Our Confluence-based intranet suite Linchpin is ideal for companies that are distributed over several, or even a very large number of sites. One of the great strengths of Linchpin is that the central company can communicate with its distributed users in a targeted manner via news — with the key concepts of personalization and individual relevance.
Intranet messages and news can be targeted to employees based on certain profile fields. Thanks to this targeted and customizable news concept, the company's editorial team can reach those users for whom certain information is important, and not bother the rest with irrelevant information.
Retail chains are very widely distributed, many of which have hundreds of local outlets. Let's take a closer look at this particular type of business, noting its specific communication options when using an intranet, and include some practical scenarios.
News for individual locations
Both theoretically (and practically), the head office can reach employees in a single branch using intranet news in Linchpin. But management wouldn't choose the direct communication option in a company with 500 branch offices, would it?
Why not? In this example, headquarters probably already sends direct emails to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. The store managers who receive the emails, are likely to read these messages and prepare a note for their colleagues, to be viewed (or ignored), in the break room.
There are very practical applications for this highly targeted communication within an intranet. For example, if a store is going to be closed, the affected employees should be regularly informed about its progress, and notified to which neighboring locations they will be distributed. Or if a branch celebrates a big anniversary, the company management can congratulate these employees "personally". Or if a branch office has just been reopened, the employees should be actively informed about important company information via the intranet.
All of this is achieved through visually high-quality, interactive intranet news in Linchpin, which can also provide further information and context at any time, rather than via emails and premature announcements for the employees at the specific location.
Communication with several, but not all branches
Each region has its own local events that are significant to retail. Linchpin makes it possible to address all employees within a region via intranet news, for example, when they work in outlets in a certain state or city. There are numerous situations where this can be useful.
Does anything special need to be considered when faced with a Sunday sale in Frankfurt? Are special campaigns planned for Munich or Berlin, during the Munich Oktoberfest, or the National Garden Show in Berlin? Is there a new regional manager in the state of Hesse?
Thanks to the granularity built into the Linchpin news concept, the company is able to inform colleagues on these and a variety of other relevant occasions, without broadcasting the news to all employees in the organization, throughout the world.
News for all
The classic intranet news approach is to broadcast messages — without exception — to all users in the system. And, of course, chain store outlets are no different.
Personnel changes in management, current company numbers, a new product enters the product portfolio — the vast majority of employees need to see such information.
Linchpin also supports 'mandatory' messages, which are displayed in a dialog — not only does every user see these messages, but each user must confirm they have seen each mandatory message. This is important when the company announces an urgent product recall, or when a collective agreement is being renegotiated , or when new laws and regulations require action on the part of the stores, etc.
The head office in a distributed company has full flexibility in news with Linchpin, and can bring its content precisely to the person that needs to see it. Intranet users only see those messages that are important to them. They are not bothered with irrelevant information — and individual relevance is a very important success factor for an intranet.
This does not take a lot of effort: A small, part-time editorial team, which creates the news based on information prepared by management; plus accurate and complete employee profiles in Linchpin, particularly location and geographic information, required for the described applications. You can easily ensure the latter by defining certain profile fields as mandatory, where each user has to fill in when logging on, before using the intranet.
But how can you deliver the news?
By now you may be asking yourself, perhaps a little skeptically, how this should work in practice. In many, but not all, chain stores and retail companies, there are few employees with dedicated workstations. These employees typically sit at the cash register, work in the warehouse, advise customers on kitchens and chimneys, drive goods from A to B, and so on.
The store manager normally has a computer. But head office wants to reach all employees with their personalized news, even those who do not have permanent intranet access. So, is it back to the old noticeboard? No, we have something much better.
Imagine that the break room or canteen has no wall full of old and new printed notices, but in which something like this stands:
We have developed an interactive touch theme for Linchpin, so it can be used on large touch screens, like those produced by Rentouch. This means that you can make important intranet content accessible to employees who are not working at a computer. With such a screen, the information is not just statically displayed. People can interact with the intranet via touch gestures like they already use on their smartphones and tablets: They can use the navigation bar, zoom into areas on the screen, etc.
In this way, companies can offer their employees in remote branches, personalized information from the intranet according to the respective location of the display, for example, content from the news channels. And it is an interactive experience, where employees literally come into contact with the news articles.
The administrative effort is very manageable: Displays do not need to be maintained separately. The configuration is done once, after that, the information displayed on these screens is always up-to-date.
Linchpin Touch is not the only way to bring news and other intranet content to employees who are not always at a computer.
As an experiment, ask your colleagues if they would be interested in accessing their company intranet and receiving information from the intranet on their smartphones. To be sure, not all will say yes, but many will show interest.
The world is mobile, but intranets are still lagging behind — even though the needs and the applications are there. For this reason, our Linchpin Mobile team is currently developing native intranet apps for smartphones and tablets, which extends the intranet with a mobile component, and offers special themes for smartphones and tablets.
This will make it possible to deliver intranet content to the employees' mobile devices, not just to a specific branch location, but it will also allow microblogging to quickly exchange information, like Facebook and Twitter, and provides access to employee profiles — including a telephone directory — and internal events with options to register for events directly from within the app. This is a fantastic and modern way of internal communication using an intranet.
As a highly distributed company, Linchpin is your best option to ensure your centrally controlled information in your intranet is accessible throughout the entire company.
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