By Barry Nyhan

Does this sound familiar? Your organization wants to rethink its intranet, but even the word intranet in conversation strikes shivers into the rest of the team. What’s been implemented a long, long time ago is a barren wasteland for content and has left a damaging impression across the rest of the company, from executives to front-line employees.

Most traditional intranets have failed and left this sour taste in people’s mouths for one big reason. The content was outdated within a few weeks of being rolled out. It wasn’t employee powered and driven, it certainly wasn’t freely available as an app at your fingertips. Nobody felt like it was useful, or engaging, so why should they log in every day and see what’s new?

Identifying and trying to figure out what internal communication tool you actually need can become a pretty elaborate process. You may not be sure where to begin, but you know one thing for certain, whatever you decide on has to be well adopted into the organization and add value. It can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

At Workvivo, we help companies of all shapes and sizes modernize, centralize, and secure their digital communications. In doing so, we’ve seen our fair share of internal communication platforms that weren’t working out. Everything from Frankenstein tools built in-house that were patched together over the years, to more robust open-source platforms that had an end-user experience of a car with flat tires. 

To give you a head start, we’ve put together a step by step infographic to help you navigate the collaboration and intranet purchasing process. It’s all yours. Keep scrolling to find it. We hope it helps!

Download your free infographic to find the right Intranet for your business.

To help you out on your journey in figuring out what you need, We’ve summarized all of the key information you need to know to help you find the right employee collaboration and intranet tool in one infographic.

Framework of an Effective Intranet

What are Intranets?

If you ask most people what an intranet is, they’ll tell you that it’s a website, portal, or platform. Something that distributes content related to the company. If you try to dig into that answer any deeper, you’ll get a range of diverse responses. Some will say it’s the place to get company news. Some will say it’s where they go to access company apps and tools they need every day to get their job done. 

You’re going to get all answers under the sun, and the reason for this is because there’s no set definition of what an intranet is (even among industry experts). Where an intranet starts and stops, really depends on the company it’s associated with. 

Five Intranet Flavors_infographic

Here’s what traditional intranet companies don’t want you to know about the new contender in the ring – Social Intranets

If we look at why traditional intranets fail, the primary reason is that the content isn’t useful or engaging enough to drive adoption. Traditional intranets are typically not employee driven which is why the content fizzles out fast. If an internal tool starts to slide down this slippery slope, odds are that it’s not going to work out. Employees stop checking it out. Less content is made and published because because they think it doesn’t matter anymore since nobody will see it. At this point, it’s a vicious cycle where the negative trust in it flywheels and fails.

Long gone are the days of working for the sake of working, doing a 9-5 job and counting down the hours until they can clock out. Today’s employees want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to have a voice and be heard. Feel a part of a community, a tribe. The old traditional intranets weren’t built for this. The working world has changed, and internal communications platforms need to change with it.

If there’s even a whisper of a traditional intranets getting replaced with something built for the future of work, you tend to see reactions like A+E Networks EMEA did below…

Workvivo is a social intranet. The reason why we built it is to empower this change we’ve seen in the world. A social intranet brings joy to your job by building authentic connections and inclusivity. Bland, boring traditional tools just weren’t cutting it for us. They need to be packed up, placed in a dark cave in a far away land, and never be seen again. We wanted to enable bridges to be built between your company, your people, your goals. All of which a social intranet is centered around. 

Coming back to the title of this section on what traditional intranet companies don’t want you to know about social intranets. It’s that useful, secure, and engaging intranets don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can bring your company together through one communication platform, and how you can do that is by making it employee powered, employee driven.

Four interesting Intranet Stats_infographic

8 Elements of a Social Intranet

Let’s dig into the ingredients that make up a social intranet. Before we get there though, as you’re reading this you might be thinking to yourself, we’re using Slack/Teams, we’ve got Zoom, do we really need a Social Intranet? The short answer is yes. You need all 3. Before you start saying you don’t want to have to work out of disparate systems, we agree with you. That’s one of the reasons why a social intranet breaks down the barriers that comes with using ‘best of breed’ solutions by bridging everything together through the one central point. 

Slack or Teams’ purpose is transactional communication. Communication where you need an answer immediately to be productive and get your work done. Zoom is fantastic for All Hands, 1:1 or group meetings. A social intranet like Workvivo allows for social communication, a communication type that carries the bigger company message while providing a ‘connected to something bigger than ourselves’ experience alongside the information exchange you’d expect.

They say it’s a good idea to focus on the ideas that never change. If we look back at humans through the ages, we were built to gather around the campfire and tell stories to each other while sitting on mountain like boulders. We were part of a tribe. We craved social connected (and we still do).

Employees today want to feel included, connected and recognized. 

That’s what a social intranet is built to enable. Facilitating these ‘watercooler’ moments from personal activity feeds, where you could post, like, and share posts, through to collaboration spaces and employee shout outs. The blending of synchronous and asynchronous communication in the one platform. Sounds good right?

Because social intranets are a relatively new way of working. We thought it’d be helpful to clear the fog and list out the 8 elements we think are critical for an intranet to be a social intranet.

Eight Elements of a Social Intranet

So How Can You Start To Define The Intranet You Actually Need?
We wanted to simplify this whole process and help you out at the same time. Trust us, before you dive into the world of RFIs and RFPs, follow these 7 steps to clear the fog on what you actually need. 

  1. Start the conversation – Get the topic on the agenda with your stakeholders
  2. Understand your users and needs – Carry out research and discovery
  3. Look at your current capabilities – Assess what works, what doesn’t, find gaps
  4. Map your digital comms landscape – Work out where your intranet fits
  5. Work out gaps and opportunities – What should your intranet deliver
  6. Articulate a vision and strategy – Work with your stakeholders to get consensus
  7. Make the business case – Make the argument for investing in a modern way of working

7 Steps to Intranet_infographic

You’re On The Path To A Different Way Of Working

If you made it this far, you’re a trailblazer in your organization. Being on the cutting edge of technology has always been a superhero skillset. Now the world has pivoted toward remote work, it’s become even more valuable.

Below you can find the infographic in full to help you map out what you need. By clicking on the button you should be able to download it and save it for your reference.

Best of luck on your journey. Let us know how we can be helpful.

Framework of an Effective Intranet