Good internal communication stands and falls with the right communication solution. But not every tool meets the needs of employees and the company in equal measure.
Quickly sending a WhatsApp message to a colleague in the outside sales force, sending a Zoom invitation for the next status call, sharing a draft ad in the Slack channel with the marketing team, and posting an announcement for the HR department in Proofhub – this is the reality in many companies. Whether such complex – and sometimes fragmented – internal communication always reaches all employees with the information relevant to them or does not rather reinforce knowledge deficits is questionable. After all, the goal of digital solutions for internal communication should be to create a consistent flow of information and simplify work processes.
Thinking from the user’s perspective: Which digital solution enables productive internal communication?
Most tools are predestined for a specific application area, such as real-time chat and collaboration, project management or video conferencing. However, they have their limitations in terms of additional functions. Therefore, when choosing a suitable digital solution for internal communication, it is important to first identify and define the individual internal requirements and workflows. In the process, one fundamental aspect gets far too little attention: the employees. And here, too, there are differences that need to be taken into account: Are the employees who are to use the tool
- 100% mobile workforce (nurses, patrol officers, etc.),
- 50-75% mobile workforce (sales people, etc.) or
- nearly 0% mobile workforce or 100% office workforce (communications & marketing, HR, accounting, etc.)?
Based on this question, it is easier to find a suitable solution – or a combination of several – for internal communications that is in line with employee and company needs.
Three employee deployment scenarios that require different communication solutions
We’ll now explain which tools are ideal for internal communications among fully mobile workers, partially mobile colleagues and office-only employees:
1st application scenario: 100 percent mobile workforce = business messenger
It may seem astonishing: According to Staffbase, 3 out of 4 employees are 100% mobile – and that’s across many industries. Mobile means they don’t have a workstation with a PC, but are equipped exclusively with a mobile device, mainly a smartphone or tablet. This includes, for example, nurses, patrol officers, stewardesses, construction workers, logistics workers, etc. Around 85% rate the information they receive during their work as inadequate. To improve internal communication for mobile employees, business messengers are the communication solution of choice. Such a tool is optimized for mobile use so that workers can communicate quickly, easily and intuitively with their colleagues via individual and group chats. Consumer messengers, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and Co. could of course also be considered for this purpose. However, they are managed by the users themselves. This means that neither data protection and security are fully guaranteed, nor can company-wide compliance be maintained. What’s more, as shadow IT, consumer messengers harbor serious security gaps. In contrast, business messengers also offer functions that are specifically designed for use cases in companies and can be integrated into the IT ecosystem. All in all, it’s the ideal digital solution for 100% mobile workers’ internal communications.
2nd deployment scenario: partially mobile workforce = unified communication tools
Field agents and sales representatives fall into this category, as they are classically predominantly out of the office. They usually have a mobile device and a laptop. Sales employees use the laptop mainly for follow-up work. For them, so-called unified communication tools are particularly suitable for internal communication. Common solutions are Cisco Jabber, Zoom and GoToMeeting. They combine voice calling, online or video meetings, and instant messaging – in other words, the optimal communication solutions for status calls, presentations, and short agreements, which, in addition to numerous customer appointments, characterize the daily routine of field and sales staff in terms of internal communication.
3rd deployment scenario: 100 percent office employees = project management and unified communication & collaboration tools
This group includes those employees who work exclusively on PCs or laptops – whether in the local office or remotely in the home office. These include communicators, marketers, human resources and account managers. For them, project management and unified communication & collaboration tools are appropriate. The first, such as ProofHub and Monday.com, are ideal because they directly link individual projects and workflows with internal communication. The second, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, are based on channels for group communication. Through APIs, Slack enables relatively easy integrations with other software solutions and services, such as office tools. With their comprehensive user interface and features, both communication solutions strive for the best possible internal communication and collaboration among office employees in companies of any size.
As the three deployment scenarios show, it would be wrong to believe that every tool can suit every employee. For example, it is not very useful to use a consumer messenger for the HR department or to have nurses communicate via Slack.
Cross-company digital solutions for internal communication
In addition to the communication solutions already presented, there are also social intranet and employee engagement tools, such as Beekeeper and Staffbase. They act as a kind of overarching channel for company-wide internal communication. Such a tool is well suited for linking with a business messenger. While the former focus on the intranet, the latter rely on direct interaction via chats.
But a business messenger can also be used across companies in principle, since every employee usually has a mobile device. Either the employer provides these or the company pursues a bring-your-own-device approach. In this way, a messenger can be used in a large company as a hub for all communication solutions, including multi-device management, while enabling small companies to cover all internal communication with a single tool.
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