There’s hardly a company out there that doesn’t struggle with effective communication within the workplace. In fact, 86% of executives cite ineffective communication as the cause of workplace failures. If you run a small company, it’s easier to get everyone in one room for a company-wide update or discussion. For enterprises, the challenge of communicating across cultures, geographies and time zones costs a significant amount of time and resources.
Intranets are a powerful way for companies to address these challenges cost-effectively. For instance, Liferay DXP comes with knowledge bases, forums and a blogging platform out of the box, meaning that setting them up is simply a matter of adding your users and enabling each feature. Even better, the nature of these collaborative channels gives leadership a way to foster transparency and open communication in their organizations.
You’ll find similar communication features across intranet platforms because these channels have been around for years, with plenty of time to mature and evolve according to real user needs. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when setting up forums, blogs or a knowledge base on your intranet, but choosing a modern, enterprise-grade platform ensures that you’re getting a polished user experience that employees feel comfortable using, as well as general refinement that you might not be able to achieve if you build one from scratch.
To get started, here are three common challenges that companies face, and how an intranet can be improved to address them.
Challenge #1: I need to fix top-down communication.
Your company struggles with keeping the right teams informed about important company announcements, such as new products, resources, policies, etc. You post info on your company portal, but no one seems to read it. If this is one of your top challenges, here are a few things to implement that will make a fast impact.
Set up analytics to track user engagement. Analytics in intranets are often overlooked due to cost factors. However, if you can set up basic page metrics like views and Click Through Rates, you can address any gaps that are preventing your announcements from getting through.
Provide a way for people to ask questions. Some of the best information sharing comes from comments, especially as members of different teams jump in and address different questions. In addition to enabling comments, providing direct messaging or chat within your intranet makes it easier for people to find and talk with coworkers they haven’t met in person.
Target content based on role. By automating curation, you can ensure that only relevant announcements are reaching each employee, eliminating the rest of the company chatter that they don’t need to worry about. Liferay DXP has an application called Asset Publisher that can target all content within Liferay, from knowledge base articles to blog posts. Another option is to organize announcements by topics and allow employees to select which ones they want to be notified about.
Challenge #2: I want to encourage interdepartmental communication.
Your teams don’t seem to talk to each other, and it makes it hard to coordinate initiatives. You end up with inconsistencies in marketing, product vision or customer support because of siloed decision making. Improving interdepartmental communication usually involves an organizational culture shift, but there are several ways that you can facilitate the process through your intranet.
Encourage team blogs. Sometimes communication gaps between departments come down to not knowing the right person to contact. When one team member posts regular updates, other employees know who to approach when a question comes up.
Set up a company forum. Message boards and forums are typically a more casual channel, so employees feel less pressure to put together something polished like they might for a company-wide communication. This leads to teams getting information out faster to those who need it.
Dedicate resources to improving the UX. Make it as straightforward as possible to share information on your intranet. User adoption is often an obstacle for intranets, but by improving the UX for common tasks, you can increase the likelihood that people will use it.
Challenge #3: I want to hear more feedback from employees.
Management wants to hear more real time feedback from employees about how the company can improve. Some feedback comes through, but it’s from a small selection of people or it isn’t specific enough. Making room for feedback can be tricky, but creating the right channels can go a long way toward empowering employees in their roles.
Run an employee feedback survey. There are many tools you can use to quickly build forms and send them out to employees. You could run this as a single campaign with a deadline, or you can create feedback templates that are available whenever an employee has something to submit.
Create space for feedback within the normal workflow. One challenge with forms or surveys is that they tend to focus on what management wants to know, rather than what employees want to share. By integrating the feedback process with different tasks, you’re able to capture real time feedback as employees think about it. For instance, Liferay DXP has a suggestion box for knowledge base articles, and surfaces those suggestions for content authors. This also makes it easier to communicate to employees that their feedback is being heard and acted on.
Intranets Work Best When Tailored for Your Company
No digital tool solves all communication problems. Management still needs to work at opening up communication through company culture and personal interactions. There are many familiar channels for these — meetings, quarterly reviews, end of the year surveys, casual lunch conversations — that can be strengthened by an intranet. If you can implement the right balance of tools for your company’s unique needs, you can solve these communication problems faster, improving employee satisfaction and productivity.