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With so many companies now using some flavour of Microsoft Office 365, the question of whether to make use of SharePoint Online to build a company intranet as part of your digital workspace is coming up for more and more people.

So why might your business need an intranet? Here are the top 12 reasons:

  1. Improves internal communication

    A good modern intranet, such as SharePoint and/or Teams, allows discussions to occur via chat features, instead of the usual behemoth reply all email chains.

    • Teams can have open discussions
    • Individuals can share knowledge
    • Leadership can stay in touch
    • Departments can provide updates
  2. Connects your company across locations and time zones

    It can be hard for a geographically distributed team to stay up to date and cohesive, and an intranet can help this by becoming the place where conversations take place, company news is shared, and events are planned.

  3. Helps employees find information

    A well indexed Search is one of the most useful tools in an intranet, as if this is done well, it can be a huge productivity booster, and stops the old problem of people pulling their hair out while trying to find which folder they saved the proposal document in.

    The intranet should also be the 1 stop shop for anyone looking for any other tool they might need to do their job. Even something as simple as an easily accessible repository for quick links can increase discover-ability and expose them for use.

  4. Document version control and collaboration

    Once you do find the document you’re looking for. Another very useful tool is document collaboration and version control. Stop your employees sending hundreds of competing “FINAL v3.5 – last one” email attachments, and instead train them to only exchange links to the one single source of truth in your document repository.

    You then have full version control to be able to see who made what changes, and roll back to previous versions as needed.

  5. Records Management

    Many companies need to be able to keep certain documents for a period of time (e.g. 7 years for legal documents), and many intranets can automate this for you, and even automatically archive or delete older docs as needed to avoid over-bloating.

  6. Boosts recognition and reward

    Employee motivation is a key topic for any business owner, and timely recognition (either public or private) is one of the easiest tools to employ to help with this.

    This is also a great way to reinforce and improve your company culture.

  7. Simplifies employee on-boarding

    A good intranet makes on-boarding simpler than ever. New hires can use it to find their feet with easy-to-access documents, up-to-date organisation charts, rich bios on their peers, and a vibrant news hub that provides information and insights into the culture of the company.

  8. Provides organisational clarity

    Especially in larger organisations, it can sometimes be hard for any employee to easily grasp the full structure, and roles and responsibilities of all their co-workers

    Intranets with clear and dynamic organisation charts provide clarity on the shape and set-up of your company. Individual bios or profiles add rich layers to this clarity and help employees understand the roles and responsibilities of individuals throughout your business, as well as contact details if appropriate.

  9.  Reinforces your brand and values

    Intranets provide many avenues for putting your company values front and centre, such as:

    • Publicly recognising employees for living out company values
    • Sharing web articles relevant to your values
    • Asking employees to share examples of the values they see in daily work life
  10. Reduces emails and meetings

    Intranets with a good, integrated chat feature make discussions easy. You’ll be able to ditch the dreaded reply-all email and have productive conversations away from messy inboxes.

    With improved internal communication, it’s easier to keep everyone informed and garner feedback. Which means you won’t need as many large group meetings that suck up time from multiple calendars.

  11. Simplified processes and workflows

    An intranet is an obvious place for approval workflows to live, whether for content creation, leave forms, purchase requests, or anything else. If you need a predictable, easily find-able, repeatable, audit-able workflow, the intranet is the perfect place for it.

  12. Brings your workplace culture to life

    A company is not a company without its people, and modern intranets are about those people. Bringing them together, bringing out the best in them, and enriching your company culture in the process.

    Through the actions mentioned above—peer-to-peer recognition, leadership articles, brand messaging, and more—a good intranet becomes a hive of activity that takes on the characteristics of the company itself.

    It’s a hotbed of company culture, and this should help to keep your employees engaged.

    Conclusion

    An intranet can be a powerful tool. It can turn your employee engagement around, clarify internal communication, and streamline processes. But, you have to make sure you build it right, and drive adoption.