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Solving the Biggest Problems with Intranets


By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO   |   Posted September 6, 2016

Intranet problems can frustrate employees, waste time and cost organizations a lot of money annually. In fact, countless hours and thousands of dollars are being wasted by intranets that are ineffective and not very user-friendly, according to a usability study by Nielsen Norman Group. A company with a very poor intranet design could spend $3,042 per employee each year to cover time spent on certain tasks, the research reports. (This figure takes into account salaries and overhead costs.)

The Nielsen Norman Group evaluated 14 corporate intranets: 10 from the United States, three from London, and one from Hong Kong. Their study focused on common tasks provided by intranets, measured intranet users’ ability to successfully complete a number of tasks and the time required. The research found that the major time-wasting traits of intranets include a lack of consistent design/navigation; poor search capabilities, and stale news or content focused on one group.

Okay, so no intranet is perfect. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. Let’s take a look at some common problems intranets have and how you can address them.

Inconsistent design/navigation
When it comes to intranet software, design and navigation are critical because they help users access vital information and perform tasks that can help them do their jobs. Inconsistencies in both of these areas can confuse and frustrate employees. Here’s a simple example: If the pages for different departments have different colors and other elements it can create a disjointed look and feel. And this can make users feel uncomfortable and distracted as they navigate between the different departments.

In terms of navigation elements, links and buttons should be highly visible to maximize “clickability.” (It’s hard to click on what you can’t see.) And links should be color-coded to indicate pages that users have already visited; otherwise they might overlook navigation options or go in circles. Having consistent design and navigation elements can lead to the ultimate user experience—where employees feel more comfortable, confident and productive. 

Poor Search Capabilities
Poor search capabilities can make an intranet more difficult to use. But having effective search tools can help employees quickly find content on your site. Employees rely on intranets to find everything from benefits information and the latest company news to documents and forms. Searching for colleagues is perhaps the most common tasks that employees do on intranets. So, naturally, this can be a major area of productivity loss. Search usability accounts for 43% of the difference in employee productivity between intranets with high and low usability, Nielsen Norman Group reports.
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: Intranets can provide a search box and other tools to make it fast and easy for employees to find co-workers through an organizational chart, employee profiles, etc. Plus, they can provide comprehensive, organized and accurate search results to improve usability. And well-written page titles and summaries can go a long toward enhancing search results and employees’ productivity.       

Stale news or Content Focused on One Group
Intranets need to effectively deal with, archive and integrate news in a way that keeps employees engaged. Offering fresh and interesting news is critical, if you want employees to visit the intranet often. It’s also important to offer news that is relevant to more than just one department, so all employees remain engaged. To ensure a steady supply of good and current content, intranets have to make it easy for employees to add and update information.  

BancWorks Can Solve the Problem
Improving the above areas can not only increase the usability of intranets, but it can also enhance the functionality, effectiveness and productivity of employees. Many intranets were created in piecemeal fashion, and maybe that’s the case with yours. If it is, it’s time to consider a complete, turn-key solution like BancWorks.

BancWorks has the solution to each of the problems mentioned above. For example, it lets you incorporate company colors and a constant set of navigation controls that appear on every page. This makes it easy for users to comfortably stay oriented as they explore the intranet.

BancWorks’ user-friendly interface makes it easy to add and update information, so employees will always have the most current and up-to-date content at their fingertips. A search tool simplifies the process of finding information, whether it’s the latest policies, documents, forms, employee profiles or frequently asked questions. And since BancWorks has a mobile-responsive design, employees can conveniently access your intranet using a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

So stop letting your intranet software waste your employees’ time. Contact me for a free online demo and see how BancWorks can solve some of your intranet’s biggest problems.


Previously:Reasons to Embrace a Board of Director's Portal  Next Up:Using an Intranet to Promote Your Corporate Culture