Why Your Employee Intranet Fails to Deliver

Ask a handful of your colleagues about your company’s intranet and you are likely to be met with one of two responses: silence because the last time they logged in was during their new hire orientation or an earful because your employer has mandated the use of a static, outdated, and disorganized platform. Probe a bit further about the last time they used their employee intranet to solve a real problem and chances are it will be in the distant past, if ever. If your intranet is failing to deliver on its promise to boost employee engagement and create a more connected workforce, you’re not alone.

Through robust employee profiles and intelligent search capabilities, Structural empowers organizations by helping them better understand the strengths of their team. Request your demo today to see how we can help you effectively manage your human capital.

The Challenges of HR Intranets

There is no doubt that employee intranets have come a long way during the last decade, however, the benefits they provide haven’t scaled. The fact is, while most companies have invested both human and capital resources into building an employee intranet solution as a one-stop shop for information to employees, most legacy intranets are hurting.

According to a study by Prescient Digital about the utilization of HR intranets, while 80 percent of organizations have had intranets for five or more years, most employees visit their intranet only about once a month. Additionally, 72 percent of employees rate their internal social tools as fair to poor and are mostly used for top-down communication of benefits and vacation days.

While HR teams expect intranets to help solve internal employee engagement and collaboration problems, adoption and utilization remain challenging for employees, and intranets end up falling short in terms of creating more engagement opportunities.

In the evolving workforce who needs an intranet most?

Desktop applications, difficult navigation, unclear guidelines, and lack of connectedness to co-workers are hallmarks of enterprise intranets. These are especially challenging issues for Millennials, who have grown up with information at their fingertips. Millennials now account for 38% of today’s workforce, with trends indicating the number could be as high as 75% by 2025. Wired’s Enterprise Information Landscape Study, revealed some incredibly relatable and important insights about the top scenarios in which people felt frustrated. What is also interesting about this study was that the younger workforce, ages 18-31, were more frustrated than older segments.

Most frustrating scenarios in the enterprise according to Wired Study:

  • Figuring out who has specific information about a project or task: 17% of the total sample base found this frustrating, compared to 33% of 18-31 year olds.
  • Trying to find co-workers’ contact details: 10% of the total sample found this frustrating versus 24% of 18–31 year-olds.
  • Wasting time searching for documents: 28% of the total sample base found this frustrating versus 38% of 18–31 year olds.

People working in a office

These numbers will only continue to increase. Millennials are a generation that will seek to solve problems themselves and if they’re not satisfied with the technology being offered to them. More often than not, they’ll just find something else to use, which can become a significant security threat if unauthorized apps and tools are used for company work.

According to best-selling author, Daniel Pink, in “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”,

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

These attributes are especially apparent in the work styles of Millennials, but are ultimately universal for every employee in your organization.

Tools to Power Your Employee Intranet

Deploying tools that encourage open collaboration and idea sharing across organizations is vital for attracting and maintaining the brightest talent. Knowledge must flow seamlessly across boundaries, even catering to mobile and remote employees, who check their emails and connect with colleagues after hours and on weekends. To accomplish this we should utilize technologies that respond to the demands of the evolving workforce. This is especially relevant because the lines between our professional and personal lives are blurred more than ever before. Furthermore, we should evaluate the effectiveness of our tech.Effective tools promote a culture where employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.

Three areas to focus on when defining internal information management strategies include:

  1. Flexible content optimized for mobile and accessed from anywhere on any device based on how and when employees work. By using mobile-first enterprise technology, you’ll enable your workforce to easily find and connect with the people and data that they need to be successful, and remove barriers that come with desktop and web-based systems.
  2. Teamwork cultivation with the potential for both a peer-to-peer and manager structured feedback. Employees care about their workspace and want up-to-date information about reporting structures and location specific details such as conference room scheduling or even the cafeteria menu.
  3. Engagement and culture transparency highlighted with the seemingly simple features like recent hires and employee anniversaries. This recognition goes a long way toward building a sense of community and inclusiveness in an organization. Additionally, incorporating usability and design that reflects an organization’s commitment to their core values through social and news streams can foster and deepen connections to the individual’s sense of purpose.

How does your organization use technology to empower your employees? How does it seek to highlight opportunities to learn and share knowledge? How does it promote its core values or recognize the creativity and accomplishments of your workforce? If your intranet is not helping you answer these challenges, it might be time to reconsider your approach to internal technology. Learn how Structural customers are utilizing their people data to build more connected teams.

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