How to Use Your Internal Comms Intranet - theEMPLOYEEapp

How to Use Your Internal Comms Intranet

There are all kinds of resources available that share great intranet examples, ideas, and so on. But how do you actually get the most out of your internal comms intranet? How do you form a winning strategy? We’ll share that and more in this comprehensive guide.

person using an internal comms intranet. man using a laptop with icons floating above the keyboard to represent the web, document storage, data, etc.

Is an Intranet a Good Internal Communication Channel?

Yes! When done right, employee intranets are a great channel for internal communication. Because these private networks have been used by companies for decades, they are very ingrained in how we work and how we communicate.

But they need to evolve to remain an effective channel. What used to work (or be passable) is no longer enough for our employee audiences. With Generation Z joining the workforce and Millennials being the largest segment of the workforce, our communication channels need to improve too. They need to be more technologically advanced and work harder to support the needs of our teams.

So, if you are still relying on an old SharePoint site that is hardly updated and contains a lot of legacy content…maybe your internal comms intranet isn’t as effective as it could be. But fear not! We can help.

What is the Impact of an Intranet on Internal Communication?

A lot of articles you’ll read on company intranets will all tell you that an intranet leads to improved internal communication. But too few will actually tell you how. Or define what that really looks like and what the impact on the bottom line is.

And let’s face it, just having the tool doesn’t equate to better communication. 

So, let’s talk about it. What impact does an intranet really have on internal comms?

The answer isn’t that simple. It’s one of those “it depends” questions. It depends on:

  • Your other communication channels and their primary purpose.
  • Who you are trying to reach with your intranet. 
  • What the state of employee communication is at your company…and where you’re trying to go.

The impact of an intranet depends on all these factors because, at the end of the day, your strategy will impact your results. Intranets can be great at unifying a company around a culture or boosting employee engagement of workers with computer access. Or it can help you train your employees more effectively. But it can only do those things if it’s part of your strategy.

So, an intranet isn’t a magic bullet to great internal communication. But it is a tool that can help you get there.

How Do You Communicate Through an Intranet?

Given that we need a great strategy to use our internal comms intranets to maximum effect, let’s talk about how we should be using an intranet to communicate.

Start with audience segmentation. 

Before you can communicate with anyone, you need to know who they are and what they need. Different audiences require different information, levels of detail, and cadences. So, start by creating audience personas and defining the groups you want to be able to target information to.

Conduct a channel audit. 

But don’t just stop with an internal comms audit, figure out who the primary audience of your internal comms intranet is. Is it your deskbound workers? Employees of a certain age or demographic? A little bit of everyone? If you don’t understand your channel mix and who is using what, it’s hard to make those channels really sing for the audience it’s intended for.

Create a content strategy and editorial calendar. 

An intranet needs to be regularly updated with the right mix of content to engage employees and keep them coming back. Determine your communication goals and craft your campaigns to achieve them. Then document it all in your editorial calendar so you can stay on track.

Post regularly. 

This content may include company news, announcements, training, stories, and operational updates. The key is to stick to a regular cadence. And make sure you’re using all the features your intranet has to offer. Don’t just post in folders, use your news feed, calendar, directory, banners, quick links, etc.

Measure your impact. 

A content strategy shouldn’t be stagnant. It has to adapt. That’s why we should be measuring constantly. This will show us what’s working and what isn’t, allowing us to pivot so we stay on track to achieve our goals.

5 Ways to Use Your Internal Comms Intranet to Get Results

Since any tool is only as good as its strategy, here’s five ways that you should use your intranet to improve the employee experience and employee engagement.

1. Post important information to the intranet first.

If you want your employees to use your intranet regularly, set the expectation that all important updates will be shared there first. This builds a habit but also makes it clear where employees should go in an emergency or crisis for information.

2. Share what employees need, not just what they want.

It’s not all about sharing fun stories and gamifying the intranet. You have to provide real value to your employees if you want them to come back regularly and engage with content. Sometimes that means sharing the not-so-glamorous HR communications, benefits information, pay, schedules, and so on.

3. Reflect your values and culture on your intranet. 

When scrolling through your intranet, employees should immediately get a sense of who you are as a company and what you believe in. Consider your content strategy and make sure you are bringing your values through in every post. And for hard messages or change management communications, be sure to think about how it will affect your teams and how they might feel about it. This will help you craft messages that land well.

4. Use your intranet for employee surveys and take action.

An intranet is a great tool for sharing employee engagement surveys. But it’s even better when you use your internal comms intranet to directly reflect the changes your employees are asking for. If they want more recognition, launch a recognition program. If they want to see the executive team more, get those leaders on camera and in the news feed. Let that feedback drive your strategy.

5. Invest time in the visuals that go along with your messages.

People skim. Pictures are worth a thousand words. So, why aren’t we paying more attention to the visuals we include in our internal communications?

Take the time to find or create good thumbnail images for your posts. Consider adapting a written message into a video if appropriate. Really think about the experience of using your intranet and consuming the content on it. Optimizing that for the employee experience will go a long way towards improving engagement. It shouldn’t just be pretty. It should be practical.

Why SharePoint Doesn’t Cut it For Internal Comms

There are a few reasons why SharePoint isn’t the right internal comms intranet for most companies. 

First and foremost, SharePoint is very expensive.

From implementation to licenses and ongoing maintenance, the cost of SharePoint is pretty high. SharePoint pricing starts at $5/user/month, which might not seem like a lot, until you put it into practice. That’s $300,000 every year for a 5,000 employee organization for everyone to have a seat. And this is just your intranet. It doesn’t include any other tool you might need for employee communication. Not to mention, that’s what SharePoint starts at. Other plans are $10/user and even $20/user.

SharePoint Annual Costs:

Employees SharePoint Plan 1 ($5/user/month) SharePoint Plan 2 ($10/user/month) SharePoint Plan 3 ($20/user/month)
250 $15,000 $30,000 $60,000
500 $30,000 $60,000 $120,000
1,000 $60,000 $120,000 $240,000
5,000 $300,000 $600,000 $1,200,000
10,000 $600,000 $1,200,000 $2,400,000
25,000 $1,500,000 $3,000,000 $6,000,000

*Data from Microsoft SharePoint’s G2 listing, 2023

At these price points, the intranet can’t possibly be used by all employees at a company. This immediately makes it a tool only for desk-bound workers, but that can be limiting. What if you want your frontline workers to have an intranet hub of resources and information?

If this data makes you sad, you should request our pricing and see how much it costs to get an intranet and a mobile app.

SharePoint is complex.

It’s hard to implement. To customize. And to maintain. That means it requires heavy IT involvement. This makes anything other than an out-of-the-box SharePoint inaccessible to many small to mid-sized organizations.

SharePoint isn’t mobile-first.

Like many older channels of communication, it’s not fit for purpose anymore. Our workforces are more mobile than ever, so they need mobile-friendly tools. SharePoint doesn’t compete with the other mobile intranet options.

Why Use theEMPLOYEEapp’s Internal Comms Intranet?

The great thing about theEMPLOYEEapp for internal comms is that we get it. We want to give you maximum flexibility and options for a competitive price. With our solution, you get an intranet, app, and analytics platform, all managed through one Content Management System.

That means that:

  • All your employees can access information on the devices they want.
  • You have maximum control over the content and groups.
  • Managing your content through one CMS simplifies your workflow and keeps IT out of it.

Ready to learn more?