Most companies have an internal communication (IC) strategy, the main purpose of it being the effective flow of information within the organisation. This gives the employees of a company a proper direction to work towards and relate to. Without a company vision to follow, collaboration and productivity become difficult targets to achieve.
Internal communication, though, goes beyond just announcements addressed to your workforce. You need to make sure that all your employees have read and understood the communication, that you understand their thoughts and questions about it, and also ensure that you facilitate productive discussions among your workforce. This is all the more essential when you have a distributed workforce and a large number of non-desk employees.
Understandably, all of these cannot be accomplished simply with an email or blogging tool. You need an app that is built for effective internal communication.
Collaboration vs Communication
When you read “app for internal communication”, it’s natural to think of apps like Slack and MS Teams. These apps enable employees to create their private groups or channels. They also enable you to make company-wide announcements where employees can interact and voice out their opinions.
But there’s just one glitch: though these are excellent workplace apps, they’re meant for employee collaboration and not internal communication.
What’s the difference?
The definition of collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce something, whereas communication can be defined as the act of imparting or exchanging information through various means.
Collaboration is where groups of employees discuss and work together on the smaller picture and management gets a broad view of it. Collaboration can happen over multiple platforms. Some employees may choose to collaborate via Whatsapp groups, some might use Slack or Teams, and so on. There need not be a single platform for all of them.
On the other hand, internal communication is top-down, where information comes from top management, providing the bigger picture to all the employees. Internal communication forms the backbone for streamlined org-wide collaboration.Though the traditional top-down approach is more one dimensional, today’s technology solves that problem and makes internal communication an engaging process.
But, unlike collaboration, communication cannot happen over multiple platforms. Being delivered through different channels will lead to miscommunication and loss of information. You need one effective platform to make sure your entire workforce gets a uniform message that doesn’t get lost in translation.
Does it really matter which app you use?
While collaboration focuses more on the day-to-day functioning of your workforce, communication is less frequent, but perhaps more important. Using a collaboration app for internal communication will be counterproductive in many ways.
For example, using Slack to make an important company announcement regarding your remote working policy sounds simple enough. Create a channel with everyone on the payroll, post the message that notifies everyone, and enable them to comment and engage on the post. But here’s where the problem is: Slack’s UI is designed for quick chats. The announcement can’t be pinned, and the comments and replies to the announcement push it further up the feed. By the time an employee on a different shift checks their notifications, they won’t even know where to look for it.
Another thing to note is that these apps are not designed for organisations that have a large volume of frontline, non-desk employees. Slack and MS Teams were built by desk workers for desk workers. They are not designed to include the non-desk workforce. Firstly, with no corporate email address, frontline workers have no way of gaining access to these collaboration tools. And even if an organization invests in purchasing email addresses, frontline workers find it hard to navigate these apps, leading to poor adoption and usage. Simply put, onboarding your non-desk workforce to these collaboration apps is more tedious than it needs to be, and in most cases, doesn’t achieve the desired outcome.
Organizations need to augment their collaboration tools with modern internal communication apps to ensure that all employees are aligned towards common goals. Collaboration and communication tools need to coexist, but their functionalities are not interchangeable.
So what should you look for in an internal communication app?
Though internal communication follows the “top-down” approach, a good IC app will enable an omni-directional flow of information. On the surface, collaboration and communication tools may seem similar: both apps need to foster communication (of course), employee engagement and productivity.
But if you dig a little deeper, an app for internal communication offers you a far wider range of features. Here are some of the key features you need to look for:
First, of course, is a way to send out the information which is the primary function of the IC app. This information could be in the form of an announcement, a survey, or polls. The most basic function of the app you choose needs to facilitate the different types of information you want to put out or collect in these forms.
Information needs to be easily available to the employees and has to give them a easyway to process what is being put out. The UI of the app needs to be simple and not require the users to be tech-savvy. A familiar user interface helps frontline employees adapt to the app better, and it minimizes the learning curve required.
Onboards frontline staff
Your frontline workforce may not all have corporate email IDs. Choose an app that facilitates signing up with the help of mobile numbers or QR codes instead of mandatory corporate email IDs. This makes the onboarding process a lot simpler for your employees and effective for the organisation as well.
Sometimes, you need the information to reach only a certain group of employees, like for instance, just meant for the employees working in a certain time zone. Traditional forms of internal communication meant that this sort of information was sent to everyone in the company. Studies show that almost 15% of employees total work time is wasted on inefficient communications since their feed is inundated with announcements that aren’t relevant to them.
Your internal communication app should enable you to define groups and departments within the organisation to make sure the right information reaches the right people. This ensures a higher rate of information consumption and understanding within the organisation.
While the app needs to offer exclusivity, it also needs to be inclusive in the sense that your announcements need to be accessible to your frontline employees as well. Mobile friendly, simple apps help your non-desk employees feel included and well-informed. With no access to desktop devices, your frontline employees can still stay updated on the go via a simple but powerful mobile app.
A study by Gallup shows that high levels of employee engagement reduces absenteeism, improves workplace morale, and increases profitability by 21%. You can use your app’s local and third party integrations to conduct polls and surveys, invite employees to contribute more ideas, and give them due recognition for their work. This keeps the employees engaged and satisfied with their work environment.
Automation and workflows
Look for apps that come with business process automations and workflow triggers which will help streamline your communication and engagement. Features like bots and virtual assistants further help improve how the employees interact with the information and how quickly you can address their concerns.
Without data, there can be no progress. Along with the ease of sending out relevant information to your employees, you also need to measure the impact it has actually made. A good IC app should enable you to collect read receipts for each post, as well as an easy way to analyse the engagement levels on these posts. This way you can make the necessary changes to your internal communication strategy on time.
Secure and compliant
Confidentiality is something you cannot compromise on, especially when it comes to choosing an internal communication tool. So look for ones that are secure and capable of protecting your data without affecting flexibility.
In case you’re looking for suggestions
Apart from having a mobile-friendly, simple interface that improves employee engagement and productivity, Groupe.io is also a completely secure and GDPR compliant platform that you can use to communicate with your desk as well as non-desk workforce in a secure and easy way.
Groupe is a flexible internal communication app that allows you to integrate it with your existing collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams and also comes with built-in micro apps that improve productivity.
The best part? It’s free for up to 100 users. So why don’t you try it out today?
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