Whether you are implementing a new intranet solution 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 homepage.

Your homepage is the first thing your employees see when they click onto the intranet, or in some cases when they open their browser. It is their first impression of what the intranet can do for them and can often be the deciding factor of whether they choose to continue through the site or stop their journey short.

Working on the Intranet Connections Support Team has given me a unique insight into the ways in which various industries utilize their intranet and how different businesses leverage their intranet homepage to garner the most positive results. For example, businesses in the healthcare industry find it beneficial to highlight doctors on call right on the homepage, while financial companies focus on making documents and forms readily available.

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

1) Keep it Simple. SERIOUSLY.

Our #1 core value at Intranet Connections is to keep it simple. This means choosing the items on your homepage that are most important and making them easy to find. An employee is much more likely to continue navigating throughout the site if the homepage is simply laid out and uncluttered. Too many links, applications and graphics can become confusing and prevent your employee from navigating further into the site.

2) Have ‘Search’ Readily Available

If it hasn’t already, it is likely that your intranet will fill up with a lot of content.  Over time documents, postings, employees and articles really add up!  It is easy to say your navigation should be simple, but in practice it can be difficult if you have had your intranet for sometime or if it is heavily used by employees, or both.  Making quick search, employee search and advanced search options readily available right on the homepage will do wonders for allowing your employees to find what they need quickly.

3) Create an Attractive Design

An attractive homepage seems like a no-brainer.  However, it is often seen as a huge job and therefore gets put off for weeks, months and then even years until the homepage becomes old and stale.  Implementing a new design does not have to be done all at one time, especially if we’re just talking aesthetics.  In fact, you will find much greater success with 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!  There are often features such as our Simple Theme Editor which allow you to change site colors, banners and font in mere seconds. These changes may 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 your intranet is implemented with the most effective intranet architectural foundation.

4) Add Widgets and Content Feeds

A few thoughtfully placed widgets from the most frequented applications can quickly and effectively supply crucial organization-wide information to your employees.  Using Widgets and Content Feeds ensures that the most up-to-date and accurate information is displayed. Not sure which applications are most popular?  Your intranet solution should come with a simple Statistics or Analytics module which tells you which areas of your intranet are visited and contributed to most frequently.

5) Keep What’s New Front and Center

Your employees will often visit the intranet to discover what’s going on within the company.  The first widget on your homepage should therefore be a What’s New content feed, an aggregate feed which displays the latest advertised posts from around the intranet. This section can also be used to feed information posted on various department sites to the main homepage to keep all employees in the loop with important departmental information.

6) Help Connect Your Employees

The term “social” tends to cause hesitation and even recoil, but your intranet is a great tool for bringing employees together and establishing connections and therefore adding some social features to your homepage can go a long way. A birthdays/anniversaries widget, or even a featured employee profile widget are two great ways to encourage employee connections without taking up too much homepage real estate.

An intranet can easily help to enhance employee engagement, simplify your business processes and increase overall productivity within your company.  The best way to ensure that it does is to create a simple, engaging and well laid out homepage to encourage intranet interaction and adoption.  Do you have other must-have’s for your intranet homepage? I’d love to hear them! Leave your comments below.

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