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Can an intranet replace your HRIS system?

With the world of work having changed so dramatically in the last 18 months, so too has the role of HR. In the pre-pandemic workplace, employees were in offices and face-to-face contact was a regular occurrence. But with the sharp increase in flexible working, maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction has proven more difficult. An HRIS (HR information system) has long been used to handle the day-to-day people management, but can your intranet do it better?

HR manager

Move over HRIS - there’s an intranet platform in town

Your HRIS system can be relied on for storing employee information, performance management documentation, and learning & development materials. However, its first restriction is in the name – an HRIS system takes care of your HR-related needs and nothing more.

The result is you end up having software for HR and then an intranet for other things, giving your employees multiple platforms to try and navigate. However, it’s a common misconception that the two need to be kept separate; you can leverage your employee experience platform to do everything your HRIS system can do and give your employees a single point of access for everything they need to do their job. There are several myths surrounding HR intranets, but this list will tell you what you need to know and help you separate the wood from the trees.

Myth #1. An intranet is an internal comms tool

An intranet platform is great for internal comms, but you still need dedicated tools for HR, right? It’s a common myth that your intranet sits completely apart from your other platforms, but with advancements in integration, this is no longer the case. With an HRIS system, you can put all your employee information in, safe in the knowledge that the product is designed specifically for a purpose. It sits as a standalone product and ensures that HR can keep on top of everything.

But an employee experience platform allows you to bring all the other programs you’re using regularly including Office 365, Workday, Expensify, your HRIS system and more, into your intranet so you can have a single source of truth for your employees. Skipping between different programs becomes a thing of the past with an intranet, as it helps you to streamline your processes and have one location for everything. The result is increased productivity, as it’s easier for your people to accomplish their basic daily tasks, freeing up time for more important work.

HR software integration with your intranet is a huge step towards creating a digital workplace, making the experience more user-friendly, efficient, and simplified. Your employees will have a better overall experience, which will reinforce a positive culture and ultimately lead to a more engaged workforce.

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Myth #2. Onboarding is less effective when you use technology

HR teams tend to rely on face-to-face onboarding as the most effective method, thinking that if it’s being done remotely then new starters won’t get the best experience of joining the organization. After all, how can you embed the company culture into your new hires when you haven’t even met them? According to Gartner, when employees understand and feel connected to the organization’s culture, their performance improves by up to 22% so it’s essential that they can get a full overview of the business right from the start.

When the pandemic hit, offices and workplaces across the globe effectively shut down, forcing enterprises to remotely onboard new starters. The reliance on technology became greater than ever before, as the entire onboarding process changed almost overnight. Going virtual also opened the door to technology being able to offer more effective ways of onboarding.

Although it takes the human element away, leveraging your technology could result in a more effective onboarding experience. It can be overwhelming for new hires to try and get to grips with everything in the first few weeks, but an intranet platform gives your new hires one place to find everything, get the answers to their questions, and help them get a feel for the culture of the organization.

Woman participating in remote onboarding process

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Myth #3. Productivity drops when you rely on technology

In the age of remote work, productivity is a hot topic. When the pandemic forced global lockdowns, businesses initially had concerns around productivity dropping. Without a presence in the office, how were employees going to stay motivated and focused on work, particularly when faced with a whole new set of distractions? However, 94% of employers said productivity is the same or higher than it was before the pandemic.

With thousands of workers suddenly moving to work from home, reliance on technology wasn’t an option, and enterprises had to accelerate digital transformation strategies. Intranet platforms have become the backbone of many organizations as the main way of staying in touch, getting important comms out, and ensuring staff are kept up to date with rapidly changing situations.

Having an HR hub on your intranet gives you a place to host FAQs that cuts down on paperwork and avoids extra emails or calls that would have replaced staff dropping by the office to ask questions. The amount of time being spent on admin is reduced significantly, creating a boost in overall productivity.

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Myth #4: On-premises HR software is more secure than a cloud-based option

All too often, it feels like having the software held on your own premises is the safest option. Everything rests with you and if anything were to go wrong, you can see it and fix it yourself. Cloud-based solutions mean you have less direct responsibility and access if you need it, so surely it’s safer to keep things on-premise, right?

The reality is that if it’s on-premises, it’s probably less secure than a cloud-based option. Having a physical separation between your data and your employees and property is a huge advantage from a security perspective, not least because less physical access makes it harder for third parties to actually find and get hold of it. There’s another layer of protection from any aggrieved employees who may want to sabotage data.

A cloud-based intranet platform will constantly be updated to have the latest, and highest levels, of cyber-security, so the worry and risk from your organization is lowered further. Having a digital workplace platform that isn’t hosted on-premises will ensure your system adheres to internationally recognized best practices such as ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type II standards. You can tap into the knowledge that the provider has and leverage their security protocols, rather than having to hire a team internally to take care of it.

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So, can an intranet replace your HRIS system?

The short answer is no. A modern intranet should not replace your HRIS system, but it can enhance it. With the right integration strategy, your intranet can simplify access to a complex ecosystem of applications, including your HR tools. The result is an uptick in productivity and improved digital experience that contributes to a better overall employee experience for your HR teams and employees across the enterprise.

You may be able to retire some duplicate tools in favor of native capabilities that come with your intranet – like reward and recognition tools, people directories, and policy repositories. In doing so you will achieve cost savings and a simplified digital landscape. But the real benefit of putting an intranet at the heart of your HR toolset will be found in the positive impact on overall employee experience that comes with having a single platform that does it all.

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