If you've read my previous posts about employee engagement, you probably don’t want to sit through anymore organizational behavior lectures, no matter how enrapturing my writing is. You’re probably tired of hearing about ground-breaking academic theory and broad statistics. You get it, employee engagement is important. Companies suffer when they neglect it. It is an involved topic.
Now you want to know how the magic happens.
How do companies increase employee engagement?
This is the part where I start telling you that your intranet is the answer to all your problems. One click, and all your engagement issues will go poof. Done. End of blog post. Not quite.
As much as I'd love for that to be true, there is no magic solution. Employee engagement is too complicated to be resolved that easily. There is no overnight solution for low engagement. If there was, the 1/8 rule wouldn’t exist. Companies must make changes to their company culture and operations to increase engagement. That said, there are tools that can help with engagement. The right tools can make a major difference, if a company uses them as part of their overall strategy.
A collaborative intranet is one of these tools.
An intranet is a private website for a company, usually with large focus on document sharing. It gets more complex. Just as public websites have many potential capabilities, so do intranets. A collaborative intranet takes the traditional principle of an intranet and adds in a more social, "human" aspect. Open communication between all members of an organization is the heart of employee engagement. Collaborative intranets apply this concept in as many ways as possible. Organizations with collaborative intranets see a 17% annual improvement in employee engagement compared to companies without them.
How can a collaborative intranet help increase employee engagement?
Besides encouraging communication, collaborative intranets have many features that foster employee engagement.
Clearly defined goals are an essential part of an employee's motivation. This means they are important for engaging employees. Accomplishing challenging, context-specific goals motivates employees because it raises their sense of achievement. Employees with clear goals always know what they should be doing. When employees don't know what they're supposed to be doing, they don't end up doing much. This lack of direction and productivity creates an environment that normalizes wasting time. A collaborative intranet eases this burden with task management features. Task management software is easy to grasp. It allows managers to assign work and notifies them when the work is complete, so they can then assign new tasks. Transparency around events like product launches rallies employees around a unified goal. Unifying employees creates a sense of community and purpose. Knowing how their work contributes to these goals validates employees' efforts.
Giving decent feedback is vital to creating an engaged employee base. It both fosters trust within the company and helps employees learn and improve. Furthermore, it reminds employees that their work is being taken seriously. As long as employees receive feedback, positive and/or negative, they'll be more encouraged to work.
Resources that are readily available reduce stress. Employees who can find what they need (files, information, etc.) can do their job and do it well. This is where the company intranet can help the most. Document management is one of the most used elements of an intranet. Employee-centric features in intranets allow users to access relevant information about their coworkers.
Employees are more invested in their company when they feel that their voices are heard. When employees can share opinions and show support, they feel more connected and engaged. With a collaborative intranet, employees are encouraged to interact with one another. Open communication and transparency help employees feel like their voices are heard.
Channels for Improvement:
A company culture that encourages improvement is essential for increasing employee engagement. Although this may seem daunting, an intranet can help. Things like open forums and groups can help employees connect with mentors. Providing training materials and job resources arms employees with tools for professional development.
These are a few ways a collaborative intranet can improve employee engagement. I'd love to go on, but I'm afraid that if I went into every available feature and explained how it affected engagement, I'd just be writing a textbook.
For more on how employee engagement effects organizations, check out this white paper on the importance of employee engagement.