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How an intranet can inspire, connect and empower your most important audience

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In an online world where digital savvy is often equated with business success, effective leaders are rediscovering the value of the most analog element of all: their people.

According to a corporate culture study by researchers from Duke and Columbia, the vast majority of the 933 CEOs and CFOs surveyed identified company culture as an “important” or “major contributor” to their business’ value. What’s more, a 2016 Gallup report revealed that companies whose employees are highly engaged are 21% more profitable than those whose employees are not as engaged.

Putting employees at the top of your priority list creates a company culture that supports, encourages and informs them as they do their jobs. Creating and maintaining a robust intranet is a key way to establish that culture. And a best-in-class content management system (CMS) like Brightspot will give you all the tools you need to design a dynamic and engaging intranet for your business.

Why launch (or relaunch) an intranet?

An intranet site that employees come to see as a valuable, daily benefit improves internal communications, offers easy access to benefits, drives collaboration, creates a sense of community, delivers educational opportunities, nurtures employee career growth via one-to-one marketing and fosters company pride.

McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) found that boosting employees’ ability to communicate and collaborate internally can raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20-25%. According to the study, the average worker of this type spends almost 20% of their workweek searching for internal information or trying to find colleagues for help or collaboration. Providing internal communication and knowledge-sharing tools can reduce the amount of time workers spend looking for company information by up to 35%. In addition, things like employee profiles, user groups, favorites, sharing and commenting foster a vital sense of community.

Yet the vast majority of employees do not find their company’s intranet a useful tool. A Prescient Digital Media survey found that a mere 13% of employees use their company’s intranet on a daily basis, while 31% never look at it at all. By neglecting their intranets, leaders are ignoring an excellent opportunity to create workplace environments where employees are eager to work and determined to stay over the long term.

What you need to create a best-in-class intranet

What can companies do to make their intranet a more central piece of a positive, dynamic company culture? At Brightspot, we’ve worked side by side with the communications teams at some of the world’s best-known corporate brands to see how they manage campaigns and brand news. We’ve sat in the newsrooms of some of the world’s largest media publishers to watch how they curate hundreds of daily stories and engage their audiences. Those lessons have led us to develop Brightspot in a way that allows companies to create a distinctive intranet site that is unique to their organization and employee needs while also working in harmony with their corporate site.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or overhauling a stagnant platform, the following Brightspot features can empower your business to develop and maintain an intranet site that people will be excited to use and value as a positive addition to their work lives.

  • Profiles and user groups: Your employees are unique, especially as they advance through their careers—and their intranet experience should be uniquely personalized to their place in the organization. With Brightspot, employees can set up profile pages, create roles directly in the CMS, or leverage attributes from profiles in your existing authentication set-up. These useful tools help employees learn about others and broadcast their own information, such as work schedule, communication preferences or social interests. Employees can be added to or join various user groups within the system, allowing them to access specific content, receive group-targeted notifications and communications, and share info with others in the group.
  • Affinity behaviors: Brightspot encourages visitors to return over and over by supporting a range of affinity behaviors, each of which makes the site "sticky." The most popular affinity behaviors that Brightspot supports are favorites, bookmarks, following and commenting. With these features, employees can engage dynamically with the site’s content by keeping track of things they want to return to, requesting notifications of various types of content and leaving commentary for others to read and respond to.
  • Sharing and communicating: A Brightspot-based intranet site is designed for robust, two-way sharing, as it both exposes colleagues to executive viewpoints and spotlights employee achievements. Your intranet can serve as the company’s central asset library and access point, allowing all teams to interact with the same files and share them easily within the site. Employees and executives can also share thoughts and collaborate on work using integrated communication platforms like Slack. With such tools and resources built into the intranet, employees will utilize this vital information hub on a regular basis to help get things done, making it integral to each workday.
  • Employee contributions: An intranet created on Brightspot also has the capability to manage employee-generated content (EGC), so employees can post their own content and see their coworkers interact with it. Making the intranet a truly interactive arena where employees feel ownership to post and reply is one of the best ways to encourage a company culture where everyone feels included, nurtured and informed.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Management can also keep tabs on how people are feeling and what they’re thinking using built-in polls, surveys and other feedback mechanisms. Thus, the intranet can also inform management decisions and help employees feel like they’re being heard and respected.

It’s a sad commentary on today’s work world that 63% of employees think they could find another job just as good as their current job, and that 51 % are in fact looking for something new, according to Gallup. In contrast, the most successful companies are those where employees feel satisfied—even lucky—to be working there.

Companies that invest in making their employees’ experience more positive, empowering and engaging will end up with loyal and happy workforces. Setting up an intranet site—one that’s the backbone of your digital workplace, providing valuable information that’s relevant to your entire employee base and fostering meaningful and inspiring company-wide collaboration—is the first step on that road.

When you’re ready to engage your workforce and accelerate productivity with a new or reimagined intranet, consider a flexible, cost-effective, out-of-the-box platform like Brightspot Intranet.

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