Building an Employee Intranet: Tips and Best Practices
An employee intranet is a powerful tool for organizations to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity among their employees. SharePoint, a web-based collaboration platform, is widely used for building employee intranets due to its robust features and flexibility. In this article, we will discuss the best practices and tips for designing and developing an employee intranet using SharePoint.
1. Planning and Requirements Gathering
Before starting the development of an employee intranet, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the organization’s goals, objectives, and requirements. This involves conducting interviews with key stakeholders, such as department heads and employees, to gather their input and identify their needs.
During the planning phase, it is important to define the scope of the intranet project, including the features and functionalities required. This will help in setting realistic expectations and avoiding scope creep during the development process.
2. User-Centric Design
The success of an employee intranet largely depends on its usability and user experience. It is essential to design the intranet with the end-users in mind, ensuring that it is intuitive, easy to navigate, and visually appealing.
Consider conducting user research and usability testing to gather feedback and make improvements to the design. This will help in creating an intranet that meets the needs and preferences of the employees, resulting in higher adoption and engagement.
3. Customization and Branding
SharePoint provides a range of customization options to tailor the intranet to the organization’s branding and visual identity. This includes customizing the site theme, logo, colors, and fonts to align with the organization’s brand guidelines.
By customizing the intranet’s appearance, it creates a sense of familiarity and ownership among the employees, making them more likely to engage with the platform. Additionally, it helps in reinforcing the organization’s brand and culture.
4. Content Management
An effective employee intranet should have a well-structured and organized content management system. This involves creating a taxonomy and information architecture that makes it easy for employees to find the information they need.
Consider implementing features such as document libraries, news feeds, and search functionality to facilitate content discovery and retrieval. It is also important to establish governance policies and guidelines for content creation, publishing, and maintenance to ensure the intranet remains up-to-date and relevant.
5. Collaboration and Communication Tools
One of the main purposes of an employee intranet is to facilitate collaboration and communication among employees. SharePoint offers a wide range of tools and features to support these activities, such as team sites, discussion boards, and social networking capabilities.
Consider integrating other communication tools, such as instant messaging and video conferencing, to further enhance collaboration. It is important to provide training and support to employees to ensure they are familiar with these tools and can effectively utilize them.
6. Outsourcing SharePoint Development
Building a SharePoint intranet requires technical expertise and resources. Organizations that do not have an in-house SharePoint development team may consider outsourcing the development to a SharePoint development agency.
Outsourcing SharePoint development offers several benefits, including access to specialized skills and knowledge, cost savings, and faster development timelines. A SharePoint development agency can provide end-to-end services, from requirements gathering to deployment and ongoing support.
When outsourcing SharePoint development, it is important to choose a reputable agency with a proven track record in SharePoint development. Consider reviewing their portfolio, client testimonials, and certifications to ensure they have the necessary expertise and experience.
Building an employee intranet using SharePoint requires careful planning, user-centric design, customization, and effective content management. By following the best practices and tips outlined in this article, organizations can create a powerful and engaging intranet that improves communication, collaboration, and productivity among their employees.