized timely and engaging news. Audio and video have revolutionised how people interact online when it comes to external communication – don’t forget to use those formats for your intranet as well. It will open up for new possibilities for trainings and meetings.
To make the most of these opportunities requires a content management system that is flexible, intuitive and able to deliver messages in a variety of ways. This can be enhanced through the use of online feedback mechanisms like Officevibe, allowing staff to contribute ideas and providing a vehicle for two-way communication.
Develop an engaging social network
For large organisations, modern intranets can also perform the role of an internal social network. However, this does not mean simply creating a Facebook-style community offering light relief and an opportunity to relax. Internal social networks can encourage the sharing of ideas between people who don’t normally work with each other, as well as enhancing the way teams work – especially if they work across a variety of locations.
Take the next step
At Comprend, we have the know-how to create intranets that improve the ways people work and communicate and that deliver real value.