5 Key Intranet Challenges Companies Face—and How to Solve Them

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Companies have traditionally considered intranet sites to be functional and isolated workhorses, suited primarily to logistical tasks. An intranet might do little more than provide access to the company directory, connect personnel to their paystubs, and act as a repository for the employee handbook and benefits information. This view is far too narrow.

One of the central flaws we encounter at Perfect Sense is that intranet sites are seen as distinct from a “regular” website. That is a costly mistake. Treating the intranet experience as something totally different than public sites often results in a bare-bones intranet that’s difficult to use, rarely updated and not engaging. This indicates to employees that leadership does not see them as an important constituency.

To remedy this, the best practices that drive engagement on public-facing websites should also apply to your intranet. Employers should communicate with their employees using tools such as personalized content, syndication and distribution that they already know work well on non-intranet sites.

We built Brightspot to serve multiple audiences on a single platform because of the lessons we’ve learned from working side by side with well-known brands and corporations. Brightspot enables teams to build an internal communications platform that is robust, easy to navigate and regularly updated with relevant and engaging information. A site like that lets employees know that the company values them and their engagement highly.

Tackling the challenges common to both “regular” websites and intranets is the right approach. Here are five of the most common challenges companies face with their intranet—and how to solve them.

1. Creating a Single-Entry Point

Employees use numerous programs on a daily basis, but if shared information is found in a variety of places outside of your intranet, the platform is destined to fail. The most useful type of intranet site will serve as a consolidated, single-entry point for everything employees need to function well at the company. It should be a digital home base where they can orient themselves, learn the latest company and industry news, take care of logistical tasks, access information and assets, and connect with other personnel. Since this is the main conduit between employees and company leadership, its style and substance should represent the corporate brand and executives’ larger vision for the business.

2. Engaging Employees

An intranet loses its value when employees don't collaborate effectively or are tentative about doing so. In contrast, the best intranet sites make employees feel more positive about working at that company. The intranet gives you a great opportunity to promote esprit de corps through robust communication and personalized storytelling. Executive communications shared via the site can make employees feel informed and part of the team. Internal brand storytelling can inspire employees about the bigger picture to which their daily work contributes. Employees who are actively engaged in these ways feel more like part of a valued community.

3. Enabling Two-way Communication

If members of the company aren’t able to communicate with each other in a streamlined, back-and-forth fashion, the intranet is missing the mark. An effective intranet, on the other hand, serves as a vital hub of communication between executives and employees. Not only should executive leadership be able to easily update the site with information and perspectives, but the intranet should also offer accessible ways for employees to communicate to leadership. Employees can be permitted or encouraged to leave comments on executive postings, or tools can be embedded in the site that allow for direct messaging from employees to leadership.

4. Creating a Searchable Directory

The No. 1 complaint about intranet sites tends to be an insufficiently functional corporate directory. Even in smaller companies, employees frequently need to find contact information for those in other departments. They require a robust, searchable directory that makes it easy to find individuals they’re looking for, even if they have incomplete information. The directory should update automatically by integrating with HR systems so the listings are always up- to-date.

5. Storing and Sharing Assets

If an intranet doesn’t serve as a centralized hub for storing, accessing and sharing assets, employees are less likely to log in on a daily basis. Because companies often have a variety of official assets that employees in many departments need to access, an effective intranet will provide a convenient place to store these resources. This, in turn, frees up staff members from having to manage and distribute those assets to each individual who seeks them. A good intranet also enables employees to share those and other assets among departments through an accessible centralized portal.

Brightspot is the ideal solution to address all of these challenges. Whether you’re a global organization, nonprofit, university or any other type of business, our best-in-class content management system will empower you to create a customized, robust intranet that supports easy content management and dependable searchability. With Brightspot, companies can create an internal site that will not only meet their employees’ needs but inspire and engage their personnel, helping increase job satisfaction and retention.

To learn more about Brightspot’s powerful intranet solution, including why organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Marriott International and others have benefited from forging their workforce with Brightspot, read Why Brightspot Is Ideal for Your Intranet.

About the Author
Roy Ben-Yoseph
Roy leads Perfect Sense's corporate business. Prior to Perfect Sense, Roy led the Digital Products team at the College Board, and was Vice President of Email Products at AOL. He brings executive product strategy and management expertise gained from over 20 years of leading digital products and businesses.
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