10 strategies on how to improve employee engagement with a modern intranet

Intranet employee engagement - engagement measurement bar, with headshot of a smiling woman
This article was originally published on Aug. 17, 2020, and was updated on Dec. 6, 2023. 
Looking to improve employee engagement at your organization? The modern intranet has you covered. In this guide, we’ll dive right into covering 10 proven strategies for how you can increase employee engagement with a modern intranet. Then we’ll break down employee engagement and why organizations should make it a priority. Finally, we’ll then look at how modern intranets, like Simpplr, are revolutionizing the way businesses interact with and motivate employees.

10 strategies on how to improve employee engagement using a modern intranet

1. Have a plan.

Increasing employee engagement takes more than just implementing a new intranet — it requires a well-thought-out and defined employee engagement strategy. Don’t skip this step! Take the time to create a strong employee engagement plan with clear goals and objectives as well as defined metrics to measure success. To get started:

  1. Benchmark best practices. Look at organizations with a track record of employee engagement success. Learn from what they’re doing right.
  2. Identify gaps. Use data from sources like employee engagement surveys, focus groups and exit interviews to determine where you have the biggest opportunities to improve employee engagement.
  3. Get buy-in. Share your findings with leaders and other stakeholders for their feedback. Update and iterate to help ensure the strategy aligns with overall business objectives.

A well-defined employee engagement strategy also outlines how you’ll leverage internal comms software, tools and services to increase engagement. Keep reading!

2. Make the intranet easy to use.

If your goal is to increase employee engagement, start by ensuring that your primary engagement solution — your intranet — offers a seamless and frictionless user experience (UX). Your employee intranet should be so intuitive that employees can use it without extensive training.

Modern intranets like Simpplr emphasize UX.

Simpplr Research has found that poor UX contributes to nearly one-quarter of all intranet failures. Your intranet needs to understand personalization under the hood so employees only see information that’s relevant for them. Search needs to work — and work well. And the tools that employees need to access all the time — like for HR and project management — must be a click away.

Usability is anchored in Simpplr’s brand promise — it’s why they’re named Simpplr. They run usability tests across every interaction in their software and every release comes with more usability improvements.

3. Lean in on transparent communication.

A modern intranet facilitates open communication across all levels of the organization. It’s easy for employees to communicate with each other, but perhaps even more importantly, leaders have a central location to share important updates, company news and strategic visions in real-time. This promotes alignment and builds trust — key factors in improving employee engagement.

Simpplr’s modern intranet simplifies transparent communication with help from the new AI-powered smart writing tool, Writing assistant. Through a user-friendly interface, users can determine the tone, format and intent of the content, effortlessly integrating any relevant company values.

Explore building transparent leadership and trust from the intranet up

4. Get visual.

Visuals such as images, graphics and videos amp up your ability to tell powerful stories, and people often respond better to visuals than text alone. Get this: 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so it just makes sense that we’re drawn to graphics, photos, videos and illustrations.

Modern intranets make including visuals seamless — so you don’t have to work harder to increase employee engagement.

For example, it’s super-simple to record, upload, store and manage videos on the intranet with Simpplr’s baked-in video. Plus, you can weave video across all aspects of the employee experience — including the Smart Feed, newsletter, pages, albums, profiles, events, blogs and the carousel.

Learn how to supercharge engagement with visual content

5. Involve leaders.

Yup, here’s another strategy tied to engaging leadership on the intranet. Why? By spending a small amount of time engaging with employees via the modern intranet, execs can help improve company culture and customer service — leading to better employee retention, higher productivity and higher profits.

Gallup found that companies with high levels of executive engagement have up to 59% more engaged employees. And a study by Weber Shandwick found that in companies where executives maintain a visible presence, employees are 1.6 times more likely to stay committed to the organization and its goals.

Leaders can help increase employee engagement using a modern intranet like Simpplr in myriad ways. Here are just a few:

  • Make a habit of commenting on intranet homepage content. Ask employees to share their thoughts.
  • Share personal stories or reflections in short blog posts or videos. This creates a stronger connection with employees by making leaders seem more like them.
  • Share a quote from the organization’s mission statement or values and why it’s meaningful to them.

Want more tips? Take the leadership engagement challenge!

6. Encourage a water-cooler environment.

One of the many benefits to a modern intranet is its ability to foster a sense of community in a virtual environment. With many organizations moving to a remote or hybrid workplace, employees are missing the social connections they once made in the office, over lunch, on coffee breaks, or at work happy hours.

The modern intranet provides a safe space to cultivate this water-cooler environment.

Employees can connect in special communities set up for shared interests (e.g., associate resource groups), business units, locations and more to bond over interests and activities unrelated to their day-to-day job.

Foodies of Simpplr culture page as example of building communities for employees

Social activities foster a sense of community within the workplace, and you can leverage modern intranets to coordinate and manage social activities virtually.

7. Personalize and target communications.

When you search for something on Google, don’t you appreciate when you get exactly what you’re looking for in the first result? What about when you log into your social media and see curated posts specifically related to your interests? Of course, you want to get the most relevant, timely and valuable information. It’s no different for employees.

The more tailored and personalized the intranet is to an employee’s needs, the higher their engagement and the more useful the experience.

As noted above, a modern intranet like Simpplr uses AI to surface relevant information automatically in features like the Smart Feed, Must-reads and Awareness Check. But it gets better. Simpplr’s new hybrid neural search — which learns from a user’s search intent — shifts the entire search experience from traditional keywords to a much more powerful hybrid search to get the best of both worlds. Employees get more relevant, accurate and personalized search results. They can find what they need, reducing frustration and improving productivity and engagement.

Intranet employee engagement - AI-assisted search tool generating results for search "benefits"

8. Find opportunities to promote and recognize positive behaviors.

In one of many studies on the impact of recognition to improving employee engagement, employees who reported that their managers were great at recognizing them were more than 40% more engaged than those with managers who were not. A recent study by Nectar on the power of employee recognition and productivity found that nearly 78% of respondents would be more productive if they were recognized more frequently. And effective employee recognition programs also lead to a remarkable 31% reduction in employee turnover, helping companies keep their valuable talent.

Recognition is a subtle but powerful motivator that can significantly affect employee engagement.

Simpplr’s modern intranet seamlessly integrates employee recognition into the digital workflow — fostering a culture of appreciation for all employees, everywhere. It empowers employees to give peer-to-peer recognition, offer recurring awards, and earn profile badges. Leaders can access valuable insights and actionable data to guide performance and encourage employee engagement through the My team dashboard.

“We did not have a recognition platform as simple as Simpplr’s in the past and within one week of go-live we had over 100 recognition posts,” said Amy Eiduke, Senior Director of Communications and Diversity at Option Care Health. “It’s great to see how our company interacts with the feature and engage across OCHO.”

Intranet employee engagement - Simpplr intranet recognition hub

Discover how employee recognition can help overcome talent shortages

9. Transform employees into content creators.

The best intranets run like a living organism — with all of its users (not just managers) posting, commenting, and interacting organically. Encourage employees to post relevant articles, fun stories, and life events in appropriate channels. By giving employees a platform to share experiences, insights or other creative topics, it fosters a sense of community and provides opportunities for further dialogue and conversation.

Simpplr’s AI-powered employee intranet takes democratic content creation up a notch.

It brings GenAI into the platform so users can scale content publication and responsibilities more efficiently. With the AI-powered Writing assistant, intranet contributors can generate “smart content” based on prompts. Writing assistant supports a global workforce with multiple languages. This tool also recommends more consumable formats, such as listing content in bullet points, to improve employee engagement. Nifty!

Get ideas + examples for engaging intranet content

10. Iterate based on analytics and feedback.

Leveraging your employee intranet to improve engagement is an ongoing process. It’s iterative and should be tailored to the feedback users provide. Another modern intranet perk? It’s easier to gather that feedback through “active listening” tactics such as surveys and forms and “passive listening” strategies like employee sentiment and other insights gleaned from built-in analytics.

After you’ve collected feedback, review and implement changes wherever relevant. It’s important to make sure you are actually making changes based on the responses you receive so that the users feel heard and so the employee experience actually improves — both of which affect employee engagement.

What is employee engagement and why does it matter?

Employee engagement aims to answer the questions:

  • How invested are your employees in their work?
  • To what extent are they committed to your organization’s goals and objectives?
  • How connected do they feel to each other?

When we talk about employee engagement, it might seem like we’re diving into the realm of the intangible — after all, it’s not easy to measure how valued, challenged, heard and supported employees feel. But it is possible to measure the return on investment for internal communications that improve employee engagement. And it definitely matters.

Why does employee engagement matter?

Employee engagement is a strong indicator of overall business success, as numerous studies show. In Gallup’s Q12 study, a comprehensive analysis of research that included data from more than 112,000 global business and work units that included more than 2.7 million employees, Gallup found that employee engagement is related to 11 business performance outcomes — including profitability, customer loyalty, productivity (in terms of sales) and employee turnover.

Business/work units at the highest level of employee engagement have an 83% chance of having above-average composite performance, compared with a 17% chance for those with the lowest level of employee engagement. While it’s possible to achieve high performance without high employee engagement, the odds are nearly five times as low.

The Q12 study analyzed data from 12 engagement-related questions. Those most closely impacted by internal comms were about employees having the materials/equipment they need to do their best work, understanding expectations and how their job connects to their company’s mission/purpose, and being heard and recognized.

Here are some other stats that reinforce those findings:

  • WTW’s Global Workforce Study shows that firms with the highest levels of employee engagement outperformed the market, having a 19% increase in operating income over a 12-month period, while their counterparts with low engagement saw a decline of 32%.
  • Gallup’s State of the American Workplace found that organizations with increased employee engagement report 21% higher profitability. What’s more, highly engaged teams show a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • Similarly, Quantum Workplace’s 2023 Employee Engagement Trends Report found that companies with an engaged workforce were 22% more profitable and had 21% higher productivity.

On the flip side, Gallup found that low employee engagement is costing the global economy $8.8 trillion — equivalent to 9% of global GDP!

In the (sort of) post-pandemic world, improving employee engagement has become increasingly important — and challenging. Many teams in the digital workplace are struggling to use the tools and resources at their disposal to cultivate trust, commitment and sense of belonging within their organization.

In Gallagher’s most recent State of the Sector report, 46% of respondents believe their organization doesn’t invest enough in communications technology — a tech stack that’s pivotal for increasing employee engagement. Another study found that roughly 88% of business leaders and 63% of employees wish their companies had better tools to help communicate more effectively.

That’s where modern employee intranet platforms like Simpplr come into play. They provide powerful, centralized solutions designed to measure and improve employee engagement — focusing impact on metrics like employee retention, revenue, productivity and efficiency.

Want to calculate the ROI of engaged employees in your business? Download this free ebook to measure the return of engaged workers.

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Intranet employee engagement - man and woman using a computer together

The connection between employee engagement and the modern intranet

“Prior to Simpplr, our employees were very siloed and communication was day-to-day with their supervisors and employees. It was very limited to what was going on in the building they were working in. It didn’t give a full picture of what it was like to be one team, because we are one team as a company — just spread out. When we implemented Simpplr, it broke down those silos and geographical distances between each facility, and it united us as one team.” ~ Hannah Bolte, Marketing Communications Director at Lozier

A modern intranet like Simpplr is designed to connect, inspire and support the workforce — wherever and however they work. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to elevate productivity and enhance the employee experience. It breaks down knowledge silos and unites remote teams. And it fosters high levels of employee engagement. Here’s how:

Single source of truth: The modern intranet gives employees a central place to interact, feel heard, and align on business goals.

It’s the cultural and knowledge hub, with communities based on shared interests and integrations with all the tools employees need to do their best work.

And with Simpplr’s employee intranet, you can ensure broad reach and resonance using targeted messages delivered through multiple channels. This all-in-one hub makes it easier for employees to not just do their job, but be informed and engaged, doing their jobs better.

Personalization: You can surface the right information to the right people at the right time. Simpplr’s AI adapts to employees’ preferences and searches to serve up relevant information automatically. The Smart Feed optimizes content based on employee activity, roles, locations and interests. And with Must-reads and Awareness Check, you can target important content to specific employees and verify they’re reading and absorbing it.

Connection and celebration: You can give employees a shared space to connect, collaborate and celebrate. Simpplr’s modern intranet includes features like a built-in employee org chart to help people easily find and connect with each other; Smart Feed to promote two-way communication, personalized content recommendations, collaboration and feedback; and peer-to-peer employee recognition.

Simpplr’s modern intranet was a “game changer” for building a sense of community within the workplace — especially when employees couldn’t be together in person, said Jackie Wilson, Executive Director for Diversity & Inclusion at BSE Global.

AI-driven analytics: With Simpplr, you can measure overall intranet engagement, adoption, employee sentiment and alignment with native analytics powered by artificial intelligence. This is passive listening at its best — a critical tool for understanding unspoken challenges that help you improve employee engagement. And the My Teams dashboard supports people managers in providing insights and guiding them to engage with and check in on their direct reports.

Whether you’re looking to improve employee engagement by centralizing important information and integrating collaborative tools, personalizing your communications, or simply cultivating a stronger company culture, modern intranets like Simpplr can make it happen.

Case study: Malwarebyes increases employee engagement with a modern intranet

Intranet employee engagement - Malwarebytes logo next to a photograph of a lock

Laura Wall Klieves, Vice President and Head of People at Malwarebytes, had an intranet wish list that hinged on encouraging employee engagement. She needed an intranet that was easy to set up and use, and one that would become a go-to source for employees to find information, engage, and advance their careers. Laura’s vision of the new intranet was a place where the company could align on its mission, values and goals — a hub where corporate leadership could deliver mission-critical communications and monitor responses in real-time.

Her wish came true with Simpplr.

Since the implementation of BytesNet, Malwarebytes’s employee intranet, employee engagement levels have consistently reached up to 75%. Employees are sharing comments, feedback, and overall interacting within the platform.

Download the full case study to learn more

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How Simpplr can help

A modern intranet like Simpplr can be a game-changer for increasing employee engagement and ultimately, overall organizational outcomes. With the proper strategy, execution and dedication, you can transform this software into an engagement powerhouse — a hub for communication and collaboration, productivity and celebration.

Request a demo today to see how Simpplr can help you improve employee engagement at your organization.

This article includes content originally contributed by Hani Khan.

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