There are a lot of neat things you can do with your intranet. Especially now that intranets are evolving into enterprise networks, with many different tools for communication and collaboration. One really cool way for employees to interact and communicate is through intranet widgets. You may be wondering, “what is a widget?”. Intranet widgets are interactive objects placed on any page of your intranet. They can draw data from apps on a site, feature employee profiles, display RSS feeds from external sources, show what’s new in your company, display upcoming birthdays and more.
The setup and display of a widget follows Intranet Connections’ mantra of simplicity. It’s very easy to create and configure a widget then place it on any page on your intranet, such as the intranet homepage. This blog is going to cover a few of our customers’ favorite intranet widgets, as well as some of ours, so you can gain some creative ideas on how to make your intranet more interactive.
One of our favorites is the Application Feed Widget. The most amazing aspect of this intranet widget is its flexibility- you can use it to draw data from any application within your intranet. For example, it could draw from a documents application to display the most recently posted documents. Another great way to use this widget is by drawing data from the Events Calendar or Online Training Calendar, and displaying that data in a small calendar. A lot of our customers use the Application Feed Widget to display photos from the Photo Album Application, creating a slideshow which employees can browse through right from the home page.
Once an application feed has been added to your home page, employees see a “view more” in the bottom right corner. This indicates that there is more content. Clicking this, or the other links in an Application Feed Widget will take the employee into to the application is it displaying.
Perhaps one of the most popular intranet widgets among our customers is the What’s New Widget. When posting content to an application, you can choose to “advertise” that content, which will then push that item to the What’s New widget on the home page. This works for any content you publish across the site, such as a blog from the CEO. The What’s New Widget is very effective for ensuring your employees are aware of new information being posted around the site.
The Status Update Widget allows employees’ current status to display on various areas of your intranet. Employees can share whether they are at a conference, at a meeting, out sick or on holidays by simply updating their status on their Employee Profile. The Status Update Widget can then be added to any page on the intranet so employees can see in real-time the current status of other employees.
Another customer favorite is the Employee Milestone Widget. This widget is used to display upcoming employee milestones such as birthdays or work anniversaries. To add an element of fun to your intranet, include the Employee Milestone Widget on your home page so users can interact and engage with their colleagues by sending them a quick “congratulations” or “happy birthday”.
An RSS Feed Widget can display a news feel from external source like CNN. Here at Intranet Connections, we use the RSS Feed Widget to display blogs we publish on our public website. This keeps employees informed on what’s going on not only internally, but externally as well.
The Weather Widget simply displays the current weather for a specific city, and multiple weather widgets can be added to a page to display weather in several different locations.
One of our customers, Diversified Search, used these widgets to display weather from their various office locations. Their main office is located in Philadelphia, but the organization has seven other offices across the United States. Because many of their employees have to travel from office to office on a regular basis, they include a Weather Widget on each of the office sites so employees who have to travel can look up what the weather looks like in that city for that day, and over the next three days, and prepare accordingly.
If you need answers fast, a Quick Poll Widget is a great tool! Perhaps you have some ideas on where to go for your annual company trip but want some help narrowing it down to one choice, you can simply set up a Quick Poll Widget. You can use this intranet widget to survey employees to involve them in your important decision making processes. You can also increase employee engagement through a simple, fun quick poll survey on the topic of the day.
The Featured Employee Widget works similarly to the Employee Milestone Widget. It displays a new Employee Profile daily, weekly or monthly depending on how you configure it. This can be set to randomly rotate through any employee from the People Directory, or used to feature new hires. The Featured Employee Widget gives employees the option to Live Chat with that featured employee, post a comment on their Message Board, or simply send them an email.
Finally, one of the most widely used intranet widgets among our customers, and the Intranet Connections team, is the Message Box Widget. The Message Box Widget is extremely easy to use and highly versatile. It is used for displaying content on various pages on your intranet, such as text, links or images. For example, if you’d like to catch your employees’ attention and draw them into another area of your site, a great way to do this is by creating a Message Box Widget on your intranet home page containing a link to the area of the site you’d like to redirect your employees to.
These are only a few popular intranet widgets for you to create on your own intranet. As you can see, the different widgets covered offer a great way for employees to interact with the intranet and each other. They are not only very easy to use and set up, but they also look great!
Now that you have seen what intranet widgets can be used for, and gained a few ideas on how to set them up, you can create your own and wow your employees! We’d love to hear how it turns out, or what other creative was you are using intranet widgets. Share with us by commenting below.