When we set out to forecast the annual intranet trends last year, never in a million years could we have predicted how 2020 would shape up.
And while we didn’t predict the pandemic, our vision for 2020 touched on many themes that were prominent in the year. This included the increasing need to share knowledge, the digital employee experience, and risk reduction.
We also spoke about the increasing role of internal communications, which has never been as relevant as it is now. In 2020 we watched as CEOs increasingly looked to comms professionals to advise them on how to connect with their employees during a time of uncertainty. In one internal comms survey, two-thirds of respondents said that organizational leaders were seeking their advice more, and 90% considered the current situation to have a positive impact on the profession.
So where does this leave us this year?
The pandemic sparked a lot of uncertainty and doubt, yet there was a lot of clarity too. With COVID-19 accelerating the adoption of the digital workplace, it’s likely that the work environment we find ourselves in at this very moment will be similar to the one we’re in at the conclusion of 2021.
2021 will be a year of organizations 'rediscovering’ their intranet, as it’s value continues to evolve. Here are our predictions for 2021 intranet trends:
The pandemic pushed leaders into the spotlight like never before. With employees requesting constant news and information, leaders turned to their intranet to post updates, announcements, and videos. Expect this to grow in 2021 as leaders are under increased pressure to keep employees informed while promoting transparency and authenticity in their decision making. We can also anticipate leaders to depend on their intranet analytics, as they will want reassurance that the communication channel they’ve invested in is working.
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Hybrid workplace environments
When the pandemic forced many workplaces to shut during the initial months of the pandemic, many reopened cautiously, but it wasn’t the same office environment they had left back in March. Many organizations struggled with the balance to remain productive, while keeping employees safe. This led to a new hybrid workplace environment. While hybrid work environments provide many advantages, they aren’t without their flaws. Engagement, retention, and communication will be harder to manage with two very different employee experiences. Expect intranets to play a huge role in overseeing this new work paradigm as they bridge the two experiences.
Corporate social justice
It wasn’t just the pandemic that dominated the news in 2020, it was also escalating racial tensions fuelled by the murder of George Floyd. This sparked anger around the world as employees began to question what social justice meant to them and their workplace. It was no longer enough to post support messages on social media. Employees demanded action from their employers. Many leaders took this opportunity to use their intranet as a communication medium, posting commitments to corporate social justice actions, and providing employees with links and information to relevant resources.
An intranet has long been a crucial element in building and maintaining a crisis-resilient organizational culture. This was particularly evident as we turned to our own intranet here at ThoughtFarmer to engage and unite our employees during the pandemic. It became a trusted source of pandemic related information including hygiene protocols, a return to office plan, and a hub for workplace wellness.
Onboarding in a virtual world
Uncertainty didn’t stop the business world from functioning. There were still jobs posted, and new employees hired. Internally, we hired over a dozen new employees who we onboarded remotely. As 2021 looks to be ‘more of the same’, expect organizations to turn to their intranet as a centralized repository for new employee information, forms, and employee profiles.
What intranet trends do you anticipate for 2021?
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