The company intranet: what is it and ideas to improve it

Take a look at the list of intranet improvement ideas to help you to maximize your intranet – boosting employee engagement, connection, and productivity in the process

What we'll cover

The company intranet shouldn’t be a place where your documents go to gather digital dust. Done right, an intranet acts as the beating heart of your organization.

That’s because there are so many ways you can use an intranet. Internal communication, project management, personnel services, collaboration – a modern intranet can be the hub for a diverse range of workplace activities.

Too often, however, the company intranet is neglected. Without regular improvement, it becomes irrelevant and unappealing to your employees. Usage drops and you end up paying for something that no one really engages with.

So how do you keep your intranet up to date and in use? If you feel your company intranet has lost its shine, take a look at the list of intranet improvement ideas below. They’ll help you to maximize your intranet – boosting employee engagement, connection, and productivity in the process.

What is a company intranet?

The intranet has changed a lot over the years. So we thought it wise to start with a definition.

A company intranet is a local network, exclusively for you and your employees. Unlike the company website, it’s a place where you can share documents and data privately – without worrying about clients, competitors, or the general public seeing them.

A basic company intranet usually includes:

  • Internal communication tools
  • An employee directory
  • Document sharing
  • Access to personnel services

That’s how we’d describe a traditional company intranet. But there’s a lot of variation between different intranet software. As we’ll see in a moment, older intranets are a world away from the modern versions many companies use today.

Why is it important to improve your company intranet?

An intranet can boost employee engagement and streamline operations. But if your organization is still using an older style of intranet, you may run into the following problems:

  • Functionality is limited
  • Employees don’t like using your intranet
  • Some employees (for example, your frontline workers) can’t access your intranet

There’s no getting away from it. Older intranets have limitations- they were designed for a version of the workplace that no longer exists. They’re great for sharing information among a desk-based team but traditional intranets aren’t particularly user-friendly or accessible.

In contrast, modern intranet software solutions are built with the needs of today’s digital workplace in mind. They allow easy internal communication and collaboration, even when employees are away from the office. And they provide a hub for workplace essentials, like benefits and payroll. 

But remember – whichever type of intranet you’re currently using within your organization, there’s always room for improvement. Technology and employee expectations are constantly changing and your intranet needs to keep pace.

Updates enhance the intranet experience for employees, which means they’re more likely to use the platform. They also bring a greater range of functions under the same intranet umbrella, helping teams to be more productive.

A fully optimized intranet (or a similar tool – like an employee app), puts essential tools at the fingertips of your workforce. Employees are more effective and engaged. And you get the most out of your software investment.

14 ideas to improve your company intranet

An older intranet is sometimes little more than a glorified shared folder. Even modern intranets can quickly fall behind ever-evolving tech trends and employee needs.

By improving your intranet, you create something altogether more useful and exciting. Adopt modern intranet features and you’ll bring your company intranet up-to-date while encouraging employee uptake too.

In this section, we’re going to look at lots of ideas for improving your company intranet.

1. Improve communication channels

2. Personalized user portals

3. Content creation

4. Social networking features

5. Integration of AI and automation

6. Mobile accessibility

7. Rewards and recognition

8. Feedback and surveys

9. Integration with other tools

10. Analytics and reporting

11. Onboarding and training resources

12. Security and data privacy

13. User training and support

14. Commitment to continuous improvement

1. Improve communication channels

Think of the communication tools you use outside the workplace – the apps you use to chat with friends and family.

These apps are appealing and engaging. They facilitate fast and easy communication via instant messaging. They allow you to chat privately or in groups. And they come with an intuitive, user-friendly interface.

Recreate the same experience within your company intranet and you boost both team connection and employee engagement.

So where should you start? The first step to improving intranet communication channels is ensuring everyone has a voice. Conversations should be two-way, not one-way. That means using communication channels that allow information to travel in all directions – peer-to-peer, top-down, and bottom-up.

Once you’ve established these types of communication channels, encourage your teams to use them. Allow employees to create spaces where co-workers can chat and collaborate. Welcome feedback and frontline intel from your workers and use channels to share important news.

When communication channels crisscross your organization in this way, everyone hears and is heard. And important information is a lot less likely to be missed.

2. Personalized user portals

Marketing emails. Grocery store rewards. Netflix recommendations. The best digital experiences are tailored to each individual consumer.

Personalization makes experiences more engaging – and, when we spend our days bombarded with information, it cuts through the noise to ensure that key messages resonate.

We can apply this approach to the company intranet. When an employee logs in and sees a dashboard personalized to their role, their team, and their past intranet interactions, everything becomes much more engaging. An employee gets relevant content front and center.  

Whether your intranet provides personalization automatically – or if employees can rearrange the user portal themselves – tailored experiences are another great way to improve your intranet.

3. Content creation

At a minimum, employees should be filling out their employee profile. But you can encourage them to go further. Make your intranet more relevant and engaging by involving all team members in content creation.

Employees can share team news, tutorials, and guides. To ensure cohesion, you can create a content template to support employees with the process, outlining the structure they should follow and the tags they can add.

Of course, employees can also contribute their posts, comments, and reactions on a social-media-style news feed.

4. Social networking features

72.3% of the US population uses social networking sites. So it’s safe to say that most of your employees enjoy hanging out on at least one of the popular social media platforms.

Graph of percentage on social media

Add a social-media-style news feed to your intranet solution and you make things feel a little less corporate and a little more social. Employees can see and share posts, images, and videos. They can also comment and react to posts published by their co-workers.

A news feed keeps employees in the know. It’s a place to share important workplace updates and events. But not any old news feed will do. If you want high adoption rates, you need a news feed with a user-friendly interface. When a platform is intuitive, employees find it easier to weave it into their work day.  

Blink Feed – a feature of the Blink super-app – replicates the experience of popular social network news feeds by prioritizing connection and usability. It offers a range of really useful add-ons, too – like critical messages that sit at the top of the news feed until employees read and acknowledge them.

5. Integration of AI and automation

Love it or loathe it, AI is making work quicker and easier. So incorporating it into your company intranet makes perfect sense.

With the help of AI, you can:

  • Automate repetitive intranet tasks, like expense report processing and employee onboarding
  • Give time-strapped content creators inspiration for their posts
  • Personalize employee portals based on the features they use most often
  • Send push notifications, drawing employee back to the intranet when new content is posted

Add an AI chatbot to your intranet and you can do even more. This virtual assistant can handle routine inquiries. It can help employees find answers to FAQs, locate relevant resources, or troubleshoot intranet issues. 

When AI and automation do some of the heavy lifting, employees complete tasks quickly and easily, and you lighten the load for your personnel and IT teams, too.

6. Mobile accessibility

Back in the day, old intranets worked off a server in the office. You could only log in if you were based on a desktop computer in the same building.

We’ve come a long way. Now, in a world where employees work remotely – and where they’re used to slick digital experiences – most intranets can be accessed via an internet connection. But does this go far enough?

If employees access your intranet solely from a computer or laptop screen, then maybe. But if you’re a frontline organization, probably not. You need a solution with mobile-first design that ensures the same great intranet experience across all devices.

That’s because frontline workers don’t always have access to a desktop or laptop computer. They often don’t even have access to a work email address. And if your intranet offers a sub-standard (or non-existent) mobile experience, these workers can end up cut off from co-workers, comms, and company culture.

A mobile-first intranet ensures every member of your organization – including those working remotely or on the frontline – gets the same information and sense of connection. Your intranet reaches employees wherever they spend their workdays.

7. Rewards and recognition

According to Gallup and Workhuman research, employees who get recognition for their hard work are up to 20 times more engaged than those who don’t.

Praise an employee and you boost their motivation. Give public recognition and that impact grows. You create a positive company culture. And the wider team – seeing that effort is rewarded – are more likely to up their game, too.

If you’re not using your intranet to recognize and reward the employee behaviors you want to see, this is another key area for improvement. You need tools – like Blink’s recognition feature – that help you weave small but meaningful recognition into your every day.

Show employees just how much you value them with instant, personalized messages. And go public, celebrating employee successes with the whole team so everyone benefits.

Aggregate Industries, a manufacturer and supplier in the UK, put this rewards action with their Net Zero campaign that is at a core of their organization.

In an effort to drive awareness about the team’s sustainability efforts, “carbon atoms” were placed throughout the Blink platform for employees to find while engaging with content. Once discovered, each atom held a question related to their Net Zero strategy, and when an employee answered the question correctly, they were entered into a contest for a prize. This ultimately drove incredible engagement with the platform while learning about a key strategy of theirs, and then the employees were rewarded when they engaged.

To learn more about how Aggregate Industries utilizes Blink for their Internal Communications strategy, check out our webinar here.

8. Feedback and surveys

The best intranets have built-in feedback and survey functions that make it easy to discover employee needs, concerns, and expectations.

You promote open, two-way communication with regular requests for feedback. You then have all of the communication tools you need to share findings and a plan of action with employees.

With these tools at your disposal, you can seek feedback on any aspect of the employee experience, including the intranet itself. Perhaps a crucial feature is clunky and difficult to use. Or extra functionality would make a popular tool even more useful.

Launch surveys via Blink’s mobile super-app and it’s super easy for employees to respond – even when using a smartphone. You can discover what employees think of your intranet, and then make data-driven software improvements.

9. Onboarding and training resources

When you use your intranet for onboarding, there are lots of benefits:

  • You create a standardized process
  • New hires have a resource they can refer back to
  • You save manager time because the intranet does some of the training for them
  • It’s easy to gather feedback and data on the onboarding process

If you aren’t already using your intranet to train new hires, start by putting mandatory training resources, FAQs, and video tutorials onto your portal. Also, encourage new starters to use your employee directory, finding relevant co-workers to connect with.

Introduce new employees to your intranet from the very beginning and you showcase its role within your organization. Employees get to see its features and benefits, and are more likely to use it going forward.

10. Integration with other tools

Company intranets are most useful when they’re a one-stop-shop – a hub for all the technologies, tools, and resources you use within your organization.

Putting everything in one place speeds up and streamlines workflow. Employees don’t waste time logging in and out of different platforms. And they don’t have to familiarize themselves with multiple interfaces. Instead, they access everything they need via your intranet portal.

If you’re currently using a patchwork of different tools, you can improve things by finding out which integrations your intranet software supports.

Alternatively, you can connect tools via a feature like the Blink hub. Here, you can put HR systems, internal communications, project management, employee benefits, and more, in the same accessible place.  

11. Analytics and reporting

If your current intranet doesn’t have analytics and reporting features this is another area crying out for improvement. With analytics, you get to see:

  • User behavior
  • Which features users like best
  • What users are searching for
  • How engaged users are with your intranet

With Blink Analytics you can go even further.

See how communication flows around your company so you can identify both positive and negative relationships. Filter employee engagement data by team or date range. Find the most popular news feed posts to learn which content grabs employee attention. 

Analytics and reporting functions make intranet data easy to understand and act upon. You can then use your findings to make your intranet even more effective.

12. Security and data privacy

There’s a cyber-attack every 39 seconds. Any digital workplace needs to consider the cyber security risks they face and regularly reassess the safety measures they have in place.

The best intranets provide rock-solid security that keep systems and data safe. So if your intranet security hasn’t been updated in a while, this could be another key area for improvement.

Access control measures prevent unauthorized users from accessing specific intranet sections or features. Encryption and password protection keep sensitive documents from prying eyes. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an extra-secure way to verify a user’s identity as they log in to the system.

Employee training is also essential. Everyone needs to understand secure password practices – and how to recognize and respond to security threats. When your teams understand best security practices you can rest easy, knowing that your intranet isn’t putting your business at risk.

13. User training and support

Employee security training is important. So too is intranet training. Too many intranets are underutilized simply because employees aren’t familiar with the range of features they offer.

Of course, the best intranets are intuitive and easy to use. But if you find that your adoption rates aren’t as healthy as you’d like them to be, hone in on training.

Create guides that explain intranet features and how to use them. Consider setting up a dedicated support channel for intranet-related issues and inquiries. Appoint intranet champions – members of staff who get full training on intranet systems and can then share their knowledge with co-workers.

Training and support help employees to understand and see the value in your intranet, while you maximize the impact of intranet features.

14. Continuous improvement

It’s never a case of implementing an intranet solution and then letting it run its own course. To get the best out of an intranet, treat it like a constant work in progress.

The tech tools we use in our personal lives are regularly updated. And your intranet solution needs to move with the times too. To stay relevant and engaging, it has to adapt to changing trends, tech advances, and the needs of your employees.  

With surveys, feedback requests, and analytics, you keep your finger on the pulse. You can figure out what’s missing from your intranet and which features need work. You also get the buzz of seeing which changes make the most impact.

Do companies still use intranets?

We’ve just spent a lot of time talking about the improvements you can make to the company intranet. But let’s circle back to an important question – do companies still even use them?

When it comes to the traditional company intranet, not so much. Business leaders have realized that a digital workplace and digitally-savvy employees need something more. They need an intranet that’s agile, user-friendly, and engaging. And traditional intranets don’t tend to tick these boxes.

That’s why many organizations have turned to modern intranet solutions courtesy of today’s top intranet software providers. They use an intranet that employees can access via an internet connection, one that combines lots of useful workplace tools, like project management and personnel services.

But for some organizations, these updated intranets are still falling short. So instead of an intranet solution, they’re choosing to use a mobile-first employee app.

Difference between intranets and employee apps

The intranet has its drawbacks. It doesn’t necessarily work across all devices. Nor does it provide the exceptional user experience that employees now expect. Employee apps – offering many of the same features as a company intranet – remedy these issues.

An employee app like Blink is:

  • Mobile-first
  • Intuitive to use
  • Built on two-way communication

Everyone in your organization can use the employee app. They don’t have to be sitting at a computer. And they don’t even need their own company email address. This makes employee apps particularly well-suited to frontline organizations.

Imagine a frontline worker – a bus driver who spends the day driving. She spends very little time with co-workers or at company HQ. In the past, when the company used an intranet that she couldn’t access, she relied on the depo notice board for company updates.

But now, thanks to the company’s employee app, she receives internal communication and makes co-worker connections via her smartphone. On her commute or during a break, she can open the app and get up to speed.

Unlike an intranet, an employee app boosts engagement, collaboration, and productivity for all employees. They typically have high rates of user adoption so no one gets left behind.

Preview Blink and learn about the features we offer for frontline teams.

The intranet of the future?

When you make improvements to your intranet, you help it to reach its full potential. You pack it with the features and functionality that make life easy for your employees.

Workers enjoy a user-friendly intranet experience that streamlines their workflow and helps them to connect with co-workers. You get boosted employee engagement and productivity.

Whether you choose to improve your intranet or switch to a mobile-first employee app, it’s all about using this incredibly powerful tool in a way that best meets the needs of your business.

Instant messaging and two-way communication features facilitate conversation across your organization. Integration with AI and other workplace tools makes teams more efficient. Personalized, social-media-style portals ensure employee engagement. Mobile-first solutions bridge the gap between frontline teams and HQ.

Prioritize improvements that match your business goals and you can have an internal communication solution fit for the workforce of today – and tomorrow.

Find out if Blink’s employee app is a good fit for your organization. Book a demo to see our platform in action.


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