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10 Tips for Setting Up an Effective Intranet Site

So, you’re redesigning your intranet site—what should you keep in mind? Check out our 10 tips to help you set up an effective intranet site!
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7 min
19 Jun, 2020
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Have you ever dreamt of having everything your office needs all located on one platform? A well-designed intranet site can make that dream come true! By definition, an intranet site is an internal digital platform that supports processes and information sharing from a space that can only be accessed by a specific group of people (usually employees who work for the same company). It is considered to be a collaborative platform when all of the organization’s applications, portals and tools can be accessed from a single interactive interface.

Let’s try to separate the essential features from the more specialized ones so that you can create an efficient digital work environment.

1. Your intranet site should help achieve the 5 below goals

  • Increase the productivity of your teams
  • Facilitate communicating and circulating information
  • Allow for knowledge management
  • Meet the needs of all the positions within your company
  • Carry out back office management tasks (business support, oversight and administration activities)

In short, your intranet site should simplify the lives of your employees and provide many benefits!

2. Your intranet site should make your employees’ daily tasks easier

Your employees can use the intranet site to access a set of specific applications based on their position and access rights. For example, your intranet may contain the CRM tool for your marketing team, HR functions, payroll, invoices, IT support and projects. A centralized SSO (Single Sign-On) authentication system means employees only have to enter their credentials once instead of re-entering them each time they switch to a new tool.

However, your intranet will require some oversight in order to make your employees’ daily tasks easier. Have you thought about setting up a committee to make sure that the intranet is headed in the right direction? That way, you’ll make sure that your intranet site adheres to your company’s standards and strategic orientations.

Check out our article on the importance of data governance.

3. Your intranet site should link all your tools together in a unified manner

Linking your company’s current tools to your intranet site is a major priority. Tools may include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, accounting tools, an e-commerce platform and team communication tools. For example, you can also add a link to a calendar or schedule that everyone needs to access, an organizational chart, a directory search function or a competency framework.

Linking your tools to an intranet site creates an IT ecosystem which you can use to better manage announcements and speed up information sharing within your organization. By providing links to your current tools, you’ll make it easier for employees to accept the new intranet site, and in doing so, you’ll also win points with employees who tend to be apprehensive about change. And that’s no small feat!

Would you like to see a list of features? Click here!

4. Your intranet site should provide a central storage area for easy access to company information

Your intranet site can be used to store information and share it on a single platform in a seamless, organized way. For example, all employees will be able to access important forms and information they need to carry out their daily tasks. You can also say goodbye to obsolete contentdocuments stored on an intranet site are easy to download, access and use due to their central location.

Any one of the documents, pieces of information or images can be updated throughout the entire system. Ideally, an intranet site can also provide advanced features, such as version management, document annotation and file evaluation. All of these functions will make sure your site stays relevant and useful to your teams!

Here are a few great communication tools courtesy of Les Affaires.

5. Your intranet site should reflect the branding of your company

Did you know that an intranet site can promote your company’s brand image? In fact, your platform should be customized to reflect your brand. The platform provides a space where you can teach your employees about the company’s mission, vision, objectives and values. An intranet site can also bring employees together through daily collaboration. Employees can create their own profiles listing their skills, projects and schedule. They can use the intranet to find colleagues that require assistance or colleagues with whom they can have discussions, exchange ideas, collaborate around shared challenges and build new relationships.

In addition, it provides an excellent means to facilitate the arrival of new employees (onboarding). An intranet site makes it easier to learn procedures, internal processes and methodologies, as well as how to use tools, multiple reference systems, etc. All of this helps new employees ease into their roles.

Find out more about how we developed an intranet site for SÉPAQ that reflects the character of the organization and its approximately 3,000 employees.

6. Your intranet site should provide an accessible, simple user experience

Your employees will be the ones using your intranet site everyday—that’s why it’s essential to involve them in developing and improving the solution. The site should have user interfaces that are easy to navigate, as well as being enjoyable and practical for everyday use. Have you thought about using drop-down menus, buttons or page sections? Your teams shouldn’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to use the platform.

In fact, it’s a good idea to ask employees about their needs and any problems they may encounter. At the same time, try to find out what potential improvements are hoped for by the various departments in your organization. It’s important to survey your employees throughout the interface design phases of your intranet. That way, you can be sure they support and approve of your functional and ergonomic choices. By involving your employees, you are better able to target their needs and make adjustments as required.

So how do you make sure that your intranet fits the needs of your employees? Check out this article from Forbes.

7. Your intranet site should have a logical content structure that is easy to navigate

For an optimal user experience, information should be structured hierarchically or based on groups, roles, etc. This is important because obtaining information and communicating seamlessly are always the number one priorities of employees using a collaborative platform. To meet these needs, you can use different tools to structure your content, including templates, categories, editorial groups or whatever else you can think of!

In addition, the intranet site should allow users to subscribe to certain topics of information. It may also contain a news feed, similarly to social networks, where users can join groups. However, when it comes to organizing content, the truly essential feature of an intranet site is its search engine. The search engine can be used at any time to bring up resources, such as pages, articles, images, videos, files and more. The quantity and uniformity of the content is very important when it comes to selecting the right search solution.

Check out the benefits of collaborative platforms when managing a crisis.

8. Your intranet site should have a customizable user interface

Having a customizable intranet site is key to your employees creating a digital workspace that suits their needs. The user profile (needs and role) should be customizable, as well as the visible content, features and the interface itself. As a result, your employees will have access to a home page, shortcuts and content that is structured in a way that truly meets their needs.

Customizing the dashboard of an intranet site allows users to access specific content. Another advantage is that large companies can use geolocation to target specific employees with certain information based on their linguistic and regional preferences. Is your company currently growing? An intranet site can be an essential tool for increasing the cohesiveness of your teams during a growth phase.

Take a look at our latest newsletter for tips on how to prevent your company’s intranet from becoming a junk drawer!

9. Your intranet site should also be available as a mobile app

Keep in mind that your intranet site is meant to push your business into the digital age. A mobile application would give your teams access to instant features. For example, employees can remain connected at all times to complete their tasks or take part in conversations. You would also be able to send them notifications with the latest critical information.

The mobile app should provide full access to the company intranet from your employees’ cell phones or tablets by means of a responsive, user-friendly interface.

6 Rules for Taking Your Intranet Mobile

10. Your intranet site should be fun

Your platform doesn’t have to be strictly professional. What about including classified ads, forums, a local directory or a poll maker? That way, the intranet site could help bring employees together through employee recognition, activities outside of the office and strengthened relationships between colleagues. If you wish, your platform can include features similar to those of social networks, including comments, likes and tags.

Gamification can also be an interesting way to increase your teams’ engagement. Points and badges can be awarded for specific achievements, such as sharing knowledge or contributing to the company’s intranet. Another fun way to reward good initiatives is to assign rankings to reflect individual or team performance. The informal aspect of an intranet site is important because it means that everyone can take ownership of the tool and take part in creating content.

Why not use gamification to drive the adoption of your new intranet? Here are some tips!

In short, an intranet site is a truly interactive tool that can improve collaboration, increase efficiency and prevent the loss of information. Do you want to set up an intranet site for your company or are you looking to improve your current platform? Contact us.

We’re here to make your life easier.

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