Believe it or not, how engaged an employee is at their workplace is the most important factor behind their productivity at work.
And yet, most employees (60%) currently feel emotionally disconnected from their workplaces.
In a digital-first world, global, hybrid organizations have a greater need than ever to change how frontline workers and office-based teams experience their work environments.
The better a business can connect with its employees and maintain a unified experience across departments and borders, the more it stands to gain in terms of productivity, retention, employee well-being, and satisfaction.
However, it’s a significant challenge for organizations across the globe, who have to connect frontline and information workers – all with diverse business units, cultural backgrounds and ways of working.
The success of any organization relies on its ability to adapt to the changing digital world, and they can do that by creating a digital-first work environment in which everyone feels connected, valued and empowered to work in a way that fits their ever-evolving needs.
Here, we will explore how Intranet can give hybrid and global organizations the tools they need to unite distributed teams and transform how their employees work, interact and communicate.
What is digital employee experience, and why does it matter?
To put it simply, businesses need to look for ways to create the best digital environment for their team members. An environment that creates a culture of:
- Improved productivity
- Higher efficiency
- Better well-being
- Increased engagement
Of course, many organizations are accommodating remote and hybrid forms of work, but creating an ideal digital-first environment goes far beyond that.
Effective digital workplaces require organizations to:
- Reach people with fewer barriers
- Provide outlets for collaboration, communication and social interaction
- Offer personalized experiences
As you are also aware, frontline teams have different needs and requirements than office workers when it comes to connecting and engaging with their colleagues, for example.
However, breaking down these organizational siloes is all part of creating a people-first company culture – which is one of the most important factors behind an employee’s decision to stay and grow with your company, or move on.
This simple fact is that organizations that prioritize digital employee experience attract and retain talent more effectively, as well as improving their sense of belonging, innovation and social relationships.
A modern intranet solution can be the tool that can put that digital employee experience (DEX) revolution in motion.
What does your intranet software need to do?
If you are one of the 1 million companies using Microsoft 365, you already have the foundations to improve employee experience and build a fully personalized, corporate intranet experience in Microsoft SharePoint.
You might also already have expectations for what SharePoint can (and can’t) do.
However, while SharePoint can already interact with your other MS365 apps, ‘intranet packaged solutions’ that are layered on top of it can completely transform its capabilities.
Intranet adds functionality to the basic SharePoint foundations that enable you to build a one-stop platform for everything your organization needs for effective collaboration, information sharing and internal communications.
What’s more, the beauty of building your intranet/employee experience with Microsoft as the foundation is that it’s a familiar and scalable solution that can grow alongside your organization.
Whether it’s creating a branded digital ‘hub’ for your enterprise, streamlining all of your most-used apps into one place, or creating an engaging ‘employee social network’, here are the nine key things your intranet solution needs to do to improve the way your employees experience their day-to-day work.
Minimize app-switching and reduce platform-hopping
Why?: Context switching between documents, websites and apps results in fatigue and creates a productivity sinkhole.
Switching between different apps and sites only takes 1-2 seconds, but in the average Fortune 500 company, this adds up to 5 working weeks every year.
Make no mistake: the effects of app-switching are felt on an enterprise and a personal level.
Increasing productivity across your organization requires you to reduce the barriers between your employees and the necessary information and tools that they need to connect, collaborate and do their work.
- Intranet essential: All apps and workspaces should be in one hub with a simple user interface. Ideally, an employee can log into it in the morning, and not need to leave it until they log off.
- Meanwhile, front-line employees need to be motivated by features useful to them in order to regularly engage with it.
One of the major motivators for large organizations to upgrade their intranet software is to better connect existing teams (or newly-acquired business units) with the rest of the company.
That being said, in a hybrid workplace, you know that the first impression many of your new joiners will have of you will be through your digital workspace.
It’s already a challenge to engage current employees with new working practices, but it’s even more difficult with ‘acqui-hires’, who are often very unsure of the new business they have just joined.
That’s why it pays for an intranet to be easy to onboard. In effect, it should be a ‘plug-and-play’ platform that’s accessible in a familiar environment, such as Microsoft SharePoint or Teams.
A multi-layered and personalized user experience
Why?: Intranet is meant to harmonize different ways of working, but it won’t if your users find it frustrating to use.
The new reality of global, distributed and hybrid teams means that there is even less consistency in how people interact with your organization.
Intranet needs to be integrated seamlessly into their working routines – but that’s not all.
A crucial, but often neglected aspect is the need for personalization based on individual roles in the organization, including designated areas of access for different departments, levels of seniority and job roles.
- Intranet must-have: Employees need to have access to an intranet in a way that suits them. In a Microsoft 365 workplace, this can be natively through Teams or SharePoint (on desktop or a mobile app).
- A well-configured intranet should also incorporate all documents and restrict visibility based on permissions, but also employ sub-sites to maintain relevance to your staff and increase user engagement.
Effective content organization
Why?: Disorganization creates stress among employees, adds to their work burden, and simply wastes more of their time.
You may already use SharePoint as a central file storage system. However, the problems arise when trying to organize, secure, and share information… and find it all on a global scale.
What is even more frustrating is when a user knows that a file exists, but a quick search won’t retrieve it for them.
- Intranet must-have: you need a partner who understands how your organization is structured. Their support can create a logical file architecture based on sound governance for your organization that makes it easy for users to find what they need quickly with easy-to-use search features.
Fact: Relevant communications matter. After onboarding LiveTiles Intranet, Victorinox saw a 14x increase in information content consumption.
Reduce information overload
Why: Information overload can contribute to disengaging employees.
In a Gartner survey, nearly 50% of employees said that the internal communications they received from their employer were irrelevant.
At the same time, there’s a lot of ‘non-essential-but-meaningful’ communication that is vital for engaging people at work. Sharing recognition and ‘kudos’, casual conversations, or news about social events, for example, are critical for creating a positive company culture.
- Intranet must-have: What needs to be on an intranet homepage is a streamlined, customized feed of information that users can absorb in real time – ideally it uses visual cards over text-heavy lists.
It’s a given that your intranet platform needs to connect a globally, distributed team – but what exactly does this entail?
There are three sets of stakeholders that a modern intranet platform needs to be particularly thoughtful of:
- Mobile users – as hybrid work patterns involve much more work ‘on-the-go’
- ‘Front-line’ or ‘blue-collar’ teams – those who are typically isolated from back-office communications
- Diverse, regional teams – those who need communications in their languages and accessible wherever they are: whether they are working from home or the workplace
Connecting these people is vital not only for creating a more adaptable, unified workforce, but also to ensure you build a truly inclusive environment in the long term.
That’s why Intranet features such as mobile-first UX and auto-translation are imperative.
Reinforce your brand and values
Why: Belonging matters as much to your employees as it does to your customers.
You may already know the power of branding for customer experience. You need to apply that same logic to your employees – who are your ‘internal customers’.
Employers that show strong internal branding retain employees with 25% more success: it relates directly to the employer’s value proposition and helps create an identity for employees to buy in to.
- Intranet must-have: global organizations often comprise multiple business units and sub-brands. Your intranet needs to be branded to reinforce your user’s sense of belonging to your organization, no matter what team, unit or region they’re located in.
No organization is static – and your digital work environment should be no different.
It’s a fact that, in a short space of time, the digital workplace has become an irreplaceable part of the digital employee experience – and that’s not the only expectation that has changed.
Fundamentally, your intranet needs to evolve to meet those expectations… whilst also letting you extract the most value from your existing intranet (or SharePoint) investment.
That’s why features such as AI content creation and search features, cutting-edge SharePoint integrations like Viva Connections and Web Parts, and regular feature updates can help you keep future development costs at zero while futureproofing your platform.
Intranet for an evolving workplace
As you are well aware, the world of work is changing, which is why your intranet needs to be as innovative as you are.
With LiveTiles Intranet you can meet your employees’ evolving expectations for a more streamlined, automated and effective digital experience with:
- Automated BI and Analytics, which can deliver you rich data on what features your employees are using, letting you understand how you can tailor their intranet experience to be even more productive.
- AI integration which will help to manage and organize content, as well as provide efficient tools for users to share content of their own with aids such as Microsoft Copilot.
- Natural Language Processing in search, which will help users search through ever-expanding banks of intranet data – and they will be able to do so in simple terms.
In summary, your company intranet isn’t simply there to be a central repository of information, or even a communication tool.
For it to truly transform the employee experience, it needs to be accessible wherever they need it, serve the information that matters to them… and do all of this with a level of customization that creates a consistent employee experience across your organization, but with deep individual personalization.
With the right tools and strategies in place to transform a digital workplace with Intranet, businesses can unlock new levels of productivity, collaboration and innovation.
With SharePoint intranet, you already have the foundations for a digital-first workplace. LiveTiles Intranet can unlock its true potential.
It’s so easy to find out what potential Intranet holds for your organization – all you need to do is book a short demo to see how it can deliver it.