Functionality is not enough

In National Payroll Week, Richard Acreman, CEO of technology services company WM360, argues that company intranets and enjoyable communications platforms can give organisations the edge over their competitors.

Partly thanks to a cultural shift in UK workplaces and partly due to new legislation, flexible and remote working are becoming increasingly popular for employees in the UK. In National Payroll Week 2014 forward-thinking payroll and HR teams need to consider how technical elements such as smart internal collaboration tools, gamified systems and innovative idea-sharing solutions to give employees more control and choice over their communications.

Internal intranets flawed

Whilst start-ups and SMEs tend to be more imaginative and innovative with this kind of technology, many large enterprises are still using siloed legacy systems that hamper communication across the business and restrict employees in what they can do with the technology available to them. As a result, intranets with engaging user interfaces and social elements are often missing, which means that collaboration across the business is severely hampered.

Breaking down barriers of communication can have a positive impact on performance not only for individuals, but also for the business as a whole. As such, internal intranets should be specifically designed to increase employee engagement and productivity. Innovation in this area needs to be led by HR and payroll, which will implement – as well as drive adoption of – the necessary systems and tools.

Businesses would do well to look outside of the corporate environment for inspiration in this area. Proactive companies can create personalised user interfaces that are similar to employees’ favourite consumer websites. Facebook, for example, has solved the problem of building an attractive user interface extremely well. The social media giant has created an engaging, positive journey for the user from start to finish by implementing features such as instant messaging, video and voice calling.

Whilst Facebook has managed to make these social tools both accessible and enjoyable, this is the exception rather than the rule. Instead of focusing on the user experience, too many internal company systems are still being designed for usability and functionality – and yet typically fall flat in all of these areas.

Positive retention effect

Whilst technology may not always be at the top of an HR director’s list, it cannot be overlooked completely. Improving employee communication and experience through smart internal intranets can have a significant, positive effect on staff retention, development and retention.

As such, it’s vital that employers don’t overlook internal systems when it comes to IT budgets. Effective internal systems can play a vital role in general employee motivation and overall job satisfaction, and can even be the deciding factor for employees when choosing which job to go for.

Richard Acreman

Main image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/davefayram/

 

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