With the rise of information technology, knowledge workers now have the power to work from anywhere. This makes it essential for internal communicators to introduce innovative internal communication tools, and tactics that boost employee engagement. If you’re trying to get a message in front of employees, you don’t need a survey tool, you need a newsletter tool.
We favour newsletters, but acknowledge that everyone has different skill sets, and needs different ways to reach their audience. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our 14 favourite types of tools, many of which can easily be incorporated within a company newsletter.
The 15 best internal communication tools:
- Employee Feedback
- Mobile App
- Chat and Forums
- Collaboration Tools
- Digital Signage
- Social Media
- Recognition and Rewards
- Planning Tools
- Graphics Creation Software
Disclaimer: This is by no means a comprehensive list. We encourage you to add to this list by telling us which online collaboration tools have worked for your internal communications in the comments section.
1. Internal Communication Tools: Company Newsletters
When talking about internal communication tools, internal email tracking software is one of the best investments you can make to improve internal communications.
Why? Email is the cornerstone of any successful internal communications strategy: without it, your other platforms would collapse.
Some advantages of email newsletters for corporate communications:
- Employees are already expected to check their work emails, so you have a captive audience for your internal newsletter
- Company newsletters help syndicate every other channel of internal communications, including videos, podcasts, and company PR
- Regularly scheduled newsletters offer insight into the company’s performance as a whole
- Mobile proliferation of email means that employees are more likely to be checking their email, with 55% of emails being opened on a mobile device and 40% of workers admitting to checking their work email at least 5 times a day outside of the work day
- Company newsletters allow employees to hear company news prior to external audiences
- Internal-only tools keep your email contacts on your own IT servers, without the security risks of going through a third party
- Newsletters are the best way to communicate change to employees
The best internal newsletter service: ContactMonkey
ContactMonkey should definitely be your go-to platform for company-wide announcements. You can use it to send responsive email newsletters, collect real-time feedback, and any other critical information that requires a prompt response from employees.
Unlike external marketing email tools like Mailchimp, our newsletter tool is specifically designed for internal communicators.
Kate Kraley, Marketing Communications Specialist at Mettler Toledo, struggled with using external tools for her internal emails and newsletters.
She was using a variety of tools, but since none of them were designed for internal communications, she had to manually transfer her work into Outlook. As well, none of the internal communication tools were designed for Outlook, resulting in most of her email templates having rendering issues.Having a one-stop-shop for internal communications helped Kate save 4 hours of per week or 25 days of work in a year.
“We faced challenges with Mailchimp. Since we had to leave Outlook to use Mailchimp, we found it was double the work to maintain distribution lists in both Outlook and Mailchimp. The HTML build in Mailchimp was also difficult to use as it didn’t work well with older versions of Outlook, compromising the layout.” -Kate Kraley
With ContactMonkey, Kate has a drag-and-drop HTML email template builder, real-time analytics, and tracking features – all within Outlook. As shown below, internal communicators have the ability to look at metrics like unique and multiple opens, unique and multiple clicks, and device used.
2. Internal Communication Tools: Employee Feedback
One of the best ways to plan out next steps for increasing employee engagement, or improving company culture, is to gather feedback from your employees. They’ll know best what’s working for them in the work environment provided by their employer, and what sort of changes would make their day-to-day easier.
Today’s workers are looking to hear from their employers, and be kept in the loop about what’s going on in the business; they’re more receptive to communications overall. Taking employee feedback to heart in the form of making the changes they’ve asked for has a positive effect on morale and productivity.
If you’re reaching out to remote workers that are dispersed all over the globe, it’s even more imperative to ask for feedback. We’re not saying that the needs of remote workers are more important, but they are facing a different set of challenges than in-office workers.
They typically find themselves working longer hours, which some attribute to their inability to “turn off” work when the standard work day is over. Not having the opportunity to interact with their colleagues in person can also make them feel extra siloed from the daily goings-on. Therefore, asking their opinion is an easy way to make them feel included in discussions and changes at the organization.
Within ContactMonkey’s email template builder, there are several options available. Keep it simple with emoji reactions, star ratings, and Like buttons. If you’re for more information on a topic or issue, you can ask a pulse survey question and either attach one of the reactions, or a 10-scale eNPS survey question. Pulse surveys are more effective for asking general questions about things going on at the office, while eNPS is typically used to gauge whether or not employees would recommend your organization or product/service to others.
Top benefits of ContactMonkey as an internal communication tool:
- ContactMonkey seamlessly integrates into your Outlook or Gmail inbox so you can stay where you work
- You can track every email open and link click so you know how many employees are being reached
- Use our drag-and-drop email template builder to create and send responsive emails to employees
- Create and send mass personalized emails to your Outlook distribution lists and Google groups
- Obtain employee feedback by adding pulse surveys, eNPS surveys, emoji reactions, star ratings, and Like buttons
- Integrate your own pictures, videos, podcasts, and other media directly into your newsletter, and track viewership
If one (or all) of these benefits have the potential to improve how internal communications are experienced at your organization, schedule your personalized walk-through of our inbox add-in to better understand what’s possible for your particular context.
3. Internal Communication Tools: Video
Video Killed the Radio Star back in 1980, and almost 40 years later, video is more dominant than ever. With Millennials (born between 1980-1995) representing some 50% of the workforce, and Generation Z (1995-2015) beginning to join the workforce, video is a force to be reckoned with.
A growing segment of your workforce has never held a job when YouTube wasn’t a household name. Plus, with a vast majority of workers carrying a Smartphone, access to high quality video production is no longer a luxury.
Considering that 48% of workers consider video to be the most engaging form of communication, you would be remiss not to incorporate video into your internal communications.
Luckily, “video” is such a broad category that we can think of several ways to incorporate video into your internal communications strategy.
How to use video as an internal communication tool:
- Improve onboarding for new hires
- Create “how-to” videos for internal processes
- Design an engaging “explainer” video or internal webinar
- Film “a day in the life” of different functions in the company
- Share conference recaps for those who couldn’t attend in person
- Create video demonstrations of new product releases
- Add a video digest to your internal newsletters
While the go-to brand for video seems to be YouTube, it’s not always a great choice for internal communications since it is a public platform. Enterprise level video hosting is a much better option to secure your content.
Internal communication tool of choice: Vidyard
We like Vidyard for adding video to corporate communications. Their enterprise solutions have flexible levels of security that are sure to please your IT department, including password protection to keep your internal content…internal. Plus, Vidyard can automatically personalize your videos for specific individuals or departments. Not to mention, you can embed your Vidyard videos directly into your employee newsletters for content your employees will love!
4. Internal Communication Tool: Video Conferencing
When it comes to choosing from one of the best internal communication tools, the answer may be to look for an old fashioned video conferencing software. With satellite offices, remote workers, and the odd external freelancer or consultant, it’s important to get it right the first time when it comes to conference calling.
How to use video conferencing as an internal communication tool:
- Collaborate with remote teams
- Use face-to-face conferencing for better conversations
- Take advantage of screen sharing to easily share data or processes
- Provide remote assistance with a computer screen takeover
Internal communication tool of choice: Zoom
We’re a big fan of Zoom Video Communications for video conferencing. Zoom Video Communications is designed to improve communication in the workplace by enabling online collaboration that can enhance team communication.
Some of the best things about Zoom include:
- The ability to host online meetings, conduct video webinars, and use the Business Instant Messaging feature for cross-platform messaging and file sharing
- The Zoom Rooms feature puts high-quality video, audio, and web conferencing in any sized room
- Zoom Rooms’ digital signage is a great tool for corporate internal communications
5. Internal Communication Tools: Intranet
Sometimes called “corporate social network,” Intranet can be a powerful tool for fostering internal communication across large organizations. Intranet makes it easy for employees to see new content, and share relevant articles, guides, and ideas across teams and departments.
How to use Intranet as an internal communication tool:
When it comes to intranets, the options are practically limitless. There’s a high degree of customization available, but we’ve helped narrow down some of the key highlights:
- Introduce new ideas via a blog or activity feed
- Discuss new information and foster company wide interaction
- Create a corporate culture across any distance
- Debate and improve company wide initiatives
- Foster employee engagement
Internal communication tool of choice: Jostle
Jostle is a cloud-based intranet software that can help boost employee engagement.
Jostle prides itself on providing you with an intranet that strives to provide clear information architecture that helps streamline communication in the workplace.
According to their website, their intuitive intranet helps you “improve employee engagement, express your culture, and make communication happen.”
It’s excellent for team communication and for corporate internal communications. Jostle lets you:
- Connect all your employees regardless of where they’re working from
- Check out the latest company news with ease
- Simplify event planning, letting everyone know what’s happening and when via the “Events” tab
- See who does what while the people tab gives you access to the entire employee directory in the “Teams” tab
6. Internal Communication Tools: Apps
Are you working with remote or non-desk workers? Or looking for an online collaboration tool that enables you to streamline your internal communications and increase employee engagement?
There’s an app for that.
When your employees are mobile or in non-desk positions, you need a solution that works in any location.
Enter the employee app – a mobile hub for office and remote employees alike. While an app can house important information for employees, you also have the added benefit of sending push notifications if you happen to have an urgent bulletin to share.
How to use an app as an internal communication tool:
- Publish news, articles, and other company updates
- Host resources including employee directories and resources
- Replace or supplement your intranet
- Send push notifications
Internal communication tool of choice: Staffbase
Without a doubt, Staffbase is one of the best employee apps to improve workplace communication. It’s an all-in-one solution for communication, information, and workplace services, which is ultra convenient for employees searching for answers or company updates.
- Publish company news, short updates and documents and get feedback with comments and likes
- Use plugins for all your internal communications needs including company news, employee directories, chat, maps, surveys, and more
- Import existing intranets, your blog or social media using the app
- Send push notifications to ensure everyone gets the message
- Be customized with your corporate branding
7. Internal Communication Tools: Forums and Chat
Sometimes, internal communications isn’t about passing news down the chain, sometimes it’s about fostering ways for employees to collaborate, and forums help do exactly that. Rather than be the point person for everything and everything, an effective communicator also facilitates other channels for people to speak to the right person.
An open and unrestricted exchange of ideas is just the ticket for teams that need to collaborate across departments and cities. Forums can exist within an intranet, or become separate spaces solely for collaboration.
Sometimes, internal communications isn’t about passing news down the chain. Instead, it can be about fostering ways for employees to collaborate.
Forums help do exactly that. Instead of being the point person for everything, an effective communicator also facilitates other channels for employees to reach the right person.
Forums can exist within an intranet, or become separate spaces solely for collaboration.
How to use forums as an internal communication tool:
- Allow anyone at the company to share updates or ask questions
- Empower employees to collaborate and help one another across departments and locations
- Break down physical and perceived barriers between employees
- Encourage employee participation
Internal communication tool of choice: Slack
Although Slack still hasn’t killed good old email, we have to say that as a collaboration tool, Slack is still pretty effective. Slack allows people to subscribe to channels that are pertinent to their role or interest, helping reduce some of the noise that can come from a traditional chat room or forum.
Since users can participate in all kinds of channels, Slack is a powerful tool for facilitating communication in the workplace.
One of Slack’s greatest strengths is that it can integrate with plenty of other apps and workflows – including ticketing, support, and sales – to ensure the right people view the right messages.
If you want to send important company announcements, the best practice for corporate communication is to use a more formal platform such as email.
8. Internal Communication Tools: Surveys
Metrics are a subject on every communicator’s mind, and you can be sure surveys are one of the surest ways to get metrics on internal communications and employee engagement. Surveys can mean many different things to many people.
Is the only survey you send your quarterly eNPS survey? What about a monthly pulse check?
Perhaps a survey is something less formal, such as an event planning poll or an emoji reaction to a company update. Regardless of the type or frequency, surveys are an essential tool for every internal communicator looking to gather employee feedback.
A Price Waterhouse Cooper study shows that increased employee engagement leads to better performance and decreased turnover, and can also allow management to pre-emptively intervene before engagement diminishes to disinterest. Surveys are also a great way to improve communication between management and employees.
How to use surveys as an internal communication tool:
- Use eNPS surveys to gauge employee retention efforts
- Pose open-ended questions to gain insight and feedback around the strengths and struggles of a team
- Discover how much or how little recognition workers receive, as well as how much they need to stay engaged
Internal communication tool of choice: OfficeVibe
As far as survey tools go, we’re big fans of OfficeVibe. While their mission is to make the workplace more human, their model is based on science, simplicity, and safety. This means you can be sure that you receive actionable data while prioritizing employee anonymity.
Leaders who are trying to improve communication between management and employees can follow up on anonymous feedback without the employee sacrificing their anonymity.
OfficeVibe’s weekly pulse surveys are designed to visualize feedback into data and insights that allow managers to better understand what’s driving or hindering performance.
Rather than surveys of old, their quick and minimal approach is non-intrusive and inviting for employees. That said, ContactMonkey’s emoji reactions, pulse surveys, and comments features in our template builder are also a fantastic for getting employee feedback from your newsletters – without having to use separate tools or channels.
9. Internal Communication Tools: Podcasts
Regardless of where your employees work, whether it’s at a desk, in a factory, or on the road, one thing remains certain: human attention is a scarce resource. Screens are everywhere, so you need to help your employees keep their eyes on the prize.
Enter the podcast. The younger, cooler sibling of the radio shows of yore.
Compared to more traditional media, podcasts offer a fresh way of delivering content in a more intimate way. By using real voices, you can cement your internal brand as one that humanizes its people. The way you engage your employees should mirror the technologies they use for recreation.
Using podcasts as an internal communication tool:
- Serve company-related content that’s easy to consume on the go (e.g. during commutes, business travel, at the gym)
- Allow C-Suite executives and senior leadership the opportunity to speak to the workforce directly, generating transparency and trust
- Deliver complex information in a more compelling way
Don’t believe us? Try tracking how your podcast performs within your internal email.
Internal communication tool of choice: Storyboard
While we’ve already created a great guide to creating internal podcasts, we also recommend trying Storyboard. Storyboard was designed specifically for internal communicators to create, manage, and measure enterprise level internal podcasts.
With unlimited episode hosting, listener analytics, feedback modules, and privacy features, you can be sure that your podcast is getting the reach you need. If it isn’t, you’ll have insight into how to move forward.
10. Internal Communication Tools: Collaboration Tools
Even businesses with the best workflows have to deal with plenty of everyday technical, logistical, and communication obstacles to doing business. Getting things done can be particularly tricky in the age of remote collaboration and long-distance clients – and so can finding solutions.
Project planning and collaboration tools help teams meet these challenges by allowing them to divide up the work in a way that plays to everyone’s strengths, monitor workflow in real-time, and provide feedback to the project manager.
How to use collaboration tools as an internal communication tool:
- File sharing and management are made easier when all your contributors are looking for information in the same place
- Transparent workflow ensures each team member understands where each project stands
- Communication within teams is improved when there is a relevant and clutter free medium to discuss the project
- Project management tools help streamline information and avoid bottomless Reply All email threads
- Task management helps all stakeholders see what work was done, when, and by whom
Internal communication tool of choice: Trello
Want to stop the madness of disorganized team correspondence? Trello enables you to know who’s doing what and what needs to get done at one glance.
Trello displays information in a Kanban board so your team can see at a glance what needs to be done and what is still in progress. You are able to comment and share files within each task so the relevant tools and stakeholders are never more than a click away.
11. Internal Communication Tools: Digital Signage
One of the best ways to generate a buzz with your internal communications is to put them on display for the whole team to see! Consider digital signage which essentially takes over wall-mounted television screens to display your internal communications messaging.
Digital signage can be extremely productive in high traffic areas such as a cafeteria or near an elevator. Where digital signage shines is its ability to segment messages by location.
If you have workers in a factory or lab, you may want to share different messages than what you share with desk staff. Or perhaps you have a message for a certain section of the office or a certain department.
With digital signage,you can ensure that your internal communications message is in front of the right eyes.
How to use digital signage as an internal communication tool:
- “Always on” messages are sure to get both passive and active attention
- Showing performance dashboards can help employees stay aligned with the company goals and vision
Internal communication tool of choice: SnapComms
SnapComms is a digital signage provider taking charge in the internal communications space. They offer a scalable hardware solution that is complemented with cloud software. SnapComms also allows your team to control company signage from wherever you are situated, rather than wherever the sign is.
SnapComms offers segmenting, advance scheduling, and display reporting. Best of all, SnapComms plays nice with hardware you already have so you’re not stuck with a dedicated digital signage machine and all the headache that entails.
12. Internal Communication Tools: Social Media
No, we’re not suggesting that you blast your internal communications all over Facebook or LinkedIn (although if you can, more power to you). Nor are we suggesting you have to build your own social network from scratch like Shopify’s unicorn.
The fact of the matter is that 73% of adults aged 18-65 are using social media regularly, making social platforms one of the go-to sources for finding information or updates.
Though some employees may not want to use their personal profiles for work, intranet-based social platforms are easy to set up and offer a host of benefits.
How to use social networks as an internal communication tool:
- Easily share updates across departments and locations
- Create a more interconnected staff base where members from all departments can ask questions or answer questions
- Foster collaboration and develop interdepartmental relationships
Internal communication tool of choice: Yammer
As a social networking platform, Yammer is great for effective internal communication in the workplace.
It is one of the best internal communication tools for online collaboration. Yammer facilitates team communication and streamlines internal communications by involving various teams on projects and ideas.
It operates much like any social networking platform does. You need to make a profile of yourself, add in your area of expertise, location and contact information and you’re all set.
Plus, Yammer is part of Office 365, making it easy to create and edit content right from the app.
13. Internal Communication Tools: Recognition and Reward Platforms
The number one reason people leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. When there is an absence of recognition, employees lose motivation in their work and look for newer more motivating roles. A study from Deloitte notes that:
“Organizations with recognition programs which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs.”
This makes sense to us. On a basic human level, we all want to be seen and appreciated. Timely deliverance of praise and recognition can make the difference between high employee retention and high employee turnover.
We all know that turnover can be costly, which is why C-Suite Executives are looking towards internal communicators to help kill that cost.
There is a misconception that employee recognition has to be lavish or expensive. We won’t argue that incentives and prizes are nice. They may even be warranted for large scale achievements. But even verbal praise has its business benefits.
How to use an employee recognition platform as an internal communication tool:
- Increase employee productivity
- Retain your top performers
- Build an enviable workplace culture
- Boost employee motivation
Internal communication tool of choice: Bucketlist
If you’re searching for an effective recognition and rewards platform you should consider Bucketlist.
Bucketlist makes recognizing the commitment and dedication of employees easy. With Bucketlist, you can easily use one click to recognize hard working employees.
Employees can choose their own rewards or select from over 10,000 ideas and share success stories on social media. You can get detailed reporting so you understand the return on investment.
Bucketlist also facilitates internal communication and employee engagement by making it easy for employees and managers to recognize each other for milestones and key achievements.
14. Internal Communication Tools: Planning Tools
Whether you’ve got an internal communications team, or you’re flying solo and need to stay organized with your internal stakeholders, a good planning tool is paramount to your success.
While we can all get behind pen and paper for the quick to-do list or reminder, a one stop shop that your team and stakeholders can access is key. For those that like to plan in advance, a planning tool with a calendar can help you keep track of deadlines and events.
How to use a planning tool as an internal communication tool:
- A transparent workflow ensures that each team member and stakeholder knows where each project stands
- Information is streamlined to reduce unnecessary questions and email threads
- Task management to provide visibility to all stakeholders
Internal communication tool of choice: Basecamp
Basecamp is an online collaboration tool that is great for project management. It is a team communication software that can be used easily by internal communicators. It has an easy-to use interface that enables you to add new projects, and check out the latest updates or discussions.
You can use the “Catch up” button to see what’s happening or view the next six weeks with all the to-do items using the “Calendar” feature. There is also a “Progress” button that gives you a breakdown of all the projects and displays them to you in a timeline format.
There are multiple to-do lists for each project, making Basecamp one of the ideal internal communication tools for corporate communications.
Sounds like a great way to facilitate two-way communication in the workplace and boost employee engagement, along with gathering feedback directly from your employees through internal emails. Having metrics on hand makes it easy to adjust future employee communications.
15. Internal Communication Tools: Graphics Creation Software
Whether you’re using newsletters or publishing internal blogs, a good graphic can take your copy to the next level!
Even if you’re already using a beautiful responsive HTML newsletter template, you have to remember that your employees are receiving dozens, maybe even hundreds, of emails each day. No matter how well written your copy is, an eye-catching visual or infographic can help anchor your messaging.
How to use graphics as an internal communication tool:
- Employees are more likely to remember content delivered with images
- Improve storytelling within newsletters
- 90% of information sent to the brain is visual
Internal communication tool of choice: Venngage
When it comes to creating stunning visuals, infographics, and data visualization, it’s hard to beat Venngage.
Why? Venngage is one of the most effective internal communication tools on the market for visualizing data and creating graphics. From hundreds of professionally designed templates to their easy to use drag-and-drop builder, Venngage delivers an amazing experience for content creators.
The tool comes with hundreds of different charts, icons, pictograms and widgets so that you can easily create professional-looking visuals. Check out this example of an infographic that Venngage made for us!
13 different types of internal communication tools isn’t enough for you?
That’s fine. We’re well aware that when it comes to choosing the best internal communication tools for pro communicators, the list doesn’t end here.
In the age of disruption,the way we communicate is ever-changing. Obviously, there are countless effective online communication and collaboration tools
We have one more handy internal communication resource for you to consider:
Bonus Resource: G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd is a helpful resource, rather than an internal communication tool, for those who prefer to delve into in-depth research and gain customer insights before deciding which tool is the right fit for their respective teams and organizations.
If you’re on the hunt for some of the best internal communication tools for your internal communications team, you should look at G2 Crowd for unbiased user reviews.
G2 Crowd is a great resource you should check out before deciding to purchase an online collaboration tool.
How to use G2 Crowd as an internal communication tool:
- Team software collaboration category for those looking for online collaboration tools
- The grid on their team software collaboration category highlights customer satisfaction scores The grid divides all collaboration tools within four categories
No matter which online collaboration tool you decide to use for effective internal communications, you need to ensure it’s the right fit for the way your organization is structured.
Free trials and demos are an excellent way for you to play around with the tool and assess whether it’s the right fit for your internal communications.
If you’ve been using any awesome free tools for measuring employee engagement or for enhancing productivity in the workplace, let us know in the comments below! We’d also love to know if you found any tools you love through G2 crowd so we can expand this list!
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Of course, if you’re looking to streamline your internal communications and are just looking for one tool that can do it all, we can’t recommend ContactMonkey enough. Book your free, personalized demo now.