Employees Simply Need to Know

The mindset of creating a more unified system of social communications and processes will be a critical move that companies must adopt in the coming 18 months. If all of your corporate knowledge is tied up in emails, then “Houston, we have a problem.” Much to the contrary of intranets being dead, they can actually become a force of knowledge and an efficiency driver.

Forget Corporate Email

Intranets were, at one time, just considered a central repository for corporate documents or a tool to reduce printing. The benefits of an easy to use, easy to access and easy to share framework are increased productivity and creativity, but more importantly, collaboration. For those of you who don’t have an intranet, let me take you through the back story. For those that do, I promise I will give you bullet points at the end to improve what you have built.

Intranets have now matured to a tool to that can increase “shareablity” (and searchability) between employees and management. By no longer using trouble ticket systems or “how-to” PDF’s, this allows individuals to become more self-reliant with access to things like IT, HR, sales tools or core documents and have the ability to see real-time FAQ’s, past forum conversations and the most recent versions of “living documents” – all with a level of security and confidentiality. Even better, by sharing information, idea generation and innovation can become a “prime time” event when more people can correspond quickly, easily and fluently in one central place. This has become the number one way to “crowdsource” ideas in a contained and managed setting from your greatest fans – your employees. It also helps encourage building and harvesting connections and creating stronger brand advocates.

This Isn’t Just a Intra-Hosted Message Board

Need an inspiration? Check out PepsiBiz. Chock full of updates, news, facts, videos, sharability and personalized sections, Pepsi nailed it when it came to an engaging, welcoming platform that utilizing the communication space. The extension of corporate information to every corner of their business has become a true “differentiator” and increased the speed at which ideas are shared.

PepsiBiz Intranet

Make It Happen!

Before jumping the gun, make sure to plan your intranet with growth in mind. Not making your intranet easy to update can be a huge mistake when first transitioning to the new platform, plus with so many portals, options and links, managing and updating can become extremely difficult if not planned in advanced. More importantly, test your system frequently and make sure there are no glitches or problems to ensure a smooth launch and continuing operations.

You are going to need a checklist. Make one.

Don’t Forget the Details

The amount of information you keep private is just as important as the amount you share. Maintaining a secure and safe intranet can keep employees from deleting files, editing projects or updating news. Make sure to keep privileges reserved to administrators only. At the end of the day, having document restoration will make life easier when you aren’t searching from one inbox to a next trying to find that “one damn email.” And most of all, train your employees on how to use the platform. They can’t be effective, efficient or meet expectations without the training and guidance centered around your new tool.

As Promised: Now the Bullet Points

So, here are the top five things you can do to enhance your intranet (and should be at the forefront of your planning if you don’t already have one).

  1. Revisit your strategy. What do you want people to do there? How much do you want people to do it? When do you want people to do it? How will employees communicate back when they need more or need help?
  2. No out-of-date content. This should be #1 rule for your intranet. Want credibility for the intranet? Then make sure it is the most current you can offer your employees.
  3. Allow for knowledge sharing. Collaboration and crowd sourcing are the two easiest ways to get fresh employee perspective, product ideas and gauging priorities.
  4. It should be easy. When you decide on the navigation, make sure you re-evaluate everything to make sure it aligns with employee needs. If IT requests is your number one employee need, then make it very easy to find.
  5. Improve document organization. This may be a tall order for any company, but it should become a priority. How you folder and classify documents is essential to success of #2, #3 and #4.

Just remember, “Employees simply need to know.” With that as the mantra of your intranet development and on-going strategy, you will do just fine!