28 Essential Intranet Features to Enhance Collaboration Effectively

by Yvonne Harris

If your business could use some collaboration and productivity improvements, implementing a social intranet is always a great option. However, to ensure you’ll be getting the most out of your intranet, there are several key features to look for. In this article, we will take you through 28 of the most essential intranet features out there today.

Before we get started, you might be wondering: what exactly is an intranet? Simply put, an intranet is a private network that allows company information to be shared securely among employees. Not to be confused with the word internet, which is open for anyone to access.

 

Essential intranet features

The following are general intranet components that every business should look out for. Having the following properties within your intranet software is the best way to ensure all team members stay on the same page and can access essential information as quickly as possible.

 

employee directory Employee directory

The people directory provides access to all staff within a company and includes contact information such as each person’s name, job title, email address, and phone number. This intranet feature not only makes it easier for office workers to locate information, but it also benefits new hires who are not familiar with various departments and remote workers who can’t just get up and walk around the office.

 

news feed News feed

Having a company news feed ensures that everyone can always see information on important company updates, and events. External news sources can also be shared through the feed to keep everyone up-to-date on things like compliance and other changes that could affect company policies.

 

document management Document management

Document management is perhaps one of the most attractive intranet benefits within a company because it allows people to share and manage documents with ease. Moreover, many intranets offer the option for simultaneous editing, making it easier than ever to collaborate on important documents and projects.

With intranet document management, employees also have the option to upload to a central repository, which can always be accessed later by the person who uploaded it along with others in the business.

 

task management Task management

Everyone within a company carries their own to-do list. Some keep track of theirs virtually on a computer while others opt to write down their daily tasks. But, what if everyone had a central platform to access assigned tasks and mark them off as they go?

Not only does this reduce the possibility of tasks slipping through the cracks but it also gives managers a better idea of everyone’s progress and lets them know if task delegations need to be adjusted.

 

calendar Calendar

Using an intranet calendar gives an extra level of organization when it comes to keeping up with appointments, meetings, and events.

Moreover, if your company already uses a robust calendar management system like Microsoft Calendar or Outlook, many intranets integrate with them already to avoid having to do a manual migration to a new calendar management tool.

 

Collaborative features

From sharing documents with other team members to initiating brainstorming sessions, collaboration is certainly a key intranet feature. On that note, you should ensure that your intranet is equipped with the following optimal collaborative performance:

 

collaborative workspaces Collaborative workspaces

Workspaces are going to be the central “hub” that users navigate to when they want to share content and work with others to track deadlines, work on projects, share updates, and more.

Many intranets allow you to let anyone join in on workspaces or add an additional layer of protection that limits workspaces to certain users.

 

social features Social features

As previously mentioned, intranets often offer a social feed for employees and upper management to create a space for sharing important updates, news, and events. Other social elements to look out for include communication hubs for bringing specific groups together and social timelines to organize information by relevance (e.g., organizing content and updates based on the latest news).

 

Productivity features

According to Mckinsey, having a modern intranet can increase the productivity of interaction workers (those who are in a high-skill or management position) by 20 to 25 percent. This is because intranets make it easier to gather information, communicate/collaborate internally, and manage role-specific tasks.

Let’s look at some of the best intranet uses for productivity.

 

task management Task Management

The best intranet solutions for keeping your teams moving in the right direction revolve around task management. They streamline processes that used to range from complicated to nonexistent. Now, creating and assigning tasks, updating them, and tracking their status is easy.

Whether you’re scheduling meetings or coordinating major projects with your work-from-home staff, you can say goodbye to Post-it Notes.

 

data-transfer File sharing

Compared to a traditional document management, modern intranets offer file-sharing capabilities that offer less confusion, better collaboration, and minimal software juggling (moving between multiple applications/locations to access files) because documents and tasks are in one centralized location with search functionality.

In addition, having all files in a central location eliminates the occurrence of duplicate files within an company’s computer system.

 

workflow Workflows

Workflows are a great feature to allow companies organize their business processes. Redundant, mundane tasks can be automated through a sequence of actions or activities, saving you precious resources. A feature that’s commonly used alongside workflows is form creation to manage information and ensure the accuracy of both incoming and stored data.

 

calendar Calendar

Calendars can be shared with other team members and departments to minimize interruptions, and double-booking.

 

responsive-design Mobile accessibility

Mobile accessibility gives workers access to company information regardless of where their physical location lies. In this day and age, accessibility is vital for businesses participating in remote work opportunities or staff who travel regularly.

EN - Whitepaper : Company Intranet

Intranet features, what about communication?

Intranet communication goes hand in hand with collaboration. Many of the aspects discussed below are also under varying sections above, but it’s important to take note of their impact on effective communication efforts as well.

 

news feed News feed

Much like a news feed you would run across on popular social platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, an intranet feed is a great tool for continuously updated content for people to view and like, share, and make comments on. This helps upper management gather a consensus on how users feel about the content and also get better feedback from a community-like structure.

 

portal Employee portal

Within an employee portal, you will most often find the people directory, company policies, benefits information (e.g., healthcare plans), continuous learning resources, a personal profile, payroll information, and (often) a section for social interactions.

It’s the ideal space for locating pertinent information and ensuring everyone stays up-to-date on company status, procedures, and policies.

 

employee directory Employee directory

The people directory is going to make direct phone and email communication efforts run smoothly, especially for newcomers still learning the names and roles of their colleagues.

 

Organization

The following intranet components are great for your company’s organizational efforts:

 

document management Document management

Managing documents becomes much simpler when everything can be uploaded and shared within the same software. It certainly speeds up accessibility and, as previously mentioned, drastically reduces redundancies.

 

calendar Calendar

If your business uses a system that seems to be overly complicated or isn’t user-friendly, it’s time to look for a better one. Intranet calendars promote organization by ensuring that everyone is on the same page with meetings and deadlines. This means no more wasting minutes locating co-workers’ scheduled events or having to send out additional communications to confirm whether they’re available or not.

 

data-transfer File sharing

File-sharing intranet components enable people create a logical folder structure that works for them. In a way, it can be similar to the structure of traditional paper filing (e.g. alphabetical, numerical, etc.) but without the hassle of trying to locate said files in a physical storage location or sifting through multiple papers to find what you’re looking for.

With an intranet, all files are in one place and can be located using a simple search function. You can apply specific intranet governance policies to manage this file sharing.

 

task management Task management

Task management capabilities are a great intranet feature for upper management personnel or employees in charge of delegating and managing to-do lists. Modern software allows tasks to be tracked by status (e.g. not started, in progress, completed, etc.) and can be managed with tags to ensure relevant personnel are being updated when a task status changes.

 

search-engine Integrated search

As your business grows, so does your data. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you’re implementing search functionality from the beginning to save hours down the road.

Integrated searching makes information and files available to be accessed seamlessly by typing in keywords to find what you’re looking for.

 

Intranet features, focus on informing and engagement

Certain intranet attributes have proven to be a great way to encourage engagement on topics that they might otherwise avoid or be reluctant to address. Moreover, intranets are a great way to inform staff members in a community-like way instead of making them feel singled out via other methods like an email or phone call.

 

news feed News feed

As mentioned previously, intranet news feeds are often created to resemble popular social media sites, which encourage things like sharing content, as well as commenting and reacting to content. Many people feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions in this kind of environment vs. the typical one-on-one email communication thread asking for feedback or information.

 

portal Employee portal

With the employee portal, there is no more running back and forth to HR to answer questions because everything can be readily accessed. Contrarily, it ensures employees are accessing information that they might otherwise be reluctant to ask for because they don’t want to be a “bother.”

 

employee directory Employee directory

The people directory is going to ensure that contact information remains updated and available to teams, offices, or other groups within your company’s organization. It encourages employees to reach out to their co-workers directly if they have questions or need assistance.

 

social features Social features

Social interaction is made better via a centralized hub that provides access to others thoughts and opinions as well as shared articles and content. In addition, it promotes collaboration and knowledge-sharing in a way that’s familiar to the younger generation of workers.

 

organizer Event management

It’s easier to share important event updates and let organizers know which team members plan to attend and who will be unavailable. Often, intranets will give users the option to view, join, or unjoin company events.

 

Intranet features for support and assistance

Support and assistance are available for anyone looking to connect with a specific person or department, submit tickets, and retrieve additional information such as analytics and reports.

 

supportHelp desk and IT support

The help desk is a great intranet feature to organize troubleshooting requests, push them through multiple channels, and create support tickets to track the status of requests while IT support creates an additional layer of organization by sifting through software-related issues.

 

dashboard Reporting and analytics

Intranet reporting and analytics capabilities include ways of accessing, reporting and analyzing activity within a company’s intranet.

 

time tracking Time tracking

Time tracking allow businesses to effectively manage timesheets, report how long is being spent on activities, what tasks and activities are requiring the most time, and even generate PDF invoices.

 

Human resources

A modern intranet is a surefire way to impress your company’s HR department. If your intranet features HR-specific systems, the HR department’s mission will be much easier.

 

exit Leave management

Leave management software is likely going to be an external site that connects with your intranet. These programs offer a seamless experience for HR professionals managing staff vacations, sick leave, seniority leave, unpaid leave, etc.

These programs not only give HR an organized way to track absences, but they also give them the option to share planned absences with other employees.

 

graphs  Performance management

Intranet performance management improves upon challenges that traditional management practices often pose. This includes things like goal setting, performance appraisals, and the overall management of performance metrics.

 

potential Training and development

Intranets can be a great way for HR personnel to set up continuous learning and training integrations. One example is the LMS365 learning management platform, which integrates well with the Microsoft 365 interface. Microsoft operates the SharePoint intranet, making it a seamless integration between the two.

 

Accessibility and customization

Because each business has its own set of goals, policies, procedures, etc. it’s not ideal to implement a system that offers minimal accessibility customization options. Fortunately, modern intranets do not lack such options.

 

responsive-design  Mobile accessibility

Mobile accessibility is becoming more of a need than a want due to the increase in home-based and employees on the go. Giving people access to intranet applications that provides them with relevant updates and information regardless of where they are is always a plus.

 

design customization Branding and customization

Being able to brand and customize your intranet is valuable in many ways. For one, a well-branded site creates trust and loyalty among staff. This goes far beyond the basic design of your intranet, however. Loyalty and trust are determined through things like user-friendliness, content, structure, and ease of use.

 

profileUser profiles

Giving users the ability to create and update their own profiles is a great intranet feature. It allows them to personalize their intranet experience, add important shortcuts/links, and prioritize elements most important to their workflows.

 

dashboard Custom dashboards

Perhaps one of the most important intranet aspects is its custom dashboard, which delegates what information members see including sales reports, inventory, projects, etc. It’s also the place to view performance metrics and other vital data, among other things.

 

Intranet features, what about partners and vendors?

There are also options for securely exchanging information with vendors and partners through intranet portals. This provides an effective two-way communication option with sources outside of your company’s walls, and a great option if you’re looking for a better way to monitor and make payments to vendors.

 

Communication, collaboration, and much more…

Finding the right intranet features that are going to benefit your business is no simple task. It takes research and knowing what to look out for before you officially make a purchase. But, the payoff is worth it. You’ll finally have a centralized system for accessing, sharing, and managing information that saves you both time and money.

Ready to start your intranet project but wondering what should an intranet include? And how to build an intranet? Then we have the ebook for you, download it below.

EN - Whitepaper : Company Intranet

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