Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the business benefits an intranet has to offer. But for new readers here’s a quick recap on what’s possible by introducing intranet tools into your company:
- improved internal communications
- increases in employee engagement
- streamlined business processes
- more opportunities for joint working and collaboration
- easier sharing of information and data.
Now, if you’re one of life’s skeptics who’s perhaps thinking, that’s all good and well but how is an intranet going to do all those things, then this article provides the proof. You see, we use our considerable experience as a provider of cloud intranets to share the top 10 most commonly used intranet tools that quite simply will make a big difference to your business. So in time-honored fashion here they are in reverse order of course!
10. Social Intranet Tools
Many businesses utilize social intranet tools such as site activity walls, follow-me features or messaging and notifications. They are a great way to connect staff with each other and can help to promote a sense of camaraderie and a common purpose within the workplace.
9. Image, Text And Video Display Intranet Tools
The intranet comes with a number of easy-to-use content display tools which will ensure that your intranet looks state of the art. These tools are so intuitive to use that there’s no need for any great technical expertise. Any member of staff can upload videos, incorporate eye-catching images and visuals as well as edit text and content. The result is a totally professional and engaging company intranet.
8. Team Forums
Whether it’s to share good practice ideas within your team, or perhaps it’s a cross-departmental working group looking at a particular topic such as improving the customer experience, the intranet’s shared workspaces are the perfect vehicle for collaboration. These project areas are particularly useful if you employ remote workers or you have employees in different locations as they provide a virtual meeting space without the need for face-to-face meetings, video conferences or long emails. Access to the shared workspaces is controlled by a set of rules and members can quickly and easily brainstorm issues, share data and information as well as collaborate on documents in real time. And so when it comes to facilitating joint working, the intranet’s team forums offer a range of flexible options to make it easier.
7. Survey, Quizzes And Online Polls
The intranet’s surveys, quizzes and polls tool provides a quick and easy way to engage with staff and canvass their views on a range of issues. It sends a clear message that the input and views of staff are important to managers and the organization as a whole, and will have a positive impact on the levels of employee engagement. And so whether you want feedback from staff on the new company logo or gather views on a new color scheme for the office, the survey and quizzes feature is a fun and interactive tool that’s easy to implement on your intranet.
6. Embedded Google or MS Office Documents
Another popular tool on the intranet is the embedded Google or MS Office 365 app. Embedding your Excel spreadsheet or Google Slide directly in an appropriate intranet page, not only allows a number of users to contribute or edit content simultaneously in real time, it also allows you to provide important contextual information as well. And so, say for example, that you have an Excel spreadsheet embedded in the sales team pages on the intranet, not only will your sales personnel be able to input information at the same time, all relevant data is automatically updated in the source document. In addition, you can easily provide explanatory notes on how to complete the spreadsheet together with information on why it’s necessary in the intranet page. Embedding Google or Office 365 apps directly in your intranet will save your organization time and effort as well as increasing the opportunity for joint working.
5. Customized Online Forms
Automating business processes and doing away with paper and email-based systems is an excellent boon to efficiency and productivity. That’s what many businesses have discovered by using the intranet’s online forms. And so whether it’s to submit an expenses claim, book some holidays or to provide an onboarding checklist, the intranet’s customized online forms will automatically route the form directly to the relevant staff member for action and can provide an accountability trail as well.
4. Events Calendar
Keeping staff members up to date with corporate events and industry seminars and conferences as well as key dates and deadlines is easy with an events calendar. Employees know that in one central location is everything that they need to know. And for managers, it’s a much easier process to upload information to the intranet’s events calendar rather than notifying everyone in an all-staff email every time an event or deadline is added to the corporate diary.
3. Staff Directory
This is a great tool particularly for medium to large companies that have a number of employees across several departments. Typically an intranet staff directory also includes a photo and biographical information as well as projects currently being worked and areas of expertise for that particular staff member. It’s empowering for staff to be able to identify colleagues and internal subject matter experts for themselves. And it helps to give the workplace a more collegial and friendly feel as faces are quickly and easily matched with names, making it a simple but highly effective tool.
2. File And Document Management
Sharing files internally and externally is easy with your intranet, making it one of the most popular tools available. With unlimited folder and file storage, bulk upload and download and a familiar file explorer interface, the potential of your intranet as a document management system is unrivaled. And the intuitive management tools mean that file and folder permissions are easily set up so that sensitive company information is protected. What’s more, the intranet comes with an advanced search capability so that employees will be able to locate the exact information they’re after in just a couple of clicks.
1. News Blogs And Newsletters
And coming in at the number one spot is the intranet’s news blogs and newsletters. Accessed by all staff upon logging on to the intranet, this feature means that all employees are receiving the same, timely updates and news. So rather than using emails, team meetings or a cascading system of team briefings all staff are simultaneously kept up to date with what’s going on and what’s important. As an internal communication tool, the intranet is hard to beat and is especially useful in the context of remote workers or dispersed workforces across several locations. Add in the ability for staff to share and comment on news stories and you introduce an interactive element and allow for two-way conversations with employees. This in turn will have a positive impact on your rates of employee engagement.
Intranet Tools: The Total Solution
The real beauty about an intranet is that all these great features are available to you in one easy to setup and manage platform. Rather than multiple software and a variety of apps, it’s all there with one login. And it’s the comprehensive nature of the intranet offering that really sets it apart.