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Make Your Employees’ Lives Easier With These Key Intranet Search Engine Features

Itay Itzhaki
By Itay Itzhaki
Joel Taylor
Reviewed by Joel Taylor

Published April 21, 2022.

Cartoon man pulling apart two puzzle pieces

Is your company’s intranet software helping or hurting your employees’ productivity? A new report from Reclaim.ai found that employees are spending an average of only 2.24 hours a day on actual task work and are interrupted about 31 times a day. This constant app switching is terrible for employee engagement and productivity.

To tackle these issues, today’s intranet search engines need to have certain features to offer value to enterprises and intranet users. To get the most out of your intranet, make sure your enterprise search tool has multi-app search functionality to reduce app switching, semantic and contextual search to streamline the search experience, and end-to-end encryption to protect data.

Multi-Tool Search Is Vital for Employee Productivity

To create a cohesive user experience for your employees, you’ll need to make sure your employees can use one search bar to search many of their tools at once without leaving the intranet.

Employees are now using so many apps that their days are spent fragmented, switching between apps, frustrated, and overwhelmed. That frequent context switching drags productivity down. Researchers at Stanford University’s Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute say the negative effects context switching has on employee productivity are well established:

A rich body of research in psychological science has documented that the behavioral costs of task switching are typically unavoidable: individuals almost always take longer to complete a task and do so with more errors when switching between tasks than when they stay with one task.

This means that your intranet search functionality can’t be limited to the intranet site or app—it also needs to include the other tools your employees use daily. Modern intranets can help enterprises create a more unified employee experience by using a search tool that delivers relevant results from all the apps your organization uses.

Say your organization gets an intranet platform up and running, but your employees still need to access other apps like Dropbox, Box, and Google Docs.

Without multi-tool search functionality, employees still have to go to each individual app to search. But with multi-tool search, it’s all accessible from the search bar, and intranet search results include the whole tech stack employees use to do their jobs.

Semantic and Contextual Search Brings the Human Element to Search Functionality

Semantic and contextual search together create a search experience that feels natural and requires less time and effort so employees can find critical information faster. Machine learning can find patterns in metadata and user behavior to improve search results.

Semantic Search

In a semantic search engine, search terms don’t have to be exact because the search engine considers other words frequently used with the search term. This is the key feature that rocketed Google search to success in the late 90s and helped people find things on the internet much faster and easier.

Semantic search analyzes groups of words that typically appear together and makes educated guesses as to what users meant when they make typos in search queries. For instance, if you’re looking for a statement of work in a search engine with semantic search functionality but mistakenly type “SPW” instead of “SOW,” you’ll still get documents with “SOW” on your search results page.

End users now expect semantic search in every search tool they use. Semantic search should be included in every search feature in your company intranet if you want a search engine that’s easy to use and feels natural for your users.

Contextual Search

While semantic search analyzes large amounts of search data from all users to make search more efficient, contextual search zooms into a specific search end user and gets to know the individual’s history. The search engine can then deliver results based on personalized search analytics.

Take that hypothetical statement of work you were looking for in the last section. If your intranet search engine has contextual search, it will give you the statements of work you most recently or most frequently search first. This search feature makes your search engine more effective the more it’s used.

End-To-End Encryption and Strict Data Privacy Standards Protect Company Data

Enterprise data breaches are not only increasing in frequency, but research on the subject also shows data breaches cost more than ever before. Your intranet search engine should include top-of-the-line data security protections to prevent data breaches.

End-To-End Encryption

To avoid the headache of a breach, keep your digital workplace secure at every point with the best end-to-end encryption available.

For data that’s at rest, the best encryption option is AES-256. AES stands for “Advanced Encryption Standard,” and 256 refers to the fact that AES-256 encrypts and decrypts data in 256-bit chunks.

For information on the move, another kind of encryption is needed. TLS 1.3 is the current gold standard for protecting information moving over the internet. TLS 1.3 uses two-sided encryption, sometimes referred to as a “TLS handshake,” meaning both the sender and receiver have a unique key that they share with each other before sharing data.

It’s easy to see if any site you’re using is protected by TLS 1.3. Look for the little lock before a URL in the address bar tells you that TLS 1.3 is actively protecting your data.

SOC 2 Ready

SOC 2 is a set of standards for security, privacy, and financial reporting set by the AICPA (Association of International Certified Professional Accountants):

A SOC 2 report helps organizations manage risks related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality or privacy.” And those are vital security features for an intranet search engine.

SOC 2 compliance requires an audit, and from there, organizations are instructed on what they need to do to be in compliance. Look for organizations that openly state they are SOC 2 ready to ensure you’re only trusting organizations who’ve done considerable work to ensure their products are safe and secure.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Compliant

GDPR is the EU data privacy law passed in 2016. It’s widely regarded as the strictest user data protection law currently active in the world. In short, you can’t get more careful about user data privacy than the GDPR.

To be GDPR compliant, you’ll need to follow many different data privacy rules that cover everything from the language you use to explain your privacy policy to users to how you collect user data to how and when you delete or alter user data. Whenever possible, opt for tools from companies that are GDPR compliant to keep your data safe.

Unleash the Power of Your Company Intranet With Better Search

In addition to multi-tool search, semantic search, contextual search, and advanced security features make sure the intranet search tool you use can help you build a centralized company intranet that improves employee engagement.

Unleash provides a quick calendar view and one-click app launching for a more efficient intranet search experience. By using a multi-tool search, you can reduce the app switching your employees have to do throughout the day. According to surveys with our own users, we save our customers an average of 1.5–2 hours a week per user. For a team of 500, that means every week they could save between 750 and 1,000 employee hours.

Learn about all the ways Unleash can help your employees get the most out of your company intranet.

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