The Most Essential Intranet Features for 2023

Intranets are constantly evolving to keep up with the needs of a modern organisation. If you’re responsible for intranet updates, or you’re building a new one, there are some things to keep in mind. Organisations will have different requirements for their intranet; it may need to serve unique and specific purposes. However, this doesn’t mean that you can skip the basics. Here we discuss the most essential intranet features for 2023.

Does my organisation need an intranet?

First things first. If your organisation exists in the digital space at all, then you could benefit from an intranet. This is regardless of whether your team lives completely online, or you’re primarily a frontline business with face-to-face customer interactions. Granted, the employees of these two different industries will have very different needs of their intranets. But there are a few essential intranet features that will serve your teams and help them get their work done.

What is the purpose of an intranet?

An intranet is your team’s digital desktop, designed for your organisation. Your employees use it to create content, communicate with one another, collaborate on tasks, and experience company culture. It’s your company’s home base, the place where everything is found for your teams to do their jobs. 

But that doesn’t mean you can get away with your intranet being a landing page with just a few links. For organisations that are fully or partly remote, the intranet is basically a digital office. Not only does it need to be easy to use, it should also evoke a sense of what your organisation is like. That includes things like brand colours, a calendar of company events, a visible display of your values, etc. You should be actively updating to keep things relevant and engaging for long-time employees.

So, what are some essential intranet features?

The home of policies, official documents, and forms

All the bells and whistles in the world won’t stop a poorly designed or populated intranet from letting the team down. If you’re building your intranet from scratch, or migrating across to a new platform, consider establishing a priority list. You might want to get some key players from your teams in the room to help you create this. They’ll have an in-depth understanding of what their respective departments need access to. 

For example, what are the most important forms your HR department needs? How do employees access timesheets in a hurry? How does your Legal team check on a particular policy or procedure? Having team members involved in the planning room will helpyou identify obstacles and challenges in the current setup. How much time do they waste hunting down forms or documents? Is navigation overly complicated or misleading? And how do they know for certain if the form they find is the most updated version?

We recommend creating a dedicated place where employees can find the most recent versions of all company forms, policies and official documents. Not only does this save them time, but they’ll be able to act confidently knowing they’re finding the right forms. This comes with a need for content governance; people taking ownership and responsibility for keeping these documents and forms updated. 

You could also include a branding folder where important brand and style assets are kept and maintained. This usually includes guidelines on how to write and present content and pitch decks, style guides with language and tone rules, and digital assets like logos, photos, and colour schemes. 

Though it may not be the most glamorous section of your intranet, it can be a lifesaver down the line. It ensures employees have access to the latest information about how to perform their roles and interact with your clients. Additionally, it reduces the risk to your organisation and raises the bar for compliance across the entire team.

A view from above of a laptop on a man's lap. On the screen is a library of folders and documents, one of the essential intranet features

A recognisable name and location

What’s the point of an intranet if nobody a) knows where to find it or b) knows what it’s called? That’s why it’s recommended to brand your platform with a catchy name that fits the tone of your company. Not only does this create a shared lexicon amongst your employees, it also establishes a digital ‘meeting spot’. Naming your intranet gives it an identity, and that sense of familiarity can improve how the rollout progresses.  

It doesn’t have to be something flashy; you’re not naming the latest wine bar or luxury car. But even something as recognisable as ‘The Hub’, or ‘Home Base’ invites more engagement than simply ‘the intranet’.

Strategy, values, and goals

Have you ever started at a new job and been left wondering what the overall mission is? Or been working at a company so long that you’ve forgotten how your values aligned? The intranet is the perfect place to broadcast your organisation’s big and small goals and how you want to achieve them. There’s no need to get bogged down in the details here; each department will likely have their own goals and strategies that tie into the overarching mission. But it’s helpful for people to view these goals and remind themselves of what your organisation is trying to achieve. This could also help them generate new ideas about how those goals can be met. 

The same goes for values; what does your organisation stand for? And what standard to you hold each of your employees to? When a company shows and implements their values into every layer of how they interact with each other and clients, it creates a cohesive team who share a singular vision. Having values proudly displayed on your intranet means two things. One, you’re proud of what your company stands for and what you require of anyone who comes aboard. Two, you have a yard stick against which to measure how your employees behave and engage at work.

A noticeboard for events and achievements

No need to tap out an email blast; post big wins and exciting calendar dates on a digital noticeboard. Having this on the intranet homepage makes it one of the first things your employees see when they log in. Broadcasting individual, team, or organisation success stories greatly contributes to the culture. It demonstrates a commitment to celebrating wins in all forms, recognising hard work or representation of the values. It increases interactions between different departments and encourages people to reach out to say congratulations. 

The same goes for those big events where staff might appreciate a reminder. Is the annual gala or Christmas party coming up? Will the IT team be away for a training session next week? When is the marketing department launching next season’s big campaign? Having a visible calendar ensures nobody misses the memo, and they know where to go to find out more.

A safe place for new starters

For new starters, regardless of whether it’s in-person or remote, having a dedicated meeting spot helps ease nerves and stress. At a physical office, that could be pointing out the manager’s office, or where to meet for their welcome lunch. But in a remote or hybrid workplace, this meeting spot should be an easy to access intranet home page. Leading off this home page could be a link to a new starter kit, tutorial, or instruction manual. This page is dedicated to orientation and stocked with all the links they need to get going. Having this specific page on your intranet makes onboarding simpler for the new starter and the person training them.

Plan to evolve with your company’s intranet

Digital world mirrors the business world in the sense that nothing stays the same for too long. As your organisation evolves, so too must your intranet capabilities and what functions it provides. As long as your intranet has been built with sound foundations, making alterations and introducing new features down the line should be straightforward. 

When it comes time to build your intranet, or to implement essential intranet features consult with the IT experts. Propelle specialises in building and customising intranets for organisations of all sizes. We understand your goals and specifications to ensure your new intranet platform fits like a glove. Our consultants are here to help – get in touch with us today.