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An Internal Communications Toolkit: The Swiss Army Knife for Employee Engagement

In our hybrid work environment, having an effective internal communications system is no longer optional, it’s vital. [why?] Even though employees may not all be in the same place at the same time, it’s still critical that they work together to move the company in the same direction. Internal communications is a key component of delivering on your business strategy.

For a long time organizations relied heavily on email and the company intranet to reach employees. While email will never go away, the channel is overused, is not interactive and offers few options, limited metrics, and little flexibility targeting. In addition, email is becoming less and less effective as a way to reach employees According to a recent CMS/Live Tiles survey, the click-through rate on email communications is 27% – not an encouraging statistic for the use of email. 

There are more effective communications systems today that include multiple tools on a single platform, reducing cost, IT requirements, redundant tools and offering detailed metrics and direct-to-screen delivery. The channels can include secure text, graphics, video, chat, surveys, video and videoconferencing. They also offer document and file sharing and storage, largely replacing outdated intranets. These channels are part of internal communications toolkits, which can help you reach employees anywhere, on any device. In effect, these are the Swiss Army Knife for Internal Communications 

Internal Communication Toolkits Address Employee Concerns

The CMS/Live Tiles survey also showed that most employees (62%) complain that they are overwhelmed with information that is not pertinent to them. As a result, employees ignore or briefly scan their inbox, minimizing an organization’s ability to ensure that important information has been viewed. Additionally, the survey revealed that 67% of respondents said that improving employee communications was a priority. However, about half of the survey respondents were relying solely on push communication, reducing their ability to receive communication from the field. 

A key to successful corporate performance in the hybrid workplace is the effective exchange of information, where frontline teams can quickly communicate with management on a full array of internal and external issues. However, in addition to the low open rate of email which puts a drag on productivity, the CMS/Live Tiles survey showed that just 38% of respondents believe their internal communications is aligned with their company’s culture, resulting in an ineffective communications system. The variety of tools in an internal communications toolkit allows communicators to mold the formats and content to reflect the company’s culture and ensure communications are viewed. Toolkits offer multiple interactive channels, allow you to target the right people for each message without needing to go to IT to create groups, and help you measure the reach and effectiveness of each tool. 

While many companies have adopted Slack, Teams, or a similar channel, in recent years, these channels are focused on group communications. They are easy to use, but they are also prone to becoming ineffective as people create too many groups that silo information or use them in the same way that they use email. 

Communications toolkits can also help you measure employee engagement and satisfaction. The CMS/Live Tiles study reveals that many organizations are forced to use employee satisfaction as their sole measurement for internal communications impact and effectiveness because they don’t have the tools to accurately measure how well their communications are performing.   

How to Find the Right Internal Communications Toolkit

Some internal communications toolkits have been around for 15 years or more, and the tools have evolved over time. But not every toolkit is right for every business – that’s why it’s essential to find the right toolkit for your organization. You need to look at what each internal communications toolkit offers in terms of function, technical requirements, targeting, security levels and ease of use. 

Once you’ve done your initial internal communications needs assessment, you’re ready to look at the different advantages a toolkit can offer the option to:

  • Create, target, and send messages in seconds 
  • Design visually engaging templates and formats using color coding and other design elements
  • Target specific groups for personalized communication   
  • Import and create groups on the fly  
  • Using interactive channels for feedback, such as surveys, polls, and quizzes
  • Use multiple channels to keep messaging fresh and reach people where and how they prefer
  • Deliver content directly to a computer screen or smartphone, bypassing email
  • Create digital signboards 
  • Share and store files and documents
  • Receive detailed metrics in real time 
  • Decrease IT support required
  • Offer secure environments
  • Host systems in the cloud or locally, to integrate with your IT infrastructure 

Overcoming Barriers to Implementing an Internal Communications Toolkit

As companies transition to more robust platforms, there are barriers that need to be overcome. According to the Live Tiles survey, current barriers to toolkit acquisition include: 

  • Resources (both IT and IC staff)
  • Buy-in from senior management
  • Technology acquisition. 

Additional concerns are the ability to integrate with other programs and roll out the solution quickly. 

However, most toolkits today are cloud hosted and require only that a software “client” be installed on each device. Some toolkits don’t even require a client, removing IT concerns and providing a quicker ramp-up. 

Identifying key functionality and the best software for your particular use is time consuming, but there are independent companies, including Trident Communications, who have the knowledge and experience to help you identify the software that best meets your needs. 

Another barrier to toolkit adoption are employees themselves, who are often skeptical about new tools and reticent to use them. In addition many new software installations disappear after 90 days so having a plan in place before you launch to ensure the success of the toolkits is vital.  Trident works with your team to develop a launch plan to ensure successful adoption, which is key to the successful deployment of a toolkit.

Contact us to help you get your own Swiss Army Knife and use the right tool for the job.