An organization's internal communication methods can add or detract from the overall employee experience. Effective internal communication can lead to happier employees, resulting in higher employee engagement and retention.
We’ll cover the different types of internal communication methods and their advantages and share some unique examples you can use with your employees.
What are internal communication methods?
Internal communication is effective communication and collaboration between individuals in an organization. Communication methods are more about how you go about communicating information rather than what you share. For example, you could share information in a video or company-wide messaging platform.
The different types of internal communication
There are a few types of internal communication methods. Some of the most common ones include:
- Top-down communication consists of leaders or managers communicating company information, initiatives, and goals to their direct reports or employee base.
- Bottom-up communication allows employees to pass on feedback or critical information to upper management.
- Peer-to-peer communication is communication that happens between employees within the same hierarchical group.
- Crisis communication is communication that occurs during an emergency. This type of communication is urgent and needs to be conveyed quickly and efficiently to keep employees safe or mitigate the impact.
The benefits of internal communication
Internal communication is essential for several reasons. First and foremost, it keeps employees informed on the latest developments in a company, which can help keep them engaged.
Secondly, it helps build peer-to-peer relationships by encouraging group collaboration. Peer relationships can create a positive work environment, which is crucial for a productive workplace. Internal communication can also help build trust, improve employee performance, encourage collaboration across departments, boost retention, and much more.
15 internal communication methods
1. Bulletin boards or digital signage
Bulletin boards are still a popular and effective way to communicate within an organization. You can post a bulletin board in common areas, like the break room or main area of the office, to get the most out of them. For example, employees can share memos, upcoming events, team wins, or fun quotes to boost morale.
An alternative to cork boards and thumb tacks is a digital bulletin board, like a TV. For example, it’s common for some companies to display metrics or essential information on TVs throughout the office. In addition, it can be easier to update a digital board than a physical one.
2. Employee newsletters and emails
Emails will always be a part of office culture, as are employee newsletters, two common forms of internal communication. Newsletters often are sent as emails, which is why we grouped them together.
Companies can send out employee newsletters weekly to keep employees up-to-date on things like new hires, departures, birthdays, or critical company news.
Emails are great for communicating with multiple employees at the same time. Employees can choose to reply to the group email or have a designated person they email with additional questions.
3. Business texting
Texting is one of the most popular communication channels in the world, so why aren’t more businesses using it?
Business texting can add transparency to employee conversations and make communicating with field employees who often work out of the office easier. In addition, the said MMS feature makes sharing photos and videos easier to minimize miscommunication while on the job. The average response time for texting is 90 seconds, so it’s an excellent channel for rapid back-and-forth communication.
4. Messaging software like Slack
Messaging platforms, like Slack, are desired by many employers because they make workplace communication centralized. Slack allows companies to create different groups or message chains so workers can share ideas, provide updates, and get more done. It also allows one-on-one chats between colleagues to streamline workplace communication.
Slack integrates with other popular applications like Zoom, Donut, and Google Calendar, to make it easy to access all needed apps.
Some alternatives to Slack include Webex, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Flock.
5. Company lunch and learns
Company lunch and learns are a great way to communicate information while encouraging learning and development. They’re essentially company-organized lunches where one employee, team, or group shares a valuable piece of information with the rest of the company.
Lunch and learns can be remote or in-person. If you’re online, consider using GrubHub or UberEats credits to allow employees to order food at home and virtually join into a lunch and learn. Or, you can ask employees to participate with their own meals if the lunch and learns are more frequent.
6. Pre-recorded videos or podcasts
Pre-recorded videos or podcasts are helpful internal communication tools, especially when onboarding new employees. For example, pre-recorded orientation videos can help companies communicate their core values, provide a glimpse at the company’s culture, and introduce them to a few staff members.
You could also create how-to videos or podcasts for employees to access or upload a podcast containing a Q&A with the company’s CEO on year-long goals.
7. Two-way radios
Who didn’t love walky-talkies as a kid? Two-way radios are another way for employees to communicate with one another. For example, warehouse employees often use radios because they are on their feet and far apart from each other, but not too far for a radio.
They also are commonly used by police, fire, and rescue personnel.
8. Live webinars
Companies often have webinars to pitch to customers, but webinars can work to educate employees, too.
Webinar topics can vary depending on what the company and its employees value, but some ideas include webinars on how to use new technology, product, or service.
9. Staff meetings
Another verbal internal communication method is an all-hands staff meeting that helps keep employees in the know. Some companies often start their week with a staff meeting to share metrics, birthdays, and other information they want their employees to know. Other companies will have these meetings monthly.
In-person meetings can foster a more profound understanding between employees since all departments are in the room together. Plus, these all-hands meetings allow a glimpse into what other departments are working on.
10. Virtual “hangout” or collaboration rooms
Virtual hangout rooms became popular when the pandemic first hit. They’re still relevant as many companies have adapted to a remote or hybrid work environment. They can be a place where employees can hop on and work with each other. Workplace by Meta is one example of a virtual collaboration space.
Apps like Donut are alternatives to virtual hangout rooms. These applications encourage online, peer-to-peer interactions to build relationships and boost morale, ultimately improving productivity.
11. Brainstorm sessions
Brainstorming sessions should be used as a way to come up with new ideas. Everyone in the company can contribute to a brainstorming session, but companies can group them into smaller teams to prioritize different projects or initiatives. For example, a marketing team can have a quarterly brainstorming session to brainstorm new campaign ideas that align with company goals.
Brainstorming sessions also give everyone a chance to contribute and encourage more employees to speak up about ideas they think will bring value to the company. Employees who feel like their ideas are recognized are more likely to be engaged and stay with a company.
12. Employee engagement software
Employee engagement software is a relatively new but beneficial tool for HR. Employee engagement software helps organizations get feedback, recognize employee achievements, and track staff performance goals. In addition, an employee engagement program brings transparency to an organization from the top down to help promote company culture, improve productivity, and facilitate two-way feedback.
Some examples of employee engagement software include Kazoo, WorkDay, and Lattice. Since these softwares enable two-way communication with surveys, goal tracking, and more, they made our list.
13. Internal documents
Internal documents are important written communication methods that help give employees more concrete guidance.
These documents can include an employee handbook, onboarding guide, product or service FAQ, style and brand guidelines, or more concrete instructions on how to use a software or tool within the organization.
Companies can use programs like Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365 to store these essential documents that employees use daily or weekly.
14. Handwritten notes
Handwritten notes are an endearing and fun way to communicate with employees. Companies can use these notes to thank employees for their hard work, congratulate them on significant milestones like work anniversaries, or remind them of a simple task they must complete.
Sometimes, it’s easiest to share news in person. This communication method allows employees to pick up on body language and can help foster deeper relationships. However, whether you are just having a quick water-cooler chat, having a company lunch, or having an in-person meeting, don’t forget the value of face-to-face interactions.
The bottom line
Every office is different, and what works for your business and your employees may not work for others. Therefore, it’s best to use a handful of various internal communication methods to effectively communicate information to your employees to help them feel engaged and in the know.