Intranet Alternative: The Modern Way to Engage Employees Today

Todd Kunsman

Director of Marketing

16 minute read

Intranet Alternative

Keeping your employees connected, engaged, and informed is a top priority for your organization. This is a priority that should remain imperative, especially as social technology changes.

And as the digital transformation takes over with more employees working remotely, it’s more important than ever to effectively communicate with your people through various channels and platforms. 

For many large and enterprise businesses, the way to accomplish some of those things above is with the use of an intranet. In fact, your company might be using one right now. 

However, although there are advantages of that, there are also quite a few disadvantages. Additionally, because of digital transformation there is a more relevant solution that can be a great intranet alternative to drive productivity and amplify business results. 

Note: If you are coming to this post, you probably already know what an intranet is. However, if you need a refresher then here’s a quick definition. An intranet is a private internal company network for company leaders and employees to stay connected and to communicate important information. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Intranets

If your organization has been using an intranet for years, then you might be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of an exclusively internal network. 

But if intranets are new to you or you are looking for an intranet alternative, it’s important to fully understand how it benefits your company but also can create challenges. 

 

Advantages of Intranets

While this post is about an intranet alternative (more on that in the next section), there is no denying that the traditional intranet still has advantages to be used within your organization. 

 

A Place to Host Important Files

Any organization with employees, will find managing and organizing important files to be cumbersome.

And that only gets more challenging to manage when you have thousands of employees, a growing company, and various departments each with unique needs.

An intranet makes it possible to have a central location where all this information can be stored. 

 

Streamline Your Content and Updates

As the digital transformation expanded with websites, social media, and other forms of content, intranets have also advanced to include content management functionality. 

These platforms now become the place for streamlining content like important company updates and messages, to be able to share content with one another internally, and even discussion boards or forums, and social media networks. 

 

Keep Employees Communicating Easily 

As companies grow or are already operating with thousands of employees, it’s not easy for team members to know their co-workers on a human level. 

With intranets, you can have individual profiles of employees that include their basic information. This makes it easier for people to put faces to their colleagues, connect with them, and find personal details. 

An intranet with this baseline functionality can help drive employee collaboration, build an internal community, and make it easy for employees to message and conversate with each other. 

 

Disadvantages of Intranets

As you are well aware, technology continues to adapt at a rapid pace along with the ever changing needs of employees. Everyone expects better experiences and tools that make engaging with one another easier. 

Since intranets have been around since the early days of the web (and in many ways preceded the internet as we now know it), they not only feel outdated, but aren’t easily modified to meet the growing digital needs of today.

Here are a few disadvantages of intranets, which maybe your own company is experiencing right now. 

 

Information Is Still Not Easy to Find

While intranets are good to register employee and company details, because of their traditional formatting, information can still be challenging to locate.

There will be various pages and folders to scour through, and as we now know, information is most relevant for users and as a result should always be easily accessible. 

Personalization is lost on an intranet, the latest information is buried, and it can hurt the overall employee experience and productivity. 

 

Limited Access for Employees

A huge part of digital transformation is the impact of mobile in technology. And for many intranets, there is no mobile option or they are legacy apps that fall behind the latest mobile-OS updates.

This lack of support can harm communications and the community feel employees need. 

And this is especially damaging to remote workers, deskless employees, and limits access to information outside of company hours. 

Additionally, many intranets are only accessible via the company network — via the internal proxy of the organization.

Certainly, employees can access it still outside of company location, but typically a remote VPN access will be required, adding more steps to the process. 

 

Intranets Are Not Optimized For Fast updates

Again, you know technology is always evolving and so are digital strategies. The challenge with intranets is you either build your own internally or find an external solution. 

However, each option takes resources and time to organize properly, but because of the sophistication, updates and new features can take months or years to be optimized. Leaving your organization to always playing catchup in hopes of meeting the growing demands of digital transformation. 

Then with new releases, comes an additional learning curve to an already somewhat complicated system.

That can cause aggravation for everyone in the company and can cause employees to abandon using the intranet all together. 

Not all intranets are built the same and some will have more modern capabilities. But it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages. 

 

Challenges of Intranets in the Modern Digital Workplace

In a survey by Prescient Digital Media, only 13% of employees reported participating in their intranet daily—31% said they never do. 

That right there should tell you that this internal technology is not helpful to employees and information and engagement is struggling. 

But beyond the disadvantages, here are some glaring challenges of traditional intranets in the modern digital workplace. 

  • Not as robust or user friendly
  • Instant access from anywhere lacking
  • Missing detailed analytics on content and communications 
  • No real time messaging and push notifications
  • Potential friction to find information and get involved
  • Less social sharing capabilities to drive content awareness
  • Missing personalization of relevant information
  • Overly complex and time-consuming for admins to manage
  • Complicated onboarding and longer implementation times

A digital workplace is more than just organizing information, it’s the complete digital workplace solution to drive employee engagement, build community, create employee advocacy, and make collaboration much easier.

 

The Intranet Alternative To Consider 

You might be all too familiar with intranets and their limitations. However, before I got into the intranet alternative it was important to first have the overall picture of what challenges and issues can arise with internal networks.

What is the intranet alternative that I’ve been alluding to? Well, it would be an employee advocacy platform. Maybe you’ve heard of it or maybe it’s completely new to you, so I’ll do a quick break down of what this means. 

“Employee advocacy is about curating brand and other content for your team members to read and share to their social networks. Full stop. Because you’re exposing your people to a broad array of relevant information they become more informed and engaged, and when they share that content to their social networks they help to increase your brand’s reach.”

For more information on where advocacy sits in relation to intranets and the greater internet, check this out: nine components of brand as related to employee advocacy.

If you’re interested in reading more where that matrix graphic came from, consider how employee advocacy can unify your team.

But Intranets are quite outdated, generally are not user-friendly, and can do more damage to employee engagement than help. Said another way: intranets might make the cut with the needs of digital transformation, but they fail to see eye to eye with social media and an increasingly social workplace.

Employee productivity increases by 20 to 25% in organizations where employees are connected.

Why Employee Advocacy Platforms Are The Modern Solution

Traditionally a few years ago, employee advocacy platforms like EveryoneSocial started out primarily to help organize content that employees could share to their social networks. 

It’s still a large part of the platform, but it has expanded to so much more that it can be the perfect option to replace your outdated intranet. 

Can employee advocacy platforms do everything exactly like an intranet? Yes and no, but it depends on what features are most important to driving business results, improving communications, and getting employees more engaged. 

Why employee advocacy can be a better intranet solution: 

  • Modern tech features, integrations, usability
  • Stronger mobile features and accessibility
  • Internal and external analytics with insights
  • Simple design and search to find anything
  • Personalization and customization of information or content feeds
  • Announcements, push notifications, email capabilities
  • Social media connectivity and sharing to drive marketing, sales, recruiting results
  • Employee-generated content capabilities to increase engagement
  • Gamification to help adoption and boost long-term engagement 
  • Follow, connect, tag, and start discussions with co-workers 

And over the years, I’ve seen how employee advocacy platforms have transitioned from just a marketing and sales solution for distributing and organizing content, to now also improving communications, and employer branding, informing your frontline retail & deskless associates, and strengthening channel partner relationships!

Employee advocacy is now an enterprise-wide solution that creates a community where employees have access no matter where they are working.

Seriously, schedule your demo with us and will share how some of our enterprise customers are making phenomenal returns by enabling their workforce with EveryoneSocial!

 

EveryoneSocial Is Your Intranet Alternative

EveryoneSocial
 

With our product, we built a robust solution that makes it easy for companies to start with individual groups of employees or roll-out to thousands of employees immediately. 

Below are some highlights of our platform that makes it a great and the best intranet alternative: 

  • Easy implementation – cloud-based platform, which is accessible by anyone at your company you want to join, no matter where they are working. And no VPN or additional login requirements needed, just an internet connection and account. Groups and feeds can be set up ahead of time. 
  • Mobile apps for on-the-go and anytime accessibility with notifications and alerts. 
  • EveryoneSocial exhibits  on trend visual design and contemporary user experience – many intranets however feel stuck in the technology of 20+ years ago. Those 1990s intranet interfaces are visually unappealing, are confusing, and discourage employee engagement.
  • Finding content and information is easy on EveryoneSocial, stays organized, and can be personalized to the individual to get relevant content prioritized. 
  • Ability for employees to suggest content, create content, or share to their own personal networks. Gets employees more involved with this opportunity to show that their voice matters to the company. Improves engagement, community, knowledge sharing, and more. 
  • Distribute messages through various channels within the platform like groups, announcements, push notifications, mobile alerts, email alerts, or overall content emails. 
  • Understand activity internal and externally, what’s resonating with employees, where content improvements need to be made, when people created accounts or last logged in, and more detailed data to drive strategy. 
  • Various content mediums like links, text-only, video, and images to make information more attractive and engaging. 

When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35%, the time employees spend searching for company information. (McKinsey)


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