An intranet is a private, secure computer network that is only accessible internally (thus, the “in” in its prefix) to a company’s employees. Intranets surfaced in tandem with the internet in the 1990s and exist as a secure alternative to the public internet network that could be used by anyone online. It can be an integral tool for enterprises looking to improve employee communication and engagement. Employment engagement is key to an organization’s success.
A recent Gallup study1 said that only a third of employees are truly engaged in their work — and that organizations with higher engagement levels are not only more productive, they achieve four times higher earnings per share growth.
An intranet platform provides enterprises with useful collaboration tools that can open up dialogue among co-workers while streamlining certain processes within the organization as a whole. A good one also serves as a vital tool for sharing HR and other information, as well as providing operational and computer services within an organization.
Let’s look at five ways the intranet can boost productivity in the workplace.
1. Improved Communication
Not only can it act as a direct link between staff from all departments within a sprawling organizational flow chart, it can host blogs and forums that provide employees with a unique outlet to collaborate. An intranet network can allow employees to communicate in creative and empowering ways that might not otherwise occur, promoting a much-needed sense of community. Given the way the world has moved more toward remote work, this is more important than ever.
Intranets can have communities and discussion boards, so that instead of employees having to sift through an unwieldy company directory to find another staff member, they can easily use the intranet to connect with them and quickly enhance the work they are doing.
Additionally, an intranet network can distribute company updates, alerts and action items efficiently to everyone, saving time and streamlining internal communications.
2. Centralized File Storage and Comprehensive Search
The sheer number of files, documents and digital information an enterprise must grapple with can make managers and project leads — anyone, really — shudder in horror. Being able to locate and access the data you need when you need it can be the difference between a job getting done and a project failing.
With an intranet network you can store all your files in one centralized location, making data searches faster. The intranet search engine can look up key terms and connect you to the discussion, blog or piece of information you need. Communications can also be saved and stored, making posts and notes easy to look up and review.
3. Faster Response Time
If a problem arises, the collaborative nature of a company’s intranet software can unleash the shared knowledge and expertise of key players. An issue can be immediately shared, whether it’s with IT or an emergency development in another department. Teams can then troubleshoot from all angles and stay informed of the solutions.
By acting as an information conduit for an organization, the intranet can quickly assemble the collective brainpower of the organization to identify and quickly solve an issue that could otherwise can take much longer to properly assess and address.
4. A Forum for Creativity, and an Information Hub
By giving some ownership of the space to employees and empowering them to utilize it, an intranet can strengthen the creative bonds between people and teams and ultimately improve the collective performance of the company. The intranet can host a range of staff-led endeavors, ranging from discussion forums on industry-specific topics to informal spaces for brainstorming the next staff retreat. It can also be a hub of information, where relevant articles, podcasts and videos can be shared and debated.
If employees feel plugged in and connected not just to the specific work they do but to a larger web of people and information, they will be happier and more productive in their job. There are endless ways of sparking this type of engaged community on an intranet.
5. A Convenient Space for Company Policies and Procedures
We’ve all gotten the massively daunting PDF of the staff handbook filled with processes that are probably outdated by years. It sits somewhere collecting dust, a sad reminder of a tree groove that is no more.
An intranet network can be the digital repository that weaves together the procedures and policies of a company and can be easily accessed and updated as needed. It can also be the centralized place where employees can access the HR benefits hub, and grab the forms they need, for things such as leave, expenses, or travel.
While your company intranet might not get its moment on center stage in a roomful of mass appreciation, it is often the backbone to a functional and successful organization. If it’s set up well, and actively used, it becomes almost an invisible part of a functional workday. And if it drives the engagement and productivity your teams and employees need, it helps you reach better business outcomes faster.
For more information on how HCL’s Digital Experience can boost staff engagement and productivity click here.
1Gallup Study, “Employee Engagement on the Rise in the US,” August 26, 2018.