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Choose the Proper Employee Portal to Match the Needs of your Business



“Retailers who make investments in advanced technologies will be rewarded by tech-savvy shoppers with a larger discretionary income (and will) build increased brand loyalty with young shoppers.” – Blair Christie, Cisco senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Assuming that you are initiating your start-up company’s first project–and you are breaking down the workflow and structuring your internal assignments–you will need to properly configure your Employee Communication Portal to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum difficulty. Choosing the correct design for your Business-to-Employee (B2E) Portal is dependent on the tools that need to be applied in the program, as well as the needs and contributions of the single employee, or group of employees, who will use it. Depending on the size and scope of your business at inception, several decisions will need to be made regarding the composition of your Portal. You should consider retaining the services of a professional designer to assist you in navigating through the various available software platforms; with attention given to scalability in allowing space for new features and content to be provided at a later date. Here is an example of an in-house B2E, used by the company, AutoZone, to provide not only access to employee benefit information, but also to assign tasks and provide internal training:

“AutoZone built an employee portal known as the Daily Online Communications (DOC) to help serve its 47,000 store employees. DOC is the place for employees to find what they need to know about their weekly tasks, benefits, and training. Also, the numerous portlets included with Liferay (an open source portal platform), make any content and style changes easy and fast; this has proven beneficial in keeping information up-to-date in a fast-moving retail environment.” (This observation provided by Martin Yan of Liferay).

Since companies usually arrange B2E Portals based on the jobs performed, it is advantageous to begin there. For example, accounting will have a portal separate from advertising. But, at what point (and why?) does it become more efficient to segment each department into project-specific portlets? For example, your advertising department may be self-contained, with a minimum number of clients providing your maximum monthly revenue. In such a scenario, one overall portal will suffice for the needs of that department.

On the other hand, your advertising department services your top clients, but is also responsible for several mid-range clients, whose campaigns are vastly different, and require unique actions and responses. In this instance, separate portals for each client would be advantageous–and access to each individual project for the various clients would be controlled dependent on need and the services provided by each attached employee.

Your company is unique unto itself. How you organize and realize the design and implementation of your company’s portal, rests not only on your personal tastes as the employer, but also on the distinctive personality your company wants to reflect. Consideration should also be given to the creation of a company-wide portal that is designed purely for in-house utilization. Such portals are indispensable for the modern company, and allow each employee to sign in and access general information on such concerns as company-provided health care, HR services and other company-specific services.

Periodic company-specific training, as well as any other pertinent educational topics, could be posted and tied-in with an employee’s weekly task sheet. If you have a staff (or even a highly motivated individual!) assigned to create in-house training or promotional content, this can also be considered as a revolving entry (or permanent postings) to your portal. While slickly produced video clips are desirable, don’t neglect the simplicity of some good old-fashioned snapshots sprinkled throughout your portal (for both internal and external consumption). Pictures can present your staff and crew in a more approachable light, while adding pleasing composition balance to posts, blogs, and instructional postings.

In short, your Employee Communications Portal is your key to information, education, and creating a sense of unity and purpose for your company. It can also double as a way to make your employees feel as though they are involved in a never-ending series of “special” projects that generates a sense of team-unity, as well as job satisfaction.