It’s been another full-on year for business. The emergence of Omicron, volatile economies, sustainability, and climate change, plus the Big Resignation, are just some challenges. However, through it all, intranets have been at the forefront in supporting organizations to face those challenges head-on. Intranets have ensured staff can connect, collaborate and communicate whether working in hybrid or remote environments.
The New Year is typically a time to reflect and take stock. You may be deploying an intranet for the first time or upgrading to a better platform. Either way, here are the top intranet design trends you need to know about in 2022.
1. SaaS Intranets
Out-on-the-box intranets are now the number one option for companies. Once upon a time, you might have considered developing a customized solution from scratch. Or you may have engaged external consultants. However, designing, building, and testing your own intranet is not for the faint-hearted. It’s time-consuming and costly.
Nowadays, the smart choice is a cloud intranet. And with plenty of intranet vendors in the market, there are lots of options. SaaS intranets have several advantages. Your intranet is already built and extensively tested by the supplier. This cuts down significantly on implementation time and also drives increased adoption. Plus, many vendors offer free trials so you can test drive the solution before committing.
The shift towards pre-configured intranet templates allowing full customization is set to continue in 2022.
2. User-First Intranet Designs
The Great Resignation has shone a spotlight on the employee experience. In 2022, businesses need to work harder to recruit and retain top talent. User-first intranet designs are one vital way to improve the employee experience.
A user-first intranet design is streamlined, intuitive, and engaging. It’s highly visual and uses eye-catching videos, banners, and icons. Visual cues help users work out the most important items on the screen. The days of scrolling through text and lists are gone.
Make sure your navigation links, search, and popular tools are clearly visible. These are the features workers will use the most, so make them accessible.
And go for a minimalist look. Try and pack too much in, and employees will feel overwhelmed and confused. It’s a balancing act. However, a box-style layout, plenty of white space, neutral colors, and visual clues help to separate all the different elements.
Furthermore, user-first designs provide more customization options for users. Employees have control: from personalized newsfeeds, targeted notifications to user-generated content, and individualized shortcuts.
3. Integrated Intranets
The rise of remote working has seen an explosion in tools and apps. All up, it can result in a confusing and chaotic employee experience. Rather than making life simpler, the sheer number of apps makes it harder to find the right information in the correct system.
Cloud intranets come with many features that will tick most of the boxes for businesses. However, sometimes external tools are still needed. In 2022, state-of-the-art intranets will provide seamless integration and connection with the enterprise apps you use. For example, MyHub’s intranet offers single-sign-on access to Google Workspace and Office 365, as well as providing a simple approach to embedding files and documents on both of those platforms. It’s forms module integrates directly with Salesforce. Your intranet is transformed into a digital hub with all enterprise apps housed under one virtual roof.
Perhaps even more critical, the intranet is the organization’s single source of truth. Employees can be confident all the correct information and resources are available on the intranet.
4. Social Intranet Features
Social intranet features are not new. Team chat, activity walls, #channels, and @mentions have been around for a while. However, we predict they will have an enhanced role in 2022.
Social intranet features are popular with workers. They mimic those popularized by Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Your people are already using these features, and integrating them into the workplace keeps employees engaged and connected. Improved teamwork, collaboration, and strong corporate culture are among the many benefits. Plus, they help with intranet adoption and ensure your workers keep coming back.
In 2022, we will likely see more user-generated content with blogs and forums and increasing use of activity walls. Podcasts aimed at employees are set to increase in popularity. And employee profiles will take center stage with staff sharing work updates, insights, and news. Furthermore, team chat will be the platform for those vital watercooler conversations and social connections for distributed teams.
5. Increased Use Of Intranet Gamification
Gamification is an established way to increase employee engagement. We predict 2022 will see more intranet gamification to enhance the employee experience and drive productivity.
Businesses use gamification to set objectives for workers and reward them for performance. It could be fun challenges, competitions, and achievement levels. Leader boards and badges mean you can measure your progress against others. Fun and engaging, gamification can make work feel less of a burden. And it can drive motivation, problem-solving, and productivity.
Big corporates such as Google, Deloitte, and IBM have reported successes using gamification. Smaller enterprises such as MyHub customer Kenect Recruitment are also introducing a competitive element. The company has long used league tables of branch performance to drive productivity. However, intranet-embedded Google Sheets with real-time data have taken the friendly competition to new heights.
6. Support For Asynchronous Working
Multinational companies and offices in different time zones have worked asynchronously for some time. But for other companies, juggling remote working with parenting and other responsibilities has increased asynchronous working. Nine-to-five working is no longer standard practice.
The pandemic may have forced many companies into remote and hybrid working. However, survey after survey has shown that many employees prefer to have greater flexibility over their schedules. Next year, intranets that provide opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous working will be essential. Your people can access the resources they need on their own. And they can collaborate with colleagues when needed using intranet-embedded Google Docs or project workspaces. Team members can pick up these tasks whenever their workday begins.
7. Simplified Intranet Management
No one has the time or patience for an intranet that’s hard to manage. Set-and-go intranets that incorporate simplified admin tools will be popular in 2022.
Drag and drop file management, the ability to perform tasks in bulk, plus streamlined permissions are essential. Intranet management needs to be simple enough so that anyone in the organization can fulfill the role. That way, you can share the admin burden across several workers.
Likewise, you shouldn’t need a degree in computing to edit content, upload files or customize templates. MyHub’s intranet uses a familiar file explorer interface and has an extensive library of bite-sized, how-to videos. Even tech novices will find managing the intranet straightforward.
8. Improved Content Relevancy
Personalized newsfeeds and notifications are examples of how to improve the relevance of your intranet content. Some organizations have taken this idea further. They present staff with suggested content based on their interests and browsing history. These features help employees cut through the noise with targeted content related to their work.
We also predict there will be an increase in workplace storytelling. Comms professionals are already using this technique with customers. And it’s a great way to breathe new life into corporate communications. Facts and figures only go so far. Telling a story is far more memorable and has more impact, especially if the stories come directly from colleagues. Possibilities include a video showcasing this month’s star employee or a day-in-life feature on a frontline worker.
And with the Great Resignation now a worldwide trend, companies are using the intranet to reach out to workers. Employee wellness is a hot topic. Intranet-based content with tips, mental health resources, even online yoga helps employers support workers’ wellbeing.
Similarly, there’s been renewed interest in online learning since the pandemic. In 2022 more businesses will be showcasing development opportunities on the intranet. It could be internal job vacancies, mentoring, webinars, and lunch-and-learns. Or it could be external conferences, workshops, and courses. What’s important is your people have one central, go-to resource for learning and development.
9. Inclusive Design Features
An inclusive design involves considering the needs of different user groups. This trend has been around for a while. However, it will be even more critical next year.
Simple steps such as ensuring visuals reflect the diversity of your workforce are vital here. And so too is having a mobile design with a font size that’s easily legible for most workers.
And if you are not sure whether your intranet design is inclusive, ask your staff. An employee focus group or survey will help ensure your intranet is genuinely inclusive.
10. Streamlined Business Processes
Companies that have been slow to get on board with automated processes need to up their game in 2022. Many are still using far too many different IT systems for approvals and everyday tasks.
When it comes to improving the employee experience, simplicity counts. Workers should have one platform that’s self-service and straightforward to use. It could be requesting vacation leave, submitting an IT help request, or ordering new equipment. The requests may end up in different systems. However, automated intranet workflows deliver a seamless experience for the employee.
In 2022, streamlined processes will be a winner with staff. Make sure your intranet optimizes this feature.
11. Intranets Continue To Add Value
One trend that we are absolutely sure of is intranets will continue to matter in 2022. Despite all the challenges of the last few years, intranets are still relevant in the modern workplace. Flexible and cost-effective, intranets are proven to meet a range of business needs. The following are just some of the fantastic benefits:
- Improving corporate communication for office-based, remote, or hybrid workers
- Boosting employee engagement and the employee experience
- Driving increased productivity
- Enhancing cross-team collaboration regardless of location
- Supporting a strong company culture.
The basic premise of an intranet remains valid. It’s a website for employees that supports them in getting things done. They can safely and securely connect with colleagues, source and share information, and keep updated on company news.
Furthermore, intranets have a proven track record as a versatile platform. They may have started as document libraries but have evolved to incorporate new features and capabilities. The humble intranet keeps on giving and now includes collaboration tools, mobile functionality, personalization, and social features.
Furthermore, competition between intranet vendors has improved the product offering across the board. You benefit from innovation, competitive pricing, better customer service, and rich functionality.
Intranet Design Trends 2022: Ask The Experts
If you plan to deploy your first intranet or revamp an existing one, these 11 design trends will guide your decisions.
For more expert help and advice, get in touch with the MyHub team. Our cloud intranets are designed by experts with non-experts in mind. Easy to set up and simple to manage, MyHub’s platform is used by companies worldwide across all industries.