Over the years, the role of employee engagement at organizations has been evident. The Corporate Leadership Council reports that “Engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave an organization.” In addition, the companies who have employee engagement strategies and the tools in place reportedly record low levels of absenteeism, quality issues, safety issues and theft at the workplace.

The engaged workforce is loyal, productive and self-driven and contributes towards growing revenues and increasing customer satisfaction.

Yet employees at many organizations lose hours of productivity doing time-consuming tasks such as - searching for documents, printing and mailing information, completing forms, executing manual processes, finding help, and so on.

Office 365 is the leading provider of many productivity tools; and a comprehensive, ready-to-go intranet brings Office 365 tools together turning it into an 'Employee Hub.' It helps create an ecosystem that not only connects your employees but also seamlessly manages every aspect of your business. Its intuitive and easy-to-use features are highly engaging and make your employees' work lives simpler, increasing engagement levels like never before.

Here are the 8 ways you can better drive and engage your staff with an Office 365 Intranet:

  • Simplicity

Microsoft has been leading the way in the enterprise collaboration space. Many solutions based on the SharePoint platform or on Office 365 are available out-of-the-box. The reason companies are increasingly adopting these solutions is that they come with several built-in features that you can start using – after a few, quick tweaks - right after installation.

However, some products offer a variety of customizations which make the solution complex and overwhelming to its users, thus deterring rather than engaging the employees.

Complexity certainly has its time and place, but it is usually most effective to have a digital workplace which is simple, concise, and easy to navigate.

An Intranet on Office 365 is built with a simple and clean design which is easy to get around. It works far more efficiently than a solution that is packed with advance capabilities, tools and complex navigation. It's flexible and offers all the basic features one needs to be productive.

  • Gamification

Your digital workplace can be as interesting as you make it. Corporate and internal communications will always be at the forefront of a digital workplace, but Office 365 offers numerous capabilities to serve much more than just a collaboration platform to access information, documents, and communications.

An Intranet on Office 365 can offer fun ways to engage more users. You can turn work into play with exciting contests that motivate and engage employees. You can also add rich content such as videos, photographs, social streams, and surveys to get the conversations started and facilitate a flow of ideas.

Further, you can have your employees participate in individual and team-based competitions that motivate them to achieve certain pre-defined goals by offering prizes, awards, privileges, and recognition.

By implementing the above ideas, you can turn your intranet into an 'Employee Hub' your employees will want to visit for fresh, updated content, and spend their work day there knowing they have all the tools they need to be productive.

  • Self-Service approach

Your digital workplace can be more rewarding when it saves your user’s time. Along with offering excellent search capabilities, it should also be user friendly and intuitive so that users can operate functionality without depending on others, such as your HR and IT staff.

With tools like knowledge base, in-context help, and short training videos, your employees can find answers, explore tools on their own, save time, and feel more connected, engaged and driven.

Enable the following self-help tools on your Office 365 Intranet to create a better engaged workplace:

  • Replace commonly used (manual) forms with digitized and automated forms.

  • Publish news & announcements, policies & procedures on the intranet rather than sending emails, which can get buried.

  • Create an FAQ to address commonly asked questions and add to it as required.

  • Smarter Workflows

Manual processes are time-consuming and error prone. Automating manual, paper-based processes – like form and document approvals – saves time by preventing your users from doing tedious and repetitive tasks.

An Office 365 Intranet offers automated business processes that replace manual methods of data entry with intelligent workflows. It enables validated information to be automatically collected and stored in a database, from where all kinds of reports can be run. It seamlessly automates simple to complex multi-stage workflows and approvals like inventory updates, formula reviews in a manufacturing unit, general approvals from your manager or HR, and can automate workflows brought from different systems, such as ERP, CRM, Sales and Finance and so on.

  •  Easy Collaboration

It is estimated that by 2020 millennials will constitute 80% of the global workforce. Young employees are the driving force behind any organization’s success. They are energetic, innovative and self-driven but also have high expectations for the work style and technology tools offered. This paradigm shift brings new challenges and opportunities for companies and makes it critical for them to transform their current work style and make it more technology driven – to attract fresh, young talent.

Office 365 is the leading productivity suite that provides useful and more efficient tools and applications to connect, engage and work together. An Intranet on Office 365 is a connected and collaborative ecosystem that offer tools for teamwork like team sites for cross-team communications, tasks execution, and document libraries for co-authoring and updating content. It is a place where people can connect through chat and instant messaging tools, be notified of changes on tasks, documents, etc. in real-time. It seamlessly integrates with your email applications to notify staff of changes to documents or news that they are following.

  •  Mobility

Today’s workforce is becoming more scattered and distributed. According to research conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, approximately 3.7 million U.S. employees work from home at least half the time and employees are not at their desk 50-60% of the time.

It has become more and more important for companies to provide the tools to accommodate its ever-growing mobile workforce needs, to improve business productivity and stay in line with the competition. The ability to work remotely, have flexible hours and use a device of their choice allows employees to work across time zones. With anytime and anywhere access, responsiveness and availability across devices as key features, an Office 365 Intranet can play a vital role in your mobile roadmap. It connects your remote teams and gets everybody on the same page while also employing enterprise-grade security.

  • Everything Centralized

Your Office 365 Intranet is a central place for all your work-related communications. It brings all your business processes in one central location. So instead of using separate applications for your email, document authoring, project management, forms processing, and collaborating; it makes everything available on your intranet.

It is also capable of integrating with external business applications so you can connect to your existing apps from the intranet portal, while still maintaining the single sign on feature.

  • User Feedback

Just because you implemented a new workplace solution, which is supposed to save time and increase productivity, doesn’t mean your employees share your enthusiasm and jump into using the product.

Nobody likes change, even if it makes things simpler.

Make sure you’ve spent time interviewing some of your key users to understand how they work and what their pain points are. Then, when you introduce the intranet highlight how it is going to benefit them. Give them examples by comparing some activities they do currently and show them how quick and easy it will be on the intranet.

It is also a good idea to have a place on the intranet where users can give their feedback and make suggestions. These are very valuable in enhancing the solution, making your users feel heard, and giving them what they need.


Published by Shahbaz Ahmed