Top 10 Internal Communication Tools to Consider
Communication is the cornerstone of any successful business. All levels of employees from desk staff to field workers need to be informed and engaged by management so they not only feel valued for their contributions, but can keep projects running efficiently, on time, and on budget. This is particularly the case in sectors with frontline staff where there are so many moving parts that must align.If we look at communications in the construction industry, a recent study suggests that, “effective communication as a way to exchange thoughts, messages, or information by speech, signal, and writing has a pivotal role in construction projects.” The report goes on to say that a company’s familiarity with technology has a significant impact on improving communications and those that take advantage of the internal communication tools available benefit from greater investment and productivity from core stakeholders.
But with such a vast array of technology-aided apps and services available, it can be daunting to find the right one for you and your team. Here is a look at the top 10 internal communication tools on the market today and what their strengths and challenges are in helping to make the most informed decision for your organizational needs.
What Internal Communication Tools Does Your Organization Need?
Zoom has by far been one of the primary internal communication tools companies have utilized since the start of the pandemic for connecting with their employees remotely. It offers instant, easy-to-use cloud-based video conferencing for communicating with offsite staff, but its capabilities are limited beyond a visual interface so it’s not ideal for field workers. While it does work seamlessly on both desktop and mobile, construction crew often don’t have opportunities for face-to-face interaction on the job.
Google Hangouts, the free consumer version for mainly interacting with friends or a small number of participants, and Google Meet, the premium enterprise solution, that allows for larger capacities, are nearly identical to Zoom in offering end-to-end video communication with in-app chat. There are some file sharing issues with both of these platforms, but the main downside is that all participants must have a Gmail account or be a Google user, creating a barrier of entry for connecting with all employees and pose potential security risks.
Apps like Slack, on the other hand, allow for instant text-based communications to aid in collaboration between parties with chat, file exchange, calls, and custom channels by topic, project, or team. It also integrates with hundreds of other internal communication tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Asana, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more. But again, from a frontline standpoint, it offers limited accessibility for deskless employees to take advantage of real-time interactions.
Microsoft Teams brings together all of the above digital conversations, meetings, and video conferencing within the Microsoft 365 platform that many businesses rely on for their internal email communication, so there can be an advantage to integrating Teams within your existing workflow to keep everything on track. But it does have limited flexibility for customization and scaling to your individual project needs.
Workplace by Facebook’s internal communication tool has very similar capabilities to Microsoft Teams but offers fewer third-party integrations, and with two types of chat for updates and Workchat, it can be difficult to manage the progress of multiple ongoing projects and see new posts and comments.
Trello and Asana are more focused on project management than raw communication for assigning and tracking tasks with interactions limited solely to in-app comments where you can tag users with questions, updates, and attachments. While available in mobile form as well, these platforms are very much office-driven tools, making it hard for deskless workers in the field to stay on top of projects using this module.
Bananatag is primarily an email tracking software that integrates with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, Mac, and other email clients for link and attachment tracking, scheduling, and analytics, but is centered more on targeted response than two-way communication.
Boasting many of the communications features of the other offerings listed, Speakap sets itself apart with a focus on linking office and frontline workers in real time, eliminating the need for clunky desktop software and creating a social network where users can continually interact at all stages of the project from anywhere, at any time.
Whichever internal communication tool you choose, be sure that the service offers a mobile extension to accommodate device availability and WiFi connectivity on sites, and includes features that are easily accessible by both office and field workers. With the right app in tow, you can dramatically enhance your productivity and instill a sense of community and pride company-wide that will yield better results, higher morale, and stronger employee retention.