Are you still using email as your primary communication channel?
No doubt, it has been the standard way to exchange workplace messages for many years. But it’s not enough on its own these days, especially for connecting frontline workers to the rest of the organization. In fact, 60.8% of workers ignore emails at work.
The good news is we have seen an influx of smartphones and cutting-edge employee communication apps hitting the market in recent years. These technologies make it easier than ever to make sure that critical internal messages reach your workforce.
The right app has the potential to streamline workplace communications, improve employee engagement, boost knowledge-sharing and foster a good digital employee experience. Choosing the wrong internal communication software, on the other hand, can waste a lot of time and send thousands of dollars down the drain.
To help you with this decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best offerings available today.
Best employee communication apps for 2023
The following workplace communication apps provide reliability and flexibility to your workplace messages. Below, we’ll cover each app’s overview, core features, and potential downsides.
Best for: XL (5,000+) enterprises with a large frontline workforce
Blink is an all-in-one employee communication app designed for frontline workers in industries such as transport, facilities management, healthcare, and so on.
It’s a simple, intuitive platform that gives one-click access to everything workers need, boosting their connectivity, efficiency, and engagement. Employees can access work rotas, updates, timetables, forms, and more from a single place.
The biggest draw of this app is that it employs a familiar social-media style interface and a mobile-first approach. Because of this, workers are comfortable using the platform from the outset, and they can access what they need while on the move.
The solution can be deployed either on-premise or hosted on the cloud. And available as web-based, desktop, iOS, and Android apps.
Social media style feed: A constantly updating list of photos, stories, and videos from all corners of the company, yet personalized to each worker. Users can create posts with photos, videos, and text. They can then publish instantly or schedule for later. Other workers can follow, unfollow, like, and comment on posts.
Knowledge library: A cloud-based content hub for admins to create or upload important documents, apps, and pages with information on policies and processes. Workers can access this knowledge anytime and from any device with an internet connection.
Page creator/editor: Admins can create and publish beautiful, mobile-friendly pages with engaging content, along with rich formatting, photos, and videos.
Mandatory reading: Admins can require employees to acknowledge the receipt of critical messages. And they can also use push notifications and in-app reminders to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.
Instant messaging: Workers can initiate secure, one-to-one live chats, or create groups to organize conversations around a specific team, topic, or project.
Single sign-on: Workers can access data from the app and from other connected apps without requiring an email address.
People directory: An employee database where workers can add their name, job title, department, and more to make it easy for everyone to find each other.
Workflow automation: Admins can use pre-built micro-apps or create their own to digitize forms, streamline processes, and so on.
Third-party integrations: Blink integrates with popular business applications such as Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft 365, OneDrive, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more. This allows workers to access additional features and data without leaving the app.
Workplace analytics: Admins can view employee engagement metrics and address any problems with the adoption of the app and the reachability of key messages.
Universal Search: A powerful search function to search pages, chat messages, social media posts, and documents across the entire app.
Potential downside: Some users have noted a need for deeper customization and control over the employee directory feature.
Best for: tech companies with desk-based workforce
Slack is one of the most popular workplace communication apps, especially for organizations with employees working from home. It’s known for an intuitive interface and a variety of third-party integrations. And its supported platforms include web, iOS, and Android.
Instant messaging: Employees can chat one-on-one via text, audio, or video calls. Screensharing and file sharing are also supported. A worker can also initiate a conference with up to 15 members.
Channels: Workers can create separate channels for individual projects, topics, or teams. Channels can be private, with only a few team members, or publicly accessible by everyone in the company.
Knowledge sharing: The files you share on the chat are saved online and are searchable through the platform.
Workflow builder: Workers can automate routine tasks that need inputs and approvals from team members.
Potential downsides: Lacks some essential features such as providing access to workers without an email address, and an analytics dashboard to monitor engagement.
Best for: companies with a large, distributed workforce
Staffbase is an end-to-end employee communication app that helps distribute content to workers across the whole company. Admins can plan content, create and publish messages, and measure content performance from a single platform.
It’s primarily designed to be accessed as a mobile app without an email or business phone number, but is also deployable as a desktop or web-based tool. So workers can get key communication and resources from anywhere.
Newsfeed: A targeted channel to keep workers up to date on news relevant to their location, role, or department. Employees can post updates on the social wall, to which others can react via comments and likes. Posts can have videos, hashtags, and requests for acknowledgement. Plus, they can be scheduled for later.
Content publishing: Staffbase Experience Studio lets admins create, publish, and measure the impact of content.
Live chat: Employees can initiate or participate in 1-1 and group chats for fast and secure communication.
Employee Directory: An employee database makes sure that workers are not struggling to find and get in touch with people who can help with their tasks.
Analytics: Admins can get data-driven reporting on employee activity, adoption, and engagement with internal messages.
Integrations: Integration with popular workplace applications such as Google Workspace, Salesforce, and Slack are available.
Potential downsides: Some users have noted difficulties in integration with other workplace software. And your ability to grant or block certain permissions for a batch of users is limited.
Best for: organizations with a large number of frontline workers
Beekeeper is another employee communication app to connect deskless employees across different places and teams via desktop and mobile devices. With this app, workers can share group messages, run surveys, and exchange news stories with one another. It also allows access to documents and analytical reporting.
Real-time communication: Workers can start instant chat campaigns via text or voice calls one-to-one or in group chatrooms. They can also share videos and documents.
Files and shortcuts: A file repository allows quick access to protocols, systems, documents, and other data. Files can be uploaded from a device or imported from Microsoft SharePoint.
Integrations: Beekeeper can be integrated with several tools through Zapier. Admins can also automate workflows with digital forms and get rid of paper-based processes.
Analytics: Built-in analytics reporting allows admins to view metrics on engagement, popular content, and general readership.
Single sign-on: Employees can access the app and other connected apps without an email, phone number, or password.
Potential downsides: Some users have found the search function to be slow and limited.
See how Blink compares vs Beekeeper
Best for: large enterprises with 1000+ strong workforce
Smarp is a cloud-based employee communication app supported by web, Android, and iOS systems. It is suited for both office-based and frontline employees. So employees can access crucial information whether they are on the desk or outside the premises.
News app: Admins can communicate with workers regardless of their location and make sure that important messages are seen with push notifications.
Instant chat: Employees can connect with other employees one-to-one or as part of a group chat. And they can share files, videos, and images while on the chat.
Publishing studio: Admins can create, publish, and organize content for workers at scale. Rich text and visuals can also be added.
Employee directory: Workers can easily find and connect with anyone in the company, along with associating faces with names and improving workplace coordination.
File hosting: Admins can simplify collaboration and improve productivity with a secure place to upload and share important files.
Mandatory reads: Admins can ensure the acknowledgement of important messages by certain segments of workers based on department, role, language, location, and so on.
Analytics reporting: Admins can view content metrics to understand what’s working and areas that need improvement.
Potential downsides: Some users have reported not being able to upload or share videos natively, and the absence of an event calendar.
Best for: small and mid-sized enterprises
Workvivo is a workplace communication tool with a familiar newsfeed-type interface. So the learning curve is short. It combines the features of an intranet, communication software, and a mobile employee app.
The mobile app ensures that it can be used by remote employees, frontline workers, and in-house employees. Supported formats include online, Android, and iOS.
Activity feed: Workers from all parts of the company can post updates and keep others informed on the latest happenings. Posts can also be scheduled for another time.
Instant messaging: The chat function is available through integration with tools such as Slack, MS Teams, and Zoom meetings.
Live video streaming: Executives can stream town hall sessions via live video or podcasting for people who cannot attend in person.
People Directory: A searchable directory of workers with profile information allowing workers to get to know each other.
Internal articles: Admins can publish and manage articles with rich content such as photos, tables, and video clips. The app also supports the ability to require that workers acknowledge important content.
Workplace insights: Admins can get employee engagement metrics to evaluate and improve the performance of their internal communication.
Potential downsides: The absence of native instant messaging can be hindering for some organizations. Plus, the app supports cloud and mobile deployment only.
Employee Communication App FAQs
What is an employee communication app?
An employee communication app is software that allows employees to receive and send communication to and from colleagues & managers. They also allow for internal communications to be sent seamlessly to everyone within the organisation and can be used as a central source for key business information and updates.
What are the tools for employee communication?
There are many tools you can use to communicate with employees. These can include, apps, intranets, email, internal newsletters, video chat & more.
Final thoughts: best employee communication apps 2022
While email is not going anywhere, you can increase the effectiveness of your workplace communication tenfold by also deploying an employee communication app.
As you can see, there are several employee communication apps at your disposal with a wide range of features. And each of them can be a good fit depending on the size and needs of your company.
Now it’s up to you to make the right call.
Remember, the app you choose will be a key part of your employee engagement strategy. The right choice can take your company culture and productivity to new heights, and get your entire workforce aligned with business goals. So due diligence is the key factor that will ensure long-term satisfaction for both you and your workers.
All the best!