Internal communication is the glue that holds your organization together. When well-executed, it paves the way for business growth and a good brand image. Happy and satisfied employees are more likely to become brand ambassadors, and promote the company they work for. But how can you achieve the best results? And what internal communication tools are the most effective for an organization with a lot of frontline workers? We’ll answer these questions in this blog post.
What types of internal communication are there?
Internal communication is what allows organizations to connect with their employees. It helps to grow awareness, inform, cultivate involvement, motivate and facilitate cooperation in the decision-making. Based on its different purposes, internal communication can be classified into the following types:
- Task information: Employees want to know what to do. Give the right job description and instruction.
- Management information is intended to ensure that all activities are done by the right people at the right time. These are, for instance, schedules.
- Commercial information: All customer-facing employees need to receive detailed information about products, prices, and services.
- Policy information: makes sure that every employee is adequately informed about all kinds of matters, from organizational to legal procedures.
- HR information: it mainly includes administrative affairs and supports services.
- Motivational information: growth best occurs in environments where employees are motivated to better themselves and their organizations. Include information on social issues and prospects.
8 examples of internal communication channels
Considering all kinds of information an organization sends to all employees, finding the right tool is key to making it run smoothly. Here is a list of the most common online and offline means of communication used by frontline organizations and their pro & cons.
1. Instant messaging
WhatsApp or Messenger group chats are among the most used internal communication tools across the retail and hospitality industries. They are mobile based and allow users to share messages, photos, GIFs, files, and videos. An additional benefit is that most employees already have these apps on their phones. While there is no doubt that it can be the easiest and fastest way to reach your young frontline employees at first glance, it isn’t.
Managers find it time-consuming, while for employees, it’s disturbing to be added to group chats with (sometimes) hundreds of employees. As a result, they mostly ignore it and important information often doesn’t reach the right employee at the right time. Furthermore, it’s important to consider that using WhatsApp for internal communication crosses some important privacy boundaries, like sharing all contact information with all participants without their permission.
Despite repeated claims that email communication is dying, it remains a central communication channel in most organizations. It is simple and already available to everyone. It allows you to reach all the staff at once or send personal messages to easily communicate updates, news, schedule, or interesting links to the team. Nevertheless, it presents some downsides that are worth considering:
- Information overload: frontline employees don’t usually own a work email address; Emails have bigger chances to get lost, accidentally deleted, or just plain forgotten;
- Too long: Younger generations have a shorter attention span and loss of patience. Long emails simply aren’t read;
- Do not facilitate feedback;
- Don’t support all kinds of media;
- Are not sharable or engaging.
3. Social Media
Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube, to name a few, offer benefits that include networking, project collaboration, and sharing of information. A large variety and forms of media can be shared, liked, commented, and reshared. Thereby, when used for internal communications, it creates an opportunity for multi-directional communication.
Nevertheless, this is not the reason why social media were born. In fact, albeit they can be used for internal comms, usually employees prefer to use social media for purely personal purposes. Privacy is also an issue. Employees must use their personal accounts from where they may not want to be contacted, and also, these may contain information that they would prefer not to share with work colleagues.
Intranet is the personal network of an organization. It allows gathering and sharing a vast amount of information and training courses accessible to everyone in the company. But it is no longer as modern as it once was.
The way people work has been changed dramatically in the past years. Traditional intranets don’t have many integration possibilities, forcing employees to check multiple systems with separate logins. They often offer limited solutions for sharing interactive and media-rich content, and their systems are not made to facilitate two-way communication. They were simply not built to handle the mobile age or satisfy the needs of younger generation of employees.
5. Bulletin board
Bulletin boards have long been a fixed presence in company hallways or canteens. It enables you to communicate alerts, announcements, open positions, fun initiatives, and many other parts of your internal communication strategy. Yet, while old-school static boards might no longer be the most effective or convenient, now companies prefer to adopt digital solutions and display digital bulletin boards throughout their back office. Of course, the reach is limited to the workplace, and effectiveness and engagement can’t be measured. It’s a nice addition to your internal communication channels, but not suitable to don’t use as your single way of communicating with your frontline employees..
Tip: Be creative and use colors and movement. The goal is to catch employees’ attention and make them feel the organization’s presence—for example, display your company values on the canteen’s screen.
6. Online team meetings
Daily video chats, stand-ups, online briefings, and recurring face-to-face meetings can surely add value to day-to-day activities. They are also great for employee engagement. Managers or supervisors are in charge, and employees can immediately react with questions or concerns.
However, frontline employees work on different shift patterns, and managers don’t have the time to brief and share all information each time someone starts their shift. The level of attention also may be shallow, and misunderstandings are constant, forcing managers to repeat themselves over and over again. In addition, only relying on this communication cuts all ties between employees and HQ, resulting in low engagement and retention.
7. Internal Communication Platforms
Internal communication platforms are solutions for reaching employees via their personal devices in an effective and secure channel. The market is rich in both desktop and mobile solutions to respond to different needs and can be very easy to implement.
Key benefits of using an internal communication platform are:
- Connect with remote employees who lack corporate email addresses or access to computers.
- Foster your company culture across multiple locations
- Increase efficiency and productivity - send the right information to the right people at the right time
- Increase collaboration - fostering employees’ communication encourage active support and cooperation
- Engage employees - share ideas, achievements, and successes to celebrate
- Attract and retain talent - being active and participating in a clear line of communication can be critical for employee engagement. A good internal communication strategy reinforces strong company culture and empowers employees to become brand ambassadors.
The only flaw? Most solutions offered are limited to internal communication, and organizations still will have to rely on other tools and software to offer a fully integrated employee experience.
8. Employee Experience Platforms
Employee experience refers to everything that a worker thinks, feels, and does in their job role - encompassing all touchpoints of an employee’s journey. It is affected by the onboarding process, training initiatives, workplace culture, company surveys, rosters, and interaction with colleagues. Internal communication is therefore only one of the pillars.
Introducing an Employee Experience Platform can bring many benefits to organizations, including improving:
- Workplace productivity
- Customer service levels - and customer satisfaction
- Employee Engagement
Mobile-first employee platforms grant frontline employees access to all kinds of helpful information, support, a digital learning environment, and HR tools in the palm of their hands - making it the most accessible and efficient solution for the younger generation of employees.
The next step in improving your internal communication
Oneteam is the all-in-one platform to help organizations connect, train, and engage their frontline workforce. Oneteam’s solution includes modules for internal communication, onboarding, eLearning, and surveys. Furthermore, it’s possible to seamlessly integrate with your current HR or WFM systems. Curious to learn more? View the explainer video below and get started today.