Exploring Modern Intranet Systems: What Are They and How Do They Work?
Content Editor at Workvivo
22 Nov 2023
Today, 97% of employees agree that communication tools and channels are key to creating a successful digital workplace – and when it comes to keeping employees in the loop, few tools are more valuable than a modern intranet solution.
If you want your company intranet to foster better employee engagement and streamline internal communications, keep reading. Below, we’ll explore these platforms in greater detail and examine how they work to enhance the employee experience.
What does ‘intranet system’ mean?
An intranet is a private network within an organization designed to facilitate internal communications. You can think of it as a sort of social media platform that’s only accessible to members of your company – but it offers a whole lot more tools and features.
Traditionally, intranets were only accessible through the company’s local area network. However, employees can access modern intranet solutions via an app or secure website, which makes them great for remote and distributed businesses.
Several core components make up a modern intranet system:
- Communication tools like instant messaging apps and video conferencing software
- Collaboration tools for file sharing or project management workflows
- Integrations with other enterprise solutions.
While intranet systems have been around since 1994, they’ve come a long way since then. Modern intranet systems like Workvivo offer more comprehensive features than traditional systems, from real-time reporting and analytics to helpful document management tools.
Social intranets such as Workvivo also have a much stronger focus on the employee experience, providing rich personalization options and employee-centric features that allow you to design a platform that aligns with your company culture and creates a great user experience.
To learn more about the advantages of social intranet systems, check out Workvivo’s modern approach to social intranets.
Top advantages of investing in a modern intranet system
Modern intranet systems feature a surprising range of impressive functionalities, offering key benefits like…
Empowers internal communications teams
Intranet systems streamline employee communication by providing a centralized knowledge base where employees can find information. They also offer a range of communication tools that employees can use to collaborate more efficiently. For example, you can post quick announcements or longer blog-style newsletters, or upload resource documents, images, and other multimedia content that’s relevant to employees.
When you can communicate with your entire workforce via a single, centralized platform, it’s easier to achieve consistent messaging. This is a great way to keep distributed teams aligned, whether your employees are in the office, remote, or frontline.
Modern intranets like Workvivo also provide in-depth engagement metrics that leadership teams can use to fine-tune their messaging and internal comms strategies for maximum impact.
Provides insights into employee sentiments, trends, and operational efficiency
Thanks to robust reporting and analytics tools designed for collecting employee feedback, intranet systems can provide valuable insights into employee sentiments, trends, and operational efficiency.
With Workvivo’s workplace insights, your leadership team can easily collect the data they need to gauge employee satisfaction and identify operational bottlenecks. This turns your company intranet into more than just a communication platform; it transforms into a resource for better operations.
Aids HR in employee experience
Intranet systems support a range of HR processes, from new employee onboarding to ongoing training. These central hubs can store a ton of great resources for new hires or veteran employees needing a quick refresher.
They also help HR teams create a more streamlined and personalized experience for the employees completing these processes. For example, let’s say an employee has their yearly performance review, where a few improvement areas are discussed. The employee’s manager can coordinate with HR to provide the employee with a curated list of helpful resources within the intranet designed to help address those improvement areas.
Improving the employee experience can boost everything from productivity to retention rates. With an employee-centric intranet platform such as Workvivo, you can give your HR teams the canvas they need to paint an employee experience masterpiece!
4 key signs your digital workplace needs an intranet solution
If your company still relies on basic tools such as Slack and Google Workspace as the foundation of its digital workplace, you may run into issues with disorganization. While these tools are great for certain use cases, they’re not the best for storing or referring to historical information and resources. This is especially true for remote workers who don’t always have access to on-premise resources and have to rely entirely on the digital tools you provide.
If you’re wondering whether an intranet solution is the right choice for your company, here are four signs you may need one.
1. Employees can’t find the information they need
Without an efficient knowledge management system, employees may struggle to find the information they need to do their jobs. When employees are forced to navigate disorganized information repositories to find answers, it creates bottlenecks and can be a major hit to productivity.
Efficient knowledge sharing is one of the top benefits of a modern intranet platform. They enable employees to find and share information quickly and easily so they can spend more time on what matters – their jobs.
2. Employees struggle to collaborate
Collaboration is the glue that holds companies together. But without the right collaboration tools, keeping everyone on the same page is more like trying to hold things together with duct tape and chewing gum.
If your employees struggle to collaborate, a modern intranet solution may be just what they need. Thanks to tools like file-sharing tools, instant messaging apps, forums, real-time notifications, and company news feeds, an intranet works to ensure a reliable flow of two-way communication. This is important for any company, but especially those with remote and hybrid work models where collaboration is even more challenging.
3. Employees don’t engage with the company
There’s a good reason why employee engagement has become a hot topic in the business world. When employees feel included and engaged, their performance improves. When they don’t, their performance – and the company’s by proxy – can suffer.
A lack of employee engagement tends to have a snowball effect: first impacting individual performance, then team morale, and then company performance overall. If employee engagement is low, then an employee-centric intranet platform designed to keep employees informed and engaged may help.
4. Employees say the existing workplace is outdated or confusing
Introducing new technologies without overwhelming employees or creating a fragmented tech landscape can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act.
However, developing a modern digital workplace is key to both supporting your existing employees and attracting new talent. A user-friendly intranet platform with a minimal learning curve can help modernize your digital workplace without overwhelming employees in the process.
How to find the best intranet system for your internal communications
There are several intranet platforms on the market today. How do you choose the one that will work best for your organization? Before investing in a platform, consider the following factors.
Your company’s size can affect everything from server demands to the specific intranet features you will need. Make sure that the solution you choose is capable of supporting your existing workforce and can easily scale with your business as it grows.
Intranets can come with several expenses, including software licensing fees, new hardware, hosting costs, and maintenance expenses.
The return on investment (ROI) of these expenses in terms of improved productivity and employee retention is usually worth the cost. However, it’s still important to consider your organization’s budget ahead of time. If you know your budget for the software and all its satellite expenses tops out at $600 a month, you may not want to spend too much time researching solutions in the $1,500 to $2,000 per month range.
From AI integrations to social media-like interfaces, there’s a long list of potential features to consider when choosing an intranet platform. Take the time to determine the features that are most important to your company and choose your intranet solution accordingly.
For example, is it important to give employees a space to send kudos and recognition to coworkers through shoutouts? Or maybe you want to connect frontline and in-house staff of your large retail chain with critical company-wide information – whether they have a company email or not?
With a feature-rich modern intranet platform like Workvivo, it’s easy to access all the tools and functionalities your organization needs. Be sure to consider what matters most to your leadership team and employees to guarantee the most buy-in.
Choosing an intranet system that integrates with the tools and systems already in your tech stack will help you create a more cohesive digital workplace. This is key when it comes to improving efficiency since it allows employees to switch between the different tools they need quickly and seamlessly.
Above just about everything else, a great intranet system needs to be simple and enjoyable for your employees to use. This is vital for ensuring a high adoption rate of your intranet system and ensuring that employees will continue to engage with the platform.
Future trends for intranets: A glimpse at what’s coming
Intranet systems have evolved a lot over the past few years, showing no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a look at some of the trends poised to impact how companies use their intranet systems in the near future.
AI, machine learning, and the role of data
AI has already left its mark on just about every aspect of business. So, it may come as no surprise that AI and machine learning are also revolutionizing modern intranets. From personalized user experiences to predictive analytics, AI will empower a wide range of new intranet functionalities.
Likewise, the role of data in how an intranet is designed and used will become increasingly prominent as AI makes it easier to collect and process that data. With reliable, real-time data about how employees engage with the platform, leadership can continually optimize their intranet and overall communications strategy for better results.
Even more personalization and customization
Personalization and a great user experience go hand in hand. Recently, there’s been a strong push toward intranets that adapt to each user, offering tailored content and interfaces. This trend is certain to continue, thanks in part to highly customizable and personalized intranet platforms such as Workvivo.
Greater integration with other tools
As digital workplaces continue to gain momentum, companies are transitioning toward digital ecosystems that offer a unified and integrated experience.
Modern intranets play a central role in creating these unified ecosystems, serving as the central hub employees turn to for all the tools and information they need. Rather than bouncing between a dozen different systems, tools, and resources, employees can find everything they need in one spot – saving time and effort.
As intranets evolve, you can expect even more varied, deeper integrations with other business tools.
More responsive designs
Responsive design allows intranet systems to work seamlessly across various devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones – and it’s one of the best practices for building a modern intranet.
We’ve already seen many intranet platforms release apps optimized for mobile users, and this trend toward responsive design will continue with the rise of remote work.
Check out how Workvivo is ahead of the curve as a modern social intranet system
Compared to traditional alternatives, a modern social intranet offers a wealth of powerful advantages – from detailed reporting and analytics to advanced personalization and customization options.
At Workvivo, we’ve created an industry-leading intranet solution designed to both solve current digital workplace challenges and anticipate future ones. If you want to learn more about how a modern social intranet can help your company thrive in the distributed workspace, we encourage you to explore all of Workvivo’s many features and use cases.
See for yourself how Workvivo can revolutionize your company’s internal communications – sign up for a free demo today!