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Intranets for Employee Communications

It used to be that when companies grew much larger than they began, corporate evolution meant an increase in office space, inclusion of ID badges into the corporate culture and holiday parties were moved from the CEO’s house to a restaurant or hotel ballroom (while the founding employees grumbled to themselves that things just aren’t the same anymore).

But the growing pains don’t stop there.

Companies experiencing growth tend to have a longer rumor shelf-life (more people to gossip, more people to listen), added confusion about corporate process, increased strain on human resource and benefit support as well as increases in paper usage and waste. Some may wonder the benefits of growth at all!

More and more, companies have been turning to Intranets to solve particular problems associated with growth. Regardless of the speed in which your company’s growth occurs, Intranets can create a two-way communication vehicle between employee groups, centralize sensitive information, support or help create a corporate culture and reduce costs.

Two-Way Communications

Few companies are equipped with a CEO or president who walks around and talks directly to employees. An Intranet can allow employees to communicate directly to administrators by name or anonymously. Consider using an Intranet to reduce the number of expensive company meetings looking for feedback on company changes. Use it to disseminate ideas, address rumors and receive comments from concerned or supportive employees.

Centralize Sensitive Information

Your company can keep an online repository of company meeting notes, crisis communication plans, product/service pricing, billing rates and other sensitive information your clients and the general public should not see. Intranets also help reduce the amount of searching on crowded public folders for career and benefit information.

Creating a Corporate Culture

Intranets should be fun and functional. A major utility company used their Intranet to bridge the gap between two corporate cultures after a lengthy merger. They blended the two by including the new company’s weekly bowling scores on their Intranet to encourage after-work camaraderie. Eventually, both the old and new companies were posting scoresÑstimulating healthy competition.

Reduce Costs

Instead of printing hundreds of health benefit packages per year, consider the amount of printing, paper and human resources to be saved by posting files on a corporate Intranet. Users can download the information to their desktops and easily replace outdated documents with new ones. Companies have moved from Excel-based timesheets to a paperless Intranet process saving many of our natural resources each year.

But don’t take my word for it. See how other companies are using Intranets:

In 1999, General Electric revamped its Intranet and saw the number of hits increase from a couple of thousand to 10 million a week. GE employees can design their own Web pages within the company Intranet, and then customize them with features such as checking the weather or industry related news. The system also allows employees to download tax forms and review benefit information. An online marketplace is available with discounts on GE appliances and other products and services.

At Texas Instruments, employees can select doctors from a health plan from the corporate Intranet. Leisure items such as concierge services that will plan vacations and run errands also are offered to employees. Intranet access is given to new hires prior to their first day of work as a way to introduce TI’s corporate culture.

HBO posts its cafeteria menu, community events, classified ads, Girl Scout cookie sales and a service for finding a roommate.

There is no denying the potential an Intranet can afford organizations experiencing growth. Intranets have caught on because, when designed correctly, they work beautifully.

This article, written by Michael D. Driscoll, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.

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