12 Company Internal Communication Methods (Some May Surprise You!)on 21 February 2022
Businesses are always seeking ways to better communicate with their customers and clients. But what about their employees? Open communication is essential to keeping employees engaged (which in turn leads to keeping customers happy).
That’s why the internal communication methods you use are so important.
Types Of Internal Communication
Internal communication is the collection of interactions that occur between an organisation and its employees—these could be office meetings, team conference calls, annual town halls, and face-to-face conversations. But interactions can also be less synchronous, such as with emails, instant messages, bulletin board messages, comments on company forums, and so on.
Generally speaking, there are a few types of internal communication:
- Top-down. Also called downward communication, top-down communication refers to information flowing from the highest levels of leadership to the rest of the organisation. This type of communication typically includes company-wide emails and intranet announcements, town hall meetings, executive videos addressing company changes—essentially any interaction from higher tiers of leadership aimed at all or a large share of employees. Top-down communication gives upper management a way to keep your entire workforce informed.
- Bottom-up. This communication type, also called upward communication, refers to information flowing from lower levels of the organisation up to higher levels of management. From engagement surveys to virtual (or physical) suggestion boxes, bottom-up communication gives your workforce the opportunity to provide feedback and voice their opinions to management. This feedback is essential to fostering employee engagement and creating a motivating work environment.
- Peer-to-peer. Information flows horizontally between employees in this type of communication, also called lateral communication. Peer-to-peer communication helps spread knowledge throughout the organisation and facilitate work completion. Consider how slowly a project might progress if team members are not actively interacting and collaborating with one another on various tasks. Whether it’s the need to collaborate on a piece of work or alerting a peer to a completed task so they can start their own, it’s important for employees to share and engage with coworkers.
- Crisis. During times of organisational emergency, it’s critical to know how to get the right information to the right people as quickly as possible. Weather-related disasters, health-related pandemics, cyber attacks or other technology-related events all require the ability to quickly and effectively alert your employees, whether at a specific worksite or the entire workforce. Examples of crisis communication include emergency action plans, intranet broadcasts, and SMS messages.
Wondering how other companies promote effective communication? To find out, we asked several different organisations about their internal communication techniques, and how they stay connected with their employees. Not all of these internal communication examples are what you would expect! (And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out our article on best practices for internal communication, too.)
12 Internal Communication Methods
1. Two-way Radios
First up for surprising types of internal communication channels: two-way radios. Not everyone works in an office setting. Some jobs necessitate frequent movement, which means picking up the phone to contact a coworker isn’t always an option.
That’s where two-way radios come in at Communic8 Hire. Callum Goldthorpe, director at the organisation, says his team uses the radios to contact other team members in the warehouse and office areas. “It’s an easy method to reach someone when a customer orders something or there’s a hire inquiry, and it saves a lot of time from having to track someone down.”
Goldthorpe provides two prime examples showing why this type of internal communication channel works for his business. When a customer calls to check on technical details of a product, such as the power output on a lighting kit, the receptionist can put the customer on hold and radio through to an engineer, who can either answer on the spot or check the specifications before responding. The receptionist can then provide the customer with an informed answer. “The radios reduce the need for lengthy hold times, meaning customers get their questions answered quicker,” he notes.
The second example involves customers calling to alter a job request. When customers call on the day of a scheduled job, two-way radios especially come in handy. Whether they need to add job items or change a design configuration, office personnel can alert an engineer by sending a job list to their radio. The engineer can see what needs to be added—such as two spotlights or four lighting cables—and make the changes accordingly. “This ensures our team is efficient and that all job items are accurately accounted for before leaving the warehouse. Extra trips mean wasted time and money, and annoyed customers,” explains Goldthorpe.
2. Radio Stations
Radios stations aren’t just for the general public. Some use radio as one of several methods of internal communication in business. Take Veterans United Home Loans, for example. Audrey Sharp, a communications specialist for the company, says radio makes for great background music in their bathrooms.
The company’s culture department curates a playlist of music and so-called “commercials.” These commercials are typically announcements about company happenings—licensing deals, production updates, etc.—and upcoming events in the local area, such as volunteer opportunities. “It’s a unique strategy for sure. But every person hears the radio at some point during the workday, and it’s increased our attendance at events and awareness of organisational matters,” she adds.
3. Workplace by Facebook
A great way to increase the effectiveness of internal communications is to have them mirror how people typically interact with one another. (Tweet this!) With the integration of social media into our daily lives, collaboration solutions like Workplace by Facebook help fulfill this goal.
Nilesh Pandey, communications manager at Lorien, says that Workplace by Facebook provides a user experience similar to its main social platform, which most people are familiar with and comfortable using. “It's a useful way of making sure onsite and remote workers alike stay connected with one another and are in touch with exactly what is happening within the business.”
Accessed via web or mobile, Workplace by Facebook comes with features like chat, video calls, and private workspaces, where you can discuss projects, share documents, and more. You can also connect to other apps your team may use, such as Box, Office 365, Trello, Jira, and Zoom. In addition, the service includes a feature called Safety Check that enables company leadership to send notifications to people during a crisis. Recipients can then respond that they’re safe or need assistance, while a real-time dashboard displays a history of contact attempts and responses.
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As a communication medium, video has been steadily increasing in popularity for many years. It’s even been adopted by businesses as a way to share information and increase engagement internally. “Video is an exceptional way to deliver important messages from key executives to employees in a personal, engaging way,” says Chris Stasiuk, founder of Signature Video Group.
Stasiuk advises companies that are interested in using video to:
- Keep video segments short.
- Support video with other visual aids like b-roll and animations.
- Get creative with how you deliver your messages.
- Add humor where appropriate and in line with your company culture.
Additionally, video analytics enable you to track employee engagement with your content. You can see who watched which videos, how much they watched, and how they engaged (pausing, rewinding, etc.). “This data gives you insight into how employees are receiving your messages, which you can use to improve future content,” he adds.
5. Live Webinars
As a tangent to videos, live webinars are also great internal communication methods. They have all the benefits of video, with an added component of synchronous engagement with employees. While presenters are delivering announcements or important information, employees can chime in with questions in the chat. The presenter, or a moderator, can then queue up those questions and respond as part of their video presentation or through chat.
Laura Handrick, HR Specialist at Fit Small Business, notes presenters can also use app sharing, which gives them the ability to show attendees information from other apps on their computer, such as a PowerPoint presentation or a spreadsheet. “This enhances the attendee experience and allows presenters to underscore their talking points.”
6. Performance Reviews
Performance reviews are another one of many methods of internal communication in an organisation. Some organisations use 360-degree feedback reviews to make the most of a review opportunity. In these sessions, employees are asked to share their evaluations of another employee, instead of just a direct manager. “This helps managers get a well-rounded picture of their employees,” shares Nate Masterson, CEO of Maple Holistics.
The manager and employee can discuss positive aspects, areas of improvement, and any concerns the employee might have. Together with the feedback received from other employees and peers, the manager and employee can determine the best course of action for improving performance. “This helps the employee grow, but it also provides the manager with insights on potential issues impacting the entire team,” adds Masterson.
7. Staff Meetings
Sometimes the simplest internal communication methods have the biggest impact. Though being held less frequently due to the rise of remote work, in-person meetings still hold value. In fact, they generate an average of 13.36 ideas versus only 10.43 for virtual meetings, and those ideas possess more originality.
Staff meetings are one of several internal communication techniques used by Aaron Udler, president at OfficePro. During these weekly meetings, team members share with their colleagues what they’re working on and what obstacles they’re facing. Everyone actively listens, providing ideas and guidance where appropriate. “Having each person share their work progress and receive feedback keeps the entire team accountable and engaged. It makes a big difference as far as productivity and team dynamics are concerned.”
8. Project Management Software
Nate Tsang, founder and CEO of WallStreetZen, says project management software is a great supplement to real-time chat and video solutions. “Not only can we manage projects more effectively, but we can also communicate asynchronously within the context of specific tasks.”
For example, Tsang’s team uses the card feature of his chosen project management tool to help the team visualize their work. As the card progresses across varied columns, the whole team can identify the status of a given task or deliverable.
In addition, team members can add commentary and attachments to individual cards. This leaves a digital paper trail regarding decisions and their reasoning, which makes it easy to quickly restart work on a given task after, say, an extended delay.
“Moving a card from column to column and leaving comments are both internal communication examples that provide my team with a lot of value,” Tsang explains.
Another internal communication example comes in the form of podcasts. “They’re a very useful yet underestimated method of organisational communication,” says Mollie Newton, founder of PetMeTwice.
Newton’s company mostly uses podcasts when onboarding and training new employees. The internal communication method offers a convenient way to get employees up to speed on policies, procedures, and other company information. She says it saves managers time, and ensures employees don’t miss anything important.
While some companies use video in the onboarding process, Newton prefers podcasts because employees don’t have to be glued to a screen the whole time. “Employees can listen to a company podcast on the way to work or while cooking at home.”
10. Documents With Real-Time Collaboration
“Live commentary and edits in a shared document are often overlooked as internal communication examples,” says Dale Johnson, cofounder and content strategist at Nomad Paradise. Contributors sharing ideas in a document—even if it’s asynchronously—is an internal communication method many organisations use every day, and for good reason. Not only is it useful for keeping everyone on the same page (literally!), but seeing others’ ideas can help people develop their own.
Johnson likes that you can do so much in a shared document—make changes in real time, leave feedback and comments for others to view later, and so on. “I have worked on entire documents this way, without the need for any time-consuming team meetings or conferences. We all contributed in our own time and created a useable document.”
“Compared to other company internal communication methods, newsletters offer a creative outlet,” says Sonya Schwartz, founder of Her Norm. You can create a newsletter in a variety of formats, include imagery, and make it fit your company culture. If your team is in the office, you can print it out and distribute it; otherwise, you can just send it in an email.
Schwartz’s company uses newsletters to:
- Disseminate information without having to gather all the employees together.
- Give employees a voice through authored articles and blurbs, where they can share their views, inspire their peers, and showcase their writing talents.
- Feature employees who excel each month, keeping people motivated and engaged
- Share significant employee achievements, such as promotions
12. Handwritten Notes
Natalya Bucuy, content marketer at HelpSquad, shares a timeless internal communication example: handwritten notes. “It’s a traditional method that may be a bit old-fashioned today, but we find joy in it at our company.”
Whether it’s a thank-you note, a cheerful greeting, or a reminder to pull someone aside for a quick chat when they’re available, a handwritten note is still a useful way to communicate with others in your organisation. “Not only do such notes stand out among the digital noise we’re accustomed to, but they also show care and personal attention,” Bucuy explains.
One CEO she knows of has sent out a handwritten birthday card to each of his employees every year since 1985. In his view, the practice“establishes personal relationships, facilitates workplace gratitude, and raises morale”—a sentiment that Bucuy couldn’t agree with more.
Don’t be surprised if Glasscubes turns out to be your new favorite way to communicate internally.
Glasscubes is an easy-to-use communication solution that gives your employees the tools they need to collaborate efficiently, share files securely, and manage projects small and large. There’s no formal training required, and your teams can be up and running in our online environment in just a few hours.
With Glasscubes, your teams—whether they’re all in-house or remote—can:
- Store and share files in a secure location, complete with automatic version control.
- Assign and manage tasks for different members of the team and track them to completion.
- Communicate practically anywhere through threaded discussions on the general message board, on specific files, on assigned tasks, or through instant messenger.
There’s no need for multiple internal communication methods. Just use Glasscubes. In fact, don’t take our word for it. See why users rate our solution 4.5 out of 5 stars. And when you’re ready to see how communication magic happens, request a guided demo of Glasscubes today.