It's a fact: the better your team communicates the more successful your company will be. But how can your organization help to facilitate more productive conversations amongst its staff? The answer: internal communication tools.
In this article, we'll first look at the benefits of effective communication tools in the workplace. Then we'll list the 10 best solutions available in 2020. We have a lot to get to so let's jump right in and get started!
The Benefits of Effective Communication Tools in the Workplace
When your team is able to communicate effectively, it will be more productive, experience less staff turnover, and deliver better service to your company's customers.
Benefit #1: More Productivity
When your team communicates effectively, it will naturally be more productive. Why? Because every team member will know their role and what they need to do to accomplish company goals. This knowledge will reduce mistakes and misunderstandings that waste time.
Clear internal communication also benefits management. When they have a strong understanding of where their teams are at on each project, they can better plan for the future and make any necessary adjustments.
Benefit #2: Less Staff Turnover
According to Gallup, an incredible 87% of employees are disengaged at work. One of the main causes of disengagement is a lack of communication. When employees converse with each other and their superiors, they're able to build meaningful relationships.
This boosts team morale and tends to keep workers at their current jobs for longer. After all, if they like where they work and the folks they work with, why would they want to leave?
Benefit #3: Better Customer Service
Better customer service is a byproduct of boosted productivity and reduced staff turnover. When your team communicates effectively, they're able to handle customer concerns in a timely manner. And when your employees are able to build relationships with each other and choose not to pursue jobs at other organizations, they'll develop a firm understanding of company processes and know the best way to assist your company's audience.
The 10 Best Internal Communication Tools
Now that we know why internal communication tools are so important in the workplace, let's cover the best apps available in 2020. We've broken this section into four different categories: collaboration software, video software, project management software, and digital file storage. Let's take a look!
We'll start with collaboration software. These are the tools that will allow your team to easily communicate via chat and keep each other updated on workplace happenings.
Slack is an incredibly popular collaboration app that's used by mega companies like Oracle, Target, and Airbnb. The tool allows users to segment conversations into groups, known as channels. Channels can be dedicated to specific departments, teams, projects — anything you want, really. And unlike long, cumbersome email chains, users can leave slack conversations at anytime. They can then jump back into the chat later and immediately get up to speed due to the app's archived and searchable history.
But it's not just its chat features that make Slack a workplace favorite. Users can also use the tool to share files and conduct voice and video calls. Add in numerous integration capabilities with other top software and Slack really does become a true collaboration powerhouse.
Yammer is an enterprise social media networking app that many companies use to communicate internally. The solution has been owned by Microsoft since 2012 and is a part of the company's Office 365 suite. But we should note that the tool is Mac compatible as well.
The Yammer Discovery feed operates much like Facebook. Users have the ability to post company updates, ask questions, and share files. Others in the group then have the opportunity to like, comment on, and share posts they find valuable. It's a fun and functional way for teams to communicate and keep each other informed.
Glip by RingCentral is another collaboration software that packs a serious punch. The tool brings together group and video chat capability, a team calendar, file storage and sharing options, and task management features into one intuitive app that's absolutely loved by its users. 96% of customers claim that Glip has made communication easier and 64% say the tool helps them deliver projects faster than they could have before using the app.
From marketing to HR, Glip has been proven to boost communication and make teams more productive. That's why it's used by successful brands like Box and Massage Envy.
The two apps listed below could have just as easily been placed in the collaboration software category above. But because these tools place an emphasis on video communication, we've given them their own section.
CloudApp is visual communication done right and enables teams to collaborate faster and more effectively than ever before. Users are able to record both their screens and themselves and send the resulting footage to anyone they'd like. Do you need to teach a colleague how to use a specific piece of software? Just shoot a quick screen capture or video recording and send it over.
Looking to communicate your thoughts and ideas on a new project? You could use email. But it will likely take you a while to communicate clearly and does the rest of your team really want to read another 500-word message? Probably not. So use CloudApp to simply record yourself speaking your mind. It will be much quicker and more efficient.
Highfive is especially useful for remote and/or distributed teams. It's video conferencing software without all the headaches that normally come with using video conferencing software. For example, Highfive doesn't require passwords or pincodes to join meetings. Users just show up at the appointed time and begin contributing. Also, there are no minutes limits so you'll be free to meet as long as necessary.
For teams that plan to meet digitally on a regular basis, Highfive offers hardware solutions too. The company's solutions feature HD video and Hi-Fi audio and sync perfectly with its software tools. All in all, Highfive makes digital meetings fun and productive — something most other video conferencing tools can't honestly claim.
Project Management Software
When it comes to managing projects and updating team members on progress, these three internal communication tools are the best of the best.
Trello operates on the Kanban methodology to make project management and workplace communication simple and effective. To use the tool, users first create boards for each project they're working on. Boards can then be divided into columned lists that represent different stages in a project.
Next, cards get added to each list and are used to show the individual tasks needed to complete a project. Each card can contain instructions for team members to follow, a due date, and comments. Cards can easily be moved from one list to the next to signify progress.
Overall, Trello is a great tool to keep track of projects and converse with other team members. It also integrates with popular tools like Slack, Google Drive, Box, and Evernote.
Asana is another one of the best internal communication platforms on the market. Does your team have a hard time prioritizing the right things? Asana is here to help. The entire app is built to help you see and accomplish what matters most.
Users first add tasks, give them due dates and priority levels, and assign them to specific team members. Progress on projects can then be viewed in multiple ways: via the timeline view, which lays out each task in the order it needs to be completed; the boards view, which operates in a very similar way to Trello (described above), and the calendar view, which shows users a standard calendar with every task that needs to be worked on.
Asana also offers a handy templates feature. Not exactly sure how to plan and manage your next project? Start with a template. It will give you a proven framework for achieving success and you can easily modify it to suit your unique situation.
Lastly, we have Airtable, a combination of database, spreadsheet, and project management goodness. It's a very flexible tool that allows users to manage their work the way they want to, not the way they have to.
Like Asana, Airtable offers multiple ways to view projects and comes with standard templates to help get new projects planned and off the ground quicker. Once a project is added to the app users can comment on it and converse with each other. Things like due dates, attached documents, and more can be added as well.
For teams that crave power and flexibility, Airtable is a great project management option.
Digital File Storage
Finally, we have digital file storage tools. The first app listed below is an immensely popular solution you've probably heard of before. The second is less known, but more powerful. Both are useful and would make worthy additions to your company's slate of internal communication tools.
First, the tool you've heard of before: Dropbox. This "digital filing cabinet" is popular amongst workplace teams because it makes sharing documents extremely fast and easy. Rather than emailing photos, videos, and documents back and forth, staff members simply add them to the company Dropbox account and others can login, view, and download them when they need to.
Once files are inside Dropbox, they can be organized into different folders so they're easy to find at later dates. Users also have the ability to set permissions so that only specific team members are allowed to access certain files.
While file sharing probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "internal communication," it's essential to workplace productivity. In the modern age, if your team can't effectively send files back and forth, true communication becomes much more difficult.
CleanPix is a digital asset management (DAM) service that's specifically designed for marketing and PR teams. It has all of the same file storage and sharing capabilities of DropBox, but also includes high-end features such as file tagging for easy relocation and media galleries. Let's take a quick look at each of these:
- File Tagging: CleanPix allows users to organize their files via tags rather than folders. When a company has thousands of files, a tagging system is much more efficient. Rather than digging through folders that may contain hundreds of different files, users simply type a specific tag into the CleanPix search bar and the service will quickly showcase the assets tagged with that phrase.
- Media Galleries: A CleanPix gallery is a public-facing library of files that can be perused by those outside your organization. These folks can then request access to specific files. This feature is especially handy for organizations that regularly deal with media requests. Rather than simply sending bloggers and news reporters random images, they can be sent a link to a public gallery where media pros can select their own files for their stories.
Not every company will need the bonus features that CleanPix offers. But for marketing and PR teams that manage large asset libraries, it's a great option and will improve your company's ability to communicate effectively.
Choose the Right Internal Communication Tools
All of the internal communication tools listed above will benefit your company. We encourage you to try a few of them (most have free versions available or offer free trial periods) and invest in the ones that suit your team's workflow. Good luck!
Speaking of "free versions," CloudApp can be used for exactly zero dollars a month. Sign up today and get access to our revolutionary screen recording, GIF creation, and image annotation features. You'll love the convenience and increased productivity our tool gives you, guaranteed!