In our most recent webinar, find out how organizations can reinvent the remote employee community and culture experience and how an intranet plays a fundamental role in driving those experiences.
Busy offices are like beehives; buzzing with communities, camaraderie and shared connections that enrich and inform our working lives. During the last year, these corporate hubs have fallen silent as COVID-19 has forced people to work from home. But the personal and professional need for these connections and communities has not disappeared. And so, we’ve had to find new ways of delivering them digitally.
Parker Ramsdell, Brightspot's VP of People, Mission & Culture, presents our latest webinar, Intranet for the Digital Workforce: Keeping People Connected Through Community and Culture Experiences. It explores the importance of internal communications in the world of remote working and how they’ll shape and support the more flexible working patterns of the future.
Accelerating into the future
Over the past decade there’s been an ongoing and gradual shift towards more lenient remote working practices. In March of 2020, it went into hyper-drive.
The leap forward has forced us to stress-test new policies and practices in real-life scenarios, and it’s been immensely challenging. But it’s also demonstrated how resilient and adaptable we are and shown just how well digital technology can support our personal and professional lives.
As we look toward the future, many companies have stated their intention to stick with a remote-working model. Others have said they will adopt hybrid approaches. Whatever companies decide, there’s little doubt that significantly increased flexibility around remote working will be a fixed feature of most corporate strategies.
This is the moment to reimagine the intranet as a community and culture platform; as something more than a document dumping ground. A recent survey by Workhuman showed that employees are twice as likely to have a positive view of their company when they feel celebrated. And what better place to do this than the intranet?
These changes will have implications for employees and companies alike. We’ve already seen that remote working tends to make individual teams more siloed and can diminish their interactions with other people in the business.
Onboarding new people is a real challenge and with minimal in-person contact it’s difficult to build personal rapports and relationships and give them a feel for the community and culture within the business.
The drive to digital makes it difficult to turn off from work. It’s easy to feel there’s always another message, alert or notification that needs our attention. And that’s before we factor in the challenge of switching from one project to another during the working day and dealing with the additional personal, family and domestic challenges of working from home.
These pressures can further distance us from our company and colleagues and stretch the fabric of corporate culture very thin indeed.
Importance of internal communications
Given the strain remote working has put on our everyday interactions, the importance of internal communications has really come to the fore.
Getting them right makes a major difference in numerous areas. For example, they create alignment and let people see how their project fits into others, and where they all tie into the company’s broader mission.
This alignment used to happen naturally as people spoke to each other at the coffee machine, on the way past each other’s desks, or as they met in the lobby. It doesn’t happen so readily when everyone is stuck at home.
Other areas where internal communications have a big role to play are in reinforcing a company’s culture, celebrating and recognizing people’s achievements, sharing useful and necessary information and signposting people to health and well-being support.
From emails, newsletters and team Zoom quizzes, to one-to-ones, informal presentations and team/company challenges there’s no limit to internal communications. And if designed and managed effectively, intranets have the power to be the beating heart of these communications.
Building community and culture with your intranet
Despite their potential, intranets have too often become document dumping grounds that play second fiddle to other information and communication channels.
But in the very first days of the pandemic, Brightspot set up an entire COVID-19 section on its intranet. It had all the necessary company policies and procedures, and went further to include information, resources and tools to help individuals and their families get a handle on what was happening.
Instead of being a graveyard for documents, intranets can be incredibly powerful communication, community and culture platforms.
The starting point is great content that’s interesting, relevant and valuable to people. Well-designed intranets make it easy for employees to get the information they need.
Are company announcements regular, accurate and continually updated? What about content covering ongoing projects and commercial objectives? Is there a library of rich individual profiles or educational material to help people do their job and support their colleagues and clients?
And what about integrations? Does your intranet link to calendar and holiday functions, task management tools, and payroll and benefit information?
If intranets have great content and excellent functionality then people will want to use them naturally. And if you’re not sure what sort of content people want, then use surveys to ask them and implement the feedback.
Traditional usage metrics such as pageviews and sessions can provide valuable insights into how your content is resonating with employees.
You can also monitor if fewer questions are coming into HR or IT because people know where to get answers.
Intranets are a mine of untapped potential and have the power to play a major role in recruiting, retaining and supporting people.
They can also help to set and reinforce company cultures and build communities in the increasingly flexible, digital and remote working environments of tomorrow.
To find out more, watch the webinar.