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Insights from Insidedge: Intranet 2.0 Increases Employee Engagement

Original source: Intranet 2.0 Increases Employee Engagement, by Toby Ward

Employee engagement is the top priority and the organizational coup de grace for many HR practitioners in both the private and public sectors. However, corporate communications plays one of the most important catalytic roles in determining employee engagement, and the intranet is increasingly the most important catalyst in heightening engagement levels, which in-turn improves HR metrics such as employee recruitment and retention (even customer service).

Engagement Value
In short, engaged employees aren’t just happy ones, but have a strong emotional bond to the organization that employs them and proactively look to improve the position of the organization. An engaged employee is more likely to:

  • Understand and support through action a company’s vision and goals
  • Recommend the company’s products and services to friends and family
  • Work smarter and longer hours without being asked
  • Enjoy challenges and problem solving
  • View their own personal growth as linked to the company’s performance

Of course, if used correctly, the intranet is an extremely powerful tool for driving employee engagement. So much so, that in six years of planning and investment, the intranet evolved from the third most trusted source of information at IBM (well behind immediate manager and co-workers) to the most trusted source of information at the global company.

Twitter

In fact, the intranet has become so valuable at IBM, that according to internal IBM research:

  • 80% IBM employees visit w3 (IBM’s Intranet) at least once per day
  • 68% view the intranet as crucial to their jobs
  • 52% are more satisfied to be an IBM employee because of information obtained on w3
  • The intranet has delivered billions of dollars in cost savings & employee productivity improvements

Intranet 2.0

Employees want the opportunity to be heard and to express their opinions and needs more frequently than the annual employee survey. As powerful as the traditional intranet can be, the next generation of intranet, Intranet 2.0, best represented by powerful Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking have the opportunity to be even more powerful and more engaging.

In fact, social networking and other 2.0 tools have become so popular that an organization without a 2.0 strategy risks being left behind, or outright failure (though death may be slow). Employees want to work for progressive and innovative organizations, and expect 2.0 environments from employers of choice. So much so that a recent survey of 1,000 workers found that 39% of 18 to 24 year-old employees would consider leaving their employer if they were not allowed to access sites like Facebook and YouTube; a further 21% indicated that they would feel ‘annoyed’ by such a ban (Telindus study of 1,000 European employees).

Once a nice-to-have or a future wish, Intranet 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles have become mainstream, and are present in nearly 50% of organizations (regardless of size) in North America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand, according to Intranet 2.0: Social Media Becomes Mainstream on the Corporate Intranet. The report reveals the findings of the Intranet 2.0 Global Survey of 561 organizations of all sizes from across the planet.

Among the findings, intranet blogs, wikis and discussion forums are quite pervasive, while other less common tools such as podcasts and mashups remain an after-thought at most organizations:

  • 47% have intranet wikis (17% enterprise deployment); 10% have no plans or interest
  • 45% have intranet blogs (13% enterprise deployment); 11% have no plans or interest
  • 46% have intranet discussion forums (19% enterprise use); 9% have no plans or interest
  • 46% have intranet instant messaging (29% enterprise use); 21% have no plans or interest
  • 19% have intranet social networking (6% enterprise use); 20% have no plans or interest

[CHART] Which of the the Intranet 2.0 tools are being used at your organization?

Many couldn’t define a blog or wiki three or four years ago – now these tools are present in nearly 50% of organizations, regardless of their size or location. One of the reasons for this rapid adoption is the popularity of these tools on the public Internet: four of the top eight most frequented websites on the planet are web 2.0 (YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Blogger). Another reason is the low cost of entry and implementation of these tools. According to the Intranet 2.0 Global Survey, of those organizations that have implemented 2.0 tools, almost half have spent $10,000 or less on these tools:

  • 46% have spent $10,000 or less
  • 35% have spent between $10,000 and $100,000
  • 19% have spent $100,000 or more

Carpe Diem

At the risk of sounding fatalistic, though nearly half of Western business have adopted these tools (in some shape or form), the half that haven’t are in danger of becoming have-nots. As cited earlier, not only do employees want to work in progressive “2.0” environments, they’re coming to expect and demand it.

However, these 2.0 tools are still quite green, and often overly simplistic, if not poor. As a result, any 2.0 initiative requires proper planning, change management and communications. In fact, these new generation tools have little to do with technology, and everything to do with people, process and communications (see some of Insidedge’s case studies on internal communications campaigns and change management).

Though it is still early in the 2.0 revolution, many organizations are being left behind by ignoring 2.0 environments while the competition adopts and progresses. The good news is that that it is still early enough in the game to out-do the competition to seize the day and transform organizational communications into a 2.0 environment with highly engaged employees.

To learn more about Intranet 2.0, download a free, summarized version of the Intranet 2.0 Global Survey findings and analysis report:
http://www.prescientdigital.com/articles/download-summary-report-of-intranet-2-0-global-survey

Prescient Digital Media provides strategic Internet and intranet consulting, planning and design services to organizations of all sizes. Their clients include: Amgen, CBC, CIBC, HSBC, Liberty Mutual, Manulife Financial, Mastercard, Nintendo, Pepsi, RBC Financial Group, TD, and more than 100 others. Toby Ward writes extensively on intranets at www.IntranetBlog.com

Original source: Intranet 2.0 Increases Employee Engagement, by Toby Ward

Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a strategic communications leader with nearly 20 years experience in both internal and external communications. She is a passionate advocate for developing communications that foster a stronger relationship between the organization and its employees. She is a global keynote speaker on employee engagement and HR communications. Elizabeth is a certified professional in Employer Brand through Universum Global's Employer Branding Academy.

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