Social intranet – what is it and why do we need it?

Social intranet, smart intranet, digital workplace… It goes by many names! But what is it that separates a social intranet from a traditional intranet, and why do we need it? Spintr answers these questions!

Dialogue vs. monologue on the intranet

Many companies, maybe even the majority, has some kind of intranet. A traditional intranet is usually some kind of solution on the company servers and built on a standard platform like Episerver or Sharepoint. Other variations are fileservers or manually coded HTML-pages from the late 90´s. An employee that left 15 years ago might have built an intranet that worked at that point. We have seen it all!

The common denominator for all of these traditional intranets is one thing: the communication is one-way only. News and information is published on the intranet by one or more editors on behalf of the different departments, management etc. and it is communicated “top down”. The communication is a monologue.

How do you recognise a social intranet?

What makes a social intranet social, is the functionality like live-chat, workgroups, social streams, commenting articles, news and blogposts etc. These functions enable the users to communicate with the editors/senders behind the information, and even with each other. The communication is on a whole different level with a social intranet compared to a traditional intranet. The functions in a social intranet creates opportunity for more participation, engagement and activity amongst the employees.

Now, in 2017, this is a way of communicating that most people use daily on either Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or other social networks. There is simply a habit of communicating in all directions today. So why can we not do that on the company intranet?

This begs the question, “Why”? Why is this social intranet thing good? Here are three examples:

  • Increased engagement
    When employees can participate in the communication and make their voice heard by commenting articles, posts and blogs, it increases the employee engagement.
  • Increased productivity
    An employee that feels like they belong to the group and have loyalty to the company naturally has a more positive attitude. They will work better and be more productive than someone that feels like they are not heard or seen.
  • Increased transparency
    A great social intranet makes it easy to publish information, not just for editors, but even for the CEO and other stakeholders that normally do not work with the communication. A CEO blog where the actual CEO is the editor and publishing information/news, naturally has a lot more integrity and transparency than a traditional company letter without a personal sender. The functions in a social intranet increase the transparency and trust between the employees and the management team.