Employee Intranet CMS: 15 Tips for Choosing the Best Intranet

Corporate intranets are nothing new. Though, if you are unfamiliar, an intranet is simply a business’s internal website that is only available to current employees and can’t be accessed publicly. They are meant to share data and information with employees and have been around since computer networking, in general, became commonplace.

The dynamics of the employment landscape are evolving rapidly as millennials and Gen Zers flood into the workforce with new expectations. This results in more demands for company intranets and fundamental changes in functionality requirements. Before delving into what makes a modern intranet useful, let’s look at the broader picture about CMS intranet:

What is a CMS Intranet?

CMS stands for content management system. A CMS integrates with an intranet to make it easier to manage digital content. It provides the tools that determine the way an intranet’s information is formatted, indexed, searched, retrieved and published. Without a CMS, an intranet may need different custom tools to do any of those functions.

Is an Intranet a CMS?

Not necessarily. Although typically linked, there are intranets that do not employ a CMS. These intranets are usually run by a dedicated team of IT professionals who develop the necessary tools and oversee updating all of the network’s information. In this case, everyday users wouldn’t be able to edit content unless they are trained and authorized. This makes a CMS-enabled intranet more adaptable and agile in an increasingly evolving business world.

What is the best CMS intranet?

Employees value collaboration and communication. According to MGI’s research, both are so valuable that businesses using social technologies for their employees see a 20-25% increase in productivity. How can you leverage these solutions to create a more engaged workforce? One way is to ensure your company intranet is providing employees with the right tools to connect. If your intranet is outdated and you’re looking to upgrade, or if you’re a business that is developing an intranet for the first time, it can be difficult to choose the right solution for your company. To help you make that choice, we have this handy list of attributes a good intranet should have.

Discover the 15 attributes a great CMS intranet will have:

1. An intuitive user interface

The user interface should be simple and streamlined. It shouldn’t take two weeks of intense training to get up to speed on the important functions. The average user should be able to sit down and intuitively understand how to use basic functions such as searching, editing, and posting. Visual aids and a clean, modern layout that mimics those seen in other common software will go a long way when training users on how to use the tools.

2. Security

With hackers attacking every 39 seconds, your intranet must be secure. It isn’t just a concern for major corporations either – 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report states that 43% of breaches happen to small businesses. You need to protect both your customers’ and employees’ data. This is something that should be vetted extensively by the company’s IT department. Remember that the average user will assume that the data is secure. Ensure you don’t break that trust.

3. Easy installation

You shouldn’t need the entire IT department to help with installation. Good intranets are simple to set up for the average user. In fact, many of today’s intranets are web-based and don’t require a formal installation. Users simply navigate to the intranet’s address and log in.

4. Device compatibility

In today’s technologically advanced world, employees aren’t tethered to their PCs anymore. An intranet should be accessible across many different devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops. Another tip? Don’t tie yourself to a single operating system either. You can’t expect a worker to use a specific manufacturer’s phone unless the company itself is supplying it. The intranet needs to be accessible by Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android at the very least.

intranet deployment

5. Social engagement features

The best intranets will have tools built in to foster connection, sharing, and collaboration. A community hub where users can share, comment, and like business-related content is also important. Millennials and Gen Zers are especially accustomed to the functions and layouts of popular social media websites. Integrating similar front-end functionality into your intranet should result in higher engagement levels with these employees.

6. Advanced search functions

The content directories of an intranet need to be well organized and searchable. This saves your employees’ time when they’re requesting specific data. Train users to not only publish new information but also to hide previous data that has become outdated. This eliminates clutter and decreases the potential for confusion. In addition, use tags to make searches more accurate and encompassing.

7. Integration with other popular applications 

Commonly used enterprise software such as applications for G Suite or Office 365 should seamlessly integrate into the intranet’s dashboard. A good intranet should be a hub where nearly all pertinent information can be found. Employee calendars, an invitation system, company policies, meeting minutes, and more should all be easily accessible.

intranet integration with work applications

8. Regular updates

As the needs of your employees change over time, your intranet will have to keep up. Bugs need to be fixed promptly. Security updates need to happen consistently to stay one step ahead of hackers. Additionally, as new social media outlets become popular, the social tools applicable to connecting employees should be added. If an intranet is not updated regularly, it runs the risk of becoming stagnant, disengaging, and unsafe.

9. Analytics integration

Data received through your intranet should be easy to analyze through industry-standard platforms such as Google Analytics. With such an integration, if your business distributes a company-wide survey, the results can be instantly tabulated then run through analysis software to glean important insights. You won’t have to do the significant legwork yourself or have employees wasting effort transferring data from one software to the next.

10. Advanced scheduling options

Your solution should be able to schedule the publications of various forms of content. This includes text posts along with rich media content such as images and videos. This way, you’ll never forget to update the company’s internal database after a major policy is introduced. You can also schedule the update to coincide with the introduction of the policy. If there is a lag, employees could be confused if they try to look for policy documents within the intranet.

11. Recognition options

A Gallup survey concluded that employees who don’t receive recognition are twice as likely to leave the company in a given year. Furthermore, 65% of workers haven’t received recognition in the past year. Do the math and you’ll see that this is a lot of unhappy, under-appreciated employees. A superior intranet will allow simple but powerful gestures of recognition from management and peers. Even if it’s just an option to say “Thanks,” or “Good job,” your employees will appreciate the recognition and be more productive in their work.

12. Content-enabled

Users need to post more than text. Video content, links, document sharing, and images are all useful in communicating information and should all be shareable. Additionally, Global Workplace Analytics found that remote work has increased by 44% in the past five years, therefore finding a solution that integrates streaming video can be beneficial for remote employees. That way they can be present in meetings and participate in face-to-face communication with co-workers. This increases a remote employee’s engagement with the company and makes them feel more like part of the team.

Analytics integration

13. Survey integration

Surveys are a fantastic way to get real-time feedback on policies and other situations. Instead of waiting for pre-scheduled meetings, management can make adjustments on the fly. This makes for a much more flexible company that takes the feelings of its employees into consideration. Furthermore, employees can get feedback and frustrations out before they have time to fester into major roadblocks. It opens the lines of communication and can be done anonymously without pressure.

14. Easily branded

Your intranet should reflect your brand in design and workflow. Don’t settle for bland, cookie-cutter solutions. Your company’s colors, logos, imagery, and general aesthetic should all be integrated into the intranet. Otherwise, it may feel sterile and lifeless. This is a tool your workers will be using every day for communication, connection, and information – you want it to feel fresh and exciting. Employees shouldn’t dread logging in every day. Remember, it’s a digital representation of your company’s values and needs to be treated as such.

15. Personalized activity feeds

Employees should have personalized activity feeds that show information pertinent to them. For instance, if an employee is involved in a project, they should receive updates when others work on it or make changes. However, make sure that you avoid information overload. To mitigate that problem, your intranet should have sufficient targeting and segmentation capabilities. This reduces the data load on each of your employees to ensure they see only what’s needed. This means less overall stress and higher productivity for workers.

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Author

Amanda Szymanski
Communication Manager

Published on

February 27, 2020

Tags

Intranet

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