Effective internal communication (IC) needs two things: a winning strategy and the right tools. But, with so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for your organisation?
You may have some great ideas on how to engage, inform, promote, and forge relationships with your employees already. Yet, without the right internal communication tools in place, your strategy is doomed to fail.
If one of your business goals for 2020 is to improve internal communication amongst your employees, consider the tools and strategies highlighted in this article. These are the ones that promise the best results, both for your business and your workers, over the next 12 months.
12 of the best internal communications tools in 2020
1. Sharing News
Worryingly, a recent survey by Gallup reveals only 13% of employees believe their leaders communicate information effectively.
One area, in particular, where many businesses fall short is the sharing of company news. According to Geckoboard, 80% of employees want leaders to share more information about company performance, while 50% admit to doing their own detective work to find out more about the present status of their company.
The problem with the latter approach is that they may uncover a great number of untruths about the organisation. This can start the rumour mill turning, which can be bad for engagement, morale, and productivity.
By contrast, a news feed can be a great way to share information and ensure employees do not feel like they're being left in the dark. It quells the fears of staff who are looking for updates, without bombarding employees with potentially irrelevant information.
Video continues to establish itself as integral employee communication tool.
As a medium, it has various uses that benefit employees in a number of ways. From more serious organisational announcements, promotional campaigns, and company-wide training, to updates on informal engagement activities, the applications of video as an employee communication tool are manifold.
It brings your brand and the personality of your company to life. And, thanks to the affordability of video, it's a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to keep employees engaged — even if your workers are dispersed over a wide geographical area or work remotely.
3. Innovation Challenges
Effective internal communication helps you breed an innovation culture within your organisation, whilst also allowing you to overcome the innovation challenges facing your business.
With the best internal communication tools and strategies in place, you encourage a knowledge-based culture. Talking about innovation and the associated challenges regularly invites employees to learn and ask more questions, while delivering invaluable advice that could transform your business.
In fact, 75% of staff believe they would stay with an organisation longer if they felt they were listened to. Leveraging innovation to promote engagement becomes a win for both the organisation and its staff.
Another important aspect of internal communication is the ability to recognise the contributions of your employees and make them feel valued. Indeed, 58% of employees believe the best way for leaders to improve engagement is to recognise their contributions and achievements.
But to do this effectively, internal communication is essential. It encompasses many forms, from a simple 'thanks' or a hearty 'job well done', to a public celebration of a successful project on the company intranet or a rewards programme.
5. Push notifications
We've all complained that there are never enough hours in the day at one time or another. So, identifying internal communication tools that value your time, such as push notifications, is vital.
Push notifications are alerts that can be sent to people’s devices without them having to open the app. Ensuring your staff have access to updates when they need them (while encouraging them to engage further with the organisation) push notifications can be a real boon.
That being said, they should be used sparingly. Distributing notifications too frequently can cause disengagement amongst your employees.
Whether social, knowledge-sharing, or team-building in nature, conversations remain essential to a successful internal communication strategy.
With the rise of remote working, conversations are few and far between, so it's vital to ensure your employees have access to a tool that facilitates conversations between everyone in your organisation. Encouraging group dialogue is an excellent way to strengthen inter-department teams, and include remote or distance workers in day-to-day activities and announcements.
Conversations can take place on the phone, over video chat, through a conferencing or instant messaging app, email, or face-to-face (if you're feeling old-school).
7. Sharing customer reviews
Allow employees to take pride in their work by sharing customer reviews. Receiving recognition from an external source, validates the work they do whilst also increasing their sense of belonging in the organisation.
It's easy to share customer reviews, too. From establishing links to independent review sites, to posting exceptional reviews on the company intranet, the sharing of positive feedback should form a central part of your wider internal communications strategy.
For organisations that employ a large quantity of remote workers, it can be hard to gather feedback or determine morale and satisfaction levels within your workforce.
While your employees may stretch to the farthest corners of the globe, it's a good idea to bring your team together with regular online surveys. This enables you to gather the kind of meaningful, actionable data that allows you to further improve internal communications throughout your organisation.
Alongside company-wide surveys, you should also consider conducting regular pulse surveys. These are quick, simple questionnaires that provide you with a quick health check. Pulse surveys are easy to perform (especially through an app) and take less than 30 seconds to complete.
What direction should your organisation go in next? Let your teams decide!
Polls are a fantastic way to encourage engagement and show employees they can provide tangible contributions to the way your business develops. Polls can cover a range of business issues from food in the staff canteen, to the performance of your internal communication tools and your newly updated brand colours.
10. Events calendar
Give your team a sneak peak of things to come with a company-wide events calendar.
Having a company calendar that's available anytime, anywhere, helps staff plan around business commitments, clear their diary for social functions, and make sure they're up to date with key company events — even if they're not based in head office. An events calendar also stops you from having to send out constant email reminders about forthcoming events. Instead, everything is available to see through a single calendar view.
11. Communication hubs
Not all workplace communication needs to be read instantly. In fact, it actually helps to organise updates and store them within curated communication hubs.
This approach is especially beneficial when staff are searching for specific answers to specific questions. To maximise readership and engagement, information should be clear, well-presented, and rich in information.
In addition, letting staff take ownership of the communication hubs related to their departments helps to keep teams connected, thereby improving the efficiency of internal processes.
12. Ask a question
Over a third of employees have to wait more than three months to get feedback from their managers. No employee should have to wait that long for an answer to a simple question. If they do, they quickly become disengaged.
'Ask a question' tools provide an ideal solution that widens the knowledge base of your employees, while encouraging feedback, thoughts, and opinions.
It also lets staff know your organisation is there to support them with any difficulties or confusion they face at work. Typically, an easy way to conduct this is through an app where the inbox is monitored and answers are received within a set time frame.
Time for a super-channel!
To enjoy the full array of benefits offered by these internal communication tools and strategies, an all-encompassing super-tool is crucial.
An internal communication app, for instance, is a fantastic way to bring these tools and communication channels together in a consolidated, easy-to-use application. The best can be loaded onto any device, allowing all your workers to engage with their colleagues and management, regardless of their location, work hours, or commitments. This provides your organisation with 100% reach for minimum effort.