We hate to break it to you, but your present internal communication channels may not be getting the job done. In fact, we suspect a part of you already knows.
Recall the day you saw one of your teams using Google Drive instead of your company’s intranet. Yes, the one that your organization spent thousands of dollars to deploy.
Not just that, remember that day in the breakroom? When you overheard that there is an unofficial WhatsApp group many of your employees use via their mobile devices — even those on the front line!
And of course, you already know about workers using social media, don’t you?
Globalization. Remote work. Deskless workforce. Mobile devices. The signs have been right in front of you — signs that the landscape of work is changing.
Maybe you thought that you could wait and get around to it later. But there’s no point in burying your head in the sand anymore.
Now more than ever, employees want internal communication channels that provide relevant and timely information in a convenient way. Yet research shows that 57% of employees are not given clear directions, and 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with employees.
If you’re struggling to improve employee morale and ensure that your workers are aligned with your mission, vision, and values, there’s a strong chance that your employee communication channels need an overhaul.
It’s time to address the matter head-on and prioritize the rethinking of your communication channels.
So in this post, we’ll take a look at the traditional communication channels being used in the workplace, why they are not enough, and the best internal communication channels to consider for your company.
Common internal communication channels and why they are not enough
Internal communication is the glue that binds everyone together in the workplace, elevates employee experience, and aids productivity. So it’s important that your critical messages reach workers wherever they are.
But if the below traditional channels are the only arrows in your arsenal, we’re afraid the reach of your employee communication is limited. And it's hurting employee engagement and collaboration. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
An internal web portal (intranet)
Up until recently, the intranet has been a popular way to connect with employees. It’s a website, but only for the people in your organization to stay in touch with company updates and access essential documents.
The premise of an intranet is still solid — a web-based framework with a variety of use cases such as news, static pages, forms, employee directory, training materials, and so on. But the way it has been implemented in the past leaves a lot to be desired.
Most intranets being used in organizations today tend to be clunky, outdated, and hard to navigate. So much so that very few employees use their intranet daily. And many never do. 90% of intranets fail and are still failing. So it’s high time to think about a modern intranet alternative.
Email is an evergreen communication channel that’s going to stay in the workplace for a long, long time.
Many organizations also have some form of an email newsletter or message board to distribute company updates and conduct internal marketing.
But if email is your topmost channel for employee communication, that’s a problem.
Imagine this: you work hard to prepare an email newsletter with key information, tweak it to reduce bounce rates, for the upcoming week or month, and finally hit the send button.
Yet hours go by, and even days. No one has said anything or given any indication of acknowledgment. So you send a reminder.
But now there’s not enough time left for the action items. That’s when you start getting flooded with emails. Not to mention workers frequently swarming at your desk, with complaints like:
- Why wasn’t I informed about the date of the flu shot earlier?
- When will we receive our Form X documents?
- I didn’t know there was a reimbursement policy for XYZ!
It’s not your fault. Nor of the workers. Because email alone is not suited for everything and everyone. The two biggest challenges with email are:
- Making sure everyone who needs to be included is included
- Making sure everyone who shouldn’t be included is not included
The result? You either end up excluding key recipients from the communication, or annoying workers with too much generic communication. That’s when they start ignoring your emails.
That’s not all. If the majority of your workers work in field, in a factory, or on the front line, they may not even have an email address.
We’re not saying avoid email for communication altogether. But it shouldn’t be the primary communication channel. It should rather be a supporting channel to a more progressive communications approach.
Lastly, prioritize email security and set up DMARC to protect your company's data against email phishing
Project management tools
Project management software isn’t necessarily a communication channel. But you’d be surprised by how many companies use it for that purpose.
While the primary purpose of project management tools is to manage tasks and projects, they often come built-in with comments, live chat, and other communication features.
Nevertheless, these capabilities are just not enough to tackle all your workplace communication needs. You can reach some teams and departments, but not all of your workers can be passed on the news and content they need.
A video meeting is a strong communication mechanism. It makes personal interactions possible among workers in different locations and time zones.
The channel has gained tremendous momentum since the pandemic. In fact, 67% of companies intended to increase the money they spend on web and video conferencing in 2021.
But as with email, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Too many video meetings are stressful and cause fatigue. Not to mention the distraction they cause to the employee’s work routine.
Plus, this way of communication is a good fit only for small teams or 1-on-1 interactions. You can’t expect to use video meetings for company-wide campaigns or employee engagement initiatives.
Office notice boards
You surely have a bulletin board in the workplace, probably at a location where workers can easily view it when entering or exiting the office. So employees could occasionally pause for a couple of seconds to see company events, updates, or anything else they should know.
Without a doubt, an office bulletin board has been a good avenue for the distribution of critical messages. But chances are, these days it has become that place where your memos and fliers go to die.
In many organizations, notice boards look a lot like this — crowded with torn papers, uncategorized pages, and outdated information.
How can a worker be expected to get anything meaningful from such a board! No wonder most workers don’t read it.
And that’s the only reason office boards have outlived their usefulness. The desk-based workers spend most of their time in front of a computer. And the deskless employees are working outside the office.
This means that a noticeboard is quite disconnected from their daily workflow. And it’s the last place they’d look for internal updates.
As you can see, the over-reliance on traditional communication channels is possibly hurting your workplace communication. So it’s important to select the right channels that align with the present nature of work.
Choosing the right workplace communication channels
Technically, you don’t pick your internal communication channels in isolation. It’s part of a larger effort to build or refine your internal communication strategy. So we highly recommend that you check out our complete guide on the subject.
Before you select your employee communication channels, you must have a clear understanding of the type of messages your company needs to share and their timing. Ask yourself:
- Have we categorized our messages as informal, formal, or non-work-related?
- Are there any messages that are time-sensitive?
- Which information will need an extra layer of security?
- Which messages are meant for everyone and which only for certain groups?
- Are there messages that need input from workers?
Only by answering such questions, you can determine the right workplace communication channels to push your messages.
The second most important consideration is your audience. You can reduce a lot of friction by reaching people via the communication channels they already use or prefer. Forcing them to consume information from an outdated or inappropriate channel will only alienate them further.
With that in mind, let’s go through the modern communication channels that can help expand the reach and deliverability of employee communication.
The best employee communication channels
Considering how technology has transformed how businesses operate, it’s no accident that all the internal communication channels we have covered below are digital. When used correctly, they offer the most efficient, convenient, and straightforward way to reach your workforce. These are:
Enterprise secure chat
Over 40% of US workers are using instant messaging to communicate at work, and this number climbs to 71% for employees in the tech industry. The two core reasons for its wide adoption are:
- The high speed of sharing information and getting your questions answered one to one.
- The ability to create groups and channels to discuss matters securely with different teams or departments.
On top of that, the concept of instant messaging works even better when it’s part of an integrated system. This way, it can talk to other components of the system such as employee directory, file sharing, and so on. And it can bring your whole organization together in a way that no traditional channel can.
For example, Blink’s secure chat allows workers to initiate direct chats with anyone in the company. Admins can also create group chats for social or work-related subjects. And it’s all part of a larger platform with other channels like social media, and content hub built-in, leading to a more seamless experience.
Company social media feed
Most of your employees are already using social media for external or personal communication. So why not allow for internal social networking? The benefits are too good to ignore:
- Employees get a platform to connect with each other socially
- Many check their social media feeds several times a day
- You spend zero dollars in training since they’re already up to speed
By implementing a social-media-type feed internally, you improve your organization on several fronts, including collaboration, sense of community, knowledge transfer, and productivity.
Now, the question is, how to deploy this revolutionary technology in your workplace? Easy! Use an employee app like Blink. It creates a personalized feed for each worker and allows anyone to share updates in the form of text, images, and videos.
And just like other social media platforms, users can like and comment on posts, or submit their vote on polls.
Internal content repository
86% of employees say they find it hard to search for office documents when they need them. Imagine the drain in productivity!
Why is this so? Because many companies don’t have a central digital library for storing and sharing essential files. Even the ones that do rely on a system that makes it hard to search and organize materials.
A central content hub works not just when it allows you to save files. Its true calibre is tested on the ease of:
- Writing and publishing content quickly
- Finding information where and when employees need it
As we discussed before, that’s the reason the intranet has failed to deliver on its promise.
Compare this with Blink — a full-scale intranet with a Content Hub as its central feature. It allows admins to create beautiful, focused, mobile-responsive pages, along with the ability to track views and engagement.
Last on our list is perhaps the latest internal communication channel many companies have started exploring to share dynamic content with workers.
An internal blog is a versatile internal communication channel where posts can come from all employees, managers, and departments. It’s a quick way to share posts more detailed than a social media post and less permanent than a static page.
If you’re looking to add a personal and inexpensive communication medium to your workplace, internal blogging is a strong contender. To launch an internal company blog, you can either use an internal blogging platform like Blogin or use WordPress to set up a private, members-only blog.
Final thoughts: consolidate as much as possible
When communication is broken, you’d see the ripples in all the aspects of your business. As you analyze all the employee communication channels we have discussed so far, it may be tempting to use them all. But you should resist the urge and pick only the most essential for your strategy.
We get it. Each new channel comes with new possibilities. But it also brings new complexity and changes for your workers to adapt to in a short period of time.
Always strive to make things as easier and simpler as possible, and you’ll see a real rise in the adoption of channels you bring forth to your workplace.
Even better if you combine multiple workplace communication channels in a single platform for a centralized and easily accessible solution. And the modern approach to make that happen is a platform like Blink. So book your free demo today.