Every intranet has ingredients that make it a valuable channel. These essential elements likely include news, communities, an employee directory, a search facility and an outlet for leadership communications.
Additionally, the intranet should include key areas of content that enables employees to carry out their everyday tasks and find essential company information. These areas of content are critical for intranet success and have a range of benefits, including driving efficiency, enabling a self-service approach to finding answers to questions and reducing the risk of employees acting upon out-of-date information.
Here are ten essential content components every intranet should include:
Intranet essential #1: Company policies, official documents, and forms
How much time do your employees waste trying to find a particular form, a standard document or the company’s official policy on an issue? Even if they spend time trying, how can you be sure that they don’t actually end up with an out-of-date version?
Creating an area on your intranet that has the most up-to-date versions of all your company forms, policies and official documents not only saves employees’ time but also eliminates the risk of using the wrong version.
A ‘policies and forms’ section of your intranet might not seem very exciting, but it’s extremely useful! It’s not only efficient and reduces risk, but can also increase levels of compliance with key company processes.
Intranet essential #2: Company strategy and goals
Being able to refer to company strategy helps keep employees informed about the bigger picture so that they know where the company is heading. Dedicating a page or area on the intranet to company strategy is an obvious way to ensure this information is available.
The intranet strategy area should also include details about key related initiatives and any sub-strategies, for example for different lines of business. Useful assets, such as presentation slide decks, can also be included, but be sure to keep these updated, or else it becomes irrelevant.
Intranet essential #3: Values and corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Many organizations are keen to outline their values to employees and highlight their commitment to helping communities. This intranet content can really help build culture, drive engagement, and give employees a sense of purpose. Demonstrating that your organization believes in something more than making money is increasingly important for attracting and retaining talent.
Your intranet is the natural home for this content so consider having a dedicated area to show what your company believes in and how it’s giving something back.
Intranet essential #4: Digital assets and brand center
The importance of complying with organizational brand guidelines in corporate communications can vary depending on where you work, but most companies want to aim for consistency in both the tone and the look of their communications.
Having a brand center on your intranet supports this. Include brand guidelines on how to write and present content to other employees and also to clients, with reference to visual guidelines. Also consider including information on related processes, such as how to order branded goods or where to get advice on messaging from communications professionals. Where possible include access to related digital assets such as logos, imagery, presentation templates and so on.
Say goodbye to unapproved, Frankenstein presentations!
Intranet essential #5: Product and services information
Having information about your company’s key products and services on your intranet is very important. This is absolutely critical for frontline or sales staff who need to talk authoritatively about your organization’s offerings with clients. It also helps spread awareness among internal staff about what the company does externally. Ultimately this content can support better client service.
Content about products and services needs to be authoritative and up-to-date, so it should be closely managed and regularly reviewed. It should also be well structured so employees can easily and quickly find what they need.
Intranet essential #6: Information about different locations
Most organizations have more than one location, and having key information about each is very useful. Content should not only be geared towards employees based in that location, but also to those who are traveling to it. It’s likely this will be some of the most visited content on your intranet!
Typical location intranet content includes:
- How to get there
- Maps and floor plans
- Facilities and safety information
- Local hotels and restaurants
- Essentials like the latest staff restaurant menu or guest wi-fi code
Intranet essential #7: New hire center
We’ve previously explored how your intranet can support new joiners when they start at your organization. Create a ‘new hire’ center that includes or links to all those resources employees need on their very first day. This could include an overview of the company with a walk-through of key areas like organizational structure and strategy, and key forms and checklists that make the onboarding process easier. Having a streamlined onboarding process not only is efficient; it also ensures that every new hire checks off the entire list.
New hires should also be made to feel welcome, and a special welcome video from the CEO on your intranet can be a nice touch.
Intranet essential #8: HR information
Everybody needs to be able to access HR information on your intranet. This can cover everything from pay and benefits to processes such as booking vacation time or individual training. Including this content on your intranet can save a lot of time for HR executives, as employees can find the answers to questions themselves.
Make sure your HR information is well structured to help employees find the information they need. For example, some organizations choose to structure content in the form of an employee lifecycle.
Intranet essential #9: Task and process information
Some intranets have a special section with information on how to carry out key processes within the organization. This helps employees find exactly what they need to do to complete both simple and complicated tasks. Note that there may be some overlap between task information and content in your HR section or documents in the policies area of your intranet.
Task areas frequently:
- Use a consistent format for the content
- Use simple and straightforward language
- Divide tasks into simple steps
- Link to appropriate systems
- Have a nominated owner of each page who’s responsible for keeping content up to date
Creating task pages may need some investment in time, but can really drive efficiency and reduce frustration for employees.
Intranet essential #10: How to use the intranet guide
Last but not least, don’t forget to include a section that instructs users on how to use the intranet. Although many modern intranets are easy to use, intuitive and don’t need training per se, there will be some users who may be less confident with technology. This can be true particularly for social elements of your intranet such as ‘commenting’ or joining groups that might be new for some employees. FAQs, user documentation or instructional videos can add a lot of value for users.
Your intranet help center should also be a hub for broader information such as your intranet strategy, the process for setting up a new site, whom to contact, tips and tricks and other digital channels on offer.
Remember, content can be king!
All of the content areas described above will be regularly visited by employees. Make sure that your intranet includes most or all of the above elements — this will help to make your intranet an essential channel that’s valued, trusted and used by the majority of your workforce.