One of the key roles of any intranet is to help employees get things done. Individuals can save time, increase productivity and successfully achieve tasks with less effort. They can also equip themselves with knowledge and learning to be more effective in their roles.
When considered collectively, the intranet benefits experienced by individual employees are also felt at the organizational level. A more efficient and happier workforce can lead to process efficiency, reduced costs, better customer service and improved talent retention.
Despite these opportunities, in practice employees rarely use all the available features that could help them be more productive.
Focus on Increasing Productivity
Personal productivity and effectiveness is an excellent hook to showcase the power of the intranet to employees. By illustrating personal benefits, everyone can see ‘what’s in it for me,’ which can drive intranet adoption.
Consider running a session geared towards different groups, or organize a self-guided ‘tour’ of the intranet to show how the intranet can:
- Save time
- Give access to knowledge and learning, including keeping up on developments
- Help complete specific tasks, some relevant to particular roles
- Address particular pain points
Here are six key ways your employees can use your social intranet to boost personal productivity and effectiveness.
1. Reduce the email inbox
Employees waste hours per week writing and replying to emails. An ever-increasing and unmanageable inbox is a familiar pain point for users. Moreover, for many of its actual intended uses, email is extremely inefficient.
A social intranet can direct messages to your entire organization, or a particular community or team, in a more efficient way. Messages can cover general news, targeted updates, question and answers, requests for help, FYIs, shared files, peer recognition, alerts, reminders and much more. Using your social intranet instead of email can relieve the pressure on your inbox and those of your colleagues.
2. Configure links and bookmarks
Most intranets have a facility for individuals to configure their own favorite links and bookmarks to frequently visited content or applications. Usually these personal bookmarks are available from a prominent place such as the intranet homepage or navigation.
These shortcuts can save time, particularly if an employee has to navigate through multiple screens or keeps forgetting how to find a key item. You’ll be surprised how much time you can save just by spending 30 minutes arranging your own links!
3. Improve five key tasks
Most roles will have some specific tasks and processes that need to be carried out regularly. These will be completed through a combination of meetings, email, documents, spreadsheets and even paper forms.
There are often opportunities to make the completion of these tasks more efficient, and social intranet features can help. Using custom forms, workflow, updates and social tools, as well as accessing relevant information, tasks can be accelerated and unnecessary steps eliminated.
It’s worth employees taking a couple of hours to investigate whether they can streamline five key tasks using the intranet. We bet they can, saving themselves time and effort!
4. Assemble a network of subject matter experts
Employees will have questions they need to ask on particular subjects, but it can be hard to find the right people to talk to. The people directory on your social intranet can help. The directory details the role, background and area of expertise of employees. It means anybody can identify a network of go-to subject matter experts, as well as locate new contacts when the situation arises.
The ability to connect quickly to a network of knowledgeable colleagues can be very powerful for some roles, for example helping staff respond quickly to customer queries.
5. Get curated feeds for current awareness
Many employees need to keep up to date on different topics, particularly if they are regarded as subject matter experts. This could be a specialist or technical area of knowledge. But ‘current awareness’ can be very time consuming, and is a challenge to maintain.
On a social intranet, different professional groups and communities may share curated content with links to relevant updates, articles, blogs and videos from both inside and outside the company.
Joining various communities is a great way to keep abreast of topics through curated links that are shared within these groups. Individuals can view and scan all updates from different communities via an activity stream. This supports current awareness, and helps experts stay up to date.
6. Work ‘out loud’ to get feedback.
“Working out loud” is a movement that’s gaining popularity. This style of working advocates being open and transparent about what individuals are working on, sharing ideas, plans, early drafts of documents and work-in-progress. Individuals can then get valuable feedback, input and even opportunities to collaborate from peers and experts.
Social intranets are great for working out loud. Tools such as blogs, discussions, wikis and communities allow the easy sharing of work and return of feedback. This is a good way to get constructive comments, which can increase personal effectiveness. Commenting on other people’s work can also help you develop your own thinking.
Intranets are here to help
Intranets really can make a difference to an employee’s working day. If the social intranet isn’t saving time or making a process easier, then it’s not doing its job!
Use some of the examples in this post to show employees how they can get real value from the intranet. In time this may drive adoption and start to influence your company’s overall productivity.