Turning Your Intranet into a Digital Workplace

One of the biggest concerns we hear from organisations ahead of rolling out their intranet is, ‘How do we make sure people use it?’ 

It’s a fair question. The purpose of your intranet is most likely layered, a combination of noticeboard, document library, and communication centre. With intranets, it’s not as easy as ‘build it and they will come’; there must be an incentive for employees to make it their home page. 

As the target audience of the intranet, discovering what motivates your employees to log on should be part of the initial planning. What Propelle has found is that team members are more likely to use an intranet if it directly links to the tools and documents they need to do their jobs. That means that if you want your employees to make the intranet their first port of call on a workday, it must be a functioning base of operations where everything they need lives. That’s why when we build intranets for our clients, we describe them as a digital workplace. 

So how can you turn your intranet into a digital workplace that will not only entice employees to engage with your organisation, but will serve a practical purpose? That’s where we come in.

A quick definition of ‘intranet’

An intranet is an organisation’s internal communication platform. It is an invite-only platform that is designed for employees of that organisation. It’s here that employees interact, create and share documents and policies, post important updates, and collaborate. 

A basic intranet offers one-way interactions and exists to engage and inform employees with news and updates, tutorials, and important dates and events. Common feedback from employees is, ‘Why is it important for me to start my day here?’ In response to this question, we knew that the humble intranet had to serve a much larger purpose. It must provide instant and easy access to the programs and apps your staff need to achieve their tasks. There are a few ways to do that.

Fitting out the digital workplace

The best thing about modern intranets is that most platforms offer a range of customisation options. That means that your intranet can be built to prioritise the placement of frequently used tools or highlight important libraries.

Recent documents

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes for a minute. Imagine you’ve come to the end of your work day and you close the documents, slide decks, or templates you’ve been working on. The following morning, you open the intranet and find all these documents waiting for you on the home page. That’s a reality for many organisations that have designed a digital workplace with user experience in mind. A ‘recent documents’ panel is placed alongside company notices and events so that employees can browse the news as they open their projects for the day. 

This recent documents panel is useful for managers as well, as you can set it to show what your team has opened or worked on. This is helpful for projects as you can check what stage your team members are up to. Additionally, seeing whether specific files or policies have been opened can indicate when your involvement or approval may be needed. For example, you may see the title of a recently opened document now reads ‘READY FOR APPROVAL’, and it’s your turn to jump in.

Useful widgets

There are several useful widgets that will ensure your team members make a beeline for the digital workplace. For example, is your organisation working towards a monetary goal or you want to track overall sales? A widget will let you to display this figure on the home page which can update in real-time. Would team members benefit from a display of new clients, or the progress of your latest campaign rollout? Having these widgets on the home page means everyone – from the new starter to the CEO – can be instantly up to date on the status of collective goals. It’s the ability to balance valuable information alongside messaging you want or need to push to employees that makes the intranet such a valuable digital workplace platform.

Ability to personalise

No two users are the same, so how can their digital workplace be personalised to them? Aside from convenient access to their recent documents, there are other ways to make each employee’s intranet unique. One such way is to install a panel that has relevant and important employee information. At a glance they could view how much leave they have accrued, a link to their latest payslip, an update on whether a leave request has been approved.

From intranet to a digital workplace

When intranets are transformed into a cohesive digital workplace, your employees will happily engage with your content. At Propelle, our consultants work with clients from small and large organisations to design digital workplaces that serve the needs of the entire workforce. Our goal is to create more efficient and productive spaces by ensuring your teams have access to the tools they need to achieve their tasks. Let’s get the conversation started!