Work is growing more complex, with projects often requiring close team collaboration, rather than individuals working on their own. To foster effective collaboration and maximum productivity, it’s important to remove as many barriers to communication as possible. While traditional email platforms may do the trick for very small teams, they ultimately create clutter and noise for workers, as well as informational roadblocks. The latest internal communication tools help to pull workers off of email, establishing a more communal, yet intimate, central communications platform. In addition, they create informational transparency across your organization, making all employees more effective and engaged in their work. Who wouldn’t want that?
How will internal communication software improve your existing workflow?
Eliminate your dependence on email: The downsides of email are clear: It takes a lot of time to read and reply to emails, distracting you from tasks at hand; conversation threads, with reply-alls, cc’s and bcc’s can get confusing; increased rates of junk mail; information is fragmented between different inboxes, with certain individuals having access to more information; collaboration is stilted and clumsy; interactions are impersonal and distant. Using a communication tool, like HipChat or Slack, removes these barriers with instant messaging functionality. This allows people to collaborate in big groups, leading to more information transparency that is essential to meeting optimum productivity and corporate goals. It also allows for more intimate interactions, which is impossible to achieve over email. Kim Taylor, who uses Slack at her company Ranku, states, “This is the tool that has the biggest effect on our business. The functionality is so much better than email. You can drag and drop documents into it, you can create URLs in it. It can even make GIFs!”
Promote real-time communication: “Collaboration in real-time is key,” says Ryan Vance, head of content at CreativeLive. “In my mind, you should pay what you need to in order to communicate with your team effectively.” When you’re in project mode, the last thing you want to do is switch focus from your looming deadline to read through a bunch of emails. Matthew Raimundo, director of operations at Ticketmaster Mobile Studio, explains that he chose “HipChat for communications between project teams, departments, special interest groups and company communications as a whole. It’s been super helpful to have everyone on that platform.”
Streamline project management: Many of today’s leading internal communication tools have the ability to integrate with your existing software, enabling you to automate workflows. Many people choose Slack specifically for this functionality. Mattan Griffel, founder and CEO of One Month, notes that, “any time we get a sale, it shows up automatically in a Slack chat room,” and Lightmatter COO Gregory Hausheer loves the platform for its “integrations with third parties, such as Heroku, GitHub, Wercker and others that allow us to know the status of a project. Whenever a branch is closed on GitHub and merged, or a deploy went out from Heroku, we receive a notification in that client’s project room.”
Create a cohesive company culture: With increased collaboration across your entire organization, remote workers feel more connected. They have access to conversations that would otherwise have been inaccessible to them, which creates a feeling of closeness and intimacy with distant colleagues. According to Vivek Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Movable Ink, “Slack gives people the ambient noise and pulse of the company without actually having to be there.” In addition, having one communication platform for your entire company makes it easier for employees to navigate complex team dynamics and makes all team members more approachable. “Before we started using Slack, we had people that were texting, emailing, talking to each other in a whole bunch of different ways. Consolidating everything together has been great for our company,” says SenseHealth founder Stan Berkow.
Build an intranet for centralized employee information: One of the best ways to increase productivity across your organization is to make as much information available to employees as possible. To that end, it’s important to build a central repository of information for your employees—from administrative paperwork and policies to project status and general company information. Internal communication tools make this easy to accomplish. Voxy co-founder Gregg Carey explains that, at his company, “Asana is used for employee updates and as a company intranet.”
Internal communication tools follow the theory that the free flow of information and transparency make companies more effective. The more information workers have, the better they are at making decisions and the more invested they will be in their work. With increasingly complex work demands and the growing number of remote teams, traditional modes of communication are becoming a hindrance to productivity and a distraction from tasks at hand. Choosing a suitable internal communication tool for your business will free you from those constraints, fostering a culture of true collaboration, democratizing access to important information and ultimately empowering each employee to add more value to your organization.