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SharePoint Blog

May 20
Does Your Intranet Need Social?

​Intranets have come a very long way since they were first popularized as a collaborating and information tool for businesses. Many companies utilize their intranet for things like forms, scheduling, events, company marketing materials, and to house documents. Some companies use them for a lot more and some companies less. All companies have the question: Should we integrate social into our intranet? The answer is simple: the need for social must be driven by business needs (Nielsen, 2013).

Social media has become the new way to communicate, both in personal and professional settings. Many companies have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Integrating a social platform into an intranet can be tricky though. As long as the users know the company’s culture and there are set rules for using social, any company can integrate it onto their site. Many CMS’s offer Facebook integration or offer their own “newsfeed” where users can post, reply, and like items.

Adding social to an intranet has many pros. It encourages collaboration on projects, builds stronger relationships between employees, and creates a way for employees to interact and bounce ideas off one another. If implemented correctly, a social platform on an intranet can build confidence in employees and create harmonious relationships between employees and the President or CEO of the company. Another positive is that little training is required when social is added to an intranet (Nielsen, 2013).

While there are many positives of integrating social media onto an intranet, there are also cons. Sometimes companies do not visit their intranet on a daily basis. The social media aspect may go unused if a company’s intranet is not being utilized. Adding social is not a fix to get employees to use the intranet daily. Adding social should be complementary (an extra addition) to the elements already being utilized on the current intranet. Another con of adding social is that sometimes employees may be reserved about using this. They aren’t sure what to post – is this for business discussions or is this more of a place where employees can freely chat amongst themselves about professional or personal matters? Depending on the company culture, social can be used either way.

When adding a social platform to an intranet, guidelines should also be posted. This will give employees an idea of what type of content to post (cat videos versus employee training videos), how to respond to content, and how often they should be posting. Another great way to help integrate social media on an intranet is have the CEO create a post that users can respond to (and also get feedback on). This way employees will know that it is OK to post to the social platform and they will also know what they should be posting based on what the CEO has posted. (Sometimes users can be hesitant to post because they may think that their managers believe they are “goofing off” because they are using social media while at work).

Social media is a great way to allow employees to collaborate, create new ideas, and form relationships they may otherwise not form (IE – two employees from separate offices comment on the same post then begin to collaborate on work ideas because of their mutual likeness for cat videos). Is your intranet ready for a social media platform?

 
Reference
Nielsen, J. (2013, March 2). Intranet Social Features. Retrieved May 12, 2016, from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/intranet-social-features/

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