Why Intranets are so important, now more than ever.

During COVID-19, executive decision making is more complicated due to the uncertainty and change that has come with the pandemic. This means that leaders are wary, and have to weigh up their decisions more carefully, as they have more to factor in.  An IT or Comms project that before looked certain to get senior buy-in is now under scrutiny from finance and the wider strategic team.

When writing for Gartner, Kasey Panetta wrote about how COVID-19 is affecting decision making: 

 “Decisions are creating stress for executives, as they make difficult trade-offs … as executives are told to do more with less” 

This is because many companies are looking to cut costs, and make only the most financially viable and responsible investments. As decision-makers have to ask themselves: 

Will this generate income? Will we get ROI? Will this save money? Will this help us in the long term? Are there any risks involved?

Thus, when executives are looking to make sensible financial decisions, they must consider how this will help the company recover and sustain itself as work-life adjusts to the ‘new normal’. 

The increasing importance of digital tools  

As Bernard Marr said in an article for Forbes “many people turned to digital tools to keep some semblance of normality”. That with the right technology infrastructure in place, companies are and will be able to continue business as usual; no matter where their employees may be working from.  

For example, many companies have turned to communication and collaboration platforms like their intranet, to help them use tools such as Microsoft Teams to facilitate collaborating and working together whilst geographically dispersed. With Teams, you can chat, meet, call and collaborate all in one virtual place. Effective intranet solutions pack in many more collaboration, communication and productivity features to create an effective digital workplace that gives your organisation the opportunity to:

Collaborate better:

Microsoft Teams is one such tool that allows you to instantly chat, call and collaborate all in one place. Teams allows you to talk in real-time with your colleagues whether it be on a chat, or on video no matter how dispersed your workforce is. Furthermore, in chats on teams, you can store relevant documents and information, which makes it easy to collaborate on things and talk about them within your specified teams rather than losing key points in long email threads.

Benefit from targeted and relevant internal communications:

Your internal comms should be accessible, informative, and transparent, and having the right platform to facilitate that is key.

An intranet should become a central hub where announcements, information and guidelines are published so that there is an official source of easily accessible information for staff. This means that there will be transparency for employees, and everyone knows exactly what is going on and why. This is important as a more informed workforce is more likely to be a more productive and united workforce, as employees perform better when they know how they are contributing to company goals. 

This is supported by Brian Kopp when writing for Gartner: 

“One of the top engagement drivers for employees is seeing their work contribute to company goals,” says Kropp. “During periods of disruption, employees’ desire for being recognized for their contribution increases by about 30%”

Further to Kropp's point, it is very important to recognise and reward your employees, so that they feel valued and appreciated in the workplace. This is easy to do with a simple thank you, or even a news post on intranet home page, so others feel motivated and have an example to follow by. 

Provide staff with emotional and social support (and increase employee retention):

A happy worker is more productive and engaged. 

An effective intranet can provide the tools that make it easy to nurture a culture of caring across the business, with real-time video and chats available to everyone (Teams), social commenting to allow team bonding over things other than work (Yammer), and engaging in two-way communication with staff via surveys (Forms & Flow) so they can share their real feelings anonymously without having to tell their manager. 

Cost-cutting initiatives and de-investment can damage employee experience, which is critical for engagement and productivity. Understanding that impact can help you avoid rash decisions that could damage key talent outcomes in the long term. 

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to someone about building a business case for your intranet project, reach out to our knowledgeable team here.

Also, check out some of our other blogs; How to build the best Intranet for your business and 'Teams vs Slack.'

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