The workplace continues to evolve as team members spend more time working together in the virtual realm due to flexible work locations or distributed company locations. As teams cross time zones and variable work schedules become more prevalent, it is even more essential to ensure that all team members have access to the information that connects them at both the corporate and functional team levels.
How Intranet Sites Facilitate Team Members Sense of Community, Connectivity and Culture
The Intranet is a crucial tool to drive Community, Connectivity, and Culture. A means to ensure your strategic vision and culture continue to thrive even though your team may not be face to face.
What’s The Difference Between Community and Culture?
Culture is the shared values and beliefs of the organization. How team members interact, and the environment in which they conduct the interactions with each other. What makes it special to work here?
On the other hand, community is the sense of belonging and support one feels by being part of the organization. The community provides the means to interact and seek out other individuals for information or guidance.
Leadership Participation in Community
Management is a key participant in the success of your company’s Intranet – team members can connect to leadership through provision of insights and words of wisdom at different intervals. Leaders, amidst their hectic schedules, can forget how important it is for people to feel they are part of the Community. Leveraging the Intranet to share their voice and perspective is a fast, efficient and effective way to communicate with the broader organization. Senior leadership’s sponsorship of the Intranet and its corresponding initiatives will lead to greater success and adoption of a single employee experience.
Content, especially from leaders, needs to be done with passion, engagement, and authenticity, not simply as "ugh, another thing I have to do ." The authenticity in communication can be seen as a good reflection of core aspects of the Culture.
To help foster a greater sense of community with an intranet, you’re going to need a web content management system that is really easy to use. Concrete CMS allows a company to develop a corporate site or include functional team sites as part of the free core. Anyone with basic office skills should be able to easily contribute to the company Intranet.
Use Champions to Reinforce Company Culture
Identifying a champion in each functional team to regularly update and incorporate team wins, activities, job opportunities, and critical announcements will help make the Intranet a vital part of each team member’s day. Clearly communicating the Intranet strategy to those relied upon to maintain the site(s) and ensure that the brand’s voice and persona are clearly represented reinforces the Company Culture. It is essential to convey the branding and drive consistency of tone and sentiment.
Development of a high-level system, commitment to maintenance, and the ability for functional teams to provide thoughts on the types of information they would like to see on their individual sites, often everyday needs or content that another team also sees as beneficial. Transparency throughout the development process will result in a content-rich Intranet engaged with frequently.
Why Does an Intranet Give Me Connectivity that Teams/Slack Doesn't?
Connectivity increases when people can hear from others across the company and understand the "why" behind their daily activities. Creating a Monday morning message to encourage success throughout the week or a Friday wrap-up posted by different leaders can help to convey the importance of every team member in the company's success – again increasing the sense of connectedness.
While tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack share information with one person or a group, they are typically used to conduct an ongoing conversation. Once that moment has passed, it’s hard for others to find it. The Intranet is positioned to have information intended for broader communication and the ability to reference and find information quickly in a logical format.
An Example Of Community, Connectivity, and Culture
Imagine the sales team wants to bolster end-of-quarter sales on a specific product and communicates their plan to the marketing team. Marketing determines a bundle strategy has worked well in the past and wants to do an extensive campaign, but before investing significant time in developing the creative assets and making website changes, they need to be sure that the inventory position for that product bundle is strong enough to support increased sales.
Providing visibility to inventory on hand and in transit via a block on the Intranet page allows the team to quickly determine the likelihood of being able to support the campaign. This type of connectivity eases the discussion with the inventory/supply chain team in a more formal setting to make the final recommendation.
Similarly, providing the marketing calendar visibility to the warehouse team can assist in forecasting, labor scheduling and this reinforces connectivity. Again, this does not eliminate the need for formal discussions, but it does provide quick snapshots of the upcoming events that the organization needs to be able to plan for.
The Intranet doesn't eliminate the need for meetings or communication but can act as a supplemental communication mechanism for critical information and data to cross-functional teams.
Using the Intranet to highlight perspectives and learnings from team members at all levels facilitates cohesiveness of the community, connects teams and individuals, and reinforces the organization's culture.
About The Author
Anne’s career has been filled with diverse experiences spanning the worlds of Fortune 50 companies through consulting and directly within GE and Lowe’s, as well as in entrepreneurial ventures. Her career has focused on scalable growth in fields of corporate strategy, business consulting, marketing, strategic initiative development and implementation, process, and international expansion enabled through technology.
She earned two BS degrees from Florida State University in Finance and Management. Following graduation, Anne served in the Peace Corps as a Small Business Volunteer and once returned to the US, she began working with a technology firm in Chicago. She quickly realized her passion for developing business strategy and combining it with technology to improve process, grow businesses and drive realization. She earned her MBA in International Business to further her abilities and to focus on the fields of Strategy and Technology Enablement.