Quick question: Does your company’s intranet act, feel and function like your external Web site?
Unless you work for Best Buy or a handful of other Twin Cities companies, the likely answer is no.
A litany of excuses exist–lack of resources, lack of commitment, lack of agreement between communications, IT and HR departments. Take your pick. Regardless, not having a progressive, more “social” intranet site is hurting your company–and your employee pride and engagement.
Employees expect company intranets to act, feel and function just like external Web sites. They want to be able to share and rank content. Share photos. And post comments to stories, articles and blog posts. All things they can do on the Web.
And why shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t your company be communicating with your employees the same way you communicate with your customers? Isn’t that just as important, if not more? Don’t your employees serve as the front lines to your customers? Aren’t they your primary brand champions?
Think about Facebook for a moment. You know a lot about your “friends” on Facebook, right? You know their birthdays, their interests, their hobbies, their kids names–and you’re able to view photos of all these folks and communicate with them in real time with a few simple clicks.
Now, think about your organization’s intranet–does it function the same way?
You may not have this kind of functionality on your intranet right now–but your employees expect you to. And when you don’t, what do they do? They go on Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter each night to connect with friends, family and coworkers.
So, what can you do–especially in this resource-constrained economy? Here are a few quick, easy and relatively affordable strategies:
* Give employees the ability to build their own profile–add photos, share interests and hobbies and update contact info. Basic information, but it will empower your employees and allow them to connect in ways you may have never thought of.
* Give employees the ability to rank content. The “folksonomy” approach. Think Amazon. By giving your employees the opportunity to rank articles, stories and videos on your intranet, you’ll be able to determine exactly what they’re interested in and tailor your approach in the future.
* Give employees the ability to connect with other employees–quickly and efficiently. This might mean providing IM, Yammer or video chat capabilities. The upside of this approach? You’ll take the heat off email–and who doesn’t want that with many folks receiving upwards of 200 emails a day? And in the process, you’ll improve employee productivity.
Implementing some of these basic first steps may not get you all the way to Web 2.0 status, but it will help you engage your internal stakeholders more effectively and connect them in new and different ways.