When it comes to communication systems — emails, intranets, posters, phone calls, video or web conferencing meetings, face-to-face meetings, social media, and more — there are a lot of costs to effectively communicate to employees.
Yet these costs are the expenses of “doing business.” Not communicating with employees and staff or complying with various regulations can cost more. Additionally, some organizations are missing the opportunity to lower costs, meet goals, or grow their business.
Not communicating costs
So what are the costs for not communicating? Inc. provides a hefty price tag; they indicate not communicating successfully costs $37 billion. Lack of communication or poor communication is also listed as a main cause of why necessary projects fail.
Some of the leading issues caused by poor communication are the following:
- Higher turnover
- Increased costs
- Missed goals, including revenue
- Lower quality
- Decreased productivity
Intranets are essential, part of any midsized or enterprise communication strategy. If your organization doesn’t have one, and employees are in different locations — including working from home — or from different departments you may be missing out. Your intranet could just be old and outdated, needing a refresh or starting from scratch, to make it easier to get needed information quickly and easily.
Not complying costs
Intranets aren’t just communication vehicles though; they’re repositories — part of an organizational strategy to apply for ISO certification, meet accreditation requirements, comply with regulations, and more. They reduce risk and reduce costs.
Inside intranets are …
- Standards and procedures that make employees safer and more efficient
- Policies and guidelines that protect staff and your organization
- Processes that are repeatable, driving down costs
- See key metrics needed to meet regulations
Just for cybersecurity, Security Intelligence indicates, “the average cost for organizations that fail to comply with data protection regulations is $14.82 million.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has costly fines for failing to meet safety standards. Watchdog groups such as state insurance agencies or the Joint Commission can also give fines or even shut down your business. Employees can sue, with steep lawsuits to settle disputes. Issues meeting ISO certification could cost you business — preventing you from selling in European areas. Issues with noncompliance can ruin reputations and brands, too.
Increase productivity and engagement
The value of an intranet goes beyond being penalized. Intranets are essential for organizations to achieve excellence. They enable organizations to meet goals, break down silos, improve employee engagement, and even — for health care organizations — save lives. Intranets can save long-term costs, too.
Modern intranets do the following:
- Provide kudos and apps that making recognition better and easier while increasing employee engagement
- Enable employees to communicate with each other using embedded social media (such as discussion forums) or connected social media (such as Yammer or Microsoft Teams)
- Connect to Outlook calendars so employees see appreciation events, meetings, and more
- Innovate by enabling employees to raise ideas and vote on them
- Measure, enabling staff to understand goals and status of those goals
- Let employees stop answering routine questions and start being more strategic as chatbots driven by artificial intelligence (AI) answer those for workers
- Let IT employees stop creating intranet web pages and move to more important work by enabling content authors to use non-HTML webpages
- Increase staff financial and business acumen
In fact, Jakob Nielson, intranet and internet user experience (UX) guru, notes that companies can save up to $4 million per year if they improve their intranet’s usability.
Costs compared to other communication methods
Other communication methods are more costly.
- Meetings. For large organizations, facilities have to be rented out. Even if facilities aren’t rented, people need to coordinate and organize them. Meeting King calculates if five leaders meet regularly, it could cost more than $200,000 per year. Cascading or waterfall communications can be just as pricey. Web conferencing — such as Cisco — can be inexpensive as well.
- Emails. Unless you use Outlook and don’t monitor email statistics, you could spend $1 per email per employee. For large organizations, that is price prohibitive. But as ElevatePoint points out, employees don’t read email so it’s an ineffective means of communication.
- Posters and other printed materials. Companies spend about $167 per person on direct advertising. That print material quickly goes out of date and is a burden on our environment.
Communication is more effective when multiple methods are used. It’s ineffective to use these methods alone. Instead communications should be used in concert — together to reinforce other communications. Meetings, emails, and images should all be stored on the intranet as well, further reinforcing communication messages and information.
Read more about intranet ROI from Ragan.
Transparent costs and services for refreshing or building an intranet
Transparency in communication is vital. It’s why ElevatePoint shows our costs online, on our internet, without forcing you to contact us. If you look at our costs, you can see, prices vary on size in bands.
But many intranet software companies don’t even list those costs, forcing people to contact them for information. If they list costs, many intranet software companies list a price per employee. By providing that price, they ask you to regularly audit your employee size, including coordinating with your HR. It’s difficult because employee numbers can be deceptive. Many organizations, such as healthcare companies, have large groups of staff and provider partners that may need to use the intranet intermittently. Counting them as a user can be expensive.
At ElevatePoint, we do more than just provide an intranet, we also provide services to assist you — from intranet strategy and assessments to content creation and migration to governance. We even help assist with change management, involving your teams in the intranet to drive up adoption and make it more useful! In other words, we make your intranet project more successful and are a partner, a resource, for you. Many other intranet software companies don’t provide any services. Once they give you an intranet, they’re done.
Summary – intranets aren’t optional
When communicating with employees, organizations have to use every tool available to get employees not just to understand information, but to act on it. Acting on it — including changing behavior — is many times the goal of communication.
Intranets do more than just communicate, they manage risk. It’s why information managers, quality managers, and IT personnel are often part of the committee to select an intranet.
Updating your intranet isn’t as costly as other ways of communicating and it’s more effective because it can store other communication methods. It’s the perfect vehicle to communication and store important content such as policies, procedures, and processes necessary to comply with regulations and compete.
And the time is now. Economists are predicting a downturn in the economy soon. By getting your intranet project off the ground, you’re protecting your organization by ensuring good communication and compliance can continue. You’re also saving long-term costs by increasing employee engagement and productivity.