As remote working inevitably becomes more integrated into the new normal, I wanted to share how an intranet can be used to pull together your (newly) remote workforce.
Remote working was a growing trend which has suddenly become the new way of working. A simple way to define what being a “remote worker” is; is an employee who works mainly from home or from anywhere other than the employer’s office; a remote worker has the flexibility along with the technology and tools to resume productivity on the go.
Now that remote working is so important, it’s crucial to have a digital workspace that allows for employees to have easy access to company resources, a place to see company communications, and a way to continue to build and maintain great working relationships with colleagues, which is what leads me to the focus of this article - the importance of the intranet.
An intranet should be the starting point for all employees which enables them to stay connected to their colleagues and the business. To summarise how to pull together a remote workforce with an intranet, I have bulleted my top tips:
1) Promote the Company’s Mission and Values
It’s easy to create a page that displays the company mission and values but typically employees may only go to this area once, and then never speak about it again. It is important to actively promote the mission and values of the organisation, to enable employees to constantly identify, relate and resonate with them.
It would be more beneficial to create a space where the mission and values are the sole focal point so employees can clearly see any goals or KPIs that the company are working towards but also the ability for employees to share and praise co-workers on meeting company values or helping towards the company’s mission.
Collaboration is a key part of the modern intranet and the technology should provide you a platform where employees can share and co-author on documents with their team members. The intranet doesn’t only need to be a storage location, but more advanced document management can be applied to allow for co-authoring on documents, collaborating in shared areas and document approval workflows.
3) Content Network
Rather than having the intranet’s responsibility fall on one person (typically from marketing or internal communications), we recommend that you have multiple content authors spread across your departments. The intranet is the perfect place to feature articles and videos describing exciting events happening in each department and by having a content network full of content authors spread across your business, it’s much easier to keep the content fresh, manage the workload and to bounce ideas off each other.
4) Engaging Content
The content is king when it comes to the intranet as the news is typically the focal point of the homepage being the first thing employees will see and a key driver in getting employees to return and / or engage. Create an open space where employees can engage with the content and start conversations with their colleagues. The content needs to be a mixture between formal business updates as well as those enjoyable informal social updates which is usually what gets the most engagement.
We actively encourage our team to create vlogs when they’re attending conferences. Just quick 2-5-minute run downs on sessions they’ve found engaging, what they’ve learnt and what they’ve taken away. These vlogs are then uploaded to Microsoft Stream, advertised with an intranet news article and brought to light via our internet.
5) Social Forums Such as Yammer
The intranet should be the voice of the company however it’s unrealistic to allow all employees editor access which is where social forums such as Yammer provide that platform where employees can create content, engage with other employees and more importantly feel more connected with the business. The intranet can then be used to signpost the social forum or even better – have a live feed of what’s happening as and when new posts arrive.
6) Spotlight / Rewards / Recognition
Incentive led appraisal or nomination forms can work well as a reminder of the company values and can also provide the ability for colleagues to be able to reward each other and provide recognition for the entire company to see. If you can link or automate the nominations to be posted to Yammer or the intranet so people can see and then engage with the content – this will only drive more engagement and can be great for boosting morale.
7) Feedback Plus Metrics (Live Data)
The more dynamic the data you can display on your intranet will bring people back to check the latest stats and scores, by using Microsoft Forms, Power BI or SharePoint lists to display data you will be able to promote forms to gather your data but then automatically display the results on your intranet to make the process fully automated.
An intranet is more than just a space for your organisation to store documents and post news. It’s the key tool to keeping your distributed workforce connected and engaging with one another through powerful collaboration and an internal brand.