It is difficult to predict when a crisis might occur, but it is something that all businesses must be prepared for. With the recent pandemic, it has changed the way we live and work, and how businesses operate during uncertain times.
Professional lives have been disrupted with employees working from home; communication and collaboration with employees are dispersed amongst different platforms such as emails, instant messaging, and virtual video conferencing. File sharing and digital workflows have become the norm, and employees are getting easily overloaded with constant information and virtual interaction. These are just a few examples of the changes in the past few months.
With rapid changes in the working world, the Intranet has become even more crucial for organisations. A company’s intranet is no longer just a site used solely for communication, but it has evolved into one that is more interactive, productive, social, collaborative, searchable, engaging, secure, and easy to use. Deployed successfully, these user-centric digital platforms have proven to bring real bottom-line benefits to businesses.
If your organisation does not have an intranet in place, it is the perfect time to consider implementing this game-changer. However, creating an intranet that will meet your business requirements and successfully achieve your objectives can be a challenge. Get it right, and an intranet could transform how your business collaborates or works. Get it wrong, and you risk the costly consequence of project failure. It is essential that effective planning must go hand-in-hand with the right goals and the right tools to ensure a smooth deployment of your intranet project.
Here are the 5 strategic tactics to set your intranet up as a game-changer.
#1: Strengthen Company Communication to All Employees
Defining communication touchpoints and aligning teams can be well leveraged using the intranet. The easy-to-use tools and applications manage the most crucial methods of communication within your organisation i.e. regular alerts/announcements/notifications, critical alerts, and sharing of knowledge base. The right communication touchpoints can be identified on the intranet to provide your employees with the right information.
Critical alerts appear on both mobile and web modes to publish crucial information related to emergencies. These notifications can be pushed to provide actionable information to employees in response to any emergency situations.
Regular Alerts/ Announcements/ Notifications
If there is a need to communicate to all employees, it is possible to create a visible banner on the Intranet home page and support this message with specific alerts. Company announcements such as CEO messages or Town Hall-recorded videos to inspire employees can be posted on the intranet’s frontpage for all authenticated employees’ highlighted attention. Notifications can also be easily sent via the web as well as on the mobile in one-go by utilising the intranet settings.
Knowledge Base Sharing
By delving into more details about the crisis, this will create better engagement with your employees. For example, in the recent pandemic, the organisation can post about the “What”, “How”, and “Why” to give employees guidance regarding business continuity.
To enable easy updating of communication throughout the company, there must be simplification of content management that works in conjunction with seamless integration on SharePoint and Office 365.
The knowledge base governs content creation by enabling the type of content that can be created, where the content lives, and makes it simple for content authors to generate content. It supports various content management functions available on SharePoint including document check-in/out, draft creation to content preview, Office Ribbon for advanced styles, tracking versions and history, publishing and content approval, as well as content scheduling.
#2: Enhance Employee Engagement using a Digital Portal
Promotion of Company Brand and Values
Building a stronger sense of belonging and common identity are crucial when employees work remotely. An intranet can be built with a company’s branding characteristics embedded, otherwise, having styles and formats customised to make it employee-friendly based on the likes of employees is also possible.
Communication via a regular digital corner can be used to reinforce the company’s value, vision and mission, and how blog posts can be posed to explain to employees how the company can respond to various market situations whilst embracing company core values.
Enablement of employee content contribution
To engage staff with company-wide communication and have them feel they are part of the bigger team, communication cannot only come from the top-down. Staff can also contribute by writing their own blog post after proper review and approval, either giving them a platform to tell others who they are and what they do, or sharing key challenges and achievements of recent projects and events.
On a common communication portal, staff achievement can be easily recognised, tagged and celebrated.
Personalised Portal Experience
The more personal the experience whilst using the portal, the more engagement there is of employees. For example, the portal can present Targeted Content based on personas, user profile information & authorisation rights, and recent activities. It allows for better capturing of employee’s preferences with personal links, content targeting preferences, and favourite company applications. It can also populate an employee’s personal page with My Projects/Teams, My Outlook Mails and My Social Posts.
Gamification Driven Engagement
When figuring out how to engage or even motivate employees, consider the utility of gamification on the Intranet. At its heart, intranet gamification takes elements that are typically found in gameplay (sports, video games, etc.) and applies them to business practices, thus injecting a bit of playful competition into the workday. This strategy uses ideas and concepts that just about everyone can relate to… and quite simply, it works by enhancing employees’ problem-solving ability, stimulating intellectual development, easier onboarding, stronger connection between employees, and most importantly leading to higher profits (gamification, particularly, is an excellent tool for increasing the potential of a sales team).
There are different ways for intranet gamification to boost employee engagement, for example:
• You can display a winner billboard on the Intranet, with a defined and easily editable points and badges system, assigning specific rewards for such activities as creating blog posts, forum topics, photo comments, and more.
• Activities can be prioritised according to their completion dates as well as their weightage component in the points and badges system.
• As users begin to accumulate points and badges, they will effectively “level-up” and gain new rankings, such as “seasoned member,” “senior member”, “pro”, or “hall of fames”.
#3: Empower Mobile Workforce Collaboration across Locations
Multi-language Content Display
Multi-location business operations do not necessarily only apply to large corporations, and it can also include small-and-medium sized companies. Having an Intranet can help to foster a common company culture across regions, constantly engaging and supporting your employees regardless the language they speak.
Most top-notch Intranet solutions enhance the SharePoint experience by supporting auto-translation upon viewing, to display in the local language based on user-selected language preference. It even supports auto-generation of the local language page when foreign language content is created.
Employee Directory Search
With a searchable employee directory, employees based in different locations can interact and get to know each other. For business cases and deals that require cross-regional collaboration, it supports in finding the experts and others by conducting a name search, refining results by expertise, job title and other criteria. It allows the exploration of employee profiles stored in Microsoft Active Directory or SharePoint or Delve, to view the organisation chart and to explore latest documents.
Mobile App Interface
When employees are on-the-go, conducting business workshops, attending client meetings or exhibitions, consistent mobile experience for receiving, accessing and sharing information is crucial whilst using the Intranet.
The Intranet should be of a responsive design nature to auto-adjust its presentation and optimisation for best viewer display. This translates to being natively multi-device compatible, as well as compatibility with last generation of browsers: Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Provision of a Mobile App for Android and iPhone compatibility with company-specific branding and quick access to main portal functionalities and notifications makes for superior user experience.
#4: Enable Mobile Workforce Self-service and Automation
When the workforce is not physically working in the office, internal servicing departments like HR, Finance or internal IT could easily create a bottleneck without a central portal to receive and act upon internal service requests.
Other than the Intranet, one of the pivotal role of SharePoint is to serve as document management within Microsoft 365. Via the Intranet, employees can remotely view and/or download the latest documents that they have permission for, assigned by different departments. Recently retrieved documents and shared documents appear with the relevant information such as the date of the last edit and the name of the member who edited the document.
FAQs, chatbot and tickets
By embedding the FAQs, chatbot and ticketing system functions into the Intranet, employees can directly retrieve information or answers for themselves, and raise service requests for what they require from internal servicing department.
The Intranet is able to support easy setup and maintenance of FAQ-related webparts and its contents directly by assigned non-technical content owners in the Finance, Human Resources and IT departments. Chatbot linking to the ticketing system can be developed using Microsoft Power Platformand Azure AI with help from a cloud service partner. These applications can help employees obtain answers to ad hoc questions not predefined in the FAQs, such as questions regarding leave-taking or claim expenses. Chatbot is able to route questions to internal service department to respond in Microsoft Teams triggered by Microsoft Automate, and a reference number is provided for employees to follow-up with the relevant department.
Centralised Portal to Self-service Systems
The Intranet can also be an internal self-service system portal that centralises all system login links for employees to easily access. Single sign-in integration between those applications and Microsoft AD is one additional option that can make the self-service experience more productive without compromising security requirements.
#5: Managing Employee Development
A company should not put a pause on developing employees even during this period that employees are working remotely, especially with the use of an Intranet, which can help with organisational development in various aspects.
Onboarding and Training
On top of introducing the newly joined to the various blog posts and people search function on the Intranet, new staff can find much needed orientation information or follow a defined workflow embedded in the Intranet to complete their orientation programme. Such workflow can guide new employees through the completion of document review from shared document folders, orientation e-learning PowerPoint content, and streamed videos online. Notification and confirmation emails can be sent to new employees to alert and track their action items completion.
Feedback and Survey
The Intranet can be used as a mechanism to solicit input for training to be developed (e.g., training surveys). Employees can also provide feedback via Microsoft Forms along their orientation process such that immediate coaching support can be provided accordingly. The supervisor in-charge can provide reinforcement with Yammer’s embedded kudos and compliments if the newly joined complete their exercise with good progress. Microsoft Outlook scheduler can help to book performance reviews and 1-on-1 meetings at various completion milestones and checkpoints.
Company, department, and individual metrics are key ways to drive growth and development of an organisation and its people. Utilising the Intranet to centralise tracking of people performance results like career planning and development actions, KPIs and performance review tasks completion is viable.
It can also be used to display at a snapshot, company and department performances. Not only does the display of performance against metrics satisfy management’s desire to measure performance, it also helps with success sharing or create a sense of urgency to achieve committed goals. Power BI reports and dashboard can be embedded into the Intranet to keep staff informed of how much they have achieved and how much time and effort must they devote to accomplish the committed results.
Superhub Point of Views Associated with our Products/ Services:
• Superhub is committed to help our customers create real business value by adopting Microsoft cloud services.
• Superhub has partnered with top-notch SharePoint solutions that can incorporate best practices in professional Intranet establishment.
• Superhub subscription-based “365+” value-added services represents a continuous commitment to support our customers to drive high adoption rate.
• Microsoft and Superhub are looking forward to bringing these new ways to achieve more from unlocking creativity to advancing security for our customers’ cloud transformation journey.