Last updated on September 21, 2023 at 06:49 pm
Internal communication is how a company connects employees, shares information, and fosters a sense of unity and purpose. That makes the internal comms channels we use of the utmost importance. For better and worse, we now have a huge variety of channels and providers to choose from. With so many channels available, finding the right mix can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you find the right mix of channels for your business.
What Are Internal Comms Channels?
Internal comms channels are the various platforms and tools used by companies to communicate and engage with their employees. These channels serve as vital pathways for delivering information, fostering collaboration, and building a sense of community within the workforce.
And not all channels do the same thing. Some are more about top-down communication, while others are about building culture and community. Here are a few different categories of communication channels.
- Broadcast Channels. Broadcast channels are one-way communication channels that allow companies to push out messages. These channels often include push notification functionality and are ideal for top-down messaging. These channels typically include email newsletters, apps, texting, and so on.
- Collaboration Channels. These engagement channels focus on facilitating two-way communication. Examples of engagement channels include discussion forums, employee social networks, instant messaging platforms, and virtual collaboration tools. These channels enable employees to share ideas, ask questions, provide feedback, and collaborate on projects.
- Self-Serve Channels. These channels are often topic and resource hubs for employees. Things like your HRIS provider, intranet, or even mobile app can be set up so employees can easily find what they’re looking for.
- Internal Meetings. Whether face-to-face or through virtual meeting technology, internal meetings are one of the main ways we communicate at work. Face-to-face channels include in-person meetings, town hall sessions, team huddles, and conferences. These channels allow for personal interaction and are particularly effective for sharing strategic initiatives, fostering relationships, and addressing sensitive topics.
Determining the most effective communication channels really depends on a variety of factors such as your company’s size, culture, industry, and what your employees prefer.
Let’s break down the various internal comms channels you can choose from. And if you’re looking for data on the effectiveness of each type of channel, we recommend downloading the State of the Sector.
9 Internal Comms Channels to Use in 2024
While there are so many channels to choose from now, let’s break down the nine must-have channels for a modern internal comms strategy.
- Employee intranets
- Employee Apps
- HRIS Portals
- Town Hall Meetings
- Shift Meetings
- Messaging Apps
- Digital and Print Signage
In the next section, we break down how each of these channels can be used as well as their benefits and disadvantages.
Internal Comms Channel Analysis
|Intranets||Broadcast, Self-Service||Provides a central hub for communication and resources.||Broadcasting company-wide messages. Storing resources.||Targeting information. Can be expensive.|
|Employee Apps||Broadcast, Self-Service||A mobile-friendly solution ideal for communicating with a distributed workforce.||Targeted messages and push notifications. Real-time updates. Engaging interface.||Some employees won’t want to download apps to their phones. Not as ideal for in-office staff.|
|HRIS Portals||Self-Service||Provide employees a one-stop location for critical work information.||Hosts critical employee info such as pay, schedules, and benefits.||No user engagement or targeting. Limited internal comms functionality.|
|Town Halls||Internal Meeting||Allows leaders to connect with employees while sharing company strategy.||Notify employees of important information simultaneously. Live Q&A opportunity.||Requires preparation and coaching of C-Suite for best results. Requires tools to enable virtual town halls for equity across the workforce.|
|Shift Meetings||Internal Meeting||Meetings led by people managers at the start or end of a shift.||Engaging and effective. Provides changes for real-time Q&A.||Effectiveness varies based on the manager leading the meeting.|
|Messaging Apps||Collaboration, Peer-to-Peer||Allows employees to collaborate using peer to peer chat.||Ideal for collaborating on tasks. Great for remote engagement.||Not suited for frontline employees. Notification fatigue.|
|Broadcast||Push out messages to your workforce, which can include links, attachments, and images.||Commonly used and familiar. Ability to target messages.||Not always measurable. Often can’t reach deskless workers with email.|
|Digital + Print Signage||Broadcast||Share messages with employees using signs posted in various work locations.||Affordable way to reinforce messages from other channels.||No data. Limited messaging capabilities.|
|Texting||Broadcast||Share text based, one-way messages with employees straight to their personal devices.||High open and click-through rates. Mobile-accessible for distributed teams.||Expensive unless you have an unlimited texting plan. No two-way communication.|
Finding the Right Channels For Your Business
So, which channels are right for your company? The key to choosing your channel mix is to start by mapping out your goals, messages, and audiences. This exercise is called a channel assessment.
Here’s how it works:
- Create a spreadsheet to organize your audit.
- Make a list of all your existing channels for communication, audiences, goals, and messages (e.g. monthly state of the business recap, schedules, employee of the month story, etc.)
- In a new tab, list your channels and then write which audiences have access to each and which messages are shared on each channel.
- Note if any employee groups don’t have access to any channels or key messages. Also note if their access is very limited (i.e. they only have one channel).
- Brainstorm additional channels these users could be added to, or channels you need to invest in to give them access to key information and resources.
- Review your content strategy and make sure critical communications, relevant to each audience, are being shared on all the right channels.
- Look at the messages you aspire to be able to send in the future and assess if you have the ability to share those messages properly with your current channels.
- Assess if your current channel mix and content strategy are helping you achieve your internal comms and business goals.
- Find any gaps in your existing strategy and plan how you might fill those holes.
Creating the Right Channel Mix For Your Employees
While an audit will definitely set you on the right track of finding the right channels for your business, it’s also important to consider your employees.
A communications preferences survey is a type of employee survey that specifically asks employees:
- What internal comms channels they prefer.
- How often they want to receive updates.
- What kinds of messages they care most about.
Incorporating this feedback into your evaluation of channels and technology providers will help ensure you adopt solutions that work for your teams.
Why Choose theEMPLOYEEapp’s Product Suite for Internal Comms
Companies should choose theEMPLOYEEapp’s product suite for internal comms because it offers a comprehensive and integrated solution to meet their communication needs. Here are some reasons why theEMPLOYEEapp stands out.
- Centralized content management. With theEMPLOYEEapp, you can manage multiple communication channels, including texting, intranet, and app, all from one content management system (CMS). This centralized approach simplifies the management process, saving you time and effort.
- Seamless user experience. Our product suite provides a seamless user experience across different channels. Employees can access information, engage with content, and communicate with their colleagues through a consistent interface, regardless of whether they are using the app, intranet, or receiving texts.
- Consolidated analytics platform. We offer a consolidated analytics platform, allowing companies to track and measure the effectiveness of their internal communication efforts in one place.
- Dedicated support and expertise. We provide dedicated support and expertise from expert internal comms professionals to help you get the most out of our internal comms channels.
By choosing theEMPLOYEEapp, companies can streamline their internal communication processes, deliver engaging content to employees, and leverage powerful analytics to measure their impact.
About the Author
Sydney Lauro is the Demand Generation Manager for theEMPLOYEEapp. Prior to joining the team at theEMPLOYEEapp, Sydney worked in internal communications for Chipotle Mexican Grill. She uses her internal comms expertise and passion for improving communication and the employee experience to create content and share best practices to help other communications professionals.
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