Introduced a couple of decades ago, intranets, which are commonly referred to as digital workplace solutions, were designed primarily to improve communication and information sharing. With corporate intranets, users could access company news, announcements and policies in a centralized place, contributing to an increase in employee engagement and retention.
However, technological advancements, growing demand and an emerging young workforce with high expectations meant intranet solutions had to evolve—and they did. Portals, basically intranets that emphasize business processes and allow users to access business apps, were introduced.
Enterprise social networks directly followed portals, revolutionizing communication in the workplace with social features. The last decade has been marked by a surge in the number of digital workplace solutions, which include tools, platforms and applications to provide a complete work experience. Digital workplace solutions have grown in popularity with each passing year due to their flexibility, rich set of functionalities and ability to facilitate work. Use cases for these solutions differ based on a number of factors, such as company size, industry, potential users, etc.
In this blog post, we will focus on the communication aspects of digital workplace solutions and some must-have features to better connect and engage users.
In their early days, intranet solutions served as an organization’s website that administrators (generally communication or HR specialists) used to communicate with employees and convey the company culture. A basic text editor was used to write and post news articles and announcements on a single page. Although practical and quite direct in dealing with communication issues, this feature grew old over time due to changing dynamics in the workplace and the growing expectations of admins and users alike.
A feature-rich, easily accessible news functionality is an absolute must-have in any modern digital workplace solution. The text editor’s ability to include various types of content, such as images, videos and files, can help users communicate more effectively. Furthermore, users should be able to like, comment on and share news to ensure that they are well informed and more engaged.
Wikis are an important component of any Digital Workplace solutions. This functionality is popular within organizations looking to convey their organizational culture and policies, onboard employees and manage teams.
For a wiki to be effective, it must include a rich text editor, the ability to add graphs and visuals, templates adapted to each business function and social features allowing users to like, comment on and share content.
Calendar and events
A calendar is a must-have functionality for any Digital Workplace homepage. Users can access thecalendar to stay up-to-date with upcoming events, schedule meetings and manage daily activities. Integration with other built-in apps, such as chat and collaborative spaces, allow administrators to easily communicate about events and improve attendance rates.
Successful digital workplace solutions offer utility, flexibility and ease of use. Allowing administrators to configure and customize a solution based on their needs will help them use the solution to its full potential, thus driving adoption and engagement.
For example, an admin can change the layout of the homepage by highlighting news, announcements and a calendar at the top and making business applications easily accessible from the top bar. They can manage permissions to view and edit specific pieces of content, and users can manage their own feeds by only displaying content relevant to them.
The layout and configuration should be flexible and easily changeable based on the developing needs of different teams.
It goes without saying that for a digital workplace to be adopted, it has to include social features. Intranet solutions have been traditionally designed and used to improve top-down communication within organizations. Although they are effective in informing employees and promoting a culture of transparency, these solutions are not equipped with tools to allow users to participate in discussions and share their ideas. The new generation of intranets introduced in the last decade help users achieve just that. Within a modern digital workplace solution, users can like and comment on posts and share their ideas within collaborative spaces or group chats. The multitude of channels through which information can be shared helps connect users across the organization and break down silos.
Communication in the workplace is still a top priority for businesses. Intranets evolved over the years to adapt to the growing needs of businesses and satisfy the expectations of an emerging young workforce. As a wide-ranging, interesting topic, a lot has been said about internal communication, from the best tools and features to best practices to create engaging content strategies.
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