By John Allen
Here’s a shocking statistic for you: 51% of workers surveyed said their last work anniversary went unacknowledged.
That’s kind of like forgetting half the birthdays of your family members – not great. So what’s the best way to engage with employees, address their problems, and reward their achievements?
Internal employee communications.
Employee communications, specifically internal communications, are essential to long-term business success. With the shift to remote work post-pandemic, internal communications have become even more critical. Employees working from home need to know everything office workers know and vice versa.
So how do you choose the communication tools to best serve your remote workforce?
In this article, we’re going to review the eight essential communication tools you need to ensure your workforce stays in the loop – no matter where they’re working.
What are internal communications?
Company news, mission statements, training materials – there’s tons of information your employees need to know.
Internal communications give you a way to connect and communicate with your employees on a regular basis. The right tools also give your employees a way to interact and collaborate with their peers and senior leadership. This can foster a positive work environment that employees feel connected to no matter their physical workspace.
Types of internal communications
There are several types of internal communications that communication tools can help you address. Here are a few:
- Company news: these can include announcements, strategy changes, personal and professional milestones – anything that pertains to the entire company.
- Resources: including training materials, knowledge base accessible to all employees
- Projects: a way for employees to collaborate in a streamlined, organized way
- Everyday sharing: a method for building a workplace community for remote and office employees to foster engagement and allow employees to raise questions.
8 communication tools for your remote workforce
1. Video Conferencing
The best way to communicate with your remote workforce is to use video conferencing. A good video conferencing solution allows you to interact and collaborate with your team face-to-face. That means better conversations and more engagement.
If a problem pops up with one of your remote employees, you’ll be able to hop on a video conference and chat with them to resolve the issue. Email is useful, but it’s not your best option when it comes to solving problems quickly. A video conference is more personal and direct.
Among other benefits video conferencing can provide, you can also use screen sharing to share project documents or any kind of visual information, organize one-on-one meetings, or schedule a daily team huddle with office and remote workers.
Our pick: 8×8
- HD video and audio for up to 500 participants with no meeting or minute restrictions.
- All-in-one solution that combines video, voice, chat, APIs, and contact center in one platform.
- Named a leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, Worldwide.
2. Forums and chat
Chat services or employee forums are a great way to foster an engaging workplace culture even if you don’t have a physical workplace. While channels and spaces can be used for work, they can also be used for outside interests that connect employees.
Employees can use channels and threads to chat about workplace news and collaborate on projects. Instead of assigning one person to handle onboarding questions, you can designate an entire channel to the topic and allow anyone to contribute.
Our choice: Google Workspace
- Organize your workflows with dedicated spaces for teams, departments, projects, files, whatever, so you can nail the marketing rollout for that cloud based PBX client.
- Seamlessly connects to Google docs, sheets, and slides.
3. Collaboration tools
Tools that allow your teams to collaborate in real-time are great for organizing workflows and clearing up pain points. Management can monitor the progress of projects in real-time and assign work to match team members’ strengths.
Collaboration tools can help unite your team by making the big picture of projects available in chunks that show everyone’s contributions. They’re a great tool to jumpstart your online collaboration strategy.
Our choice: Asana
- Multiple views to track projects like boards and timelines.
- Automate manual tasks to free up employee time.
- Create custom fields and forms to track projects and progress.
4. Recognition and reward platforms
A quick look at most management books will tell you that employees want to feel appreciated. That holds especially true for remote employees who don’t have face-to-face time with senior leadership on a daily basis.
Utilizing a recognition and rewards platform can help reduce turnover by acknowledging employee achievements. Employees can choose from a range of rewards that can boost employee motivation, helping to retain top performers.
Our choice: Guusto
- Schedule anniversary recognition awards in advance, so you never miss a milestone.
- Managers can use real-time recognition awards, and anyone can send a peer-to-peer recognition award.
- Reward sales performance, positive customer feedback, wellness program success, and anything else you want to reward.
Whether they’re working from home or on the go, Remote workers can take full advantage of company apps. Simply alert employees about important events with push notifications. (Just make sure you’re organizing a project file or setting up a point of sales systems. It’s also a good alternative or complement to a company intranet.)
Our choice: Staffbase
- Easily publish company content and get employee feedback.
- Use the app to import blog and social media posts.
- Fully customizable with your company’s branding.
6. Company newsletter
You probably get newsletters from every service you’ve ever signed up for, like your hosted business phone systems or your cable provider, but have you considered them for your own company?
Newsletters are extremely popular. They’re a great way to share regular updates and news with office and remote employees. Consider a daily newsletter to promote company updates, company performance, goals, and future company events.
A company newsletter can help you avoid misinformation from circulating or corporate rumors spreading.
Our choice: Contact Monkey
- Designed especially for internal communications, like newsletters
- Drag and drop email template builder, email tracking, and real-time analytics mean you have total control over your messaging and results.
Like gathering customer feedback, effective employee feedback is essential to understanding how your employees feel about various company aspects directly.
Open-ended questions can give you an idea of how your team is performing. For example, you can ask your employees how they feel about the new interactive response technology you’ve set up. Their responses can help you gauge the next best steps for new implementations.
At the same time, you can gain insight and feedback about the strengths and struggles of a team. You can also use surveys to determine how much recognition employees receive and how much is needed to stay engaged.
Our choice: OfficeVibe
- Visualize feedback with data and insights collected from weekly surveys.
- Protect employee anonymity while still allowing management to follow up on anonymous feedback.
More engaging and straightforward than emails or messaging, videos are a unique and creative way to reinvent traditional internal communications.
Videos are a more engaging way to conduct training that needs to be reviewed every year, like security or safety training. Videos can improve onboarding, like “how-to” videos for learning processes and getting VoIP setup.
You can also use videos to announce new product releases while bringing the company brand and personality to the forefront.
Our choice: Hippo Video
- Record, edit, and share videos with your team all from one platform.
- Video analytics can show you user engagement with your videos, watch rate, play rates, and much more.
Podcasts aren’t just for true crime and catching up on celebrity gossip – they’re a fun way to connect with your employees and deliver content. For smaller businesses, podcasts can be a way to expand organically.
Create a podcast that delivers company-related content covering a wide variety of topics. For example, record a series that covers the day in the life of team leaders from different departments. Or create a one-on-one series that allows senior leadership to address team members directly.
Our choice: Transistor
- Create a protected and secure podcast that you can share with specific subscribers.
- Record your podcasts with a microphone or the voice memos app on your phone.
- If you choose to, you can distribute your podcast on all the major podcast services.
Employees, no matter where they are, will need practical communication tools that help them connect. You might choose to send out a daily company newsletter or set up an app that employees can access 24/7. Or maybe you’ll opt for an all-in-one video conferencing solution or even all of the above.
Whichever you choose, make sure you’re sending out clear information that engages your employees. These eight internal communication tools will help you communicate with your remote employees, creating a unified workplace culture. And hopefully, no one’s milestones will be forgotten.
About the Author
John Allen is the Director of SEO for 8×8, a leading communication platform with integrated contact center, voice, video, and chat functionality. John is a marketing professional with over 14 years experience in the field, and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, and a myriad of services.