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Five ways your intranet can help with talent retention

Four people huddled round a laptop.

Five ways your intranet can help with talent retention

In recent years, intranets have evolved to offer a broad and deep range of features, making them incredibly comprehensive tools for business and end users alike. I’m an advocate for intranets and their possibilities, and I believe that a well-thought-through strategy combined with a solid product choice can serve most business needs.

When it comes to talent retention, an awful lot revolves around each employee’s relationship with their manager and their overall experience within the company. While an intranet can’t help with the former, it will shoulder some of the responsibility for the employee’s digital experience.

I’ve outlined five ways that an intranet can help with talent retention to get you thinking.

1. Keeping people informed and engaged

Internal communicators will find a lot to like among modern intranet capabilities. It’s now easier than ever to create attractive news articles, target audiences dynamically and manage the flow of news effectively.

For the people you’re communicating with, this means articles are engaging to read, with a variety of multimedia options to add podcasts or video into the mix. Audience targeting means articles will feel personally relevant, without having to scour multiple homepage web parts to find something interesting, while managing the flow of news stops people from feeling overwhelmed.

For talent retention, ultimately, you’re helping to keep people informed about what’s happening in the business and engaged with the organisation’s culture. If people understand they’re part of something bigger and how they contribute, then it helps toward the motivation to stay.

2. Allowing people to work the way they want

Hybrid working has been a massive topic recently and while the debate continues over whether it will stick or not, people are working in remote places right now. This isn’t just desk-based people who are working from home, but also frontline workers who are more likely to need mobile technology.

Most intranet solutions will work on any device type, but the best will understand the difference between what works and performs better on a small screen vs. a larger screen. Allowing businesses to tailor activities by device type and audience optimises the user’s mobile experience and is something many intranets today can do well.

Also, allowing people to tailor notifications to protect personal time, subscribe to news topics or amend an intranet structure all support a more personalised experience that individuals will appreciate, as they can work the way they want to.

3. Building communities (and sharing knowledge)

Giving people a sense of belonging can be one of the strongest ways to retain talent. Intranets can help open the door to communities or give them a voice in the first place. In fact, we know of one intranet community that was so strong, employees asked to stay part of it even after they’d left the company.

We must mention the important role community managers play here. It’s all very well having a space for communities, but if no one is sparking conversations or making sure people receive responses, then the technology simply doesn’t matter.

Hands kneading dough.

Good examples of social communities include intranets that can house or present communities for LGTBQ+, amateur bakers or even a ‘pet’s corner’. These help relax the formality of the intranet as well as support the community members to have a voice. They get people talking on your intranet, which in turn encourages people to ask questions or post comments in other areas such as news articles or reference pages. Communities designed for asking questions, such as a “CEO’s ask me anything” forum or even an IT help desk equivalent, are an evolution of these social communities. They breathe life into your intranet and show people they can speak up without fear.

Those spaces that are designed for posing questions can easily transform into Communities of Practice, where experts from across the business answer questions from colleagues. Answers could be “fill in this form and IT will send you a new phone” or “here’s how I dealt with this situation.” This not only encourages people to talk, as mentioned earlier, but it also helps gather tacit knowledge from across the business. This means when people leave the company, not all of their knowledge goes with them, and their answers remain for people to find again.

4. Getting people in and on

Most everyone by now has heard stories of a poor onboarding experience into a company; we at least all know how much it can color your first impressions. While good in-person training and support are vital, an intranet can offer a home for onboarding materials.

Some of the best solutions will trigger articles or messages at certain times, too, such as a welcome from the CEO on the first day. Allowing the individual and their manager to concentrate on the knowledge that needs to be shared, not where training videos are stored or where to find HR forms, is a huge cognitive burden that an intranet can relieve.

When someone feels they’re ready to move on from their role, it’s not necessarily because they no longer want to work for their company. They may just want to face their next challenge. We often hear that while public-facing websites present this information well, intranets don’t offer an easy way for people to see vacancies. Some intranet solutions offer ways to manage these vacancies and applications, while others present an integration with the recruitment management software instead. Either way, presenting people with options on how they can progress within the company can go a long way to retain and develop talent.

5. Reducing the burden of finding the right things and the right people

Anecdotally, we’ve heard from clients that it can take many years for an employee to know who they need to go to for different reasons inside the company. Allowing people to self-serve when it comes to information and expert finding is an ingenious way to avoid that feeling of overwhelm, all the while reducing the flow of questions directed to help desks and the back-and-forth emails between people unsure of how to find an answer.

For talent retention, an intranet with a good search (and good governance practices to keep content up to date) will help people find the information or individuals they need, reducing any feeling of isolation and giving them confidence in the business tools around them.

Other ways your intranet can help

Above, I’ve outlined five suggestions to get you thinking about ways to address talent retention needs. If this is an area of concern for you, I’d suggest revisiting your intranet strategy alongside your talent retention strategy.

Look through each to identify ways the intranet can support the other, then identify the Big Questions you should ask to stress-test your strategy. Intranets are flexible solutions and with creative thinking, they will be a key tool to support your talent retention strategy.

This article was originally published by Reworked.

Suzie Robinson

I've always worked with intranets, and have practical experience with all aspects of intranet management, including research, implementation, governance, and strategy. My roots are in internal communication and I focus on employee experience and engagement.

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