What is an Intranet?
An intranet functions as a company’s private communication network. It’s a private website for employees with company news, information, documents, and business process tools that are critical for completing work. The intranet can be cloud-based, hosted on-site, or on off-site servers.
The first intranets came into use during the 1990s. At that time, companies realized they could adopt the same type of technology from the newly created World Wide Web and apply it for their own use to improve internal communication collaboration.
Companies were still relying on paper records at that time. If they were using electronic files, they were challenging for employees to use. A company intranet made it much easier for employees to locate the information they needed. Files could be found through rudimentary search engines for the first time. Some companies added resources like IT support tickets.
Over time, however, intranets did not keep up with developing technology. They were challenging to build and maintain. Many of them were thought of as online filing cabinets for documents as opposed to a valuable tool for internal communications and employee engagement. Technology has now caught up, and a modern intranet offers many valuable benefits to digital workplaces of all sizes.
What are the Benefits of an Intranet?
An intranet offers multiple advantages to a company. Some examples are listed below.
1. Boosts Employee Productivity
The intranet software suite of knowledge sharing and collaboration tools makes it easier and more convenient for employees to accomplish tasks. There is less time wasted looking for “how” to get things done and more time spent productively.
2. Creates a Transparent Company Culture
It is more important than ever that employees feel comfortable at work. When they can share their ideas and opinions, they have better, more positive relationships with their co-workers and managers. Employees then contribute more and have longer tenures.
3. Streamlines Employee Onboarding
New employee forms and onboarding material can be presented to the new team member in a neat package through the company intranet. Digital documents can be forwarded automatically to Human Resources when completed.
4. Connects the Company Across Multiple Locations
The company intranet is the central hub for the business. It connects employees working in the home office, as well as those who work from satellite offices, their own homes, and from the road. No matter where the employees are based, the intranet keeps them connected to the company and each other.
5. Helps Employees Find Information Quickly
A global search feature makes finding information using the intranet a quick and easy process. Employees can use the intranet platform to search through intranet content and other platforms such as Office 365 applications or Google Workspace documents. This eliminates the need to open multiple tabs or open several apps to search for something, and allows the intranet to be a central tool for information.
What are the Business Use Cases of an Intranet?
An intranet has several business use cases. The following are some common examples:
1. Job Board
Let employees know about openings within the company by posting them on a dedicated job board or through the employee social advocacy feature. Encourage current employees to share this information with their friends, family members, and personal social networks to get positions filled quickly.
2. Employee Recognition Center
It’s important to celebrate and congratulate employee milestones, the company social intranet is an ideal way to do so. Employees who go above and beyond can be recognized for their efforts.
3. Video Center
Provide employees with access to all the company videos in one convenient location. They can search for the training materials, marketing tools, onboarding resources, and more. The intranet will give employees access to internally hosted video material and have links to external video content.
4. Communities of Practice
Create a specialized community around a specific area of interest. Allow expert employees to share their knowledge by writing content, providing analysis and sharing their work.
5. Town Hall
A town hall gives employees a central location to hear company news and updates. Workers can ask questions or provide feedback through real-time chat.
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Examples of Intranets
The following are examples of intranets.
1. Randstad France: HR Services
Randstad is an international leader in the HR services industry. The company has 38 locations and employs more than 38,000 people. In 2016, Randstad worked with LumApps to build an intranet to connect 4,800 employees. Content is completely personalized to each employee, based on their business group. Employees have a their own dashboard they can personalize with calendar, news, weather forecast, and RSS feed widgets.
2. Imerys: Mineral-based Specialty Solutions
Imerys is a leading company in the mining industry. It employs more than 16,000 people at 250 locations. The company’s business interests include quarries, mines, processing plants, offices, and technology centers. Imerys and LumApps worked together to create an intranet that would connect employees worldwide. The intranet platform is fully integrated with Google Workspace and includes access to company content, news, business communities, and social discussions.
3. Schnuck Markets: Supermarket Chain
Schnuck Markets is a supermarket chain based in St. Louis, Missouri. The family-owned business has more than 14,000 employees in 113 locations across the US. Schnuck and LumApps worked together to develop an intranet that integrated Google technology. It included a centralized homepage, store pages, an executive corner, spotlight stories, and more. As a retail chain, mobile access was crucial. The intranet can be accessed through mobile devices by store employees.