5 benefits of a social intranet in the digital workplace

Creating a social environment at work has negative connotations. But can an organization and its people benefit from incorporating a social intranet into their work life?

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

How social = productive

For many organizations, a social intranet is the missing jigsaw piece to the modern office. In this era of change, many tools and devices have been used to integrate staff with the digital workplace. What a social intranet does is pick up and achieves what these other services have tried and failed to do. A social intranet takes the best parts of social media platforms, team sites, and portals to create a place where there is ease of collaboration, self-generated content, freedom to communicate and quick access to people outside your immediate remit.

The social intranet’s role in the digital workplace

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Real life examples of social intranets at work

So how else is a socialized intranet helping modern businesses right now? We have illuminating examples of how some of our clients have tailored their software to become the social intranets that their organizations need and use every day to form strong connections and rewarding collaborative efforts.

1. Creating employee recognition programs that boost engagement

Social intranet example: MidPen Housing

While you are cultivating a positive culture at work, where are you at with employee recognition? Many companies play down employee recognition, regarding it as an expensive endeavor that pays little dividend. In fact, recognizing your workers is one of the most important things you can do to boost morale, productivity and a sense of employee satisfaction. A social intranet is one of the best ways to operate this type of program, providing a platform where anyone can say thank you to a peer in front of a company-wide audience.

“Today, more employee recognition is shared on a DAILY basis than what we experienced on an ANNUAL basis through our previous program”.

2. Providing a platform for every worker to speak up

Social intranet example: Travelex

Working in a large, global company, it is very easy to become invisible. A company that doesn’t notice, recognize or celebrate their employees will experience low retention levels and high absentee rates. By giving employees a voice, a social intranet will help remove barriers like location, language or seniority that often impede significant connections.

Travelex demonstrating their social intranet

“Our intranet — The Lounge — has given our colleagues the means to broaden their relationships at work by connecting our people all around the world. Today they can discuss and relate to their co-workers in similar roles on different continents. It’s something that’s now giving rise to more sophisticated uses of the platform, where our people are utilizing it to help problem-solve and innovate to fix genuine customer issues based on the experiences they share with the community.”

3. Establishing a space for ideation and knowledge sharing

Social intranet example: Mattress Firm

Geographically dispersed workforces may be a necessary feature of a business that has a large reach, but when it comes to communication, knowledge sharing really suffers. How can one department have an in-depth discussion with another department in an effective and efficient manner? Empowering co-workers who can connect with each other, share ideas and collaborate is one of the key features of a social intranet.

“What we’ve seen is Randy conversing with other associates across the organization via the intranet and helping to build a community online. This has reduced the amount of time that the communications team has to spend hunting down subject matter experts to answer questions and also decreases the amount of time that associates have to wait for an answer.”

4. Fostering a positive company culture

Social intranet example: AO.com

While an intranet is a perfect platform for celebrating employee achievements and finding out more about each individual, it can also work the other way. The company can present new initiatives, upcoming events and broadcast various successes within the company regularly. This fortifies the internal brand, motivates the workforce and encourages confidence. This is, in turn, enriches the workplace culture, alongside the more physical manifestations of decor, layout and the tools and resources available within the office space. For those individuals who work remotely or are geographically dispersed away from the physical office, the social intranet is their connection to the main hub, and a vital part of making those workers feel part of the organization.

“We have regular features on The Fridge every day to engage people and to promote social interactions between colleagues and teams,” says Laura Talbot, internal communications manager at AO.com. “These include everything from fun GIFs to competitions to win tickets to Britain’s Got Talent, which we proudly sponsor.”

To draw workers in from wherever they are based, the company intranet has relevant features which offer something different every day. Tuesday has retail news so employees can keep up to date with competitors, while Thursday offers ‘Something for the weekend’ which allows people to share things to do at the weekend.

5. Making the intranet relevant to everyone in the organization

Social intranet example: Magic Memories

Of course, in order for people to visit your intranet, you need to make it relevant to them. Ensuring that the content you load and the new your broadcast is read and digested, it’s important to remember who your audience is. One of the biggest mistakes is uploading information that isn’t pertinent to the majority of the workforce. When people receive messages and news that isn’t applicable to their role, interests or situation, engagement drops and people stop tuning in. And an intranet without people is just a piece of software. That’s why it’s so important to make your intranet relevant to everyone.

“Finally, we have a place where we can actually talk to people and ask the questions that we’ve wanted to ask and get the information we wanted to get.”

Nick Holmes, Group Learning & Development Lead at Magic Memories.

What can social intranets teach us?

Most importantly, employers should not be scared of increased social activity. With a social intranet, employees can receive updates on research, share ideas and map out the roles and responsibilities of a project — all from one single source. In short, things happen a lot quicker when social engagement is harnessed in the workplace.

So what’s next for the social intranet?

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Interact is a complete intranet solution that connects enterprises all over the world. We power internal communications.