Paula Darch 9 June 2022 12 min read

Should an Intranet be on Every HR Leader's Shopping List?

Why an intranet is vital for streamlining the employee experience

The Great Resignation has put many companies under tremendous strain as employees leave in droves for new jobs and new experiences. And the exodus doesn’t appear to be slowing down with a fifth of UK workers saying that they expect to leave their current job for a new employer in the next 12 months. The top priority for many organisations is how to retain and attract talent, and it simply can’t come down to increasing pay. Employees want more than a pay rise. They want flexibility in where and when they work, more time with their families, a company with purpose and values, and so much more. Ultimately, they’re demanding a great employee experience and this simply can’t be achieved without the right technology in place. Touching every part of an employee’s daily working life, a modern and agile intranet needs to be at the top of every HR leader’s shopping list. Here’s why.

What’s the deal with the ‘employee experience’?

The employee experience (EX) is everything that impacts how an employee feels about their work and employer, from how well they get on with their colleagues and the opportunities available to them, though to whether they can speak their mind and influence change. It shouldn’t be viewed simply in terms of experiences at different points in the employee lifecycle, from recruitment through to exit, but the employees’ everyday experiences. It’s these daily and fairly unremarkable moments that decide whether a person stays with their employer or leaves. For instance, if HR spends a lot of time and effort creating a memorable onboarding experience but then the mentoring, introductions to others and checking-in on the employee falls off a cliff after six months, it’s unlikely the employee will stick around.

The EX is absolutely crucial to creating a positive, thriving culture. And no matter how well a person is paid, if they have to deal with a toxic culture day-in and day-out, why would they continue in the role? In fact, the last two years have made the EX more important than ever before. Employees have reconsidered what’s important to them, and wellbeing and a better work-life balance have become far more valuable than long commutes and 9-5 office working. In fact, some are calling The Great Resignation, ‘The Great Reflection’ to more accurately describe people’s new sense of awareness and worth.

An evolving working landscape

A consequence of the pandemic is greater hybrid and flexible working, with many employees seeking more ‘life’ outside of work. This has considerably changed the employee experience with more and more experiences taking place away from the office. Some employees are even being onboarded online, and meeting their colleagues for the first time via video link. When technology is now vital to everyday working in a hybrid world, it needs to be able to underpin the entire employee experience for both office-based and remote workers. This is where the intranet comes into its own.

The intranet reinforces purpose and values

Gartner highlights that “people want purpose in their lives — and that includes work. The more an employer limits those things, the higher the employee’s intent to leave. And employees are considering that balance now more than ever.”

So, employees aren’t content working for a company that’s just interested in making a profit. They need to feel that their contribution is supporting a bigger purpose, such as enabling a greener, more sustainable future or giving low income families greater opportunities.

This purpose, together with the values the company expects from its people, must be simply communicated, constantly reinforced and lived and breathed across the organisation. The intranet is key to achieving this by ensuring purpose is ingrained into everyday communications and interactions, from CEO announcements and employee blogs through to regular updates on the company’s charitable endeavours.

The intranet supports a culture of belonging

Employees want to feel a sense of belonging and community wherever they work, and this requires being emotionally and socially connected to colleagues. This becomes harder when people aren’t physically together, and so the intranet becomes a connector. As well as facilitating collaborative working, an intranet keeps everyone updated with the latest news, and also allows colleagues to chat, provide feedback and seek advice. As a hub for everything, the intranet becomes the virtual heart of an organisation’s culture, keeping everyone united regardless of their location.

The intranet as a wellbeing hub

It’s no surprise that employee wellbeing has increased in priority since 2020. With isolation, lockdowns and the fear of covid causing rises in mental illness and instances of loneliness, the intranet must be used to start difficult conversations around mental health, help to reduce stigma and signpost people to support services.

Crucially, the intranet can be used to normalise mental health struggles. By encouraging people to share their own stories, this will make it easier for others to speak out.  Even better, is if leaders can share their mental health challenges via the intranet. Research shows that when leaders are willing to be vulnerable, it improves employee trust, and employee trust is key to creating a culture where people feel like they can ask for help when needed.

The intranet enables learning and development

Even though workers want greater flexibility around where and when they work, this doesn’t mean they want to sacrifice career development opportunities. In fact, 60 per cent of UK job seekers prioritise career development when looking for a new role. And so, organisations need to find ways to provide employees with new opportunities and experiences regardless of location.

The intranet is the ideal platform for learning and development (L&D), allowing for a dedicated area for courses, from first aid training through to managerial skills courses. It can also signpost employees to additional opportunities such as secondments and volunteering days, while highlighting success stories to help embed a L&D culture.

The intranet assists with diversity, equality and inclusivity (DE&I)

Creating a culture that’s inclusive can’t just be a tick box on a HR leader’s ‘to do’ list, but must be demonstrated in everything said and done. Providing everyone with the same information at the same time, ensuring opportunities are open to all and encouraging people from different backgrounds to share their stories, are just some of the ways the intranet supports D,E & I.

The intranet for listening and giving everyone a voice

Gone are the days when workers were expected to do as they’re told and not speak-up. Employees must feel that they’re listened to and that their views are acted upon. The intranet is the ideal interactive tool that allows everyone to share their views and give feedback. It can even be used for employee surveys so that everyone can have their say on how they feel, how things are currently done and proposed changes.

The intranet facilitates appreciation

Recognising employees’ efforts and achievements helps to retain top talent, increases employee engagement and encourages high performance, making a recognition programme an important part of every organisation’s HR strategy. However, for it to be most effective, giving appreciation must be made as easy as possible otherwise it simply won’t be on peoples’ radar. Having a quick and easy way to recognise colleagues via the intranet is important here, as is showcasing the achievements of others.

Can you really create a great EX without an intranet?

So the intranet is the glue that holds together an organisation’s employee experience, especially in the age of hybrid working. It reinforces purpose, brings people together regardless of location, supports wellbeing, and so much more. With this in mind, can an organisation in the post-pandemic era really deliver a first-rate EX without having a modern and agile intranet in place? Highly unlikely! Those organisations that try to muddle through without an intranet, are more likely to deliver a fragmentated and uninspiring experience that simply doesn’t meet the high expectations of today’s employee.



Paula Darch

Paula is our marketing whizz and is passionate about intranet engagement and getting the most out of your intranet software.