Intranet Software Best Practice & Strategy

An intranet is a key component of the modern digital workplace, and if thoughtfully designed and implemented, will effectively boost employee engagement. As a result, you could see productivity increase by up to 25%.

But not all corporate intranets are created equal, and yours will be closely scrutinized — only 38% of employees are satisfied with their workplace’s tools and tech, and 16% of Gen Z and Millennial employees have walked away from a job because the tech was insufficient for them to do their job.

In order to keep your staff happy, productive, and engaged, and to ensure you’re meeting corporate intranet best practices, it’s helpful to create a strategy before pushing forward with design and creation.

Let’s look at some company intranet best practices for creating a high-functioning, popular, collaborative platform:

1. Omnipresence

Cloud-based intranets, whether fully cloud-hosted or hybrid, offer unmatched scalability and flexibility for next-gen intranets. They enable secure access to work tools and resources from any device, facilitating effective communication, collaboration and productivity in our increasingly mobile workforce.

2. Full mobility

Modern enterprises operate across diverse locations, necessitating a flexible intranet structure in order to meet best practices. Yours must cater for all your staff, including head office, remote workers and frontline workers, all of whom have distinct needs.

Desktop access may well suit office employees, but those on the move or the frontline require mobile-first design or employee app. Features like push notifications, offline reading, and intuitive UX ensure mobile users stay connected, fostering a sense of inclusion and connectivity across your entire workforce.

3. Easy social interaction

To create a vibrant and engaging platform, users need to actively participate in order to enrich everyone’s digital experience. While content and communication are essential, nothing beats the interactions and connections fostered by a social intranet.

Best practices include adding features like all-company feeds for organization-wide news updates and private feeds for team collaborations. These amplify engagement by facilitating meaningful conversations within your platform.

4. Full security

To follow intranet security best practices, your platform should adhere to top-tier standards like ISO27001 and SOC 2 accreditation. Security goes beyond technology; effective access management within your enterprise portal is also crucial.

Grouping users into manageable security groups and defining their access rights for viewing and editing various content across your entire portal should ensure secure information remains protected.

5. Seamless integration

Your solution should offer a robust integration framework, enabling seamless incorporation of existing enterprise technology into your intranet. Third-party apps need to integrate effortlessly, reducing the need for users to switch between systems and enhancing productivity. For quick access to vital information, prioritize a unified search experience — one that’s natural and intuitive.

6. Second-to-none UX

Continuing with the theme of intuitiveness, be sure your intranet is straightforward to use to ensure high adoption rates. If employees need extensive training to learn a new platform, this may hinder adoption, creating a barrier between users and the technology. Following digital accessibility best practices can ensure great UX for every employee.

A user-friendly platform encourages effortless integration into work processes, making your intranet a go-to hub for employee needs. Ensure your design is simple and try to remove adoption barriers when launching.

7. Multilingual

Global enterprise communication can be complex when dealing with diverse users. To boost engagement, your intranet should be convenient and available in users' preferred languages. AI-powered multilingual translation simplifies content publishing in various languages, saving time and resources.

8. Measurability

Since the idea is to sustain ongoing value from your intranet, you’ll need to maintain an agile development approach aligned with your organization's evolving needs. To gain insights into user trends, track and measure intranet usage and engagement. This way, you can make informed decisions about its future direction.

An analytics dashboard enables easy performance tracking. Whether using a preconfigured or custom dashboard, you can report on valued metrics and data to benchmark your intranet's success against similar-sized enterprises or those in the same industry.

Best intranet software guide pages


How to decide what intranet software is best for you

There is little doubt of the benefits of modern intranet software over an aging, static legacy intranet. But with so many options out there, how do you know where to start? Download our comprehensive guide today to understand the questions you should be asking before deciding upon intranet software.

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What is an Intranet Strategy?

Having a solid intranet strategy ensures that company intranet best practices are being met. It might look something like this:

1. Set your goals

Defining clear objectives is crucial for any new technology project. Without a well-defined purpose, planning and design efforts lack focus. Creating an intranet content strategy, aligning your approach with your digital goals and creating a comprehensive plan will ensure you derive sustained value from your new intranet.

Begin by setting clear goals and a vision statement for your intranet. These objectives act as performance benchmarks, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and adjustments and ensure your intranet consistently meets its targets.

Intranet challenges may include enhancing internal communication, breaking down information silos, improving talent retention, or boosting employee engagement. Engage with staff and stakeholders to gather their intranet expectations.

Once defined, your intranet's purpose becomes the guiding principle for all project-related activities, making it the ideal starting point.

2. Understand your users

To create a user-centric intranet, it's vital to recognize that each member of your organization has unique technology needs. Tailoring your platform to meet these individual requirements is key to enhancing the digital employee experience.

Before setting to work designing and deploying your intranet, assess your user base and gather feedback to understand their specific needs. Armed with this insight, you can customize your intranet to stay relevant and valuable to your employees, ensuring it aligns with their priorities and enhances their overall experience.

10 essentials for intranet employees love guide pages


10 essentials for creating an intranet employees love

We've created a guide to bring you our top tips for creating an intranet your employees will want to keep coming back to. With real-life insights from top brands from around the world, download the guide today to inspire your own intranet strategy.

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3. Find your creators

Building an intranet requires assembling a skilled project team. To ensure success, select individuals with the necessary skillset, drawing a diverse team from various sectors within the organization. This approach ensures each sector is represented, which, in turn, encourages widespread adoption.

4. Plan your intranet adoption strategy

Achieving broad user adoption within your organization is a significant challenge when implementing enterprise technology, including intranet platforms. Without user buy-in, the potential benefits remain unrealized.

Prior to your intranet launch, it's crucial to proactively inform employees about the upcoming changes and facilitate adoption through comprehensive staff training programs. These programs are essential for encouraging active intranet usage and high engagement levels.

Next-gen intranets offer various features to engage even widely dispersed workforces, such as mobile-friendly designs, user-friendly social elements, and top-notch search capabilities. To maximize the appeal, a meticulous planning and adoption strategy is vital. This includes thoughtfully crafting your launch plan, effectively promoting the solution, ensuring its user-friendliness for newcomers, and communicating its value to your workforce.

Digital workplace adoption guide pages


Digital workplace adoption guide

Intranets (as one aspect of the broad suite of digital workplace technologies) tend to suffer from low levels of usage once they’ve been launched, when the initial period of excitement has ebbed away. Download our 12-page guide as we dive into digital workplace adoption, helping you to understand how to plan for it, measure it, and put a strategic plan in place.

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5. Choose your tools

How will you build your new intranet? Choosing the right approach hinges on your technical capabilities and the level of customization and functionality you require. There are three modes of implementation to choose from:

Custom Build: This approach offers complete control but demands advanced technical expertise. Without the necessary skills, you might end up with an intranet that doesn’t fulfill your purpose.

Off-the-Shelf with Hosting: You can use downloaded software for an off-the-shelf intranet, but may encounter limitations in functionality. Enhancing it may lead to unexpected costs, and technical knowledge is still required for proper setup.

Cloud-Based Intranet Provider: Opting for a cloud-based solution has several benefits. Providers customize the intranet to your specific needs, offer online hosting, and expedite deployment. This choice relieves the burden on your servers and streamlines the process.

6. Demo, demo, demo

To ensure your intranet’s success, it's crucial to assess its functionality and user experience (UX) through a demo. Many intranet providers offer free demos, which provide an opportunity for your project team to gather feedback and identify potential issues early in the process.

Given that user adoption is paramount for your intranet's success, your primary focus should be meeting your users' needs and delivering an exceptional employee experience. The demo allows you to examine examples of effective design and ensure UX best practices are being achieved. Intranet design is just as vital as its functionality, as a cumbersome, unintuitive intranet can deter users. To boost engagement and usage, every aspect, from theming and color schemes to page structure, should be optimized with your users in mind. The key is to prioritize your users' needs throughout the intranet design process.

7. Launch your intranet

With your new intranet designed, created and tested, it’s time to launch. Set aside time for employees to create their own profiles and explore your new platform.

Intranet launch guide pages


10 essentials for staging the ultimate intranet launch

Launch activities are an essential part of maximizing returns on an intranet investment. Planning an effective launch gets new sites buzzing from day one, resulting in faster adoption and increased engagement. Whether there’s budget available – or just manpower and internal communications – the key to a successful intranet launch is having a solid plan backed by reams of enthusiasm.

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8. Analyze performance

Successful intranets evolve to meet changing workforce needs. After launching your intranet, continuous tracking and analytics are essential. They enable measurement of platform performance against strategic goals and help pinpoint areas for improvement, ensuring ongoing development and growth.

Intranet Software Best Practice Quick Tips

Choose a modern platform:
The more your intranet looks like the social media and entertainment platforms your employees frequent, the more they’ll want to use it.

Prioritize security:
There’s no room for compromise on this – a formal intranet security protocol is the only approach to take.

Create your own design:
Your intranet should reflect your company branding, so take this opportunity to customize your employees’ online experience.

Make your homepage ping:
Your homepage is the most important page on your intranet. It should be eye-catching, uncluttered, engaging, personalized, and balanced.

Help employees find content:
Make it easy for teams to find relevant files or documents in a couple of clicks. Use noticeboards, dashboards, and social media feeds to provide the latest updates.

Ensure a personalized employee experience:
Show your employees you’ve considered their needs by building an intranet taking into account their various jobs, geographical locations, languages, and ways of working.

Design for accessibility and ease of use:
Follow intranet information architecture best practice to organize, categorize, and structure your content with logic and intuition in mind.

Create your Intranet Strategy with Unily

Unily will work with you to build the intranet of all intranets, helping you boost engagement and collaboration, fuel productivity and futureproof your enterprise technology for an enhanced employee experience. You’ll be following in the footsteps of global clients such as Shell, which saves over $41m annually thanks to the ease of access and functionality of their intranet.

Speak to our experts and let’s lay the foundation for your organization’s intranet strategy together.

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Reinvent your intranet for the employee experience era.

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