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Intranet Best Practices 2024 | UPDATED 2023 | A Complete Guide

Intranet Best Practices 2024
Intranet Best Practices 2024 | UPDATED 2023 | A Complete Guide
The full Guide of Intranet Best Practices: From sharing information to improving employee engagement.
Posted in: Intranets
Intranet Best Practices 2024
Intranet Best Practices 2024 | UPDATED 2023 | A Complete Guide

If you're seeking the finest intranet best practices, you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find the most current and relevant information on effective strategies, methods, and guidelines for implementing or optimizing your intranet system.

Implementing an intranet can pose challenges, but unlocking its full potential requires adherence to specific best practices.

While intranets were once associated with cumbersome workplace technologies, contemporary social intranets resemble social media platforms, becoming indispensable tools in organizational tech stacks.

According to recent data from Gallagher, a notable 46% of leaders, communications, and HR professionals express a strong inclination to augment their investments in communication technology. 

This statistic underscores a growing awareness among key decision-makers about the pivotal role that advanced communication tools, including intranets, play in the modern workplace. 

As organizations recognize the importance of staying technologically competitive, the demand for robust communication solutions, such as social intranets, continues to rise. This trend is particularly pronounced in the context of the evolving dynamics of remote work, further emphasizing the need for effective communication platforms within the organizational tech infrastructure.

Key features such as file sharing, workgroups, communication channels, newsfeeds, and employee directories play a pivotal role in facilitating asynchronous communication, knowledge sharing, and remote collaboration.

However, Gartner's research reveals that a staggering 90% of intranets fall short of their initial objectives, primarily due to low user adoption. The success of an intranet hinges on the level of energy and engagement employees invest in it.

In this blog, we will explore essential intranet practices and best practices for intranet content aimed at maximizing the potential of this powerful technology, enhancing user adoption, and fostering increased employee engagement.   

Read more on : Intranet Governance Document – Best Practices & Guidelines!

Intranet Challenges And Their Solutions

A prevalent obstacle for intranets is the limited engagement of employees. This poses a significant issue as the effectiveness of these systems hinges on user involvement, as it is the users who populate them with valuable information.

When an intranet is perceived as unintuitive and unhelpful in supporting employees' tasks, there is a higher likelihood that they will discontinue its use. The success of an intranet relies on its ability to align with the needs and preferences of users, ensuring it enhances rather than hinders their workflow and activities. 

Here are 4 addtional Intranet Challenges And Their Solutions:

  • User Adoption Hurdles: One of the primary challenges lies in ensuring high user adoption rates. Despite having advanced features and functionalities, intranets often face resistance from employees accustomed to traditional communication methods. The success of an intranet relies heavily on users embracing and actively engaging with the platform. Organizations need to invest in comprehensive training programs and communication strategies to overcome this hurdle and foster a culture of collaboration and communication through the intranet.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Integrating a new intranet into an organization's existing technological ecosystem can be complex. In many cases, legacy systems may not seamlessly connect with the new platform, leading to data silos and reduced overall efficiency. To address this challenge, thorough planning and consideration are necessary to ensure smooth integration. Compatibility with existing tools and technologies is crucial for maximizing the benefits of an intranet and avoiding disruptions in daily operations.
  • Security Concerns: Security remains a paramount concern when implementing intranet best practices. Intranets often handle sensitive information, and a breach can have severe consequences. Organizations must prioritize robust security measures, including encryption, access controls, and regular security audits. Keeping pace with evolving cybersecurity threats is essential to safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of data stored and transmitted through the intranet.
  • Evolving Technological Landscape: The rapid evolution of technology introduces a challenge of keeping the intranet platform up-to-date and aligned with the latest trends. What constitutes best practices today may become outdated in the future. Organizations need to have a strategy in place for continuous improvement, updates, and adaptations to emerging technologies. Regular assessments and proactive adjustments are vital to ensuring that the intranet remains a relevant and effective tool for enhancing communication and collaboration within the organization.

In conclusion, addressing these challenges requires a strategic approach, ongoing commitment, and a willingness to adapt to the evolving landscape of technology and workplace dynamics. 

Successful intranet implementation involves not only technical considerations but also a focus on organizational culture, user engagement, and security protocols. 

Here are some of the Best practices for intranet content examples: 26 Intranet Content Ideas to Boost Employee Engagement -2023 Intranet homepage Beyond Basics

Why is the Intranet Important?

A company intranet offers numerous advantages to your business. 

Consider these key benefits:

  • Virtual Workspace: A successful intranet creates a virtual workspace where employees collaborate and share information through team rooms, discussion forums, and document-sharing features.
  • Centralized Information Storage: The company can digitally store various types of corporate information on the intranet, such as memos, announcements, staff news, research papers, contracts, service manuals, human resources forms, and more. These documents are securely stored in a central location, easily accessible when needed.
  • Training Platform: The intranet serves as an effective training platform for new employees. It allows them to access HR documents, initiate the company training process, and quickly familiarize themselves with team members. This streamlined onboarding process enables new hires to integrate into their roles promptly.
  • Enhanced Communication: Functioning as a communications hub, the intranet facilitates improved communication throughout the company, keeping employees engaged and informed.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Intranet platforms enable employees to provide feedback on company changes and contribute ideas for improvement directly to executives.

By leveraging these intranet benefits, companies can establish a dynamic and efficient work environment that fosters collaboration, information sharing, and continuous improvement.

Top 5 Intranet Trends for the Digital Workplace of 2024

The contemporary intranet is undergoing a transformation from a static information portal to a dynamic digital workplace hub. Here are key trends, supported by statistics emphasizing their significance:

  1. Personalized Experiences:
    • Trend: Customizing content and features based on individual users' roles, departments, interests, and past behavior.
    • Statistic: A McKinsey & Company survey reveals that 71% of employees desire a personalized digital workplace experience.
    • Benefit: Improved engagement, productivity, and overall employee satisfaction.
  2. Mobile-First Design:
    • Trend: Prioritizing mobile accessibility and responsive layouts to cater to an on-the-go workforce.
    • Statistic: According to StatCounter, 56% of global web traffic is now generated from mobile devices.
    • Benefit: Enhanced access for remote and frontline workers, fostering increased collaboration.
  3. AI-Powered Search and Chatbots:
    • Trend: Integrating AI to streamline information retrieval and offer instant support through chatbots.
    • Statistic: The global AI in intranet market is projected to reach $1.76 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research.
    • Benefit: Accelerated problem-solving, reduced workload on HR and IT teams, and an improved user experience.
  4. Social Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:
    • Trend: Promoting employee interaction through forums, communities, and internal social media platforms.
    • Statistic: A Deloitte study indicates that companies with engaged workforces are 21% more profitable than those with less engaged employees.
    • Benefit: Enhanced knowledge sharing, improved teamwork, and increased innovation.
  5. Digital Workplace Hub Integration:
    • Trend: Consolidating access to essential tools and apps within the intranet for a seamless workflow.
    • Statistic: A study by Okta highlights that 73% of employees desire a single, unified platform for all their work needs.
    • Benefit: Reduced context switching, improved efficiency, and a simplified user experience.

6 Intranet Best Practices

Not everyone is a fan of their employee intranet, and you might relate to the frustration of investing significant resources in legacy intranet setup and support, only to find your employees neglecting it. Adoption proves to be a major hurdle for companies dealing with intranet software, often resulting in these systems gathering dust on the shelf.

However, this doesn't diminish the value of intranets; in fact, they can be incredibly useful when approached correctly. 

The key lies in selecting a modern intranet solution that is both user-friendly and enjoyable, coupled with ensuring active engagement from your employees.

If you're grappling with an inflexible and unintuitive intranet, now might be the time to consider transitioning to a contemporary social intranet solution

In this section of the article, we'll present 6 best Intranet Best Practices to optimize your intranet experience, emphasizing the use of a modern solution like AgilityPortal that not only facilitates ease of use but also ensures tangible results. 

1.Setup your intranet for remote workers

Remote work has transitioned from a future possibility to a current reality, and it's here to stay. 

The catalyst for this shift was the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's evident that remote and hybrid work is no longer just a workplace trend; it's an expectation, particularly in the knowledge economy.

Given these circumstances, an intranet tailored for on-premises, physically proximate employees is no longer practical. Instead, an intranet optimized for remote work is now essential. 

The initial step is to ensure that the software is easily accessible without relying on a corporate device. Cloud-based (SaaS) solutions, such as AgilityPortal, provide the flexibility for employees to access the intranet from any location and device.

  • Situation:The landscape of work has changed, and organizations must adapt by embracing intranet solutions that align with the demands of remote and hybrid work settings. This shift not only enhances accessibility but also recognizes the evolving expectations of employees in the modern work environment.
  • Actions: In response to these changing dynamics, it's crucial to shift from an intranet designed for on-premises, physically proximate employees to one optimized for remote work. A fundamental step is ensuring easy access to the intranet without the necessity for a corporate device. Utilizing cloud-based (SaaS) software, such as AgilityPortal, becomes instrumental in allowing employees to connect to the intranet from anywhere, using any device. Assigned employees, to teams, departments, and location make sure your company diretory is fully updated
  • Tasks: To meet the unique challenges faced by remote teams, the design of the intranet should be strategically crafted. Many of these challenges are communication-related. Addressing issues like 'Zoom fatigue,' which arises from an excess of video-based meetings, becomes crucial. Additionally, recognizing and addressing the emotional well-being of remote employees is vital, considering that some may be dealing with feelings of worry, sadness, stress, loneliness, or anxiety.
  • Results: By adapting the intranet to be remote-friendly, organizations can expect improved accessibility and collaboration among their dispersed teams. The utilization of cloud-based solutions enhances flexibility, allowing employees to seamlessly connect regardless of their location or device. A design that acknowledges and addresses communication challenges and emotional well-being contributes to a healthier and more engaged remote workforce, fostering sustained productivity and job satisfaction. 

2.Get employees feedback to discover what matters most to them

Incorporating user input into intranet design best practices is logical, considering that users will be interacting with the platform on a daily basis.

Ideally, interviews should be conducted with managers and team leaders to gather valuable feedback. Designing an intranet requires a deep understanding of employees' work processes, their information requirements, and their preferences for different applications.

Since every company is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to intranet design. To establish an effective intranet structure, it's crucial to identify the optimal combination of software that aligns with the company's specific needs and the preferences of its employees. 

It's important to bear in mind that new software can be integrated into the intranet gradually, responding to employee requests or emerging needs. 

The company intranet is intended to be dynamic, evolving over time to meet the changing requirements of its users.

  • Situation: Recognizing the importance of understanding employee priorities within the intranet, the goal is to gather feedback to uncover their key concerns and preferences.
  • Task: The task involves initiating a comprehensive feedback process to identify what matters most to employees in the intranet, ensuring that their perspectives are considered in the platform's development and improvement.
  • Action: Conducting interviews and surveys with employees, particularly engaging managers and team leaders, to obtain a holistic understanding of their experiences and expectations regarding the intranet. This process involves asking targeted questions about usability, feature preferences, and any challenges faced in utilizing the platform.
  • Result: By actively seeking and incorporating employee feedback, the intranet design becomes more aligned with the actual needs and preferences of its users. This iterative process fosters a sense of ownership among employees, leading to increased satisfaction and effectiveness in utilizing the intranet for their daily tasks.

3.Develop an intranet strategy with realistic goals and milestones

Creating an effective intranet necessitates a well-thought-out strategy that includes realistic goals and measurable milestones. In this process, it is crucial to align the intranet's objectives with the broader organizational goals. 

The first step involves a thorough analysis of the company's needs and the challenges the intranet aims to address. By setting realistic goals, such as improving communication, enhancing collaboration, or streamlining information access, organizations can create a roadmap for success.

Establishing clear milestones is equally essential in tracking the progress of the intranet strategy. These milestones act as checkpoints, allowing organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented changes and make adjustments as needed. 

For instance, milestones could include achieving a certain level of user engagement, successful integration of key features, or a measurable improvement in internal communication metrics. 

This approach ensures that the intranet strategy remains dynamic and responsive to evolving organizational needs.

Ultimately, a well-developed intranet strategy with realistic goals and milestones not only guides the implementation process but also serves as a benchmark for success. 

It provides a framework for continuous improvement, fostering a culture of adaptability and innovation within the organization. 

  • Situation: In response to the need for a more effective and purpose-driven intranet, the organization recognized the importance of developing a comprehensive strategy. The existing intranet faced challenges in communication, collaboration, and information accessibility, prompting the need for a structured approach to address these issues.
  • Task: The task at hand was to develop an intranet strategy that not only aligned with the overall organizational goals but also set realistic objectives and milestones. This involved conducting a thorough analysis of the company's requirements, identifying key areas for improvement, and establishing a roadmap that would guide the intranet's development and implementation.
  • Action: The organization took a proactive approach, involving key stakeholders in strategic planning sessions. Through collaborative efforts, they defined realistic goals for the intranet, such as improving communication channels, enhancing collaboration tools, and streamlining information flow. The development of milestones included setting specific, measurable targets, providing a clear framework for tracking progress and ensuring that the intranet strategy remained agile and responsive.
  • Result: By implementing the intranet strategy with realistic goals and milestones, the organization witnessed tangible improvements. Communication channels became more efficient, collaboration among teams increased, and information accessibility improved. The milestones served as valuable checkpoints, allowing the organization to measure success, make informed adjustments, and foster a culture of continuous improvement in their intranet functionality. This strategic approach not only addressed existing challenges but also positioned the intranet as a dynamic tool for ongoing organizational enhancement.

4.Make your intranet a place where two-way conversation takes place

Often, intranets are primarily utilized for one-way communication, where management disseminates information to employees. The traditional approach of sharing announcements for employees to passively follow may be evolving.

As highlighted in an Ernst & Young survey, a significant 81 percent of employees emphasize the importance of fostering a positive workplace culture for a favorable employee experience. 

To achieve this, employees desire an environment where they can freely and honestly provide feedback to management. 

The key lies not only in management acknowledging this feedback but, more importantly, in taking tangible and meaningful actions in response.

  • Situation: Recognizing a shift in the conventional use of intranets for one-way communication, the organization sought to adapt to the evolving needs of its workforce. The objective was to move beyond the traditional model of passive announcement-sharing and explore avenues for more dynamic and interactive communication.
  • Task: The task involved acknowledging the significance of employee feedback in maintaining a positive workplace culture. In response to an Ernst & Young survey indicating the employee desire for an open feedback environment, the organization aimed to create a platform that encouraged honest communication and active participation from employees.
  • Action: To address this, the organization reevaluated its approach to intranet usage, emphasizing two-way communication channels. Management actively encouraged employees to provide honest feedback, fostering a culture of open dialogue. Importantly, management committed to not just listening but taking real and meaningful actions based on the feedback received.
  • Result: The organization witnessed a positive shift in employee engagement and workplace culture. The intranet, now serving as a platform for transparent communication, contributed to a more interactive and collaborative environment. The commitment to action based on employee feedback strengthened the organization's relationship with its workforce, fostering a workplace culture where communication was valued, and real change was implemented. 

5. Ensure the intranet is equipped with powerful search abilities

Best practices for Intranet User Experience (UX) begin with a focus on meeting employee expectations. It's essential to configure the search function in a way that aligns with how employees naturally seek documents and files. Ideally, the intranet should be the primary destination for employees when searching for information. 

If the search process becomes cumbersome, prompting employees to seek assistance or revert to previously used platforms and tools, productivity may suffer.

A key best practice for an effective intranet is to label files and folders with user-friendly descriptors, facilitating easy identification.

Additionally, enabling users to conduct searches across multiple locations simultaneously enhances efficiency. This means the search functionality can inform users whether the desired file is located in Google Drive, an email attachment, or elsewhere, and we would say its an intranet search best practices is important in the world of intranets.

This approach streamlines the retrieval process, ensuring that employees can swiftly locate the information they need without resorting to alternative, potentially less efficient, methods.

In essence, optimizing the Intranet UX involves thoughtful design considerations that prioritize user expectations, streamline search processes, and enhance overall accessibility to information, ultimately contributing to improved productivity and user satisfaction. 

  • Situation: Recognizing the significance of user experience (UX) in the intranet, the organization sought to implement best practices that align with employee expectations. The challenge was to ensure that the intranet's search function was intuitive and conducive to a seamless document and file retrieval process.
  • Task: The task involved configuring the search function to mirror how employees naturally search for documents. The goal is to establish the intranet as the go-to platform for information retrieval, discouraging employees from resorting to alternative tools and platforms due to complications in the search process.
  • Action: To address this, the organization prioritized two crucial aspects. Firstly, the search function was refined to be user-friendly and efficient, preventing unnecessary hurdles. Secondly, files and folders were labeled with clear descriptors, enhancing their accessibility. The intranet was designed to allow users to simultaneously search across multiple locations, providing real-time information on the file's location, be it in Google Drive or an email attachment.
  • Result: As a result of these strategic actions, the intranet's UX significantly improved. Employees found it easier to locate information, reducing the likelihood of resorting to previous tools and platforms. The streamlined search process contributed to heightened productivity, creating a more user-centric intranet experience.

6.Make security a priority when selecting a intranet services provider

 In recent years, ensuring the security of company information has emerged as a paramount concern. 

  • SSL Encryption: The intranet should employ robust SSL encryption or HTTPS to safeguard data transmission and ensure that sensitive information remains confidential and protected from unauthorized access.
  • Secure Storage: Adequate measures should be in place for secure data storage, ensuring that all files and information stored on the intranet are shielded from potential breaches or unauthorized access.
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) Authentication: Implementing SSO authentication enhances security by allowing users to access multiple applications and systems with a single set of login credentials. This not only streamlines the user experience but also reduces the risk associated with managing multiple passwords.

It is imperative that your intranet incorporates, at the very least, the following essential features:
  • Situation: In recent years, prioritizing company security has become imperative. Essential features for your intranet security should include, at a minimum:
  • Task: Ensure the implementation of SSL encryption to safeguard data during transmission, maintaining a secure connection for users accessing the intranet. Implement secure storage protocols to protect sensitive data stored within the intranet, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches.Implement Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication to enhance user access control, simplifying the login process and bolstering overall security.
  • Action: Additionally, it is crucial that the intranet platform refrains from linking or storing personal data. The selected vendor should commit to providing your data in an exportable file format at the conclusion of the contracted term, ensuring transparency and giving you control over your information.
  • Result: By incorporating these security features and practices, the intranet becomes a fortified platform, significantly reducing the risk of security breaches and ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of company data.

Wrapping up

Transitioning your intranet to a modern social solution like AgilityPortal yields significant outcomes. It empowers employees to engage, learn, and develop, all on the device and in the manner that suits them best.

Moreover, AgilityPortal can directly enhance ROI. Through heightened engagement and improved morale, you can effectively lower turnover rates, elevate productivity, and decrease absenteeism, leading to direct cost benefits.

Are you prepared to adopt these best practices with a superior social intranet? 

AgilityPortal is ready whenever you are. Request your free demo now!

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Sunday, 14 April 2024
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