When you think of intranets, you don’t exactly think of a pretty picture.

The unsightly image of a clunkily designed static website from 1995 is a vision dreadful enough to trigger anyone who had to use an old-style intranet system.

It’s no secret that 90% of old-fashioned intranets failed to deliver the employee experience that their marketing teams promised.

How come?

In short it’s a mix of outdated content that’s not engaging or useful, bad user experience, and a lack of personalization. 

The end result? Employees stop visiting, and before you know it the platform’s looked on as a dumping ground of information.

Now, let’s talk about the new wave of modern intranet solutions fixing these problems. In this article we’ll break down how you can position the modern take on the intranet at the heart of your digital workplace, where employees can connect, engage and motivate each other. 

What are intranet systems?

In a nutshell, intranet systems are a private network where your employees can communicate with other team members and gain access to information about projects, company updates, and more.

Here are some core functions of modern intranet systems.

  • 🙌 Employee engagement
  • 💗 Culture amplification
  • 💻 Remote collaboration
  • 📣 Secure internal communication
  • 👔 Leadership transparency

Think of intranets as a virtual huddle room for your team. It’s where employees in your organization can securely interact and collaborate with other employees. Click here to see an on-demand demo of our social intranet in action.

Do companies still use intranets?

Contrary to what many LinkedIn posts and articles claim, intranets are very much alive. And amid the shift of the workforce from in-office to remote work, setting up your own intranet system will serve your team well.

That being said, it’s worth noting that intranets today exist to fulfill a wholly different function.

Modern intranets no longer just serve as repositories for files, company updates, and CEO blogs. A good social intranet serves as part of an overall eco-system of a digital workplace, transforming the internal communications experience for employees.

It acts as an intranet, employee app and social network all in one place, allowing employees to communicate, inform and engage in an inclusive way. 

Your intranet can’t be just a stack of static pages. It must provide a dynamic user experience: with social features for employees, real-time reporting and analytics for managers, and instant access to corporate info and resources for both.

What are the advantages of using a modern intranet?

Intranets as we not-so-fondly knew them have long been pronounced “dead”, unable to keep up with the demands of the modern workforce.

Traditional intranets failed because there isn’t much incentive for employees and managers to maze their way through a poorly-built network to find a single piece of info. This simply couldn’t cut it in the face of powerhouse collaboration tools like Slack, Gmail, and others.

Social intranets take the unattractive experience that older intranets have been infamous for and added legitimately useful features, such as social, collaboration features, reporting and analytics, and more.

Social intranets make the life of the employees easier. They provide access to features such as a people directory, apps, collaboration tools, and reporting and analytics.

Having a good intranet system set up helps your organization to:

  • ✅ Collaborate better
  • ✅ Reinforce work culture and values 
  • ✅ Instill a culture of accountability and transparency 
  • ✅ Boost employee engagement
  • ✅ Encourage interaction and communication among employees 
  • ✅ Help employees find information more quickly
  • ✅ Simplify onboarding processes 

How to set up a powerful modern intranet

There are two ways to set up an intranet system. You can:

  1. Build your own
  2. Hire a third party business to create one for your organization

There are a handful of ways to go about building your own intranet, the most known being using Microsoft SharePoint. This is well and good if you have the time, money, and infrastructure to build it.

For those who don’t want to go down the DIY route, you’re best off with third-party vendors that offer modern intranet solutions out of the box. With so many choices, however, it can be tough to pick which one suits your team the best. 

Here are some questions to think about to help you make the best decision.

What features should you look for on a modern intranet?

When deciding on an intranet provider, you’ll want to have the essential features as well as special ones that cater specifically to your team’s needs.

Case in point: here is a list of features that you might not think about right away, but are absolutely crucial to any intranet platform.

Field and Mobile Friendly: 

Your intranet should have the capability to be used any time, anywhere, on any device, through the use of an employee app. This will allow for employees, such as front-line workers, to have an accessible form of communication between them and the organization.

Robust Search Functionality 

This one’s such a small thing that you might not even think about it the first time. However, search is hugely important in helping employees and managers find info and structured data faster.

Integration With Apps Your Team Already Uses 

Your corporate intranet should integrate with tools and resources that your team is already using. This will make the life of employees easier and it will allow them to become more productive and collaborative. 

Personalized Data For Each Employee 

You want to show your employees content that is relevant to them, and nothing more. The last thing you want your intranet to do is to cause overwhelm and turn your employees off from using it.

And then you have the basics: a clean UX/UI, availability in various platforms (mobile, desktop, etc.), powerful reporting features, and more. Make your intranet social, less content-spreading, and more focused on your employees.

How can you improve your intranet to boost employee engagement and collaboration?

Your approach to your team communication will directly factor into the type of employee engagement and quality of collaboration you’ll yield.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re making the most out of your social intranet.

Level the playing field

Among the main reasons why employees have a difficult time engaging with social intranets is because they don’t feel heard. By establishing a bottom-up approach to team communication, employees feel more open to share their ideas and engage with their colleagues.

Post-employee-focused content

When posting on your social intranet, make sure that the content your managers publish resonates strongly with your employees. Celebrate small wins, share relevant work updates, and other content that speak to your team.

Keep the experience simple and familiar

User interface and user experience go a long way when it comes to social intranets. To encourage more employees to use your intranet, make sure that your platform uses a simple and familiar UI, intuitive enough for your employees to pick up from the get-go.

Establish goals and expectations

Establish early on the purpose of your intranet. Share with your team clear goals and expectations with regard to its use. Will it serve as the central home for work documents like leave forms? Is it your team’s communication tool? How often do your team members need to check on your social intranet? Establish these details early as a team.

Cultivate a rewarding work culture

Make your employees’ digital experience fulfilling by sharing small victories that they’ve achieved both as individuals and with their team. Seeing congratulatory posts and shout-outs on their activity feed can be the difference between a good and a bad day. 

Make sure you’re doing what you can to make employees feel at home, involved, and passionate about their work and workmates, even if interactions are remote.

What is the best intranet platform for your organization?

Since different organizations call for different needs, there isn’t one solution to solve every organization’s needs. That being said, we’re proud of what we’ve built with Workvivo, a social intranet that ensures your employees are engaged and motivated.

All features we’ve discussed earlier comes with Workvivo right out of the box. From a familiar activity feed that works similarly to that in social platforms to a measurement dashboard that shows managers which employees participate the most, Workvivo has everything you’d want in a social intranet.

Here’s a list of some of our core features:

  • 👍 Social-like activity feed
  • 🎯 Goals and values alignment
  • 🥇 Employee recognition
  • 🙌 Collaboration spaces
  • 👨‍💻 Out-of-the-box integrations
  • 📊 Reporting and analytics
  • 💚 Social advocacy support
  • 📱 Branded mobile app

What makes Workvivo different from any other company in this space? 

Where do modern intranet systems fit in the future of work?

The future holds a closer emphasis on employee welfare and digital experiences. As our lives cross over to mostly virtual experiences, bringing employees closer to the company, its culture, and their colleagues grows unimaginably important.

Due to the nature of remote work and collaboration, it’s far easier to alienate and isolate workers. By putting an inclusive, supportive, and helpful intranet system, employees will have an easier time putting more of themselves into their work.

The way we work will always fundamentally evolve. Further into the future, we can expect personalized onboarding and other digital employee experiences as not special, one-of-a-kind accommodations but the norm. A.I. assistants in the form of chatbots, too, are set to further help managers and human resource professionals keep employees happy.

Building a great employee experience is the next big shift

Traditional intranets are dead, but they died alongside the antiquated thinking that employees are mere cogs in the machine. On the contrary, employees are crucial players to your overall goals and therefore must be provided with a digital experience that treats them as such.

A social intranet lets employees securely interact with their colleagues and adapt to the company culture. They’re mobile-first and help break down barriers between employees in separate business units, ultimately making the employee’s life easier.

Not only that, but they build a greater sense of community and overall purpose within the organization, improving engagement. Finally, you are giving your employees the assurance that they have made the right decision working with you—which is just about all one can ask for.

Every great company is going to run on a modern intranet like Workvivo. Wouldn’t you like to be ahead of the curve?