The larger your organisation grows, the more important it becomes for you to foster open communication between employees. Some stakeholders may scoff at what sounds like a mere cliché, saying it’s obvious internal communication is the key to success. However, not all develop a culture of sharing and collaboration that is supported by the tools and technologies adopted by the organisation.

This extends to written communication in the form of documents. Relying on paper-based systems for any of your actionable information hampers productivity. Documents locked in a filing cabinet are difficult enough to access, especially when your company has multiple offices feeding into headquarters, requiring the use of fax machines or courier services to transmit photocopies.

More organisations are opting to digitise their paper files, and use a document management system. But then, who has access to the data when it goes digital? Can it be accessible for all who need it? Does it take a long time to find? How do employees know which is the most-up-to date version?

Has digitalising files and other information hindered or improved communication?

With that in mind, it’s useful to ask yourself whether or not your intranet supports effective communication and enterprise social networking.

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Intranet Communication and Collaboration: A Case Study

Organisations need to make it as easy for employees to communicate internally as it is for them to communicate in their personal lives using consumer technologies. How does an intranet help internal communications?

A recent report from CMS Wire that focused on Stihl Australia, a subsidiary of a German power tools manufacturer. The company employs 100 people in distribution centers in Perth and Brisbane and a head office located in Melbourne. The old system consisted of HTML pages that provided details about the company's safety policies and wasn’t designed to facilitate communication.

One of the first priorities was getting the new system to display up-to-date sales information, sourced from the company’s back end enterprise resource planning software.

Before launching the intranet, Stihl Australia’s customer service team was forced to rely on a paper-based system and needed to call the sales department for information. After moving to the intranet, employees estimated they saved 15 minutes each per day. This amounts to a savings of 78 days each year for the entire team. A savings like this alone could easily justify a company committing resources to develop a new intranet.

Now, The Shed enables more time savings, such as automating workflows for the staff program to borrow equipment and for submitting new ideas for the company’s consideration. New automated workflows continue to be developed to improve communication between employees, departments and from the organisation itself, including how to select and publicise the next employee of the month.

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How Should You Structure your Intranet to Best Drive Internal Communication?

Your intranet does not need to follow your organisational chart. In fact, you should consider making the information more readily available, by adopting a employee-centric approach. “Many intranets reflect organisational structures. Employees looks for information and tools according to the silos in which they belong,” noted a recent article at Linkedin.

It went on to state, “For example, you’ll find the expenses form in the finance department pages and the leave request form in HR. However, for some time now we’ve seen this organisational centric view of the world shift towards one which is more employee-centric. Information is structured in a way which is far more intuitive for an individual. All policies and procedures are to be found in a single searchable library. All forms and commons processes are found in a single place, irrespective of who their owner is.”

How a CEO Blog Could Influence the Success of Your Intranet?

Intranet communication goes beyond employee to employee interactions. An intranet CMS can also be an important tool for senior management such as CEOs to communicate with employees.

Blogs have become a powerful tool for corporate leaders, who are using them to disseminate information quickly and conveniently to their employees. For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates posts on his blog, The Gates Notes, offering reviews of the many books he reads each year.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook posted about how he and his wife will be giving the majority of their money to charities in “A letter to our daughter.”

You can use a blog to help set the company’s tone and agenda, share the company’s vision and objectives, report on important internal and related external news and promote ideas, causes and other topics of interest.

You’ll get a better sense of which posts resonate the best with employees when you apply analytics to the blog over a significant amount of time, such as three months or a year’s worth of posts.

Using an intranet communication platform is beneficial for CEOs as they can be more open and transparent with their blog posts; sharing more sensitive and personal information he or she would not be comfortable disclosing on a public facing blog. With an intranet, feedback can be encouraged via initiatives such as anonymously replying to a poll about issues raised in the CEO blog post.

Intranets are incredibly valuable for employees. It is a tool for communication, sharing and digital collaboration in the workplace. If you currently do not have an intranet platform in place, or have a poorly performing intranet, your organisation is missing out on massive productivity gains.

To discover how an intranet can help you improve internal processes and truly deliver value to your organisation, read the intranet business processes guide.

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