Internal communication tools that are user-friendly and easy to access can make a difference in employee morale and develop a business’s corporate culture. There is a plethora of internal communication tools out there today. So, how do you pick the right program or tool for your company? Read on!
First, you need to establish what type of internal communications you want to communicate. Does the message need to be communicated to all employees or just your team members? Is the message public or private?
“Using the wrong tool for the job wastes time, frustrates people, and sends them running to nearly any alternative – usually email, or worse, external consumer tools unsanctioned by IT, creating silos of data that get lost over time”
-Deb Lavoy, 6 Essential Internal Communication Tools
Not only do you need to take into consideration the message, but also the employees. As the internal communications intern for my company, I work with two employee segments: Wired and non-wired employees.
What are wired employees?
Wired employees are associates who have access to technology. For example, at my company, everyone who works at a desk is wired employee. Here are some of the best internal communication tools for wired employees.
For those of you who don’t know, an intranet is a private network within a company or organization. An intranet can act as a home for most employees to stay updated on the company and so much more.
Here are 5 Benefits of an Intranet.
- Corporate Communications
- Streamline Processes
- Spur Collaboration
- Knowledge Management
At my company, I use our intranet homepage everyday. This is where our internal news and messaging are posted on a regular basis. This is the landing page for wired employees and SO much better than getting thousands of emails each day.
Instant Messaging and Chats
Now, I have mixed feelings about chat tools like Skype or Instant Messenger. Although its easier to just shoot an IM to a coworker about changing a meeting time rather than emailing them its not a formal tool to use. I would suggest only using chats for informal communication.
Enterprise Social Networks
No, I’m not talking about Twitter or instagram. Enterprise social networks are private social networks within a business. At my company we use Yammer and it has been quite successful as a social collaboration platform. Not only can employees create post about work, but every once in a while people would post polls and jokes. These social networks can create a social community between a company’s employees, who may have never talked to each other before.
Reaching corporate employees who are in the office but not reaching remote others out in the field not our non-wired employees, or those who do not have a company email account. As an internal communications intern, I get the opportunity to work with our non-wired
What are non-wired employees?
Non wired employees are workers who do not have limited or no access to technology to receive company communications. These are the hourly workers who are doing the manual labor, manufacturing workers, truck drivers and other frontline employees.
To reach these employees you need a completely different communications vehicle. Communications expert, David Grossman provides some advice on how to reach non-wired associates in Tips for Reaching Non-Wired Employees.
Grossman brings up utilizing employee input as a way for employees to have their voices heard. Not only is it the job of the internal communications professional to listen to the employees, but also to help non-wired employees understand their role in the company. It is too often non-wired employees ignore corporate messages due to a lack of understanding their own purpose. Why would an employee understand what the CEO is saying if he doesn’t even understand why he is there?
Some of the best ways to reach this segment are more traditional tools.
Newsletters and Posters
Creating newletters and signage to post in breakrooms are a great way to reach non-wired employees. Although it may seem simple, this traditional tool is functional for frontline workers
Actual conversations between managers and non-wired employees may be the most effective communiations tool. Hourly employees trust what their managers are saying and feel more inclined to understand the communicated messages.
Now this may seemed like a “wired” tool, but it is not. Setting up a texting system or app to send messages to non-wired employees can prove to be a great new way to reach employees; however, this may not work for all companies. For example, at my company we looked into setting up a mobile app for plant workers. When we looked further into it we discovered that many hourly employees do not have their mobile devices out on the floor.
When it comes down to it, each company will need to find an internal communication tool that is tailored to its own needs; however, it is our job as communicators to decide what tools work best for what message we are trying to communicate.
What are some tools your company is using to communicate internally? How do the tools you use change when communicating with certain groups of employees? Let’s hear from you.