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Intranets are a powerful tool for managing any enterprise, but more and more businesses are coming to realize intranets can be a powerful workforce engagement tool as well. A more engaged staff means higher company morale, increased productivity, better collaboration and lower staff turnover. The business intranets of today harness the existing power and momentum of social networks and route them into business advantages.

Improving employee management, collaboration and engagement is a goal of all businesses. Workers who feel they are a part of something larger than themselves and that their work is valued tend to be more productive, innovative and loyal. An intranet used to contribute to this results in a higher ROI, improved bottom line and more sustainable company success. Here are some key ways an intranet system can be used as a tool for higher workforce engagement:

1. Increased/Improved Interaction and Communication

Employees want to feel as valued as management and executive level staff for their roles in the enterprise, but unfortunately, all too many business owners and CEOs fail to see this and don’t take steps to ensure this feedback and synergy. What they may not realize is that improved engagement can be as easy as the existing company intranet system. It is a built-in channel for communication, collaboration and company-wide interaction that can help workers at every level feel how integral they are to the success of the enterprise.

2. Streamline and Simplify

The intranet system should be streamlined and as user-friendly as possible to minimise frustration and confusion and maximise positive benefits. Complexity will be necessary for some applications, but simplicity for the user should be a priority. Benefits of collaboration and increased worker engagement will be enhanced by a more user-friendly system.

3. Customise for Engagement

Today’s intranet can be custom-configured to business needs and specifications, and organisations should take advantage of this fact to increase engagement within the system. The social networking and community tools offered in the intranet should contain elements of the company brand and mission statement and perfectly cater to the needs of the workforce.

4. Allow for Expression

The intranet should allow workers to easily share their opinions and ideas in a way that they will be heard and responded to. They should also be able to ask questions and receive support via the company intranet. This means of self expression will allow them to feel heard and respected, and it will also help to cultivate and foster relationships among both employees and management.

5. An Atmosphere and Environment of Respect

The environment and vibe of the intranet space should be based upon a foundation of mutual respect. Any other type of communication should not be tolerated, as the intranet should always remain a safe and supportive place for employees to feel secure in expressing themselves and being treated well. Effective communication, positive interaction and respectful responses are paramount in creating an intranet that increases workforce engagement.

6. Provide Relevant, Valuable Content

Sharing content and resources over the intranet that have a lot of utility and benefit for employees is another effective way to keep engagement levels high. From industry articles and trends to worker tips and tools, sharing useful content helps workers to feel supported and in the know. Content can be articles, blog posts, videos, audios or photos. Employees should also be encouraged to share content via the intranet if it fits with company specifications and guidelines for relevance and appropriateness.

7. Make Room for Fun and Laughter

While an intranet is a business tool that is intended to improve workflow and engagement, it shouldn’t be just about being serious and business-like all of the time. A sense of humor can go a long way in promoting employee engagement and morale, as long as it is handled in a professional manner. Consider having “Fun Fridays” where workers can each share one thought-provoking or entertaining item via the intranet. Never underestimate the power of a funny cat video to boost worker morale and positive sentiment about their jobs!

8. Add a Virtual Water Cooler

In line with making room for entertainment, there should also be a thread or area where workers are allowed to discuss non-work topics with co-workers on breaks or after hours. This could take the form of a chat room or forum that’s just for socialisation. Fostering personal connections among employees makes them more likely to value their job and keep working there. Studies have shown workers who do not feel personally connected to at least one co-worker are far more likely to seek other employment opportunities. Worker blogs and social media accounts can also enhance the more personal and social aspects of a business intranet.

9. Get Worker Feedback with Regular Surveys

As the intranet is created, launched and used, time should be taken to elicit direct employee feedback. A short survey asking employees to rate different aspects of the intranet as well as their overall opinion about it will offer feedback about its utility and effectiveness. A mixture of questions with 0 to 10 ratings as well as open-ended questions allowing employees to give specifics can be very helpful in measuring engagement and finding out how the intranet could be even better going forward.

10. Get Senior Staff on Board

An organisation is only as strong as its leaders and management. These people set the tone for the company, and the workers tend to follow suit. The behaviors and beliefs of leaders inevitably filter into the workers’ thought patterns and habits. An effective intranet can improve communication exponentially between employees and senior level staff. Management should be trained to become proficient and passionate about using the intranet system to maximise communication among all workers.

11. Keep Processes and Procedures Flexible

A company intranet can allow for flexibility in changing processes, procedures, workflow and other aspects of the work day on demand. A flexible atmosphere and ease of change enhances workforce engagement. With easier, more efficient communication, changes can be rolled out and enacted in hours or days instead of weeks or months. Businesses should take advantage of the speed and efficiency of a company intranet to keep business procedures as streamlined and up to date as possible. Central document storage, video tutorials, online meetings and instant messaging can all help to spread the word about internal changes.

12. Make Workers Feel a Part of Something Larger Than Themselves

Workers are the most engaged, productive and loyal when they have the sense that they are an integral part of something bigger than themselves. A company intranet can keep them abreast of changing industry and company conditions and let them know their presence and energy is contributing to the whole.

The disposition with which workers come into work and regard their job is a starting point for their success on the job – or lack thereof. Employee engagement improves the personal attitudes of employees as well as their performance and behavior on the job. Engaged employees report higher job satisfaction, are more likely to be proactive, are more committed/loyal to the organization and are less likely to seek other opportunities. Use these 12 tips to maximise employee engagement using an intranet to create a more efficient, effective and successful workforce.

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