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Employee communication ruined by ‘confusing’ portals


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“Encouraging employees to use portals can increase the effectiveness of internal communications and help lower the associated costs,” said Michael Rudnick, national intranet and employee portal leader at Watson Wyatt.

“Portals allow HR to focus more on strategic initiatives and less on routine administrative activities, such as fielding questions about benefits and completing forms,” said Rudnick.

But he warned that “Many corporate intranets have become very confusing and difficult for workers to use. Also, a lack of personalisation makes it difficult for individuals to know what information applies to them.”

However, he said companies are starting to invest in employee portals and corporate intranets in an effort to make them more functional and easier to use. A chief reason includes employee expectations, especially as employees become more familiar with using the Web.

“Employers are now looking at enhancements that will give employees easy access to only the content that is relevant to their specific situation,” he explained. Specifically, some companies are considering upgrading their portals to include more sophisticated capabilities, such as role-based personalisation, smart searching and internal blogs.

Role-based personalisation: Portals use role-based personalisation to display information based on the user’s identity. By integrating with a company’s HR information system and other data sources, the portal acts as a filter to provide employees with only the content and applications that are relevant to their specific job, department, business unit, location or personal circumstances.

Smart searching: Employees need to be able to find the information they need when they need it. The proliferation of employee portals should include upgrades to search technology to ensure the quick return of relevant information. HR should also consider technologies that provide a list of related links and resources based on the page a user is viewing.

Blogs: Blogs first gained popularity as tools for sharing personal information in diary form on the Internet. Today, the chronological, web-based journals are making rapid inroads into organisations as important tools for internal communication, collaboration and knowledge management.

“The bottom line is that companies should approach portal expansion strategically and focus on tools that create efficiencies and help align employees with organisational objectives,” said Rudnick.

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