There are various instances when departments need to share information that is only relevant to them, but not to the rest of the company. But how can you share and store that information on your intranet with only individuals in your department or team, and not clutter the intranet for the rest of your colleagues? The answer: Department / Team Sites.

As a Support Technician at Intranet Connections, I have assisted a number of our stellar customers with offices spread across various geographic locations. Employees have to collaborate with colleagues from their department or team, but they aren’t necessarily located in the same office.

To overcome this physical barrier, they have their own Department / Team Sites on the intranet they can use to store their documents, display upcoming project dates, share resources and  communicate through Message Boards or Discussion Forums, regardless of where they are located. Additionally, they utilize Department Sites to display the employees of the department, to provide the opportunity to put a friendly face to a name, since many have not met in person.

There are several other benefits to having Department / Team Sites, such as:

1. Information Sharing Amongst the Team

You can create as many Department / Team Sites as you like and use each of them as the hub of information for each department individually. Post information specific to each department, such as what’s new in the department or items that need to be promoted. Utilizing the Application Feed Widget, you can pull in information from other areas of your intranet that may pertain to that department, posting it on the Department / Team Site.

2. Keep Information & Resources Relevant & Engaging

In addition to department members sharing information with each other, having a specific site dedicated to each department also allows colleagues from other departments to share or find appropriate resources as needed. For example, if someone from HR found a resource that may benefit Marketing, they can share the resource on the Marketing Site. Or, if an employee is looking for information on employee benefits packages, they know to go to the HR Site where it is stored.

Another major benefit to having Department / Team Sites is that content relevant to that department may not necessarily be relevant to the entire company. The intranet home page should be engaging to the whole company, and display information relevant to all employees, not just a subset.

By displaying items meant only for one department on the home page, you can risk overloading the home page with applications and widgets that won’t be useful to the majority of employees, which could reduce intranet adoption.

3. Internal Communication on Department Sites

In my example above, I mention that our customers with multiple office locations highly benefit from Department / Team Sites. However, Department Sites improve internal communication in any organization, not just those that can’t communication face-to-face.

You can include various communication tools on your Department / Team Sites that help employees better communicate and connect when meeting isn’t necessarily an option. Perhaps everyone from Sales works in the same office, but they are all on different schedules. Having a specific site for Sales can help them communicate about weekly sales goals, which targets have been hit, which ones haven’t. This benefits your employees because it allows everyone from a department to be on the same page, without cluttering the intranet with information that doesn’t pertain to them. IT doesn’t really care that Sales has hit all it’s targets this month.

4. Strengthen Collaboration with Team Sites

Team Sites are a great way for employees to collaborate on work tasks and projects related to their specific department. Earlier I mentioned having an Application Feed Widget on your department site, this allows you to setup things like Event Calendar or Training Calendar feeds displaying upcoming project deadlines, or other items related to that department. Employees can utilize these features to collaborate on upcoming projects, or help each other with work tasks. Department members can upload files and documents related to the specific project or work task, and use Discussion Forums to discuss the project.

Team Sites provides a platform for colleagues in the same department to collaborate on almost anything, all in one central location on your intranet. Employees have to ability to get work on a project or task together from the comfort of their computer chair. Another benefit to Team Sites is that you can make the site available or visible only to members of that department. This added security option ensures any sensitive data isn’t shared with any inappropriate parties.

Examples of Department / Team Sites

The following are a few examples of Department / Team Sites our customers have created and how these sites are leveraged:

  • Human Resources – This group may have confidential information that they will need to share internally within the group, but this information should not be available to other employees. This site would need to be locked down so that regular users of the intranet would be unable to see this information.
  • Marketing / Communications – This group may need a place to publish calendars showing upcoming promotions that they will need to prepare for. While this is possible to do on the home site, it would make more sense for this information to live within the Marketing Department Site.
  • IT Department – As this group is responsible for items like preparing a new computer for new hires, or setting up appropriate permissions, it is important for these processes to be documented and shared within the IT Department. By having all processes documented, they are able to bring new IT members up to speed quickly as the resources are all available for them.
As an intranet administrator, a best practice for Department Sites is to have someone you can lean on be the Site Owner for their own department, for example the IT Manager can be the IT Site Owner. This person can be the main go-to for their department when creating apps/pages on their site, which can save you time having to manage it for them.

What unique ways are you utilizing Department / Team Sites? Let me know by commenting below.

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