Internal Employee Communication Tools

What are Employee Communication Tools?

Internal employee communication tools provide a platform for employees to give feedback, connect to one another and share knowledge.

The four most popular employee communication tools include:

  1. Internal social networks
  2. Employee surveys (also called “culture software”)
  3. Knowledge bases
  4. Intranet software

Human resources professionals have been using internal communication tools for decades, as they help HR better understand their employees. But these tools have recently taken off,  harnessing the power of new technology to help organizations like yours increase productivity, engagement and recruitment.

We’ll walk through each of these four platforms below, plus why they’re so important and how they impact your bottom line.

Why They're Important

Internal employee communication tools are vital to your organization. And not just for employee-to-employee communication. These tools give you a strong foundational for employee-to-manager communication.

At the end of the day, unless every level of your organization communicates effectively, it will be impossible to run a high-performing workplace.

When employees understand your vision, they’re more likely to feel a sense of responsibility for their goals. That “employee buy-in” is crucial, because it ultimately drives performance. In a nutshell: When everyone understands how to do things and why they’re doing them, you create urgency and accountability in every employee.

Employees need a voice. A robust communications platform gives them a place to share ideas and unique perspectives. Even better, when they have a say—for example, when completing a culture survey—they feel a greater sense of dedication to the organization. When everyone works towards a set of goals they all understand, you develop a more modern, creative and sustainable business culture long-term.

To do this, you need to be transparent about your goals (and the goal-setting process). Employee communication tool help communicate these steps.

At a more basic level, when employees are informed, they’re better able to do their job. Whether you give them access to a company-wide knowledge base, or simply allow them to contribute to next quarter’s goals, the “why” and “how” behind their work is the fuel that keeps your organization going.

Remember, when you allow employees to share knowledge, collaborate and give feedback, you set a tone for a culture of openness and trust. (This is especially important for global organizations with workers in different locations.) And when you prioritize improving company culture, you create a solid business for decades to come.

How They Help HR Better Understand Their Employees

There are four popular types of employee communication tools. All four foster better employee-to-management collaboration in their own way. Think of them as a controlled “open door policy.” This helps reduce office politics while empowering employees.

Internal social network — More than just list names and photos, an internal social network gives employees an easy way to ask questions, solicit feedback and collaborate on projects. Most offer chat functionality, document sharing and polls. These platforms help increase productivity while also creating a “flattening effect” on your hierarchy.

Employee surveys — Want to empower your team while strengthening your company culture? Send regular surveys. Track how your team feels about the recent merger or solicit feedback on next year’s company holiday party. No matter how big or small the topic, when you ask employees for their opinions, you’ve instantly improved workplace communication (and your culture in the process).  

Knowledge base — An internal knowledge base allows everyone—from the CEO to your new assistant—to search and contribute to a company-wide wiki. Marketing processes, parental leave policies, kitchen rules, industry news… The sky’s the limit on what you can include. A collaborative knowledge base gives employees ownership of their work (never mind the benefits of making sure everyone is working on the same page).

Intranet software — “Intranet software” is sort of a catch-all term for a single hub that lets organizations do everything from hosting a staff directory to updating sharing policy changes. These tools are best for very large organizations with the budget and resources to custom-built a platform to suit their needs.

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How They Can Improve Employee Productivity and Company Morale

One report found that companies with the most effective internal communications were 7x more likely to have used a communication tool.

The benefits of using an employee communication tool is wide and far-reaching. Purposeful collaboration builds productivity, whether it’s creating a single space for all your process documents, to making sure everyone knows that the office is closed on President’s Day. Even simple admin tasks, like reserving meeting rooms to completely HR forms can be tackled with the right communication tool.

One major benefit is that the right communications tool eliminates email fatigue. Imagine important documents never again falling through the cracks.

Traditionally, documents are passed back and forth via email, often via dreaded “reply all.” At some point, a dozen people are working off different versions of a document, providing conflicting feedback, slowing down work and frustrating everyone in the process. (Plus, when using email, there’s always a risk that some people would receive it, especially when onboarding new employees.)

An internal communications tool gives everyone has the information they need. Instead of relying on long emails, you have the right information in the right place.

Internal communication tools also allow you to collect powerful data. For example, see how many employees feel empowered to take risks, or what percentage of the marketing department approves of your new CEO. Metrics encourage employee commitment and allow leadership to make smarter decisions.

Remember, when information is publicly available, everyone can understand how their individual work contributes to the larger goal. Committed employees are more productive, satisfied and collaborative. Plus, by involving everyone in the decision-making process, everyone is more likely to appreciate the process.

What Kind of Business Should Use These Tools

Nearly every type business can benefit from an internal communication tool. There’s nothing more important than how your employees communicate—with you and with each other.

The bigger your organization, the more important these tools. Transparency becomes more difficult at 20,000 employees vs. 500. A good communication tool bridges the communications gap as you grow.

Certain kinds of organizations will really benefit from the right tool (so start hunting for one sooner rather than later). If you have teams spread over multiple countries and time zones, you’ll want one cohesive way to stay in touch. Fast-growing start-ups are also a perfect fit. As you grow, culture shifts, so it’s important that management keep a close eye on those shifts by using an employee communication tool (especially one that includes a culture survey).

How CultureIQ Can Help Improve Internal Communications

Organizational culture is how things get done. And your internal communications is the key to getting things done efficiently and effectively.

CultureIQ helps you improve internal communications by strengthening your company culture. Regularly surveys help you collaborate with purpose.

CultureIQ is the only survey of its kind—benchmarked against high-performance organizations and responsive to your unique strategic goals. The full culture survey has 29 questions, of which 18 can be edited or removed. It has been translated into 20+ languages and takes under 10 minutes to complete. Strategic surveys are completely customizable.

On top of measuring and improving on your company culture, you’ll be able update employees on how their feedback helped you make decisions. When employees are given a voice, they feel empowered about the direction of your business.

At the end of the day, when everyone is aligned on culture, they’re more likely to embody those aspects individually instead of waiting around to be told what to do.

Interested in reading more about how analytics can improve your workforce? Read about Human Analytics here.

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General Assembly

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