In order to be successful, internal communication channels need to to reach all employees at the right time and with the right message and content. But some channels are better suited to this task than others. We've examined eight common channels for employee communication and ranked them from worst to best. Which ones can help you make the difference?
8. Bulletin Boards
They're cheap, local, and easy to use, but they are more than a bit old fashioned in terms of speed, interaction, and analytics. Nor are they of any use to workers on the road. There's no way to measure the actual reception of messages or to communicate information in crisis situations. If you're expecting a bulletin board to spread company news, plan on being disappointed.
7. Terminal Displays
This modern update on the traditional bulletin board is a possible option if you have a lot of picture and video content and workers concentrated in one place, such as the factory floor. However, it's not a mobile solution and it's very limited in many ways, starting with reach. Displays will often only be effective as a supplementary channel.
6. Information Cascade
While spreading information from the top down may the backbone of information distribution within many companies, it greatly depends on the individual communication skills of the managers responsible for sharing important information. Reach is also a challenge here—especially with field- and shift workers generally isolated from management.
5. Written Letters
Written letters remain a great means of communication on those exceptional occasions when a personal touch will make your message more sincere, such as a Christmas greeting from management to employees. But written letters offer no real benefit for day-to-day internal communications because they lack speed, mobility, and measurable reach.
4. Print Newspapers
Long valued for their reach, branding, and storytelling strengths, traditional company newsletters nonetheless have many downsides: they're expensive and slow to produce, they lack immediacy, and their effects are difficult to quantify. Alternatives to printed corporate magazines are therefore being sought by many companies. Check out the video below about how Germany's Paulaner Brewery successfully replaced their print magazine with an employee app.
Once the go-to means of employee communication, email use is declining. As workers become increasingly remote, and freelancing is on the rise, not everyone will have a corporate email address. In fact, 70% of today's workforce doesn't work at a desk. And even for those who do, the reach of email depends upon a recipient's ability to slog through their swamped mailboxes—assuming they even still bother check them with any regularity. 20% of emails are never even read.
2. Staff Meetings
While indispensable for the delivery of crucial messages and the benefits of face-to-face interaction, if you have a dispersed workforce, the associated travel expenses can make it costly to get everyone in the room. This is a top-down communication channel in which reach is limited to attendees. Don't get us wrong: meetings are great, but they simply don't work in terms of involving remote workers with any regularity.
1. Employee App
An internal communications app is a powerful tool. In addition to being the most robust communications channel available, an employee app supports all of your employee touch points, such as HR processes, knowledge management, and employee self-services. And they're receiving increased praise from the savviest of today's companies. Highly regarded for being streamlined and convenient, their functions are being developed to meet the most essential organizational needs, and they can be quickly implemented, especially compared to the large and cumbersome IT projects of the past. Given these developments, it shouldn't be surprising that employee apps are now a hot topic among internal communications specialists.
Which communications channels are you using successfully in your organization? We'd love to know, so drop us a line in the comments section below.
And if you'd like to learn more about mobile internal communication and how it's crucial to the employee experience, be sure to check out these other great articles in our blog: