Blah, blah, blah.
Sometimes, that’s about as effective as workplace communication gets. If that’s the case for your company, it’s time for some soul searching — and better corporate communication tools.
When comparing tools for communication, find the workhorse, fully loaded with features designed to create a secure, fast, mobile communications network.
Here are the 10 features corporate communication tools need for the most efficient workplace.
Learn how Beekeeper’s corporate communications tools help businesses connect with their frontline employees.
1) Mobile-First Design
If your company is like most, you rely on a team of frontline employees to keep things moving along.
In fact, 80% of the world’s workers are mobile, unreachable by mainstream staff communication tools, like email.
A mobile-first strategy meets employees where they’re at: on the manufacturing floor, on the sales floor, making rounds in a hospital, or helping a guest at a hotel. Mobile-first staff communication tools are a must to reach every single employee.
That means everyone has an employee app that connects them to their company and their colleagues, allowing them to participate in internal dialogue.
Mobile functionality also:
- Creates an inclusive culture.
- Creates a cohesive team.
- Increases collaboration.
These might be elements that feel organic in an environment with desk-based workers. But in many companies, frontline employees are often disenfranchised, left to their own devices to do their jobs.
Internal communication tools led by a mobile app unify and engage an entire company.
2) Real-Time Messaging Is the Only Way to Go
Tools for communication are only as good as how fast they are.
Companies operate at warp speed these days. Avoid any enterprise software that can’t keep up.
Real time communication can:
- Keep workers safe. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, the InterContinental Miami used their team app to communicate with their employees to ensure their safety.
- Align an entire company. Heathrow airport keep their 6,500 employees, spread out over a 4.7 square-mile facility, up to date on information that helps keep everything moving along.
- Ensure project completion. Real-time collaboration allows workflows to keep moving without breaks in communication. This allows teams to complete tasks faster for higher productivity.
Real-time messaging is a must when looking for corporate communication tools. Pair it with mobile-first capabilities and now we’re talking! In every industry it’s imperative to be able to communicate with anyone, and everyone, in real time.
On the manufacturing floor, real-time communication allows emergency hazards to be broadcast to employees and get them to safety. In a healthcare setting, time-sensitive issues are constant and employees need staff communication tools that mirror the urgency of patient care.
And in the everyday business world of retail, banking, real estate, and most other industries, corporate communication tools with real-time capabilities allow up-to-the-second transmission for overall efficiency.
3) Security is a Hot Topic and a Necessary Feature
Security seems like a basic feature of any internal communications tools, but it’s not. Some companies use social media-style apps for internal communications, but carrier pigeons would deliver more secure messages.
Consumer apps are highly susceptible to security breaches.
The best staff communication tools make security a priority with features like:
- A virtual, private cloud.
- Multi-layer data segregation
- Full data encryption
- Built-in GDPR compliance
Every day, there’s a new headline about a massive security breach. Don’t let it happen inside your company.
4) Language Customization for Every Employee
If you’re doing right by your business, you’re growing a diverse team who contribute all kinds of great ideas to the mix. That means you might have employees who speak languages different from their colleagues.
Communications tools in business need to represent today’s workforce. In the United States, one in five people speak a foreign language, and there’s a growing demand for foreign-language speakers in the American workplace.
An employee app like Beekeeper’s communications platform has inline translation, allowing employees to send and receive messages in their preferred language.
Pro Tip: Reach out to your workforce to learn their language preferences. Make sure every employee is able to communicate for an inclusive workplace.
5) Collaborative Capabilities
Collaboration isn’t reserved for in-person meetings. For a company to be truly innovative, colleagues need the ability to work together, even if they are mobile. Some features to look for that foster collaboration in the workplace include:
- File sharing. Tools for communication that offer the ability for file sharing (like documents, audio, and video files) open an avenue for collaboration.
- Multiple communication stream capabilities. Create verticals of information that can be shared with a specific group or company-wide messaging.
- Directory. Know how to reach anyone in your company.
- Peer-to-peer messaging. One on one or group messaging through secure channels.
- Confirmation campaigns. Know when employees receive and read messaging.
On a non-technical note, the simple act of providing workers with a social connection to their colleagues will inspire engagement and collaboration, especially for frontline employees who are connecting to their company for the first time.
6) All the Data You Need in One Place
To really get the most out of internal communication tools, it’s good to know how well they’re working.
That’s where an analytics dashboard comes in. It pulls back the curtain on how your team is interacting with the corporate communication tools you’ve chosen for them. It supports your leadership role by curating actionable data to accurately address engagement.
The dashboard tracks real-time data on engagement and productivity. Communication tools in business should also have a survey feature that allows management to directly communicate with employees. The dashboard can compile responses and deliver an analysis.
It shows where operations are running efficiently, and areas where there might be gaps in workflows that need attention.
Tracking engagement is necessary because:
- Disengaged workforces cost companies an astounding $450 billion a year.
- There’s a shortage of talent right now. It’s vital to develop strategies to keep employees productive and, more than that, liking their work and the company.
To develop actions and strategies that accurately target what your workforce needs, you need the information and participation data that an analytics dashboard provides.
Pro Tip: Don’t know workforce stats? Send out a survey asap to discover just how engaged your employees are. Then, take action.
7) Digital Signage as an Added Bonus
Digital signage is an added perk for staff communication tools. Digital signage—high-visibility displays and monitors throughout a workplace—extends the reach of regular communication streams.
As employees move around on the job there are times that they might not look at their phones. Strategically-placed digital signage can alert them of any urgent messages or all-staff notices. It’s also a great place to display employee recognition for everyone to see!
Messaging can be curated from the content on the bigger platform and scheduled in advance on a rotating feed. It’s an added security measure that all information reaches everyone.
8) Communication Tools in Business Need an Agile Platform
Corporate communication tools should not be one-size-fits-all. Cross those options off your list immediately.
Communication tools in business should be adaptable to the way a company works. How?
- Integrations. Tools for communication should integrate seamlessly with your legacy programs. When different operational management systems and applications are on the same platform and able to talk to one another, workflows are open and seamless.
- Custom-built. No two companies operate in the same way. Communication tools in business should support every company’s operational needs. A platform should be able to undergo a little in-house design to fit into pre-existing systems.
9) “Employee First” Features
Corporate communication tools should prioritize employees with features that support their ability to do their jobs.
- Align an entire staff and get them on the same page with the company’s mission and goals.
- Increase engagement across the board. To run a well-oiled-machine, every employee should be included and given an opportunity to participate.
- Equal access to information and communication tools.
Tools for communication that help a company achieve these goals will support an autonomous workforce with features like Shift schedules, which gives employees more control over when they work. They’ll open up two-way communication that enables employees to initiate a dialogue and increase their participation. Employees need a voice and autonomy to be truly engaged in the function of a company. Find internal communication tools that support them.
10) HR Tech for Higher Retention
The heart of any organization is the human resources department. Hiring, firing, recruiting, payroll—if it’s an employee-related issue it’s up to HR to deal with it.
Corporate communication tools should include HR tech to eliminate repetitive processes, automate workflows, reduce paperwork, and free up the HR team time to do more people management so they can focus on increasing retention.
Internal communication tools can help HR with features such as:
- Employee onboarding. All paperwork can be done online, even signatures.
- Training. Employees can use their app to play training videos, and get up to speed on employee manuals.
- Paperless payroll. Digital payroll reduces paperwork for HR and also allows employees to access their information directly.
Communication tools in business must have features that benefit every employee, team, and department within an organization to be most successful.
In other words, you need a Renaissance platform.
As more industries operate on a global scale, at a faster speed, and with a more diverse, mobile workforce, they need corporate communication tools that support every element of their operations and create a digital connection to every employee in order to keep pace.
Ready to make your decision? Download Beekeeper’s eBook, How to Choose the Best Team Collaboration Software.