Intranet Best Practice and FAQs

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What makes a good company intranet?

What's an intranet?

Intranets, sometimes called Employee Experience Platforms (EXP) or Employee Portals, Employee wikis etc, are an important part of the digital workplace in an organisation. They enhance internal knowledge sharing by signposting the different digital (and physical) facilities, documents and services.

Think of it as the reception in a building where you will find guidance about digital information pertaining to the company it serves, or helps collaborators find documentation about specific roles and processes.

What should a great intranet do?

  • Make information easy-to-find for all employees, including remote workers, new hires and contractors.

  • Facilitate onboarding and training.

  • Provide access to a repository for shared docs and files.

  • Offer a single-source-of-truth for documentation, for example SOPs, Forms, Org charts.

  • Notify your employees of news and events.

  • Showcase team and project updates and successes.

  • Generate awareness of business goals.

  • Help teams to work more efficiently.

  • Promote collaboration.

  • Increase employee engagement.

What's the true value of having an intranet?

The true benefits of having an intranet are not the technical aspects of what people can do with it. Your CEO is not that concerned about the fact “the intranet promotes collaboration” or that “the intranet helps to manage content better”.

In various surveys most intranet power-users agree that intranets must support three equally important business drivers:

  • Innovation:
    Development and improvement of services, products, and business processes.

  • Operations:
    Delivering and producing current products and services efficiently.

  • Employee Engagement:
    Enabling collaborators to get better results and increasing employee awareness of company goals.

How can intranets support innovation, operations, and employee engagement?

Innovation

  • Drive change management.

  • Ensure improvements and organisational changes are implemented more expeditiously, also that the responsibilities and roles impacted by the changes are clearly defined.

  • Transform organisations into change-responsive and highly adaptable teams.

Operations

  • Communicate consistent business processes to the organisation.

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities: ensure the right tasks are performed at the right time by the right people.

  • Consolidate lists: organisation-wide lists of products, customers, services, staff, contractors, suppliers, processes, forms, apps, etc.

  • Automation of online forms, workflows, and processes: common tasks, e.g. invoice submittal, get customer feedback, etc.

Employee Engagement

  • Provide collaborators with remote access to key tools and information to perform their jobs, allowing them more control and flexibility in their working lives.

  • Provide visibility about current company, team, and individual performance feedback with the use of visual aids and dashboards.

  • Provide career opportunities and online training.

  • Enable collaborators with bonding opportunities with colleagues based on common skills and interests.

  • Sharing stories about the organization’s wins, history, culture and values.

How to start designing your intranet

  • Identify Stakeholders and Change Management: Who has a vision about how’s this intranet going to look like?

    • Look for self-motivated people with an eye for design and vision to complete the project from start to finish. These people will help you decide on the core look and feel of the intranet as well as branding and colours.

    • This also includes naming considerations to identify the site as an intranet. Eg. Hub, Intra, Company Bible, etc.

  • Spread the word: Engage different departments to support content creation.

    • Define who’s going to be held accountable for asset maintenance and ownership.

  • Define an Action Plan: The purpose of the site needs to be crystal-clear and well communicated.

    • A project timeline is of utmost importance, defining reasonable milestones for content completion and version reviews.

  • Resource Gathering: Copy, layout, images, and plugins are included here, define who is going to gather these assets.

    • Assets should be organized in a Google Drive folder structure that matches the sitemap.

  • Generate User Engagement: Create a posting/update calendar to keep the site content alive and up to date.

    • Strategize on marketing all stages of development.

    • Avoid building a boring intranet at all costs.

Typical Elements that Employee Experience Platforms (EXP) Intranets can have

Intranet pitfalls to watch out for!

  • Avoid not having ground rules for communications: The kind of communication you want to encourage on the intranet versus other methods (such as email).

    • What’s acceptable/unacceptable user behavior (e.g. discussion of non-work topics, the use of profanity).

    • Scenarios for messaging someone directly. (etiquette)

  • Do not avoid training: An intranet is as effective as its users are knowledgeable on how to use it.

    • Users must know how to access it, how to navigate it, how to use its features, how to look for updates.

    • You need to make sure there’s a training plan in place and to encourage users to post and share regularly to keep content alive and fresh.

Where can you build an intranet?

How do you build an intranet?

Do you need to know code in order to do it? Is there any reliable tool or service that you can use that won't take you too long to learn? Is there any reputable provider you can refer to?

The answer is YES...

Google Sites can give a great intranet

Why Google Sites?

  • Google Sites is robust, scalable, fast and secure.

  • Fully integrated with the rest of Google products and services.

  • Less features offered than other, more expensive intranet tools, but highly user-friendly for real people! Simple and straightforward.

  • Super-short learning curve measured in minutes. No real onboarding needed!

  • Saved directly into your Google Drive.

  • Very lean on fast servers and accessible from anywhere with any device.

Top tips for creating a Google Sites intranet

Do's

  • If you don't have a Google account, create one or subscribe to Google Workspace. Contact Steegle!

  • Keep in mind most Google Services can be tied to Google Sites pretty seamlessly thanks to its integration with Google Workspace and help you achieve your specific goals with ease.

  • Don't forget your team can collaborate in the creation of your intranet. New Google Sites can be shared with other users just like Drive files.

  • Use as a repository of Google documents and files.

  • Keep your design simple and straightforward and take advantage of how easy it is to navigate Google Sites.

  • Define the basic settings for your intranet from the start.

  • You can preview your intranet and make sure it looks good. Display it in its published desktop, phone, and tablet versions with the click of a button.

Don'ts

  • Do not avoid reading about Google Sites, its capabilities, limitations, and best practices. You must understand how it works. The Google Sites training and help site can be a great starting point.

  • Do not be over ambitious and try to do too many pages at once. An iterative approach is much better.

  • Don't compare Google Sites to other drag-and-drop website builders.

  • Don't expect to deeply manipulate HTML, CSS, or PHP natively. If you need added value you should turn to experts.

Does Google Sites have any limitations?

As any tool or application, Google Sites has some limitations. The following list shows some of the most popular concerns from users:

  • Limited customisation on themes.

  • Limited number of templates to choose from.

  • Google Drive Folder embed option does not give everything you need (e.g. no searching or sorting).

  • No simple way to create an employee directory or organisational chart.

  • No built-in social media integration.

  • Google Sites does not offer a news gadget.

Steegle solutions to enhance Google Sites

Google Drive Embed Gadget

If the standard Google Drive Folder embed does not give you everything you need, take a look at the Steegle Drive Gadget that offers search, sorting, download links and more...

News Gadget

Display headlines, snippets and metadata linked to your news articles and blog pages on your Google Site and filter by tags added to the news gadget. Take a look at the Steegle News Gadget for Google Sites.

Steegle People for Google Workspace

Organisation chart and searchable staff directory for Google Workspace that automatically generates org charts to show your organisation structure and real-time search results. Check the Steegle People for Google Workspace solution.

Steegle Flow for Automation

Workflow for Google Drive uses a customised Google Drive interface to give extra tools for the documents you want to approve and process through a structured workflow. Steegle Flow provides a secure framework and responsive system to for workflow so your organisation can approve documents, like purchase orders, policies procedures etc.

Home Screen Dashboard from where user can make a new workflow request

Companies that use Google Workspace & Sites

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Google workspace is used by millions of users every day. Google Sites is used by clients like

  • Supermarkets like Morrisons and Ocado

  • Governments - US Locals and National State and Federal Departments, UK Government like the Cabinet Office and Department of Health

  • Hi-tech companies e.g. Deliveroo and Stay

  • Professional companies like Pricewaterhouse Coopers

  • Car companie like Jaguar Land Rover

  • Distributors e.g Travis Perkins

  • Media companies like The Financial Times, The Guardian

Can I use Google sites on mobile devices?

YES!

Google sites is a responsive platform which enables it to work on a variety of end-points like PC, Macs Tablets and Mobiles.

You can also adapt it to be a mobile first type of intranet (as seen on our mobile internets page)

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Paid-for alternatives to Google Sites for intranets

There are a number of tools on the market use for intranets outside of Google Sites , for example:

    • Lumapps

    • Jahia

    • Unily

    • Igloo

    • Confluence

    • Happeo

    • Facebook for Business (Workplace)

    • or even just using Wordpress or Joomla

These are all reasonable alternatives. However, the main disadvantage with all of these tools is that they tend to be complex to implement, slow to setup and very expensive to run when compared with Google Sites (which is essentially free with Workspace). Google Sites requires no special setup, can enable end users to actively engage and can be managed remotely every time a member of the team opens up a Google Chrome browser.

How do I see more Google Intranet Designs?

Google Sites Designs for your Intranet

At Steegle.com we love to develop and design your innovative and responsive professional intranets using Google Sites, renovate existing intrantes, and migrate non-Google Workspace intrantes over to Google Sites. If you want a unique theme for new Google Sites then see our Intranet Designs.

Unrivalled intranet reliability with Google Sites

Google Sites takes advantage of working in the cloud, Google's reliability (99.9% uptime availability), and no hosting fees. If you're interested in an intranet built on Google Cloud's let our intranet solutions team know your needs.

Need Google Sites Intranet Services?

If you want to get a particular theme designed for your Google Site then let the expert Google Sites web designers know and we can build your website.

How long does a Steegle intranet project work?

Typical Engagement Scenario

  1. Discovery - We gather your requirements in a video call

  2. Quote - We provide a statement for work for the project

  3. Your preferences - After signoff you will provide prerequisites (logos colours, priotu pages

  4. Development & Timings - It takes 4-6 weeks for development which will comprises of a number of revisions and add-ons if required.

  5. Training is provided before project handover

  6. Support - We then support your intranet according to your requirements