Can a Great Intranet Search Really Support a Better Employee Experience?

Noam Limor
By Noam Limor
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published April 7, 2022.

Unleash intranet search image

Improving employee experience (EX) is a goal for both large and small organizations – making your company a great place to work can generate a range of high-value benefits.

Everybody wants to have happier employees. There are a variety of factors which influence EX, but there is no single magic ingredient to perfect it. Instead, companies need to employ a range of different tactics to move the needle on employee experience.

At first glance, improving findability and search through your intranet may sound like it has little to do with EX and has minimal impact on how employees feel about their work, but think again! Search can play a much more significant role than expected.

In this post, we’re going to explore why a great intranet search can support a better employee experience.

Why Do Companies Focus On EX?

Most companies focus on providing a strong customer experience (CX), delivering a consistently high-value experience across all their external touchpoints which leads to increases in sales, brand loyalty and more. In general, less attention has been paid to the equivalent employee experience (EX), but that has started to change.

Many leaders and HR functions from both large and small organizations realize the advantages of providing a strong EX across moments that matter, and, indeed, all aspects of the touchpoints between employee and employer. This can lead to everything from better talent attraction and retention, to higher productivity and even better customer service; EX is now being recognized as strategically crucial.

What Factors Influence EX?

Like its big sister CX, there are a lot of factors that influence EX. This includes fundamentals like pay and benefits, work flexibility, opportunities for career development and the nature of a person’s role. Other softer areas such as wellbeing support, the relationship with your line manager, organizational culture and even the mission and purpose of your organization can also be important. For example, one of the ways we focus on making Unleash a great place to work is to make sure everybody is invested in our mission.

Employees’ everyday experience of workplace technology is also part of employee experience. With our total reliance on the systems and applications we access to get our work done – especially with the increase in remote working since the beginning of the pandemic – this is unsurprisingly influential. In a global survey of 7,000 employees, having the right workplace tech and tools in place ranked in the top five most important factors in providing a good experience. Moreover, a survey of US employees found that nearly half (49%) would consider leaving their job due to bad workplace technology.

Let’s be honest, poor technology at work can be really frustrating, especially when you’re under pressure with a deadline. How many times have you sworn at your screen? How many times have you wanted to throw your laptop across the room?

One of the big-ticket pain points for staff is not being able to find what they need at work. Finding that elusive piece of information or obscure document wastes time and causes frustration, in direct contrast to employees’ experiences of using Google outside work. They expect great search at work, but they’re rarely getting it. In fact, research suggests that only 22% of employees are truly satisfied with their intranet search, with a whopping 40% dissatisfied or very dissatisfied! Poor findability can really start to impact our employee experience.

The Problem of App Overload

Another area where a good intranet search can have a positive impact on employee experience is tackling app overload. In our recent post on how intranet search can improve employee productivity, we described how the proliferation of cloud-based apps in regular use within organizations is a major cause of low productivity, with one of the reasons being constant switching between different apps. It breaks our flow of concentration and can be very tiring; in fact, research suggests that 43% of employees believe switching tasks causes them fatigue.

We already know that information overload is overwhelming and stressful, but app overload can be too. One survey suggests that 70% of employees are swapping between apps up to 10 times an hour, an experience which can be disorienting. When it also hampers our productivity, it can increase the stress of feeling behind where we need to be in our working day. Wellbeing and the ability to work efficiently can both influence our everyday experience of work.

One of the characteristics of Unleash which customers love is the ability (and relief!) of having one interface not only to search across up to 40 different cloud-based apps, but also to act as a launchpad to open and even trigger actions within these apps. One interface is less jarring and overwhelming, and supports a better overall employee experience.

Supporting Remote and Hybrid Work

Another key component of employee experience is the flexibility for employees to successfully work when and where they want. This has grown significantly in importance with the onset of the pandemic, when lockdown forced many of us to work from home, sometimes for the first time. This has allowed both individuals and organizations to experience both the benefits and downsides of remote working. The bottom line is that now, many individuals want to continue remote working and organizations are committing to a hybrid model of work.

Research has shown that feeling connected is one of the biggest challenges of working from home; a 2020 survey found that “feeling disconnected from colleagues” and “feeling disconnected from what’s going on in my company” were the two biggest issues.

When you’re in the office, you can usually ask your desk neighbor to help you find something, but that is harder when working from home. Not being able to find what you need impacts your ability to carry out your role, but can also increase that feeling of isolation and disconnection, particularly for newer employees.

Here, a great intranet search is not necessarily going to address all these issues, but it can help. A popular element of Unleash is the ability to search through all the systems that connect an employee to what is going on in their company from one search box - not only the news on the company intranet, but also systems like Slack where you communicate with colleagues. This helps increase your connection with your network of colleagues and the information you need, making remote work that little bit easier.

Intranet Search and Employee Experience

There are many factors that influence a good employee experience. A great intranet search can support better EX by helping employees find what they need across multiple systems, thus reducing overwhelming app overload, supporting better employee productivity, enabling remote working and also contributing to a better experience of work technology.

If you’d like to find out how a search product like Unleash can support a better employee experience, then arrange a free demo!