It’s 2020. (IKR?!) Happy 2020! It’s another year and another time to look at intranet trends. Intranets in just one year have come a long way as they continue to solidify new features and meet the shifting challenges of the modern workforce. Here are some features and goals your intranet should meet for 2020.
1. Go mobile (again)
Having a mobile-friendly intranet improves communication and productivity. This should be a no brainer, but some intranets are still, even in 2020, are not mobile responsive.
Mobile-friendly intranets aren’t just nice to have, they’re critical to your organizational success.
Why is mobile so vital? Workers want to work and be productive anytime and anywhere. But it’s more than that — remote workers (such as consultants, lawyers, salespeople, medical professionals, construction workers, and more) need to access people, processes, procedures, and policies at any time. In addition, they want to be able to use key systems.
Moreover, employees want to use their own devices — Apple or Android and smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop — when reviewing information. That’s still true from last year, but many employees don’t want a brand new system, such as an intranet app. They don’t want to learn a new way to get around; they want to be trained once … if they want to be trained at all.
2. Power communications, integrating it
The main reason why organizations have intranets is to improve communications. How can intranets improve them?
Make information relevant
The Holy Grail for internal communications professionals — provide relevant information to employees and workers. It’s easy to do that these days. Even today, how many emails are you sending to everyone, instead of targeting who the information applies to?
If you expect them from email, why not expect from intranets that have more functionality? Intranets these days can handle serving content to:
- Roles, such as titles and responsibilities
- Departments and business divisions, even if those divisions cross city and state boundaries
If you can dream of a situation of providing information just to specific people, no doubt there’s a way to do it.
How many times have you run into this issue: which communication vehicle should we use?
Having communication integration makes it easier to communicate and connect with employees, especially if it’s carrying the same message. Microsoft Teams is gathering steam. What is Teams? It’s a real-time communication channel, like Slack, that has channels to enable people in the same team, department, project, or interest to communicate quickly and easily.
Some intranets don’t connect with anything other than themselves. But ElevatePoint provides connections from Teams to the intranet. Our intranets also connect your RSS feeds and other communication vehicles into your intranet. It means you’re connecting more of your system of communication. It also means, you’re saving your internal communications team time and money from maintaining so many unique, disparate systems.
Improved search, including intelligent search
One of the biggest challenges for any intranet is getting to the right information at the right time, when needed. These days, intranet companies — such as ElevatePoint — work to design content and navigation with stakeholders. Some companies and intranets also pin results.
A few intranets, such as ElevatePoint’s, have chatbots driven by artificial intelligence (AI). These chatbots are one more way to find information faster and easier. They use natural language and connect to multiple communication vehicles as well. That means, instead of finding the perfect words to search by, you can use your own words (which improves over time) to get needed information. For example, instead of knowing which dental benefits plan your company uses, an employee can search saying, “I think I need a crown” and get critical dental benefits info as well as phone numbers and links to schedule a dental appointment. This reduces costs associated with having an HR hotline while enabling HR employees to be more strategic.
The same search can help with IT procedures, such as password resets. This intelligent search can also provide additional guidance for training, compliance to policies, and more.
Learn more about how AI helps search.
Intranets shouldn’t be just a one-way communication vehicle. In this day and age, intranets should be a thriving place where employees can share ideas, exchange information, ask questions, get answers, and more. In fact, the most successful intranets enable managers — for example — to get new ideas to help them better manager and lead their teams.
Two-way communication isn’t a wave of the future — it’s possible now. And when it’s connected to your intranet, your employees need less training about which tool to access.
3. Improve employee engagement using an intranet
This year, we wanted to highlight how important employee engagement is. The labor market continues to be strong and about 51% of all employees are considering other positions. Yet, only 25% of organizations have an employee engagement strategy. And many intranets don’t take employee engagement into consideration.
That’s a mistake.
Great intranets provide kudos to employees, spotlight staff using news as well as portals, and give clear instructions — including integrations — to reward employees. Intranets should be part of a robust employee engagement strategy. Managers, who impact engagement, should even have a place to get ideas and information about employee engagement.
4. Improve productivity
Use intranets that provide innovation and productivity tools, such as enabling employees to vote on ideas (saving money, increasing innovation, etc.). ElevatePoint, for example, has an intranet with an idea center that already has been saving companies money. Ochsner Health System has been using it to save money on healthcare costs while improving patient care.
5. Make it easy-to-use
User experience (UX) is what intranets should be all about. In fact, UX should be the mantra of every intranet. That feature is critical to your organization’s success. In fact, it’s why — earlier — we recommended against a new system for social or an app.
2020 intranet trends
2020 is promising more of the same for intranets. They should be getting easier to use, connect more of their communications, make employees more productive and increase their engagement. They should also provide more features around making the intranet easy, such as chatbots and AI.