Intranet Connections has its roots in business applications. We have added a lot of social and collaboration elements to our social intranet software over the recent years, but we have never forgotten about our roots in providing tools for employees to help improve your business. We also see a great deal of employee engagement stemming from your company culture and our new v11 is all about leveraging your intranet to communicate that culture, and to expand on the tools you need to better inform and collaborate with your employees.
I was going to blog about the specific features of our new release, but instead I owe an entry to Julie Hunt, of Julie Hunt Consulting who took the time to respond to my last blog post on v11 and culture.
For those of you interested in our latest v11 features and what our team has been up to in developing App Builder (and other cool enhancements) check out the link to our v11 landing page at the bottom of this post.
Julie Hunt, well known in the Twitter Intranet Community as @juliebhunt, sent me an email asking more about our team collaboration day that I blogged about – where I closed the office and invited all employees to attend and participate in a company strategy session. Julie was asking about how our employees are empowered to be stronger and more productive, to relate better to our intranet customers.
We use Intranet Connections in-house for our own intranet using the new v11 features to support our company culture, which is all about empowerment and ownership of work – and a bit of fun sprinkled in. Intranet Connections is my baby, I am the founder, I built the software 12 years ago (it is now in more capable hands with a full development team) and I cultivated a team environment from the first day I hired to help me with this growing business.
Julie asked how our employees are empowered. My method is relatively simple. When I am recruiting, I look for people with initiative and I hire for the potential of intrapreneurs. When my staff recruits, they know to look for the same qualities that they possess. I never hire unless my team ok’s the person. We place as much emphasis on a cultural fit as qualifications for the job. I believe in the proverb – you can teach job skills but you can’t teach attitude. I also know that there are good people out there; you just have to attract them, so one of the first things I do in an interview is talk about our core values of simplicity, integrity, creativity, work/life balance, and building relationships. If there is a good fit, the core values will resonate with the candidate.
I have a horizontal view of my company, including my own role. I ask everyone their opinions, all of the time, especially when they are new to the company and have that eager, new perspective. We all have a voice in the company and also in how we grow, the direction we take, and the continued development of our intranet software. I try to give employees the room to grow in their own roles. If they want to take on initiatives, I am all for it even if it may not be 100% in line with their job description. I want them to expand their skills and knowledge so that they can support our customers to the best of their abilities.
So how does the intranet help support this culture of everyone having a voice? Well for us, we are not a huge company with 100s of employees, but I do believe in an open publishing concept. We encourage everyone to submit content to their team sites on the intranet. We also share wins and we post upcoming team building events, photos, and customer feedback – particularly the positive feedback that is so rewarding to receive, because we all work hard to go the extra mile.
Our intranet is quite social – we have chat, we have rich employee profiles, we have a knowledgebase to tap. We also use our intranet to share company initiatives and we created an application with our new App Builder tool, which stores historical reference to our weekly “rocks” (big action tasks) for each team including development, sales, support and marketing. This way, we can review our progress and ensure every team member is on track towards our quarterly goals. It helps everyone to be in the know, as we all end up educating our customers and prospects on our software, how to leverage what you have in within your intranets, and what’s coming down the pipe for enhancements and added functionality.
One of our company core values is work/life balance and our intranet reflects this. We have a Photo Album and slideshow of our “Intranet Connections Extended Family” that shows our kids, pets, friends, family members. Everyone can share photos and are encouraged to do so. We have a lot of people who bike to work from downtown, and we give tips via our intranet on other green living initiatives including yummy and healthy recipes.
We also travel as a team, and laugh a lot. Fun is a small part of corporate culture, but for us, it’s important. I like everyone to be included on trips, and this helps to build the rapport and knowledge of what each contributes in their roles to making our company a success. It is truly a team effort and without my team I cannot do business. An organization’s greatest assets are the employees and it is great to provide a rocking intranet that supports the kind of culture and environment I want to foster.
Here is the link to our Intranet Connections v11 Landing Page
Julie also mentioned it would be great to hear stories on how our customers are using their intranets to build on culture and leveraging the features of version 11. Stay tuned as we will be sharing more on this over the summer months.
- Carolyn Douglas