Internal Communications tools, when used properly, can make the difference between a workforce that’s informed and engaged, and one that’s simply out of the loop. In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 most important tools a company can incorporate into its communication strategy.
Internal communications tools are a hot topic this year, and for a good reason. With remote work becoming the norm due to COVID restrictions, and with so much communication transitioning to online, keeping employees connected and informed about company news is more important than ever. But many companies aren’t sure exactly which tools to utilize, and how to structure them together into an integrated whole. Here, we’ll explain the 10 tools you need for a complete IC package.
In this article, you will learn:
1. Why Internal Communications tools are crucial in 2021
2. Statistics on the current state of Internal Communications
3. Tools that can help your Internal Communications succeed
4. Ways to learn more
Why your company needs the best Internal Communications tools in 2021.
Even if employees do have the option to return to the office following the COVID crisis, it’s looking more and more likely that remote work will become the norm, rather than the exception. Flex offices are springing up, remote positions are becoming more common. And working remotely comes with a unique set of challenges, which makes strong Internal Communications all the more important. Essentially, in 2021, technology and digital tools fill in the gap left by no longer working full time in a physical office. Collectively, they can help your company:
• Stay connected. It’s important to keep your employees connected through effective communication channels and tools. Organize daily meetings to stay on track and make the teams stay aligned with the company strategy.
• Engage your employees. It helps employees feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves and for which they will fully invest. But for that, they need to understand the value of the company and that the company gives them a source of motivation that matches it. They become more productive and better aligned with the overall strategy.
• Foster social interaction. At the office, you have coffee breaks and multiple micro interactions with your colleagues every day that seem insignificant, but which are actually very important for the well-being of employees. That’s why it’s important to keep those informal interactions going virtually.
• Show employees you’re listening. It’s important to know and understand your employees’ needs and feelings regarding the actions taken by the company. When employees feel valued and listened to, they are happier and more productive.
• Recognize employee contributions. Remote workers sometimes don’t feel like they’re part of the team, while in-office counterparts have more formal and informal interactions. It’s important to make employee recognition a priority. Regular recognition from peers and managers helps employees feel connected, appreciated, and valued.
Some statistics that show why Internal Communications matters more than ever.
Obviously, one of the best ways to demonstrate the new importance of having the best Internal Communications tools is through actual statistics on the topic—research clearly indicates that things are moving in a different direction, and that companies and their employees both need to adapt in order to thrive within the new digital reality:
“Only 30% of employees think IT has all the tools they need to support the new digital workplace.” – Infographic from 1e.com
“19% of remote employees report loneliness as their biggest challenge.” – Buffer
“20% of remote workers identify communication as an obstacle.” – Buffer
“As of April 2020, 67 percent of organizations reported an increase in spending on web conferencing software.” – Statista
Obviously, remote work is becoming the norm, digital tools are more popular than ever, and employees are also struggling to find their place in the digital workplace of tomorrow.
These are the 10 best Internal Communications tools for keeping employees connected.
1. Employee mobile app. Yes, a mobile app is critical these days, and even more so for companies with frontline workers who may not have a professional email address or work station. A branded mobile app will create a sense of identity and belonging, and push notifications and alerts will ensure all employees get the information they need. Mobile has largely taken the place of intranets, and it’s where your employees get most of their information—so make sure you’re there!
2. Internal newsletter. Employees want to read updates and articles that are relevant for them because they often don’t have time to read everything that’s sent. This is why a customizable and targeted newsletter tool with filtering options is key. Analytics will also ensure you can keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and refine your technique. It’s important to get employees accustomed to a regular delivery of important company news that’s tailored to them.
When you have a newsletter feature with templates, like Sociabble’s, creating personalized newsletters for employees becomes simple.
3. Employee surveys. This is probably the best way to get direct feedback from employees and optimize engagement. Your ideal survey tool should be quick, easy to set up, and put the power to create surveys in the hands of top management and local managers alike. A library of templates can make the process easier, and it should have the option of being anonymous, and shareable. It should be GDPR compliant, and a little gamification (i.e. points for participating) can increase the employee engagement level.
Surveys are the best way to take the pulse of your worforce. Sociabble’s survey engine puts the power to create detailed, useful surveys in the hands of any admin.
4. Enterprise chat. A chat feature will allow for the kind of spontaneous and individual conversations that occurred around water coolers, during coffee breaks, and across desks. It should have a good user experience, be intuitive so users are not intimidated by it, and incorporate security and privacy features to protect sensitive information.
An enterprise chat feature, like Sociabble Chat, allows employees to have the same kinds of formal and informal conversations they used to have only at the office.
5. Company newsfeed. A digital newsfeed that allows for the pinning of crucial content, and the ability to segment audience by relevance based on department, office, and region, is indispensable as a tool. A mix of mandatory and subscription content will also increase the relevance of information provided to each user. The UX should be simple and easy to use, and it should not rely solely on an algorithm to dictate order, as this can give artificial importance to posts that are popular but not critical.
6. Content aggregation platform. This means a platform that combines curation tool extensions, RSS feeds, social media feeds, and UGC (user generated content). Users and admins alike should be able to post, create, comment on, and share pieces of content to a specified audience. These days, content is king, and having a central content hub is an important component of Internal Communications.
7. Employee recognition & gamification/reward system. This can mean any kind of tool or feature that allows you to reward the actions of employees (sharing content, for example), get them involved and interacting with other employees in a gamified environment, and provide reward and recognition for top performers. A CSR component can also add meaning to the rewards, such as donations to good causes.
8. Onboarding system. Onboarding can be one of the trickiest things to do remotely, so it’s important to have a good platform and system in place for welcoming new employees, introducing them to their colleagues, and giving them the training they need. An integration with an e-learning platform can make a big difference, as well as a library of training videos and seminars they can reference as needed.
9. Multilingual translation. An automatic translation feature will help your IC become globally effective, and ensure that messages are received in any office, anywhere. This will also help employees who are not native English speakers stay engaged, by receiving information and updates in their own language, which will also increase a sense of belonging within the company.
10. Live broadcast platform. Because remote working can diminish the sense of face-to-face interactions, a live broadcast feature is all the more important. It can fill in the gap left by long-distance communication. This is great for small conversations, but also larger town hall meetings, when it’s important that employees have direct access to top management, including the ability to post questions and comments for discussion.
In the age of remote work, live broadcasts fill a critical role in that they create a real, human connection. Sociabble’s Live Broadcast feature has chat and comment options to make the experience interactive.
Learn more about Sociabble, a complete Internal Communications solution.
Sociabble is an Internal Communications solution that combines all of these tools into a single digital platform, backed up by full support and consulting services. With industry leaders like Group Renault, L’Occitane en Provence, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners as clients, we have years of experience helping global companies refine their business communications. If you’d like to learn more about Sociabble, we’re happy to chat.
Just click here for a free demo.