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Could your company intranet be working harder for you?

12 Jun 2019 By Joanne Skilton

Joanne Skilton explains how technology can provide extra support for line managers and HR

As HR executives and line managers, we are under increasing pressure to create a work environment that attracts, retains and optimises talent. In order to meet these demands, many are turning to their company intranet to shape culture and enhance the employee experience and employee engagement.

Supporting new demands on HR

If managing people wasn’t challenging enough, in recent years demands on line managers and HR professionals have become ever more onerous. On-top of traditional tasks like recruitment, retention, and L&D, we’re now trusted with more abstract responsibilities like driving employee experience and fortifying culture.

In order to meet these new challenges, the humble company intranet is being looked to as a potentially integral tool. Gone are the days when an intranet was simply a collection of static information pages. Today, businesses are using intranets to solve a plethora of business problems, from managing culture and change to centralising knowledge and fuelling productivity.

For line managers and HR, a modern intranet can be a powerful tool for managing a workforce. A recent CMS Wire report found that 20 per cent of all intranet projects are now being led by HR. With this in mind, here are some of the ways intranets are being used to support HR processes and meet new and existing challenges.

Streamlining administration processes

For line managers and HR, simply having an intranet with a department site where employees can go to find answers to common questions like, ‘How do I request holiday?’ or ‘What is the company’s pension policy?’ can save a substantial amount of time dealing with repeat questions. One of the benefits of implementing a modern intranet solution is that it cultivates a self-serve culture where employees can access answers to common questions, policies, training and resources without having to go through a chain of people or systems, with ease.

L&D

Providing opportunities for learning and development is a big part of cultivating an engaged and productive workforce, and a modern intranet can be a great friend when it comes to elevating your company’s career development opportunities. With video becoming an increasingly preferred format for training, modern intranets capitalise on this by providing a home for webinar content among other training materials. Specific L&D sites can be set up so that employees are able to access all information and resources in one defined place, so that no one misses out on an opportunity to grow and progress.

Onboarding

Onboarding new starters can be extremely time consuming. Of course, there’s the paperwork, but more important is the need to ensure new employees are accustomed to their role and aligned with company culture. A modern intranet can assist with this challenge by providing a digital home for all the content and resources a new starter could need to ensure a smooth introduction to the company. Training videos, important policies, the latest company news, as well as social features that let them connect with colleagues from around the business, can all be used to enhance the initial experience for new employees. Furthermore, the experience can be far more personalised so a new starter is guided into the business. With specifically tagged content.

Culture, experience and retention

Employee experience and company culture are high-profile buzzwords for good reason. Extensive research shows us that businesses with strong cultures, where employees are motivated and satisfied, have better business outcomes. The key to building a strong culture is good communication, which is why so many companies are investing in robust intranet solutions. Varied communications channels can be leveraged to raise awareness of new initiatives, drive engagement with corporate communications and highlight employee benefits.

According to Hubspot, poor communication of company benefits is costing UK companies £2.7 billion every year through increased staff turnover and sickness absence, so providing employees with a centralised place where they can acquaint themselves with all the benefits available to them could be one way of ensuring a return on investment. 

A look to the future

Intranet technology is always evolving to meet new demands and we are currently seeing more intranets being built on Digital Experience Clouds or Platforms. This latest innovation comes in response to growing demands for workplace digital experiences to match those employees are used to at home. With millennials taking up more and more of the workforce, the pressure to deliver customer-grade digital experiences in the workplace will increase and it appears that the DXC stands to answer this calling. And as we strive to continuously improve the employee experience and get the best out of our workforce, it is innovations like these that will allow the humble intranet to continue to support changing business needs.

Joanne Skilton is chief commercial officer at Unily

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