SharePoint

6 Ways to Boost Employee Collaboration

The most common question we get asked when we talk to prospective customers is “Can you help us make our Intranet more engaging?” If your team doesn’t adopt your intranet, then they won't collaborate on it.

Intranets are a fundamental part of the digital workplace, but that doesn’t mean they’ve all been created equal. We’ve probably all seen a company site that’s dull and uninspiring, or worked directly on a portal where documents are hard to access, the news is stale and the social engagement is like everyone’s been invited to a party – but no one’s bothering to RSVP. 

What your business needs is an Intranet that teams fall in love with, and keep using. 

The most common question we get asked when we talk to prospective customers is “Can you help us make our Intranet more engaging?”  If your team doesn’t adopt your intranet, then they won't collaborate on it.

The business case for an engaging intranet

If you see your Microsoft, Sproket or Sharepoint Intranet as a vehicle for improved communication, productivity and employee collaboration, bravo! It is a gateway to building relationships with your staff who will appreciate a site they can trust, value and use as a collaborative tool. 

Your Intelligent Intranet is a part of your digital workplace solutions, a unifier, a place where things get done thanks to everything your staff needs being in one place. It is also a reflection of your corporate culture, and more importantly, a measure of employee satisfaction and engagement. Organisations that have an engaging Intranet that is intuitive and user friendly will promote employee collaboration, which leads to greater profitability and productivity.

How Intranets help improve staff collaboration

So what are the right intranet ingredients to boost employee engagement and collaboration? And once you’ve decided on those, what are the best ways to achieve success or maintain that wow factor once it has gone live? 

1.  Offer a great user experience

Too often, the Intranet is the poor cousin to the company website. You don’t expect your prospective customers to need the training to navigate your website, so why should the Intranet be different? It is essential that your digital workplace makes sense and can be used by your staff without the need for long training sessions. If help is needed, then it should be delivered in a ‘self-serve’ way that it can be a self-serve.   

Don’t cut corners on the user experience, it will have a negative impact on staff and undermine the good work of the implementation team.  

2. Engaging content is king

It’s easy for a new site to quickly appear tired and jaded after its initial launch if it isn’t kept up-to-date with fresh content – think of it as the voice of the people, your people. Plus, there needs to be a sense that teams can contribute to the content and correct it based on their job, location and personal likes and dislikes.

Your Intranet should also convey your culture and brand; thanks to it being engaging, intuitive and interesting. Features that can help engagement include: 

  • Visual images that convey culture and purpose.
  • A launchpad with links to commonly used sites and web applications.
  • News, announcements, blogs and social media feeds where staff can like comments and reply.
  • Easy-to-find staff contact details and staff reporting structure.
  • A space for everyone to stay up to date on what’s happening, such as birthdays, events and anniversaries. 

3. Keep it simple, manageable and searchable

One of the quickest ways to reduce employee collaboration is by having a portal that is clunky, confusing and difficult to navigate. The Intranet is meant to be a single source of truth, but that trust can quickly be lost if it becomes unmanageable. This happens when content is hard to find or processes are duplicated – wasting time. 

Staff are busy and often swamped with information from the moment they sit down at their desks to when they walk out the door at night. They need the information to be easy to find, relevant and reliable. 

So offer your teams a site that will allow them to quickly locate documents they need to lookup often and make it easy for them to search for the information they are not familiar with. 

4. Socialise - bring people together

A company may have offices in major cities, regional areas or globally, and an Intranet is an important way to keep staff connected (and give them an understanding of corporate culture if they have never stepped foot inside HQ!) 

Your Intranet portal can share corporate or team-building messages, allow teams to collaborate on projects and bounce ideas off each other, encourage discussions about product development or customer feedback, and find out about what other departments are doing. 

A more relaxed, social component of your Intranet – whether it’s a poll, asking for feedback on a topic or including amusing conversations on a social platform such as Yammer – is a powerful way of boosting employee collaboration. If one of your team members has had a baby or announces an engagement, invite people to add comments on the front page each time. Video content or multimedia is another valuable medium for engagement. 

By providing an internal platform for interaction between staff, there will be a drift away from less interactive platforms such as email.  

5. Ensure staff can log on from anywhere

As many employees no longer work a strictly nine to five job in an office, the reliance on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has grown enormously in recent years. 

It makes sense, then, to have an Intranet site that your team members can access anywhere, anytime using their mobile or tablet. A responsive mobile interface for your Intranet ensures that staff can find their way around, regardless of the device they are using. 

From an employee’s perspective, there is nothing more frustrating than wanting to connect while out and about, but being unable to. We’ve all had that moment when we’ve wanted to read a document, find a file or discuss content with a team member, but can’t access the files we need. Or we’ve thought of productive ways to fill in the hours during a long flight but can’t access documents left back at the office. 

6. Make it fun

If it fits the culture of your organisation, make your Intranet fun. Give it a name that tells everyone that you are serious about being entertaining. 

Have a naming competition just before you launch. Or what about an Intranet scavenger hunt? Hide messages and images in the pages and ask staff to find them and report them on your social media page. 

If it’s implemented well and kept up-to-date, your Intranet is a valuable tool for boosting staff engagement and collaboration. If you would like to know more about Sope and our new mobile-ready, fully branded intranet in a box, request a demo today.

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