Internal communication tools can make a real difference in any company. Not only does great communication boost collaboration amongst teams, it can also improve engagement and ensure employees feel valued.
Communication tools can be used for everything from company announcements to improving teamwork during projects. Thankfully, there are plenty of different options out there for companies to explore.
In this article, we’ll talk you through the essential internal communication tools that all companies should be using.
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The Benefits of Internal Communication
Great communication is vital in any business. None of the world’s most successful brands could have achieved what they have without championing communication. Of course, companies are always looking for new ways to communicate with customers, but nurturing great internal communication is equally as important.
The benefits of great communication within businesses are numerous. Companies that prioritise internal communication engage their employees, building trust and motivating all team members, from those working at a junior level to those leading departments.
Employee performance can be dramatically improved simply by creating better opportunities to communicate and security risks too can be minimised. Good communication is key to reducing the risk of human error in IT security and keeping employees aware of any legislative changes they might need to know about.
A recent survey revealed that 74% of employees admitted to feeling like they were missing out on important company information. Internal communication also allows any potentially problematic issues like these to be nipped in the bud far earlier than they otherwise might have been.
Communication tools provide the means for keeping employees informed of important updates and for teams to gather valuable feedback regularly. These channels enable team members to report issues at an early stage, while also providing team leaders with new ideas and opportunities which could be put to great use in improving the employee experience.
Must-Have Tools for Internal Communication
There are many different types of internal communication tools available to businesses, with each bringing its own distinct advantages to teams working together.
Many of the most popular internal communication tools are designed to aid collaboration and teamwork, and make it easier for departments to work in perfect harmony. Other forms of internal communication have been created with different objectives in mind, like feedback apps that improve the employee experience and internal newsletters which motivate and inspire employees across the whole business.
The following internal communication tools can make a huge difference in any business. In this article, we’ll explore how they work and what they could bring to your company.
Corporate digital signage can be used throughout a company’s headquarters to share messages with the entire workforce. This is a brilliantly effective way of communicating with a team, as screens can be used to display all kinds of information in an engaging and highly noticeable way.
What is it?
In short, digital signage is where screens are used to display digital content, including images, videos and key messages, to a specific audience. Often utilised for advertising, education and informational purposes, digital signage can be found in various settings like factories, corporate offices, airports and more.
With the right digital signage software, it’s possible to deliver targeted and up-to-date information to specific groups of employees in real-time. Moreover, digital signage makes it easier to deliver a range of content ( including videos and interactive features) that enable internal communications managers to create a much more engaging environment.
Adding to this, the right solutions will let users centrally manage and distribute their content across not just multiple screens, but multiple buildings and multiple countries. This minimises the risk of inaccurate information or important updates being missed and keeps internal communication consistent across every location – it also means overarching brand values can be easily shared across the entire organisation.
With all this in place to ensure clear and consistent internal communication, employees are not only proven to feel happier and more productive but the overall company benefits from improved perception amongst its employees.
Digital signage enables fast and convenient communication with a workforce, with no need for expensive printouts or time-consuming processes. Screens can even be linked to third-party apps to display information via social media channels, news outlets and more.
TrouDigital provides digital signage software and compatible digital signage hardware to enhance corporate communications, from welcome screens in reception to live data TV dashboards for manufacturers.
Ultimately, digital signage presents an easy way to share a variety of information with a lot of people, but with a fairly low entry point (it simply requires users to look up at a screen). This makes it perfect for use in an office or corporate environment. For example, it’s possible to create a digital noticeboard for company-wide updates, and then use a network of screens across different rooms to display the same information throughout the entire office.
Intranets and forums
Intranets have long been used by companies looking to improve internal communication. These private networks allow employees from all teams to share information in a way that’s just as fast, easy and reliable as email.
What are intranets and forums?
Internets and forums are one of the oldest forms of internal communication still in widespread use today. These private networks allow businesses to communicate with everyone in an organisation, making it easy for companies to share information quickly.
Intranets enable team members to send quick messages and replies without having to leave their desks or pick up a phone, and they help ensure that everyone is aware of the latest news and events from the company.
Important notices can be prominently displayed on the homepage of the intranet, where employees are highly likely to see them when they stop to check their messages. Forums are also widely used within companies to allow employees to discuss a range of topics and add their own input to internal debates and discussions.
There are plenty of different options available to companies setting up an intranet for the first time. Some of the most popular software include ClickUp, Microsoft Sharepoint, Happeo, Yammer, Simpplr and Workplace by Facebook.
Many teams now communicate using instant messaging software. Sometimes, internal instant messaging software is developed for the exclusive use of a company. But in most cases, teams opt for widely available software such as MS Teams or Slack.
What is it?
Most will be familiar with this but as a refresher – instant messaging, as the name suggests, is a way of communicating instantly with colleagues. Using the company’s preferred IM software, employees can send quick text and image messages which will appear on a colleague’s screen immediately.
IM apps and software can be set up to allow teams to communicate efficiently. Different channels can be easily created to give team members the opportunity to send messages to groups of individuals, such as those in their own department, or the entire company.
Team members can also send messages to colleagues via IM platforms like Slack, and channels can be set up dedicated to the discussion of certain projects or topics that are important to the company.
Alongside slack, other examples of popular instant messaging software used by companies today include Microsoft Teams, Fleep, Chanty, Troop Messenger and Flock. Some companies also use platforms such as WhatsApp Messenger and WeChat to aid business communications.
Internal social network pages
The vast majority of employees use social networks daily to catch up with friends or share updates from their lives. So there’s no reason why businesses can’t use the technology to nurture internal communication too, using internal social networks.
What do we mean by internal social networks?
These are simply pages that have been set up on social networks, and are accessible only to a select list of colleagues.
Pages can be made available to an entire organisation, or created for smaller groups such as teams working on particular projects. They are easily created and can be free to run, but it’s important to be selective with their use – these networks aren’t suitable for the sharing of sensitive information as they can pose a security risk.
Groups can be created for certain teams or groups of employees, or companies can set up private groups for their whole workforce. Then, it’s up to admins whether they wish to allow contributions from any member of the group, or whether they prefer to use the group as more of a company noticeboard, by posting relevant news and updates to be shared with all those who have joined.
Some companies are exploring the potential of social networks by setting up private pages and groups for their employees, using platforms such as Facebook, while some opt for purpose-built networks like Jostle.
It’s also possible for businesses to use other well-known networks, like Instagram, to create stories and content that can only be viewed by a list of pre-approved users.
Collaboration has been made far simpler with the help of software that makes working together a breeze. It enables a highly effective means of communicating with team members, particularly when it comes to projects requiring the input of multiple teams.
What is ‘collaborative software’?
As the name suggests, collaborative software is a form of software created to nurture collaboration.
Primarily used within teams, such software is invaluable for everything from project management to sharing files and information. Collaborative software typically improves employee effectiveness dramatically, by providing teams with the tools they need to work together more easily.
Employees can now use collaborative software to access documents and resources, make comments, and add suggestions and requests. And all changes can be fully tracked, so everyone knows who’s added what.
Collaborative tools provide a host of benefits, improving the capabilities of project managers and enhancing the opportunity for cooperation throughout a business. They also come with security advantages, as many such tools allow admins to make documents available only to a select, pre-approved group of employees.
There are many forms of collaborative software on the market, and competition is fierce amongst the brands that dominate this field. Front runners include Slack, Trello, Jira, Asana and Todoist, amongst many others.
Employee Recognition and Feedback Apps
By automating the processes involved in gathering and sharing feedback, companies can collect valuable feedback quickly, and put findings to use more effectively.
What is an employee feedback app?
Employee feedback apps are apps designed to gather feedback at scale.
Feedback requests can easily be sent to select departments or entire companies, allowing businesses to learn from the experience of their employees.
Feedback tools provide businesses with invaluable opportunities to improve the employee experience, simply by learning about what’s going well, and what could be improved. This has a dramatic effect on staff retention, motivation and engagement, while also paving the way for growth within the company.
Companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to employee feedback apps, but some really stand out from the crowd. Our top recommendations include Kazoo, 15Five and Culture Amp, which provide some brilliant data analysis tools for businesses wanting to learn from their feedback.
Video chat tools
Video chat tools took the world by storm in 2020, and it looks as though they’re here to stay at the vast majority of companies.
What is a video chat tool?
Video chat tools allow teams to discuss projects and strategize in a virtual format. Screens can be shared with colleagues at the touch of a button, and information, data and other content can easily be distributed amongst team members using such software.
Enabling teams to meet virtually, video chat tools are perfect for businesses where some staff work remotely. They’re also great if teams need to organise a last-minute meeting, and they’re useful for companies that might lack the meeting space to accommodate all the groups of employees that need to meet at any one time.
Some of the best-known video chat tools include the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, both of which are enormously valuable for teams wanting to meet virtually. Other popular options include Webex Meetings, Whereby and GoToMeeting.
Internal email platforms are well-used by businesses in all sectors. Seen as one of the most vital forms of internal communication tools, email platforms are essential in sharing information amongst colleagues.
What do we mean by a ‘business email platform’?
Business email platforms differ from their regular counterparts, however. Business-centric email platforms tend to provide better security features, which are crucial for companies handling sensitive information.
Email platforms created for business use also provide features designed to help teams work together, such as meeting planning options, project planning features and group chat capabilities.
Some of the more feature-rich email platforms really pack a punch when it comes to improving internal communication opportunities. Such platforms are particularly useful for smaller companies that might not have a huge amount of internal communication tools available to them.
Examples of feature-rich email platforms include the likes of Contactmonkey, which is designed to improve internal communications and employee engagement in the workplace using Outlook and Gmail. Other options include Staffbase, a platform created to engage employees using highly targeted communications.
Surveys are an essential tool when it comes to gathering feedback. They’re also useful in terms of gauging employee retention efforts. Surveys allow businesses to learn more about the needs of their employees, and they enable teams to find out about the concerns of individual employees.
What are employee surveys?
Employee surveys are specific surveys designed to be shared amongst employees within a business. They’re a valuable form of internal communication, as they create new channels for communication where employees may feel more comfortable sharing their experiences.
Acting upon the information shared through surveys can make a huge difference in terms of staff engagement and motivation, and will ultimately improve staff retention while also allowing companies to attract top talent from their industries.
Some of the most commonly used forms of survey software include Survey Monkey and Google Forms, both of which are quick and simple to set up and use. Survey Monkey’s basic tools are available to use for free, but premium features must be paid for. Google Forms are also free to use, and additional storage can be purchased if required.
Internal newsletters are a valuable tool when it comes to sharing news and updates with a large group. Newsletters can be created on a regular basis, and quickly circulated amongst teams at a chosen time of the week.
What is an internal newsletter?
Normally an internally circulated email, or in rare cases a physical document, an internal newsletter is a way of sharing company news.
Companies sharing internal newsletters can include all kinds of information on these. Newsletters might provide a way for teams to share recent successes or champion the achievements of certain colleagues. They can also be used to spread the word about upcoming events, such as team-building days or company parties.
Internal newsletters are most effective when they’re created and shared regularly, for instance once a week or once a month. They’re also more likely to be read and discussed if all employees have the opportunity to contribute their news and other updates to the newsletter.
Companies will often have such platforms set up for marketing communications, so there’s very little additional work involved in setting up a regular internal newsletter. Popular platforms that work well for the creation and dissemination of internal newsletters include the likes of MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.
The Implications of a Lack of Internal Communication Tools
A lack of internal communication tools can make it difficult for teams to work together, sharing ideas and experience that could be essential for progress.
To reiterate what we mentioned above, 74% of employees feel they miss out on important internal updates due to a lack of internal communication channels. In addition to this, 86% of employees correlate a lack of effective communication and collaboration with workplace failures.
Having poor internal communication can clearly take its toll on the workforce, let’s take a look at some of the risks of overlooking internal communication within businesses.
Staff morale can easily be impacted by a shortfall in internal communication opportunities. 33% of employees directly named a lack of open communication as having a negative impact on their morale. After all, if employees feel as though they’re working alone, and shouldering the burden of a growing workload, their morale could soon start to dip.
Higher Staff Turnover
Great communication is key to improving staff retention, so of course a lack of communication can be detrimental to staff turnover. Staff who aren’t motivated or engaged may well begin to look elsewhere, but nurturing better communication can avoid such a situation.
Communication is vital in building trust within organisations. If employees feel as though they’re out of the loop, they could soon distrust those they work with and as a result motivation will start to dwindle. Ensure everyone is on the same page by improving trust through better communication.
Lack of Collaboration
If collaborative tools are available for employees to use, they will use them. Take them away and teamwork becomes far more difficult, meaning employees will be less likely to work together and collaborate on ideas and strategies.
Increased Errors and Decreased Productivity
A natural by-product of poor communication is an increase in errors – which in turn lead to a less productive work environment. By ensuring the relevant information is shared with the right people, it’s possible to remove unnecessary mistakes from workflows.
Additionally, it’s been shown that better-informed employees simply feel more motivated. 85% of employees said they felt more motivated at work when they receive regular company updates. McKinsey also reported a 20 – 25% increase in productivity for well-connected teams.
So, What’s Next?
Internal communication tools are enormously beneficial to any company hoping to nurture teamwork, boost engagement and improve motivation. With so many tools available, the opportunities for progress really are endless.
Digital Signage is one of the most effective ways of engaging employees at scale, allowing a variety of information to be shared one-to-many, in a simple and eye-catching manner. TrouDigital provides digital signage software that allows you to push key messages to screens in seconds. This allows you to reach your employees where and when it matters most.
If you’d like to find out more about how internal communication tools such as digital signage could make a difference at your company, contact our team.