It’s time to trade in e-mails and phone calls for more effective ways to let your employees communicate with each other. Here are the best internal communication tools to boost employee engagement.
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Internal communication tools are essential for companies to communicate effectively with their employees and maintain engagement. In this article, we’re going over 15 of the best types of internal communication tools for your business.
Effective communication is the backbone of any successful business, and it’s essential to have reliable communication channels to keep all of your team members on the same page.
Whether your staff works together in the same location, remotely, or you have employees in the field, internal communication tools ensure your business runs smoothly. From instant messaging apps to project management software, there are many available tools available to help teams collaborate.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best internal communication tools and explore how they can improve your team’s productivity and communication.
What Are Internal Communication Tools?
Internal communication tools are types of software that businesses use to help their employees communicate more easily and effectively. Think of them as digital tools that enable people to connect, collaborate, and share information within a company.
These types of tools aim to improve communication and productivity among employees, teams, and departments. Especially in bigger companies that are spread across different locations, the conversation often happens in so-called silos, meaning people don’t communicate outside their departments or branches.
By giving people a streamlined way to connect and share information, internal communication tools can help break down silos and foster a more collaborative work environment. They can also help ensure that everyone is on the same page, with access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively.
Whether through email, instant messaging, or a more advanced employee collaboration platform, internal communication tools can play a critical role in helping teams work together more efficiently and meet their goals.
Benefits of Internal Communication Tools
Internal communication is the heart of employee engagement and workplace productivity.
Here’s how they can benefit your team:
- Improved collaboration: Internal communication tools make it easier for employees to collaborate on projects, share ideas, and work together towards common goals. This, in turn, will lead to increased productivity and better results.
- Streamlined communication: Quick and direct communication channels eliminate the need for long email chains or phone tag, minimizing communication breakdowns.
- Increased employee engagement: Internal communication tools help employees feel valued at work and more emotionally connected to their jobs. This is important because better employee engagement leads to increased productivity and motivation.
- Improved transparency: Good workplace communication creates a culture of openness where all employees have access to the same information. This builds trust and strengthens the connection employees have to your business.
- Saves money: Communication tools reduce labor costs by eliminating the need for in-person meetings or time-consuming phone tag and email chains.
- Improved safety: Particularly for businesses with frontline employees, easy access to training materials and safety resources helps prevent accidents and keeps your employees safe.
- Better alignment: Internal communication tools ensure that teams are aligned on the same goals and working towards the same objectives.
Types of Internal Communication
Not all digital tools address all types of internal communication. However, it’s important to know the differences to better understand which tools can best benefit your internal communications strategy:
- Upward communication: Flows from lower-level employees to those with more seniority, such as employees communication with managers. A healthy upward communication flow creates a positive work environment and makes employees comfortable raising job-related questions, suggestions, or concerns.
- Downward communication: As implied, downward communication refers to communication from the top down, such as from managers or supervisors to their staff. Downward communication provides direction, leadership, and motivation and may come through training, guidance, policy changes, or company updates.
- Horizontal communication: Also referred to as lateral communication, horizontal communication occurs between team members at the same level in a company. It fosters collaboration and teamwork and encourages employees to work together towards common goals.
- Diagonal communication: Diagonal communication refers to dialogue between employees at different levels in the company. This kind of staff collaboration may occur as a result of company-wide projects or initiatives and is a great way to build trust between employees. Diagonal communication is important because it allows for the sharing of information and ideas across different areas of the organization, which can lead to increased collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving.
- Formal communication: Distributing formal or official information in a more authoritative way grabs employees’ attention and reduces mistakes.
- Informal communication: As the title suggests, informal communication is more casual and spontaneous (think chats about the weekend or who’s going to win tomorrow’s big game). It’s useful for building relationships and fostering a positive company culture.
15 Best Types of Internal Communication Tools for 2023
For businesses with large workforces, an intranet, also known as a corporate social network, can be extremely useful for employee communication. Intranets are extremely customizable and can be used to share knowledge across departments and distribute documents, charts, and other important resources. Most importantly, all employees, whether working in the field or from an office, remain up-to-date on company happenings.
📚 This might interest you:
Read our in-depth review of the best intranet software of 2023
Anonymous Employee Surveys
Want to gather feedback directly from your employees? Anonymous surveys are a great tool for gathering real-time data. Not only do they typically have a high response rate, but providing your workforce with a safe space to speak their mind provides constructive feedback and allows you to understand what your employees truly think.
Managers can decide how and when to use employee surveys, whether it’s to better understand how employees feel about a specific process or their jobs in general.
💡 Pro tip:
Take advantage of a dedicated employee survey tool to gather valuable insights and make informed decisions about your workforce.
Monthly company newsletters are not as common as they once were because they tend to get little engagement. Employees generally don’t have much interest in scrolling through long emails with updates that are often irrelevant to them.
However, this internal communication tool can be a great way to update workers on company news and share knowledge and best practices within the company.
So, what’s the solution?
Consider sending short snippets of information or updates on a weekly basis through an employee communication tool.
This prevents lengthy emails from getting lost in employees’ inboxes while still ensuring your employees receive important company news. It also centralizes work-related information to one place, streamlining the flow of communication.
💡 Pro tip:
Use an employee management app with a Newsfeed feature that gives you one central place for engaging company newsletters, announcements, and important updates.
Instant Messaging Tools
Instant messaging is a useful tool in any work environment, particularly for those with employees operating in the field. It encourages quick and easy employee communication and can be used to send quick messages between team members to ask questions, confirm details, and clarify any other points that may be unclear.
Unlike email, which can be slow and cumbersome, instant messaging allows employees to communicate in real time, reducing delays and enabling faster decision-making. Instant messaging tools offer a direct and immediate way for frontline workers to communicate, leading to more frequent and effective collaboration.
This can result in better business outcomes and stronger relationships among team members, leading to a more positive work environment.
💡 Pro tip:
A dedicated work chat app keeps your work-related and private messages separate. Not only does this remove distractions from your workday, it also helps improve your workforce’s work-life balance.
Employee Management Apps
The beauty of an employee management app is that it includes multiple internal communication tools in a single platform. They’re particularly useful for companies with team members working from the field because they centralize all business processes and keep employees connected.
A good employee management app includes instant messaging tools, scheduling features, a knowledge base, HR tools, and training and onboarding capabilities. They use push notifications to alert employees of messages, updates, and scheduling changes so they never miss important information.
🧠 Did you know?
Connecteam is the best all-in-one employee management app for the mobile workforce and 100% free for small businesses. Premium plans start at only $29 for up to 30 users per month.
Employee Recognition and Rewards Tools
Take advantage of employee recognition and rewards tools to acknowledge employee success, show appreciation, build a positive company culture, and provide an incentive to be more productive.
Whether an employee has gone above and beyond on a specific task or set a good example for coworkers, this internal communication tool allows companies to put employees in the spotlight.
Something as small as publically wishing an employee happy birthday on a public forum can make them feel valued and recognized.
💡 Pro tip:
Frequently show your employees that you value their contributions. After all, 40% of working Americans say they’d put more energy into their job if their workplace would recognize them more often.
Employee scheduling apps allow businesses to create schedules more quickly and easily than with pen and paper, and they act as an incredibly valuable internal communications tool.
Instead of manually creating schedules and texting or emailing them to all of your employees, a scheduling app automatically notifies and shares upcoming schedules as soon as they’re published. This promotes regular and consistent scheduling and increases staff productivity and happiness.
Employee Feedback Apps
Constructive feedback helps employees grow, be more productive, and become independent contributors to company operations. It also promotes employee engagement and creates a more positive and inclusive work environment.
And according to Zippia, 65% of employees desire more feedback from employers.
If this is something you’re struggling to incorporate into your team, there are internal communication software solutions that can help.
For example, with Connecteam, employers can:
- Open a suggestion box to gather feedback from their teams.
- Collect real-time feedback via 1:1 and team chats as well as employee feedback forms.
- Share updates and company announcements while receiving feedback via comments and reactions.
- Use surveys and live polls to improve business decision-making.
Did you know that the brain processes video 60,000 times faster than text? Take advantage of this by incorporating more video content into your internal communication strategy and storing it in a video library.
Whether it’s with training videos, announcements, or meeting recording, video content is a powerful way to communicate ideas and share information with your workers.
With a video library, you can categorize and optimize company video content so employees have easy access to it whenever they wish.
💡 Pro tip:
Videos don’t need to be professionally produced to be engaging and effective. Grab a phone with a decent camera and start filming yourself or your staff in their day-to-day activities. These genuine videos do a much better job of conveying your message than a stuffy corporate video that was likely shot 10 years ago.
Onboarding and Training Software
If you struggle with onboarding and training in your business, dedicated onboarding software can help. A seamless onboarding experience is vital for employee retention, so make sure to start your staff off on the right foot.
With this tool, managers can customize onboarding and training resources for specific teams, communicate with new hires throughout the process, and provide oversight to track progress.
In addition, new hires have a centralized place to access all onboarding-related documents and can easily complete their training directly from the app.
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Read our in-depth review of the best onboarding software for new hires.
Employee Analytics Tools
Track how engaged and productive your employees are with real-time data. Employee analytics tools provide insights into employee communication methods, the flow of information within your business, and the effectiveness of internal communication.
To do so, analytics tools include message tracking, engagement metrics, and performance measurements. They can help identify communication gaps, improve collaboration, and optimize internal communication to achieve better business outcomes.
According to Oberlo, the percentage of internet users that listen to podcasts has jumped to 20.3%, with numbers continuing to climb. Why? Because podcasts can deliver valuable information to listeners in a simplified way.
Consider creating a weekly or bi-weekly podcast to share company news, industry trends, encourage business growth, and create a positive work culture. Instead of having to take the time to read emails or news updates, employees can plug in a set of headphones and listen when they have the time and from wherever they’re located.
And no need to make episodes too long; 7-10 minutes is plenty of time to share valuable content.
💡 Pro tip:
Not sure how to create a podcast? It’s easier than you might think. All you really need is a laptop with a built-in microphone, although the sound quality will be considerably better with an external mic. You may need editing software, too, although it may not be necessary if you’re able to create an episode in one take.
Then, come up with a list of episode ideas and use an employee management app to share each episode with your team members.
No matter how big or small your company, employees should be able to quickly locate contact information of their managers and colleagues when they need it.
An employee directory app is the best way to accomplish this. While not necessarily an internal communications tool in itself, it made our list because it makes internal communication much easier.
People directories act as a digital phone book in which staff can communicate with each other directly via direct message, phone call, or email. With Connecteam, for example, you can search for employees by title, department, location, birthday, or branch, while guaranteeing that all contact information is protected and secure.
Employee Social Media
Understandably, many companies believe that social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, can be distracting and counterproductive for their teams. However, an internal communication tool that looks and feels like a social media platform can actually have positive effects on your employees.
An internal social network combines work-related information with the community aspect of social media. Employees have grown accustomed to using social media in their daily lives, so an employee app with a familiar interface can make work processes easier while increasing employee engagement.
Make sure important company news is transparent and accessible with a centralized online hub. A news center is useful for keeping employees up-to-date by sharing company updates, blog posts, press releases, and project news. They’re also useful for shining light on high-performing employees through Employee of the Month programs, for example.
More Internal Communication Tools Worth Checking Out
There are many other internal communication tools that businesses might consider depending on their needs. These include:
- Community Channels
- Leadership Centers/Blogs
- Job Boards
- Video Conferencing Tools
- Employee Experience Tools
- Multilingual Tools
- Branded Tools
- Content Approval Workflows
- Events Calendars
- Emoji Reaction Tools
- Forums and Chats
- Planning Tools
- Graphics Creators
- Activity Feeds
The Bottom Line on Internal Communication Tools
When choosing internal communication tools, consider your company needs and budget. With so many ways to engage and connect employees, you’ll need to think about your primary pain points and which tools best serve your business.
However, a complete employee management tool, like Connecteam, can cover all your bases on a single platform. Connecteam’s communication tools, like team chat, surveys and quizzes, newsfeed, and employee directory make it easy to keep your employees in the loop while keeping them engaged and boosting employee morale.