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8 min read

8 Internal Communication Channels to Optimize Your Business

8 Internal Communication Channels to Optimize Your Business
15:08

Internal communications refers to how information is distributed throughout your organization. Maintaining streamlined and open communication channels allows different teams to collaborate on organizational goals, share critical data, and avoid departmental siloing.

Over two-thirds of business leaders say effective internal communication increases employee productivity. Shockingly, however, 60% of companies have no long-term internal communication strategies.

From email to video conferencing, texting, and more, you can leverage plenty of internal communication channels to keep everyone in your company on the same page. Let’s examine these mediums to determine the best fit to secure your organizational success.

The Importance of Internal Communication

Internal communication is critical for any business with multiple employees, departments, or teams. It allows colleagues to collaborate effectively on joint projects, spread useful industry information throughout their company, and collectively work toward organizational goals. 

Take, for example, a company that develops athletic shoes. Their Research and Development (R&D) department wants to work on a new design, but they need data on which previous models were popular. So, they need to consult Sales for previous purchase statistics. How do they do so?

Through an internal communications channel, of course.

Internal communications are the highway by which all information flows through an organization. Optimizing internal communications channels means getting your employees the data they need when they need it, enabling them to do their work more effectively.

Unfortunately, many businesses are not making the most of their internal communications as:

  • 74% of workers believe they miss crucial company news due to poor communication.
  • 39% of employees think their colleagues don’t collaborate enough.
  • A third of workers say a lack of open, honest communication negatively affects company morale.
  • 44% of employees want their workplace to adopt more robust internal communication tools.

So, how can your business avoid the pitfalls of poor internal communication and the resulting employee dissatisfaction it creates? By crafting an effective internal communications channel strategy that leverages multiple mediums to circulate critical company information. 

The Best Internal Communication Channels

The best internal communication channels to leverage for your company depend on the specifics of your operations, industry, structure, and more. There are dozens of options for delivering crucial company updates and keeping in touch with employees. Below, we’ll unpack some of the most common channels, highlight their prominent use cases, and lay out some best practices for implementing them in your organization. 

Voice Messages

Since the days of the at-home answering machine, voice messages have been a staple for sharing critical information when you can’t talk with someone directly. Often called Voice Notes on modern texting apps, these audio recordings allow you to detail complex instructions or ideas with the understanding that your employees can replay them to make sense of your message.

They’re also highly effective at conveying short bites of information that your employees need as soon as possible, such as:

  • Emergency closures of your business
  • Last-minute meetings that weren’t in the day’s original schedule
  • Client information they'll need for an upcoming sales call or conference

Voice messages are more personal than texts or emails, so they’re also a preferred medium for conveying sympathy, congratulations, and other strong emotions. They’re also critical tools for leaders who feel more comfortable speaking than writing.

What they aren’t, however, are an invitation to deliver drawn-out speeches and verbal essays. Sure, employees can replay your messages repeatedly for clarity, but listening to an extended audio clip over and over again is both draining and inefficient. 

Humans can read at nearly twice the pace we can listen to audio. So, if you're sharing a lot of information, it’s best to type it out rather than use a voice message.

Emails

Email has been the standard for internal business communications for decades. 74% of businesses use email to communicate with their employees—though that doesn’t necessarily make it the most effective medium on this list.

In several ways, email does outperform other internal communication channels as you can:

  • Write (almost) as much as you’d like without the need to split it up into multiple messages
  • Count on them to remain in your staff’s inboxes indefinitely 
  • Attach links and most file formats
  • Access them on different devices simply by logging into the correct account
  • Effectively communicate with your entire organization with one email—and allow them to respond and engage within the replies

Email is the channel of choice when sharing files, sending large, company-wide updates, and keeping a clear record of your communications.

Email does have its downsides, however, including:

  • Users only open about one-quarter of their messages
  • The potential for viruses and malware to spread through links and attachments
  • The possibility of being hacked and having sensitive company information stolen

To maximize email use in your organization, use a dedicated business platform with a high degree of security. Ensure your employees use strong passwords for their accounts, enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), and check their inboxes regularly. 

Text Messages

Whether you call it texting, Short Messaging Service (SMS), or any other name, text messages are the global standard for delivering information in the blink of an eye. Standard SMS messages only support 160 characters—but you can increase that limit with the right online texting platform. 

Text messages are the fastest way to deliver information and ensure it’s received:

  • They boast an unparalleled 98% open rate—over three times as high as email.
  • 90% of messages are read and responded to within 30 minutes of delivery.
  • With read receipts activated, there’s no guessing about whether or not your employees get your messages.

Plus, text messaging is already widespread, and most people know how to use it effectively. Likewise, it only takes a few seconds to take your phone out of your pocket and rattle off a quick text—meaning that SMS has no competition when delivering information as quickly as possible. 

While texts are speedy and ubiquitous, they shouldn’t be used to:

  • Deliver large blocks of information—if it’s more than a few paragraphs, save it for an email instead
  • Communicate in sensitive situations instead of a more personable channel such as a phone call 
  • Send large attachments, especially files that require a computer to complete—again, this is a job best reserved for email

To optimally leverage text messaging for your internal communications, compile a list of all your employees’ numbers and keep it up-to-date. Then, whenever you need to share information across your organization, you can send a swift mass text to reach them all at once.

Instant Messaging and Chat Apps

Apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are gaining ground as internal communication channels. Slack alone, for instance, is slated to have nearly 50 million daily users by 2025.

Companies lean on instant messaging and chat apps as:

  • They’re easy to install or access from your browser.
  • They often offer a free, limited version of their services.
  • They feature user-friendly interfaces and possess many of the same capabilities as email (e.g., attach files, type up long notes, quickly reply to specific messages).

Instant messaging apps also allow companies to monitor their workers’ activity and messages—which can be a major concern when safeguarding trade secrets and other sensitive organizational information. Therefore, apps are best used when security is a primary focus and it’s necessary to keep tabs on everything your staff says over official channels.

Instant messaging apps do have their pitfalls, however. For instance:

  • Their free versions usually limit user headcounts, forcing companies to invest in premium upgrades to keep all their employees on board.
  • Every app you add to your tech stack opens you up to new vulnerabilities—Slack, for instance, admitted to experiencing several data breaches in 2022.
  • It’s not as easy to archive and follow comment chains on instant messengers as it is on other platforms like email.

If you're sharing files or large amounts of information, email is better, as your employees can more quickly locate and access the data they're looking for. Likewise, even though messaging services are branded as instant, SMS is still faster and more widely utilized.

If you’re a small team that can access the free versions of popular instant messengers, use them alongside email and SMS to discuss work-related (but not pressing and critical) issues.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing software saw a huge boom after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more workers are relying on platforms like Zoom for crucial business communications than ever before.

Video conferencing is an entirely different breed of communication channel than others on this list as it:

  • Lets you see the person you’re interacting with, their expressions and reactions, and anything they want to show you from their end of the camera
  • Enables real-time communication and allows you to converse as you would in a face-to-face scenario
  • Replicates in-person meetings better than any other form of internal communication

Hence, video conferencing is the best medium for conveying emotional messages. Whether it’s condolences, congratulations, or anything else that might need a more personal touch, do it via video. Additionally, video conferencing often provides the most effective means for participating in lengthy collaborations.

What video conferencing is not effective at is:

  • Sharing files
  • Keeping an easily accessible log of your conversations
  • Returning later to review information shared in a call

If you’re sharing pertinent company data that your colleagues need to return to later, type it out in an email for efficiency’s sake, even if you’re sharing it during a video conference. Likewise, unless you’re working on a project that can benefit from the back and forth of live conversations, use a text-based channel that others can read and respond to at their convenience. 

Other Communication Tools & Channels

There are plenty of other, less utilized communication mediums that can benefit businesses. Besides the other channels listed above, some other options you may want to consider include:

  • IntranetIntranets are private networks you can utilize to share information across your organization. They’re like shared online drives—except, instead of accessing them online, only participating devices connected to the network can gain access. They’re more secure than other forms of internal communication, but they are costly and limit remote workers’ ability to access crucial company information.
  • Internal newsletters – Circulating weekly or monthly newsletters is a savvy way to keep everyone at larger organizations in the loop about major company news. Their limited capacity, however, means they’re not suitable for sharing the kind of information workers need on a day-to-day basis. Instead, they should be a supplement leveraged in addition to other communication channels. 
  • Video recordings – Video clips are a practical format to walk someone through a process or idea you’re trying to expound on. However, if the viewer gets confused and needs to ask questions, they’ll have to turn to other communication channels to get their answers.

Choosing the Right Channels for Your Organization

Every organization has unique needs, so it’s typical to leverage different channels to keep in touch with your staff. Most companies will use more than one medium to facilitate communication. To decide which ones are best for your organization:

  • Consider company size, structure, and employee preferences – Communications apps such as Slack and Zoom can become costly as your company scales. So, opt for another channel unless you’re ready to dish out serious cash for an instant messenger. Likewise, if your company is primarily remote, you may want to look into specialty tools that facilitate online communication and workflow. You can also ask your employees for their preferences to let you know what they’re most likely to use.
  • Ask for feedback and adapt to your employees’ changing needs – After landing on a desired communication channel, implement it and see how your team reacts. Collect periodic input on its use, and if it’s not serving your staff as intended, consider leveraging a new medium to get the job done.
  • Use multiple channels for comprehensive communication – As noted, every channel has both its advantages and disadvantages. Consider the job that needs to be done—whether it’s sharing large files, instant communication, or a live conversation—and decide on the channel that’s best suited to support your needs. 

Best Practices for Effective Internal Communication

After deciding on which channels you want to use in your organization, make the most of them by:

  • Setting clear guidelines for your communication policy, sticking to them, and enforcing them within your organization
  • Leveraging the specific channels you need to support your goals and company culture
  • Encouraging open dialogue and feedback about your chosen channels
  • Assessing the efficacy of your chosen channels via employees’ opinions and analytical tools
  • Being willing to adopt new channels as your organization grows and as its needs diversify
  • Making sure your channels are accessible to all your employees, promoting a culture of inclusivity in their interactions

Facilitate Lightning-Quick Internal Communication via SMS with Text-Em-All

Leveraging the right internal communication channels in your workplace is essential for effectively sharing information and collaborating on organizational goals.

Texting is the fastest and most read communication medium currently available. To inform your staff of essential updates and last-minute news, use Text-Em-All to quickly reach out to your whole organization.

Text-Em-All lets you text thousands of colleagues at once, schedule important messages, attach images, and more—all from our easy-to-use and convenient online platform. Conquer communication issues and get in touch with your staff quicker with Text-Em-All.