In the late 1990s, email went from a secondary communication source for most businesses, to the main communication source, changing the face of business and internal communications forever. Emailing was seen to be one of the most efficient forms of communicating, and many employees transitioned to firing off a quick email over placing a phone call.
Now with all the different internal communication tools available to a workforce, emailing almost seems primitive today. While many organizations still rely heavily on email, most businesses are slowly trying to reduce the number of emails sent in favor of a simpler, more efficient form of internal communications. Employees are relying more on the internal communication tools built-in to their intranets or enterprise social networks (ESNs) as opposed to endless emails.
A true example of this in practice is one of our Intranet Connections’ customers, Rio Rancho Public Schools. RRPS completely eliminated routine “all staff” emails, such as weekly school bulletin updates, by posting this important news on the intranet. To learn more about how RRPS utilized internal communication tools on their intranet, take a look at the RRPS case study.
While you may not be ready to eliminate every “all staff” email and one-on-one email communications, you can slowly start to improve internal communications in your organization with these powerful internal communication tools:
1. Live Chat
Sometimes all you need is a quick answer to a question and don’t have time to wait for an email response. Live Chat is an essential internal communication tool to get questions answered quickly and keep check-in conversations succinct. Live Chat allows users to instantly chat back and forth on your intranet in real-time. If you work in an organization that has several different geographic locations, walking over to a colleague’s desk for the answer won’t work, so instant communication and collaboration is needed. Live Chat is an absolute power tool for internal communication and streamlines internal communications in your organization.
Live Chat completely eliminates lengthy emails and long waiting times for a response so your users can communicate more efficiently and effectively. This is a must-have internal communication tool if your users require quick access to answers, such as technical support.
2. Project Sites
When a group or team has to collaborate on a project, often it is difficult to meet in person to discuss elements of the project due to scheduling conflicts or not being located in the same office. Conference calls and group emails can get difficult to manage, and simply communicating via a Department Site may not be the best option, especially when the entire project team is not made up of just one department within your organization.
A powerful internal communication tool that many of our customers utilize is Project Sites. Project Sites are the holy grail of internal communications when it comes to a specific project with select team members. It provides a dedicated workspace for the team to communicate, collaborate and share resources on, and only those in the group can see the site.
You can virtually eliminate all long meetings, conference calls and endless email chains by moving project management online in one central location. To view the power internal communication tools Project Sites can offer, which our Did You Know video on “Creating & Managing Project Sites“.
Another indispensable tool for communication is Employee Message Boards. This tool is great for employees seeking advice about a certain work task or other work-related questions. Message Boards enable users to have conversations with each other throughout your business intranet. In addition, many of our customers utilize Message Boards by having leaders and executives share company goals, vision and culture.
While fluid communication in an organization is important, a common concern with social tools such as this one is having the intranet become too social, and less of a business tool. But with Message Boards, you can decide to use it as an internal communication tool between employees, or lock it down so that only management is able to post messages to staff. Whatever you decide to do with Message Boards, it is still a powerful internal communication tool and ultimately reduces the amount of “all staff” emails being sent.
Discussion Forums help enhance effective communications in your organization by providing a platform for employees to discuss topics of interest. Rather than sending multiple internal emails or holding numerous meetings, you can simply create a discussion topic and have employees contribute on the intranet.
Creating a discussion and posting a topic will promote a more conversational way of communicating motivating employees to share their thoughts and opinions. In an email format, it’s difficult to get that “conversation” feel, and many employees may read it and not reply, or it can get lost in their inbox. Long email threads can disrupt productivity, notifying employees with every reply. The power behind Discussion Forums for internal communications is that you are able to historically track the ongoing conversation and keep parties involved as needed. If the discussion becomes irrelevant to some parties, they no longer need to be bothered. Employees can subscribe and unsubscribe from Discussion Forums as the conversation pertains to their work tasks and specialties.
Powerful Internal Communication Tools
Engaging internal communication is extremely important in business today, especially with all the different ways we are plugged in. Emailing is still an important piece of the pie and is difficult to eliminate completely, but there are more powerful internal communication tools you can be using to increase communication, collaboration and efficiency in your organization.
The above internal communication tools are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of internal communication tools you can be using on your intranet. Which tools are you using? Share with me by commenting below!