What is a social intranet and how do companies use it?

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Nowadays, you can no longer ignore a social intranet. In fact, with the arrival of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, interaction has taken on a different meaning. These platforms suddenly became available to everyone because they are accessible and fun to use. 

Therefore it didn’t take long before they spread to the workplace. But what exactly is a social intranet? And how do you use this within a company?

Last updated on: June 14th, 2022

Table of Contents

What is a social intranet?

A social intranet is a digital workplace where employees can communicate and collaborate. It is a closed platform accessible to everyone within the organization. It firstly promotes interaction and supports employees in their daily work. In addition, it encourages knowledge sharing and active collaboration among employees. 

When you think of the term ‘social,’ you quickly think of platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. Interaction between people is crucial for these platforms, so it’s for social intranets.

What is the difference between a traditional and social intranet?

A traditional intranet is often managed by one department, and communication is often top-down. They are leaving a very small space for employees to interact and share information in an accessible way. As a result, social intranets are made to facilitate cooperation between employees. You can create groups for projects or departments, making sharing knowledge easier and significantly reducing information overload. 

Traditional intranet

Social intranet

Hierarchical

Not hierarchical

One-way traffic:

top-down communication

Two-way communication

Selected number of editors

Anyone can post 

Limited functionalities:

schedules and reporting

All-in-one platform

Limited ability to share files and

interactive content

Ability to share photos and videos

What can you use a social intranet for?

A social intranet is useful for organizations counting above 50 employees and currently using multiple communication and employee engagement streams.

It’s all-in-one solution to engage with your employees and train them faster and effectively from the start.

Starting from the onboarding, employees feel immediately connected to the organization. They are working together for an organization that values their interactions and feedback.

At Stayokay, they have been aware of the effects of a social intranet for longer than today:

“Oneteam has made a significant contribution to improving engagement and the connection between all employees across the different locations.”

Liza de Vos, HR Manager at Stayokay

What are the benefits of a social intranet for an organization?

1. Cooperation 

The social intranet is all about two-way communication. Employees can easily post, like, and leave comments on the timeline. Employees from different branches and groups can share tips, knowledge or brainstorm about a particular project.

For example, a social intranet makes it possible to ask questions to which everyone can respond. So that your employees can quickly help each other and collaborate.

There is also room for informal contact with colleagues: for example, you can create separate informal contact channels. Think of communication around events, staff outings, and private life.

2. Comfort

Everything is in one place. Thanks to the social intranet, you only need one environment instead of different channels and systems, saving overload information headaches.

You can now replace all other channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook groups, email, newsletters, posters, and memos, with one social channel: the social intranet.

In concrete terms, this means that all data is in one place: employees know where to find all files and can save and download all these files in the staff app.

3. Efficiency

How often does it happen that your employees have a specific question that they want to get an answer to quickly? When you use different means of communication, your employees often get confused about how they can reach you.

With a social intranet, employees have a clear means to go with their questions and obtain instant answers either from you or the community.

4. Accessible

A social intranet is personal, informal, and easy to use. Available via PC, tablet, or smartphone, it is just as user-friendly as social platforms. Surely you can’t say that about traditional intranets. They often lack overview, look old-fashioned, and are challenging to navigate. All reasons for your employees to use this platform as little as possible. 

5. Productive

A social intranet allows sharing pieces of training and organization updates. In conclusion, employees are onboarded and trained faster and remotely, resulting in cost-effectiveness and higher productivity.

A social intranet helps you reduce e-mail flows and provides new ways of sharing knowledge: centralized, easily accessible, and interactive. 

How do you ensure that all employees will use the intranet?

How do you ensure that your social intranet becomes active within your organization so that your employees will use it? Introducing a new software or system in their daily life could be seen as overwhelming at times. But it shouldn’t be.

It’s essential to be clear and transparent with your communication, inform them why you are adopting these tools, and be firm. Avoid mixing it up again with old systems, or you’ll create even more confusion. 

An all-in-one employee app helps you make your frontline workforce successful and engaged

For instance, a social intranet such as Oneteam allows you to harness all your employees’ solutions in one app: internal communication, onboarding, eLearning, surveys, schedule integrations, and much more. Its mobile-first design favors frontline employees’ work experience and is well-received in retail or hospitality industries. As Britt Kleinepier, Internal Communication Coordinator at H&M says:

"Oneteam is the most important communication channel we have. Via Oneteam it is super easy to ask questions and it really helps us to build a bridge between our desk and non-desk employees. It gathers all need-to-know and nice-to-know information in one easy-to-use platform."

Britt Kleinepier, Internal Communication Coordinator at H&M

5 Tips for successful communication on the intranet

A social intranet is an essential collaboration and communication tool within your organization. It increases productivity, boosts engagement, and creates a connection between employees.

Internal information is now straightforward and accessible to everyone. But how can you ensure your employees will stay engaged with your content?

Here are 5 tips for you:

  • Write for your staff. Always try to consider who your audience is. For example, many frontline employees are generally from younger generations. Write your message clearly and concisely, and opt for an informal tone of voice that encourages interaction.
  • Introduce gamification. Quiz and games can encourage employees to learn more about a specific topic and interact with each other through fun challenges.
  • Acknowledge individuals. Welcome new employees, appreciate old-timers and celebrate outstanding performances on the timeline. Taking time to acknowledge individuals helps build a safe and welcoming environment where peer praise is encouraged.
  • Share work-in-progress. Keep updated all employees with new things and changes happening in the organization. Are you opening a new branch or trying out a new menu? Give them a sneak peek. They’ll feel more stimulated to share updates about their work too.
  • Transform feedback in growth. Frontline employees are your eyes and ears with the customers. They best know what they feel and need. Use employee surveys, and instantly receive their input and involve them in the ideation process.

 

Read more: 8 content ideas to spice up your internal communication

The first step to your own social intranet

Are you looking for a unique digital solution for employee experience?

With Oneteam’s internal communication app, you can bring all your communication together on one user-friendly, interactive platform accessible to everyone in your organization. Connecting with colleagues, departments, and different locations has never been easier, leading to more employee engagement and satisfaction.

Curious how? Watch the explainer video below and request a guided demo.

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of frontline employee experience and key frontline HR trends. Fun fact about Ruben: Started his professional career working as a frontline worker at supermarkets and as a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered as frontline worker lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the frontline workforce successful and engaged.

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