4 Benefits of Utilizing Department or Team Sites

By Michelle Desmarais
June 8, 2015
6 min read
department sites

There are various instances when departments need to share information that is only relevant to them, but not to the rest of the company. But how can you store and share that complex information effectively on your intranet with only individuals in your team and not clutter the intranet for the rest of your colleagues? The answer: Department or Team Sites.

As a Support Technician at IC, I have assisted a number of our stellar customers with offices spread across various geographic locations. Employees have to collaborate with colleagues from their department or team members, but they aren’t necessarily located in the same office.

To overcome this physical barrier, they have their own Department / Team Sites on the intranet. They use it to store their documents, display upcoming project dates, share resources, and communicate through Message Boards or Discussion Forums, regardless of where they are located. 

Additionally, they utilize Department Sites to display the employees of the department, to provide the opportunity to put a friendly face to a name since many have not met in person. There are several other benefits of using Department / Team Sites. Continue reading to learn more:

The 4 main reasons for adopting department or team sites

Information sharing within teams

1. Information sharing amongst the team

You can automatically create as many Department / Team Sites as you like and use each of them as the hub of information for each department individually. You can post information specific to each department, such as what’s new in the department or items that need to be promoted. Utilizing the Application Feed Widget, you can pull in information from other areas of your intranet that may pertain to that department, posting it on the Department / Team Site.

2. Keep information & resources relevant & engaging

In addition to department members sharing information with each other, having a specific site dedicated to each department also allows colleagues from other departments to share or find appropriate resources as needed. For example, if someone from HR found a resource that may benefit Marketing, they can share the resource on the Marketing Site. Or, if an employee is looking for information on employee benefits packages, they know to go to the HR Site where it is stored.

Another significant benefit of having Department / Team Sites is that content relevant to that department may not necessarily be relevant to the entire company. The intranet home page should engage the whole company and display information relevant to all employees, not just a subset.

By displaying items meant only for one department on the home page, you can risk overloading the home page with applications and widgets that won’t be useful to the majority of employees. This may also reduce intranet adoption.

3. Internal communication on department sites

In my example above, I mentioned that our customers with multiple office locations highly benefit from Department / Team Sites. However, Department Sites improve internal communication in any organization, not just those that can’t communicate directly.

You can include various communication tools on your Department / Team Sites that help employees better communicate and connect when a meeting isn’t necessarily an option. Perhaps everyone from Sales works in the same office, but they are all on different schedules. 

Having a specific sales site can help them communicate about weekly sales goals, which targets have been hit, and which ones haven’t. This benefits your employees because it allows everyone from a department to be on the same page without cluttering the intranet with information that doesn’t pertain to them. IT doesn’t really care that Sales has hit all its targets this month.

4. Strengthen collaboration with modern team sites

Strengthen collaboration with team sites

Team Sites are an excellent way for employees to collaborate on work tasks and projects related to their specific department. Earlier I mentioned having an Application Feed Widget on your department site. This allows you to set up things like Event Calendar or Training Calendar feeds displaying upcoming project deadlines or other items related to that department. 

Employees can utilize these features to collaborate on upcoming projects or help each other with work tasks. Department members can upload files from the document library related to the specific project or work task and use Discussion Forums to discuss the project.

Team Sites connects and provides a platform for colleagues in the same department to collaborate on almost anything, all in one central location on your intranet. Employees can get work on a project or task together from the comfort of their computer chairs. Another benefit of Team Sites is that you can make the site available or visible only to members of that department. This added security option ensures any sensitive data isn’t shared with any other parties.

Examples of department or team sites

The following are a few examples of Department / Team Sites our customers have created and how these sites are leveraged:

  • Human Resources – This group may have confidential information that they will need to share internally within the group, but this information should not be available to other employees. This site would need to be locked down so that regular users of the intranet would be unable to see this information.
  • Marketing / Communications – This group may need a place to publish calendars showing upcoming promotions they will need to prepare for. While this is possible to do on the home site, it would make more sense for this information to live within the Marketing Department Site.
  • IT Department – As this group is responsible for items like preparing a new computer for new hires or setting up appropriate permissions, it is crucial for these processes to be documented and shared within the IT Department. By having all processes documented, they can bring new IT members up to speed quickly as the resources are all available for them.

As an intranet administrator, a best practice for Department Sites is to have someone you can lean on. It may be the Site Owner for their own department. For example, the IT Manager can be the IT Site Owner. This person can be the primary go-to for their department when creating apps/ modern pages on their site, which can save you time having to manage it for them.

What unique ways are you utilizing Department / Team Sites? Let me know by commenting below. You can also take our Internal Communications Assessment for a detailed report on your efforts, plus resources to help you become a stronger communicator. Still looking to start your intranet journey? Book yourself a FREE DEMO call with us today. We’ll be more than happy to be your partner.

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By Michelle Desmarais

Michelle Desmarais is a solutions expert at IC Thrive. With a background in quality assurance and product training, she is well-versed in making the technical sound easy. Working closely with clients on a daily basis to find solutions to their problems, she is the go-to person for practical advice on anything intranet and software-related.