Companies wanting to improve employee engagement and increase productivity are looking beyond traditional intranet and implementing the next phase of technology: the Digital Workplace.
In most organizations, the corporate intranet is the place employees go to get HR forms, check the employee handbook or find a co-worker’s phone extension. The intranet is likely very information-heavy, with static policy manuals and forms, company news, and a collection of internal sites in various stages of being current and maintained.
While the intranet may offer a great deal of content, employees probably view it as stale and outdated. Furthermore, their only means of accessing the intranet is likely through the standard browser on their company-issued desktop or laptop.
If that’s the case, corporate intranet is likely viewed as almost a necessary evil to the organization, offering little benefit that does not make people in the organization more productive, more knowledgeable or more engaged in the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Because there’s a little-perceived value from the intranet, fixing it becomes a low priority. Most organizations resign themselves to the fact that their intranet will always be that place where people go when they need a few specific things, and nothing more.
The Corporate Intranet Conundrum
Many companies have tried to remedy the intranet quandary. They invest in intranet redesign projects, come up with creative names and hold exciting launch events. But, many of these redesign projects fail to address the core problem of the intranet, and the organization soon learns that putting a pretty face on old content and structure fails to enhance the value of the intranet. It yet again remains a place employees go to for HR information or to find a specific document.
If you talk to the leaders of almost any organization, they’ll tell you that their goals are:
- Drive new revenue
- Provide better customer service
- Retain employees
- Maintain compliance
- Eliminate waste and cost
Further, it’s highly unlikely that those same leaders see their traditional corporate intranet as a tool to help them achieve those goals – and in its current form, they’re probably right. The bottom line: The intranet is virtually worthless if it’s not aligned to the core business drivers of the organization and is not a reflection of the corporate culture.
The Intranet as Increasing Employee Engagement
Successful organizations thrive when employees are engaged in the company’s vision and values and are armed with knowledge to make better and faster decisions to easily communicate across silos and boundaries.
Recent studies from organizations such as Gallup, Inc. and Aon Group show the positive impact increased employee engagement can have on an organization.
- Revenue growth
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased employee retention
- Improved customer service
The question is, how do you provide an avenue for employees to become more engaged, more knowledgeable and better able to communicate? For that, we need to look to the modern Digital Workplace.
Turning to the Digital Workplace
The Digital Workplace is a business-aligned strategy and platform used to promote employee agility and engagement through a more consumer-like work environment.
Employees want the same digital experience at work that is similar to their lives outside of work. Thus, the Digital Workplace becomes a platform – not a single tool – through which content and data are stored and published.
While the intranet is likely a standalone collection of pages, the Digital Workplace is a platform made up of services and tools that store and present content and query data from relevant lines of business systems to better integrate with the daily activities of employees.
Its primary role is to provide employees with a gateway to access what they need, on any device, without having to spend time wading through multiple layers of content, structure and complexity. As a platform, your Digital Workplace will provide your employees with a familiar experience tailored to each individual’s set of needs.
There are two important aspects to help better define the Digital Workplace: business alignment and a platform approach. Most corporate intranets have been in place for many years and likely no longer reflect the current structure or the vision, goals, key business drivers and mission of the organization. The result is an intranet that gets little use because it’s not aligned to the business.
In contrast, the Digital Workplace starts with alignment to the needs and goals of the organization, as well as how devices and experiences employees are comfortable with can be used to help achieve those goals. And, because the Digital Workplace is a platform of services and not a single entity for storing content, it can keep pace with the changing dynamics of a global workforce as the business itself grows and changes.
Real Story Group has compared and contrasted the traditional corporate intranet to the Digital Workplace as follows: The services-heavy Digital Workplace approach consists of the core platform elements of social technology, mobility, and cloud-based services. It integrates with line-of-business systems and employs a user-centric design to ensure consistency with the organization’s brand.
Thus, the benefits of moving to a Digital Workplace are clear:
- Provides employees with experiences that make them more engaged in the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
- Permits employees to be more informed and knowledgeable, better equipped to make decisions, and more efficient and productive.
- Helps the organization retain its best people, increase revenue, innovate into new markets and reduce waste and cost.
While a Digital Workplace isn’t the sole driver behind increasing employee engagement, it does provide the means to overcome some of the most common employee engagement impediments as identified by Gallup, Inc.: