Current economic climate has affected all businesses and put them in a situation where one of the major company’s goals is to increase employee productivity. Intranet has always been a tool that should help employees do their job effectively. The question here is, what Intranet features does employees prefer in order to increase their productivity?
To get a better insight into what tools employees currently prefer within their company’s intranets I have created a poll question on LinkedIn “Which intranet features are most popular among employees?”.
Answer options refer to four different areas:
1. Employee directory (possibly reflects other search option)
2. News, Wiki pages, Blogs and Profiles reflects the increasingly popular social side of intranets
3. Online access to company’s documents reflects the increasing need for employees to be able to access needed data from any location.
4. My forms looks weather people are interested in saving files relevant to them in particular locations
Lets look at the results:
Results clearly indicate that most used intranet feature is Employee directory (64%) and possibly other search options. Garry McGroven carried out a study regarding tasks that employees mostly use intranet for, and his findings suggest it is for search purposes (1) Find people, (2) Find procedures and (3) Find forms.
Social and collaboration tools have made their way into organisations and are changing intranets. Internal instant chats, blogs, wiki pages, news feeds and Facebook like profiles are now being adopted. According to the poll results, employees are favouring these changes.
There are several benefits that were pointed out in comments to the poll that suggest that adopting sever features from popular Social Networking website Facebook might be highly useful for your intranet.
Currently, most of intranets have employee directory, list of names, job titles and contact details. How many times did you need to contact someone within the department about specific issue, but did not know who to contact as they had 5 HR mangers? I think the answer would be quite a few times. Having employee profiles (Facebook style) where each person would have a description of what exactly they are doing and how they might be able to assist others, should save others time and help them quickly get in contact with the right people.
Another feature that you might be interested in adopting from Facebook, is live activity feed. According to one of the comments it has proven to be very useful for bringing to the surface activity happening on the intranet as a whole.
Online/Mobile access to work documents is another increasingly popular intranet feature. Several articles are predicting mobile access to intranets to be the major trend in 2012. Polls comments have pointed out that mobile access would obviously make intranets look much more versatile and indicated that they are receiving more and more request from employees to gain mobile access to documents.
If you are thinking of adding extra features to your intranet consider dropbox function. It allows people to save time then distributing large files internally by sending a link to the file rather then attaching it to the email (time to upload + possible issues with the size of the file).
I think the results from the poll and comments made highlight how much of an impact social and collaboration tools had on intranets and by the looks of it intranets are going to be continuously challenged to try to increase engagement and collaboration within the company.
If you have any additional thoughts about intranet features please share your opinion in comments or on the poll: http://linkd.in/pO0LDR