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How HR Teams Can Take Control of Their Tools, On Their Terms

Mike Hicks

June 8, 2020 · 3 min read

We’re all learning what our new normal looks like at work. And while we continue to navigate our way forward over the coming weeks and months, we are seeing some digital workplace trends emerging.


Remote work is here to stay: 84 percent of US organizations expect a broader and more permanent remote work adoption after the coronavirus pandemic passes.


Employees are overwhelmed: 51 percent of employees admit to being overwhelmed by the amount of non-work-related messages sent in apps like Slack and Teams.


Keeping employees engaged is getting harder: 85 percent of employees have had at least one meeting interrupted due to technology issues.


Employees are choosing their own tools: 1 in 4 employees use at least 2 non-approved communication and collaboration apps.

These trends, while not surprising, are presenting new challenges for HR teams who are charged with enabling a productive workforce while creating an exceptional employee experience. Challenges that are forcing organizations to assess their current tools and technology to ensure they have what they need to keep work moving during and beyond the pandemic.

The global pandemic has created opportunities for organizations to innovate and accelerate digital transformation.

The role of technology in adapting to new workplace realities


54 percent of HR leaders told Gartner at the start of the pandemic that poor technology was the biggest barrier they were facing in terms of remote work. But even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, HR teams struggled to leverage company-wide tools – like the intranet – to achieve their goals.

Here are some of the ways they’ve had to cope:

  • Relying on their low-functioning company intranet to accomplish their goals
  • Stringing together a collection of point applications
  • Over-extending the HRIS to make it do what they need it to
  • Falling back on email and file-sharing tools

And no matter which of these methods they turn to, they keep getting the same result: no single source of truth for information, a lack of team and company-wide engagement, and wasted time, effort, and resources.

Being “hand-cuffed” to the company intranet or forced to find time-consuming workarounds to achieve their communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and engagement objectives can leave HR teams feeling frustrated and fed up.

Luckily, as we’re seeing across many industries, the global pandemic has created opportunities for organizations to innovate and accelerate digital transformation. And that’s opening doors for HR teams to challenge the status quo and take more control over their tools.

Why replacing the intranet isn’t your only option

While it may seem like the most straightforward approach, overhauling or replacing the company intranet to help departments and employees be more productive isn’t the easy answer. This is the case for a few reasons: it’s costly, complex, and requires IT support and executive buy-in.

These can be stoppers for any intranet project – regardless of the situation or timing – and can leave individual departments in a difficult spot. Unless they’re able to overcome these common obstacles, they’re left to figure out a way forward on their own.

According to a recent survey, 78 percent of the respondents said they would overhaul their department’s intranet space with solutions specific to their line of business if they could. The key words being “if they could.”

Fortunately, they can. And here’s how.

Build a department zone that’s yours to own

Imagine if you had a digital destination with easy to use technology that your HR team could call home. You could use it to communicate and collaborate with each other, organize your projects and files, and share HR programs and initiatives with the rest of the organization.

A department zone is a space inside your existing intranet that you control. It’s built to address your needs and doesn’t require ongoing IT involvement or buy-in to administer and evolve it. Your team handles the day-to-day management and long-term strategy, so you can customize it whenever and however you need.

And best of all, when other teams see how productive and efficient you can be, they’ll want their own zone, too. And you connect them and make them work together. Again, without replacing the entire intranet.

It sounds like a win-win for everyone, doesn’t it?

Try Zones by Igloo

Igloo is known for providing next-gen corporate intranet solutions, but we also offer Department Zones and individual solutions that can help HR teams achieve their specific objectives, at a fraction of the cost. And best of all, these department-specific solutions take days, not months, to implement.

Learn more about Zones by Igloo here.