Best Internal Communications Software: Expert Guide to Choosing

04.02.2022
Read time: 12 min
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They say, “Actions speak louder than words,” but when it comes to keeping a business running smoothly, you need to share the right words, at the right time, to spark action. That’s where internal communications software enters the picture. But, how do you know what type of communication tools in the workplace will be most efficient for your business? 

We’re going to share what you need to know so you can be equipped to make the most informed decision regarding the best internal communication platforms. Plus, we’ll touch on how an email newsletter builder can be a perfect complement to your internal communication software. 

What is Internal Communications Software?

Internal communications software, also known as business messaging software, are tools that support an organization’s core messaging strategy and allow management to share information with team members. 

Some tools can also empower employees to share information amongst themselves (and sometimes even with customers). 

The messages may be about a certain project or deadline, or it could be simply sharing instant messages about where everyone wants to get lunch for the day. 

When it comes down to it, an internal communications software will help your team to collaborate, communicate, and build relationships with one another. 

For times when employers need to share information with employees in a measurable way, email newsletters can provide the optimal solution. Email builders can be a great compliment by enabling focused internal communications within organizations. 

Internal communications software typically possess a few main features, including:

  • Text chat
  • Voice and/or video calls
  • Conversation history
  • File sharing

Internal communications strategies often call for a variety of software and tools to spread internal messages to employees. These can range from intranets to podcasting tools to video communications to email newsletters.

Team of employees sitting at desk on computers
Picture source Unsplash

Why Use Internal Communications Tools?

An increasing number of employees are working from home. This digitally-connected world relies on internal communications tools so that organizations and their people can work properly and efficiently. 

All business units have to stay connected somehow, and internal communications tools make that easy and possible to do. 

They also enable an organization's management, HR teams, and leadership to send important messages to employees in real-time (while also providing a way to measure engagement levels). 

Digital internal communication tools are becoming necessary across businesses because they provide: 

  • The means for real-time communication 
  • Can allow for feedback and questions (two-way street of communication rather than just top-down)
  • Are measurable with analytics and data 
  • Provide a way to target communication 
  • Have reach
  • Tend to be scalable

What are the Benefits of Internal Communications Software?

You’re sitting behind a screen reading this right now, and you may have just thought of something that you need to share with your employee. You want to reach them immediately and ensure that wherever they may be (behind a computer screen or on the go with their phone) that they’ll receive the important message. 

Enter, internal communications software. 

Along with the immediacy of sending and receiving messages, these tools provide a lot of benefits that help to streamline, monitor, and improve upon internal communications. 

They include:

  • Measurability: Internal communication software lets employers know when employees are active and how many employees are actually engaged with the platform. This can help to measure whether or not your messages are heard and understood.
  • Mobile Availability: More than ever, workforces are operating from more locations than just an office. Depending on your line of business, you may expect that your employees will be away from their computer screens for multiple hours a day. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to communicate with them. The best internal communications software are equally easy-to-use on mobile devices and tablets as they are on desktops and laptops. 
  • Informality: Sometimes, the most honest and fluid types of conversations happen over text messaging or instant messaging, rather than formal and long business emails. By using internal communications tools, you can support a corporate culture and environment that is open to streamlined and casual conversation. 
  • Immediacy/Usability: Our world works under the assumption and expectation of immediacy. Most of the workforce consists of millennials and Generation Z, which were basically born with phones in their hands, so their chat communication style is practically second nature. This means that they expect to be able to send and receive messages immediately.

Who Should Use Internal Communications Software?

Every business should use internal communications software. That’s because no matter if your team is just ten people or thousands of people, you will need to be in touch with them often. 

Internal communications software offers a range of benefits (as mentioned) that make it worth your while. 

And even with the best internal communications software, you may not capture your employees’ engagement as you may have hoped. Or, it could be the case that certain messages are getting lost in the shuffle because there is information overload. 

This is where it makes sense to incorporate email newsletter platforms that are as simple to use. You can measure and track what emails get opened and by whom. With email newsletter builders, it becomes very easy to send corporate and HR emails. In fact, it becomes just as easy as pushing send on an instant message. 

A tool like Publicate offers a library of hundreds of email newsletter templates so that you can use the drag-and-drop functionality to design and create a beautifully-designed email. Then easily export to whatever email provider you already use.  

What are the Types of Internal Communications Software?

There are a few different types of internal communication software to consider. 
Let’s take a look at what they cover. 

  • Standalone: There are internal communications tools that serve just the purpose of internal communications, so they are considered to be standalone. This name can be a bit misleading though because even though they serve a single purpose, they allow for integrations with your existing toolstack. 
  • Embedded: For larger organizations that may already have intranet software or employee engagement software, then internal communications features may be embedded within those larger systems.
  • Industry-specific: There are internal communications tools that are designed specifically for an industry’s needs, such as push-to-talk (PTT) software that’s intended for the manufacturing and field service sectors. Or, there may be clinical communication tools that keep in mind HIPAA compliance by integrating it into its messaging software. 
Video conferencing software
Picture source Unsplash

What Are the Best Features for Internal Communications Software?

As you have probably already gathered, there are a lot of options when it comes to the internal communications software space. We’ll soon get to how to pick the right tool for your business needs, but before we do, let’s review the best and most desirable features that you’ll want to look for in your chosen internal communications software. 

  • Notifications: If you were sent a message but aren’t alerted of the message, did you really even get the message? Well, yes, obviously you did, but you could easily miss it. That’s why notifications are a sought-after feature because it alerts users when a new message comes in. 
  • Instant messaging: Direct messaging is perhaps the most notable feature of internal communications software as it serves as the foundation. Users can either send 1:1 messages or create groups or channels (based on teams or projects). 
  • Activity feed: Activity feeds let users know what’s happening in their groups or team chats when activity has occurred. 
  • Search: The search feature allows users to, you guessed it, search through their chats by keyword to reference back to old messages (or find files). 
  • File sharing: Speaking of files, internal communications software can be used to quickly share documents or files. 
  • Surveys: Some tools provide polling and survey features so that teams can come to an agreement within the app.

As technology progresses, more features are being added to these tools, such as artificial intelligence (AI) assistants, video conferencing capabilities, automatic translation, screen sharing, and the like. 

It used to be the case that businesses had to find one tool for internal communications (in terms of instant messaging) and another one for video conferencing features. But, given the changing nature of how businesses are operating globally and with more employees working remotely, video conferencing is becoming an additional feature that these software tools are offering. 

With tools both new and old, it’s beneficial to also utilize email newsletters and tools like Publicate to complement your communication goals. This way, employees can receive internal comms through engaging emails and always refer back to any important information by revisiting their inboxes. 

What are the Challenges of Internal Communications Software?

As useful as internal communications software is, it’s not always so clear-cut. There are some messages and information that are better sent through different mediums. Clearly conveying business information comes down to three main factors: the message itself, the audience, and the modes by which you share that message. 

Some messages, such as new hire announcements or corporate policy updates, or thought leadership from the C-suite can be better suited for emails. You can use Publicate’s email newsletter platform for these types of messages and more. 

The upside is that you get to create beautiful and engaging emails quickly (without any need for graphic designers or coders). Then, all you have to do is export the email to send it from any mail service provider of your choosing. 

Once it’s been sent, you gain access to measure employee engagement (i.e. open rates and click-through rates in real-time). 

What are the Best Internal Communications Tools?

Here’s a brief look at some popular internal communication tools, based on what they are most known for providing. 

  • Publicate
    Publicate is a complimentary email builder that makes creating internal communications newsletters efficient, effective, and exciting. With Publicate you can build on the platform and then export to send on any third-party provider.

    The web-based platform removes the need for graphic designers and IT teams, so you can create newsletters with a few clicks of your mouse. 

    Plus, Publicate integrates with the technology you’re already using, so you don’t have to pay for another third-party email provider because you can export and upload your newsletters to the email provider you already use. No coding needed. Try it out. 
  • Staffbase
    Staffbase is a great mobile-first tool that is an end-to-end internal communications platform, with the option to integrate with Microsoft 365 and other SaaS software.
  • Cerkl:
    This tool includes business insights, content management, and dedicated email with artificial intelligence. 
  • Connecteam: 
    If you have a team that’s in the field, Connecteam provides workforce project management software that is best suited for retail, healthcare, construction, food and beverage, and transportation companies. 
  • Zoho Cliq: 
    For a live chat tool, Zoho Cliq offers private channels so employees can speak internally amongst themselves or externally with customers. 
  • Prezly
    An industry-specific tool, Prezly is geared towards PR teams to help them manage their workflows and collaborate. 
  • Wrike: 
    Wrike provides ready-made templates, shared team dashboards, and workflows that can help to automate communication processes such as approvals and requests. 
  • Workplace from Meta: 
    Facebook Workplace (now called Workplace from Meta) provides a place for employees to communicate using the Facebook interface. 
  • Axero Solutions: 
    For an enterprise social and collaboration platform, Axero connects customers, partners, and employees to build an online community. 
  • ScreenCloud
    If you’re looking to run digital signage in your organization, then ScreenCloud will turn your screens (TVs, tablets, etc.) into digital signage so you can spread your messages easily. 

How to Choose Internal Communications Software?

Phew, we made it through the list (and that’s really just an abbreviated list of your options). So, now, you’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to pick what’s best for your organization. 

Begin by defining your goals. Be sure not to confuse internal communications software with project management software, because those are different. Project management tools are aimed at organizing work and managing workflows, whereas internal communication tools are geared around enabling employees and teams to communicate. 

You already are using software within your organization, so to make the most out of whatever tool you add, be sure it can integrate. There’s no need to have to retrain your entire staff on a new technology if you don’t need to. 

For example, if you’re going to add an internal communications newsletter platform like Publicate, you won’t have to add a new email provider. You can keep using Gmail or Outlook (or any other provider) because once you design a newsletter on Publicate’s web-based platform, you can export it straight to your existing email service provider to send it out. 

All Clear on Internal Communications Software! 

Now that you know everything there is to know about internal communications software, you can perform some research to find the tool that best supports your organization’s goals and internal communications strategy. 

In many situations, emails could be just as powerful as internal communications software. This is especially true if you’re looking to boost engagement. At the same time, it’s a more cost-effective option to share messages with your employees. 

A tool like Publicate is a great complementary software to achieve your internal communications goals. If you are ready to build and send an internal communications newsletter without hassle, then you’re invited to start using Publicate for free. 

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