6 things every intranet home page must have

A clean layout, facile search options, and useful widgets will keep employees coming back and exploring.

Whether you are implementing a new intranet or looking to revamp the one you have, the key to enhancing employee engagement and ensuring intranet adoption is a well thought-out and executed intranet home page.

Your home page is the first thing employees see when they click onto the intranet or, in some cases, when they open their browsers. It is their first impression of what the intranet can do for them, and it’s often the deciding factor in whether they choose to use the site.

Working on the Intranet Connections support team has given me insight into the ways various industries use their intranet home pages to garner the best results. For example, businesses in the health care industry highlight doctors right on the home page, whereas financial companies focus on making documents and forms readily available.

Though there may be specific home page features relevant to your business or industry that don’t apply to other companies, there are six common intranet home page themes that apply across all industries. Adding these features to your intranet home page will ensure your employees make it past the home page and engage with your new (or remodeled) intranet:

1. Keep it simple.

Choose the items on your home page that are most important, and make them easy to find. An employee is much more likely to navigate throughout the site if the home page is has a clear, uncluttered layout. Too many links, applications, and graphics can become confusing and prevent employees from venturing further into the site.

2. Have search readily available.

It’s likely that your intranet will fill up with content. Documents, postings, and articles really pile up over time. Keeping your navigation simple can be difficult if you’ve had your intranet for some time, or if employees use it heavily. Making quick search, employee search, and advanced search options readily available on the home page will help employees find what they need swiftly and easily.

3. Create an attractive design.

An attractive home page seems like a no-brainer. However, people often seen it as a huge job and put it off for weeks, months, even years, and then the home page becomes stale.

You don’t have to implement a new design all at one time—especially if you just want to update aesthetics. You will find greater success by making small changes over time rather than spending months designing, only to find that your designs are out of date once you finally get around to implementing them.

Change site colors, banners, and fonts. These tweaks might seem small, but they make a big difference.

No idea what design you’d like? Need a hand? Most intranet providers offer simple design services to revamp your existing intranet, or architecture design packages for newly implemented intranets to ensure that yours has the most effective architecture.

4. Add widgets and content feeds.

A few smartly placed widgets from the most frequented applications can quickly supply crucial organization-wide information to your employees. Using widgets and content feeds ensures that the most up-to-date information is displayed.

Not sure which applications are the most popular? Your intranet should come with a simple statistics or analytics module that tells you which areas of your intranet employees visit and contribute to most frequently.

5. Keep news front and center.

Employees often visit the intranet to learn what’s going on within the company. The first widget on your home page should be a “what’s new” content feed—an aggregate feed that displays the latest posts from throughout your organization. You can also use this section to share information from various department sites to keep all employees in the loop.

6. Help employees connect.

Your intranet is a great tool for bringing employees together and establishing connections. Adding social media features to your home page can go a long way.

A birthday/anniversaries widget or even a featured employee profile widget can encourage employee connections without taking up too much real estate.

An intranet can enhance staff engagement, simplify your business processes, and increase productivity. Ensure that it does by creating a simple, engaging and well-planned home page.

Can you offer other must-haves for an intranet home page? Please leave your comments below.

A version of this article originally appeared on Intranet Connections.

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