If you are an entrepreneur who had a ‘great idea’ and started their own business, do you remember the days of being able to easily and effectively share information with your immediate business network to communicate whatever information you needed to provide them with? A common tale is how quickly this can all change. Sometimes this can be in the blink of an eye. Suddenly you have contractors involved to help with various aspects of your business, then a diverse customer base, and then staff on the payroll, often in multiple locations and time zones.
As your business continues to grow and evolve, so does the challenge for how to most effectively share and communicate information across your network. This common need gave rise to the Intranet. This term often gets confused with “Internet”. You may chuckle at this notion but it’s a common point of confusion. Put simply, the Intranet is a private information sharing platform which is only accessible to a limited audience or group of people typically bound by an organisation or closed network affiliation, usually staff.
According to referenceforbusiness.com, “when they were first introduced, intranets were dismissed by critics as the latest in a seemingly endless parade of technological fads and buzzwords. That soon changed when businesses started to realise just how important a tool an intranet can be”.
Most importantly, your intranet should be ‘a single source of truth’ for all your employees. A commonly held view is that SharePoint is the dominant software used for establishing intranets and encompass at least half of all intranets globally. FiveP believes that SharePoint is an excellent and versatile platform to underpin your internal information sharing activities and commence your intranet development journey. The technology used for your intranet doesn’t matter – if you can get away with a filing cabinet, do it!! The chances are that you have more information than a filing cabinet can handle.
Much like the old-school filing cabinets (with lock and key) the content in your intranet should be high quality (curated) and accurate – when was the last time you pulled a junk file out of a filing cabinet? With the meteoric rise and proliferation of social media in recent times, staff are typically very well versed in active communication and information sharing in a fast and timely manner. Therefore, their expectations when working for a company are no different.
The basic expectation is to be able to communicate, share, distribute and receive information about the broad array of company activities and happenings as and when they occur, without delay. It’s therefore important to ensure that you dedicate and devote focused resourcing to maintaining this communication flow long after your intranet has been developed and launched.
There is no better way to alienate and disappoint your staff than to provide them with an effective intranet platform and then see it remain stagnant and stale with old information for long periods of time. This experience can drive mistrust in management and engagement with their roles. The cost of a disengaged employee with low productivity is multi-faceted and something you should aim to avoid at all costs if you can help it.
There is a plethora of organisational benefits that are created from the development, implementation and effective management of a fit-for-purpose intranet. These include:
- Enhanced workforce collaboration and understanding
- More effective and timely communication
- Stronger workforce productivity and engagement
- Cross-platform capability and collaboration
- Promotion of a unified and exciting company culture.
FiveP believes that these are all benefits which well-meaning business leaders should not just aspire to but can realistically achieve and maintain over a consistent period of time.