If your organisation is already using SharePoint, perfecting your intranet should be a priority for internal communicators in 2024. No, that’s not a typo, and no, you haven’t stepped into a time warp. We know SharePoint sounds like old news, and there’s more to your internal comms strategy than an intranet. But, without a solid SharePoint foundation, you could be missing out on the more exciting stuff. The new tech that’s shaping the future of internal comms and employee experience (EX).
Here are five reasons why sorting your SharePoint out should be top of your to-do list:
1. Employee Behaviour Has Changed
The way we work has changed. Remote and hybrid working are common place, leading to a shift in how employees consume and engage with content. Desk drops and in-office signage aren’t enough to reach your people en masse. Everything is digital. But that’s nothing new.
So what’s changed?
Digital overload. The volume of online content we’re all consuming – in both our work and personal lives – can be overwhelming. As internal communicators, that’s not always within your control.
What you can control is how you present your content.
According to the 2023 IC Index, employees spend 15 minutes or less a day reading updates from their employer. They “snack rather than binge”. And over half still prefer to read content, rather than to listen or watch. 2024 is about going back to basics and presenting written content in a way that’s quick and digestible.
2. Employees’ Expectations Have Changed
It’s not just how employees engage with content that’s changed. Their expectations from the workplace are changing too.
By 2025, Generation Z will make up more than a quarter of the global workforce. For this generation, values are more important than ever before, with 77% saying it’s important that their organisation shares their personal values. This generation is less motivated by salary, and more motivated by how their employer makes them feel.
But it’s not just young employees. Across the board, work is no longer just about the job. Employees want to feel connected, autonomous, valued and cared for. They want to understand their purpose at work. This sentiment is shared across industries, roles and ages. Gartner calls it ‘The Human Deal Framework’.
What does that mean for internal comms?
It means employees’ expectations are higher than ever before. Adequate is no longer enough. And that includes your intranet. A boring page with a few text links and incorrectly sized images that is just about functional won’t meet employees’ expectations.
Your SharePoint intranet should serve as a window into your organisation, your culture and your values. In the absence of physical offices, the importance of this increases tenfold.
Read more on making your intranet a window into your culture:
- The Power of Internal Branding & Your Intranet
- Creating a Sense of Culture & Belonging through SharePoint Design
- How to Engage Employees with Purpose, Strategy & Vision
3. Employer Value Proposition is More Important Than Ever
With employee expectations on the rise, a clearly defined and well executed employer value proposition (EVP) is a must. An EVP is
‘…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture’.
Your EVP combines elements across the employee experience – and not all of them are within internal communicators’ control. But, IC teams certainly contribute to employees’ perception of the organisation and your intranet plays a huge part.
In 2024, intranets should evolve from internal comms news sites to organisational homepages. A launchpad from which people can read updates, connect with colleagues, access company tools, find learning opportunities…
If your SharePoint intranet is a one-stop-shop, it can sit as the centre point of your EVP and help facilitate a seamless employee experience.
4. SharePoint Isn’t as Bad as You Think
This is one of the biggest reasons why internal communicators need to focus on SharePoint in 2024. SharePoint gets a bad rap with the IC crowd. The automatic eyeroll when SharePoint is appointed as the intranet-of-choice, often by IT teams who don’t understand the limitations for internal comms.
We hear it all the time, and we understand.
SharePoint-of-old wasn’t a great experience. But in recent years a lot has changed. Most of the IC teams that we speak to don’t even realise what’s possible with SharePoint now! We’re here to open your eyes and show you how great SharePoint can be.
SharePoint isn’t as complicated as it used to be. For non-technical teams, intranet managers and content creators, the interface is much more user-friendly. You don’t need to be a technical whizz to keep on top of it.
Granted, there are still some limitations. Especially around SharePoint design. But Microsoft are listening. In 2024, we’re expecting SharePoint Brand Centre. Although some details of Brand Centre are still to be confirmed, it should go some way to addressing some of those design pain points.
But, if you don’t want to wait, there are already SharePoint design tools out there that can help you build first-class intranet pages with ease. (If you ask us, ours is pretty great 😉)
5. SharePoint is the Foundation for the Future of Employee Experience
If you’ve heard any news from Microsoft lately, it’s likely been around Microsoft Viva or Microsoft Copilot. These are the tools that Microsoft are using to shape the future of employee experience. We won’t go into the technical weeds, so here’s a quick overview.
Microsoft Viva is the employee experience platform. It’s comprised of a number of apps that serve a range of purposes from knowledge management to goal setting. For IC teams, the biggest benefits come from
- Viva Connections – brings your intranet content into Teams
- Viva Engage – the new home for community building, replacing Yammer
- Viva Amplify – centralised campaign management, publishing and reporting
Copilot is Microsoft’s AI tool. It’ll be available in the Microsoft 365 apps we know and love, including Teams, Outlook, Word and SharePoint. For internal communicators, it’ll help with content creation, document design, tone of voice…all the necessary but time-consuming tasks.
In the next few years, these are the tools that will help organisations make employees’ daily work lives better. There will be practical benefits, like saving time and automating repeatable tasks. And cultural benefits, like building connections with each other, with leadership and with company values.
But – and this is the important bit – none of these tools work without SharePoint.
SharePoint is the foundation upon which these tools thrive. Without a solid SharePoint foundation, the rest will have minimal benefit. Before you start planning for the next wave of digital workplace tech, you need to get the basics right.
Of course, not all of this is within internal communicators’ control. It will need to be a joint effort across departments to get SharePoint ready from technical, content and cultural perspectives. But getting those steps into motion in 2024 is a key part of your employee experience evolution.
Take the first steps to sorting your SharePoint out and catch up on our webinar with internal comms whizz Carly Murray.