Paula Darch 8 December 2022

The Intranet and Your Stakeholders

An organisation is only as good as its people, but this doesn’t just mean employees. All stakeholders contribute to nurturing a strong culture and a profitable business, including investors, shareholders, customers, suppliers, the local community and in the case of charities - volunteers. It benefits the organisation for all stakeholders to have a good understanding of the business, its purpose and where it’s heading, together with access to latest news and networking hubs. And when everyone is connected to purpose, and feeling informed and inspired; relationships are deepened. The outcome is a strong community and a powerful employer brand. So, finding ways to bring all your stakeholders together makes smart business sense, and this can be easily and cost-effectively achieved using a modern intranet.

The pillars of a thriving community

So how do you create a supportive community in which all stakeholders feel a part of something special? Global research from workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner, highlights that the first pillar of a great organisational culture is a clear purpose. All stakeholders must understand what the company stands for – its overriding ‘raison d’etre’. When people feel inspired by purpose, they are more connected to it as well as to each other, and are more inclined to give that bit extra - working harder, volunteering more often, and investing that little bit more in the organisation. This purpose must be communicated throughout the intranet – in the CEO updates, news, blogs, community pages, and so on.

Similarly, the organisational values and how people are expected to behave must be clearly understood, and lived and breathed across the organisation, including throughout the intranet. A culture can quickly turn toxic if some people are allowed to get away with poor behaviours, such as favouritism, withholding information and even bullying. Whether the values are fairness, transparency and inclusivity or innovation, accountability and boldness; continually clarifying what they are and how people should behave is key. This might include using the intranet to spotlight and appreciate those who are demonstrating the right behaviours.

The intranet should also be used to celebrate successes, recognise others and as a platform for nurturing and deepening relationships. All stakeholders must feel part of a ‘winning’ and caring organisation that values and appreciates everyone. So regularly learning about company success stories, reading about stakeholders who have gone ‘above and beyond’ and hearing from all types of people from different backgrounds support this. Stakeholders can also be invited to attend intranet discussion forums, special interest group meetings and online events, such as ‘Chat with the CEO’, charity quizzes and ‘Meet and greets’ with different stakeholders each month.

Key considerations

Once the importance of the intranet for bringing stakeholders together is understood, how can you practically make it work? Here are some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Who should you allow to access your intranet? It’s important to consider the opportunities and risks for each stakeholder group. Obviously, you’ll want employees to access your intranet, but what about suppliers? You may choose to give access to key partners such as your marketing agency, payroll provider and business consultant, but decide against giving access to other, less business-critical suppliers. And if you’re a charity, which volunteers should you give intranet access to? You’ll probably find that 50 per cent of volunteers are highly active with the other 50 per cent providing ad hoc support, so do you go to the considerable effort of giving access to every single volunteer? There’s no right or wrong, it’s just important to consider the best approach for your particular organisation.


  • How do you manage intranet access? How will non-employees sign-on to the intranet when they don’t have a company email address? It’s important to balance ease-of-access with security so you may want to consider email access with two-step authentication. It’s wise to discuss the different options and risks with your intranet provider.


  • Are you going to let all stakeholders access all parts of the intranet? It’s unlikely that you’ll want this as there may be some pages that contain sensitive information or are simply irrelevant to certain groups. The best approach is to use access controls so that some pages are locked down to certain people. However, you may want the news pages to be made available to everyone as well as pages on company background, purpose, values, and diversity and inclusion, for example.


  • What about tailoring the intranet experience? Different stakeholders and teams can be provided with their own specific areas tailored to them and not accessible by others. Shareholders, for example, could have an area that includes the latest company share prices and market news, and front-line workers could have an area that allows them to share their work-related concerns and opinions. Company leaders might also benefit from their own leadership area so that key information can be quickly disseminated and best practice shared. Taking the time to understand what the different stakeholders would benefit from knowing and accessing is key here, but be careful to ensure that your intranet doesn’t become too siloed. There must be plenty of opportunities for all different types of stakeholders to interact with one another.


  • Intranet management – Providing stakeholders with different levels of access and perhaps some tailored intranet spaces all sounds great, but you need to have the resources to keep content updated and to respond to ongoing intranet queries. If the intranet team is just one or two people, will they realistically be able to manage what’s expected of them? If the answer is “no” then consider growing the intranet team and/or the number of content creators across the organisation.


Building an inclusive and supportive community

An intranet is not just for employees, but can be used by all different types of stakeholder to create an inclusive and supportive community united by an inspiring purpose, common values and clear goals. Bringing everyone together through an intranet can be easily and cost-effectively achieved regardless of location, working patterns and background, but it’s important to consider the logistics and implications of opening-up your intranet to non-employees. By having a well thought-through stakeholder strategy for your intranet, the benefits can be significant, from a more engaged local community through to increased shareholder loyalty.


Paula Darch

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