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.
15 examples of internal communication tools
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 organizations with non-desk employees, including their pros & cons.
1. Instant messaging
WhatsApp or Messenger group chats are among the most used internal communication tools in the workplace. 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 deskless 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: non-desk 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. 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.
4. All-in-one employee apps
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 all-in-one employee app can bring many benefits to organizations, including improving:
- Workplace productivity;
- Customer service levels – and customer satisfaction;
- Employee Engagement;
- Employee loyalty.
Employee apps grant deskless 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.
5. Social media
Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube offer benefits that include networking, project collaboration, and sharing of information.
A large variety and forms of media can be shared, liked, commented on, 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, 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.
An 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 the younger generation of employees.
7. 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 non-desk employees.
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.
8. Team meetings
Daily stands up, 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, non-desk 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.
9. Employee Survey Tools
Employee surveys help you to gather valuable feedback from the heart of your organization. The actionable insights gathered can help you to optimize current processes, and improve the employee experience as well as the customer experience. There are several types of surveys your can send to your employees, with different purposes. A couple of popular ones: employee satisfaction surveys, pulse surveys, onboarding surveys, workplace surveys, and offboarding surveys.
10. Planning and collaboration tools
Planning tools can help you organize and schedule your internal comms in advance. Work together with your HR and Internal Comms teams, and start drafting your internal comms content calendar.
There are lots of (free) tools available for planning and collaboration, Canva’s online whiteboard for example. Work together on a to-do list, team calendar or project timeline.
Internal communication is way more than top-down messaging from your HR team. In order to make your employees successful and engaged, it’s of vital importance that you stimulate collaboration. A popular tool to stimulate engagement and collaboration within and across teams is offering a chat functionality within your employee app.
12. Internal newsletters
The good old newsletter can’t be left out of this list. For organizations with desk employees, who have access to company emails, this is a popular tool to engage with employees. However, for organizations with a lot of deskless workers, your newsletters will be left unread. Think of modern, mobile-friendly, ways to share important monthly business updates, your employee/team of the month awards, and upcoming campaigns.
13. Creative tools to spice up your comms
We all know, a picture says more than a thousand words, so make sure to grab the attention of your employees with nice visuals. There are tons of free tools out there for graphic design, stock photography, videos, and GIFs.
If a picture says more than a thousand words, a video says more than a million words. Well, as long as they are engaging, I guess. Want to increase employee engagement across locations? Launch fun video challenges! Launching a new reservation system? Create a short video testimonial. You’ll see engagement and adoption levels skyrocket.
15. Recognition and reward programs
Celebrate outstanding performances and reward those who have gone the extra mile to satisfy customers or have proven to be a great team player. Research shows that 88% of employees values peer praise, and it’s known that celebrating success helps to increase employee motivation levels.