When COVID-19 shut down offices around the country, the percentage of U.S. remote workers jumped from 31% to 62% in just three weeks! Supervisors scrambled to find ways to reach their team as conference rooms turned into living rooms.
It’s no wonder why 74% of employees have the feeling they are missing out on company news.
If you haven’t already, the time has never been better to invest in a long-term internal communication tool.
From employee intranets to third-party chat apps—corporate communication apps come in all shapes and sizes.
A corporate communication app is a space for employees to talk and share information or files outside of just email or phone calls.
The rise of these apps is due in part to the increased saturation of our inboxes. The average employee receives 121 emails per day. With junky marketing messages mixed in with the informational, it’s easy for time-sensitive information to get lost.
Layer in the new reality that 80% of the world’s workforce identifies as mobile employees who work on-the-go, and the need for more versatile communication tools is greater than ever.
Virtually every blog on the subject is in agreement. There are two considerations you must have when choosing the tool that’s right for you.
And so, we’ve rounded up the top three tools for each of the categories in consideration, gave them a test run, and compiled all of our thoughts below.
At just $3.40 per month, per user, Blink is one of the most affordable and all-encompassing employee engagement apps. It combines workplace messaging, company internal feeds, and cloud storage, all in one branded portal. As an employee intranet, Blink functions on both desktop and mobile to accommodate out-of-office employees.
After signing up for my free trial the first thing I noticed was that the dashboard functions pretty similarly to social media platforms. I was able to create posts viewable by everyone and message specific groups/individuals.
On each of my posts people could comment, “like”, and continue threads of discussion right below the original message. It was also just as easy to share photos, links, videos, and polls to my feed.
Another great feature I found was the priority alert button, which required team members to click on a button within the post acknowledging they’ve seen the message. A simple but effective accountability measure.
It was also fairly simple to integrate my dashboard with tools like Google or Office 365. We’re talking less than 30 seconds of work on my end.
Overall, Blink delivered value above and beyond their price point, and I can see it functioning well across different industries and companies of various sizes!
Although not a full employee intranet, SimpleTexting provides a way to keep your entire company looped in via text message. With 95% of texts read within 3 minutes, text alerts are one of the fastest, most efficient ways to communicate with employees.
Most communication apps charge you per user, but SimpleTexting charges by the number of messages you send. This makes it extremely affordable if you only anticipate using your corporate communication app for the occasional alert. (And if your volume of messages goes up, the price-per-text goes down.).
Since this is our product, I didn’t want to be too biased with my experience on the platform. Instead, I’ll direct you to a few case studies to get a sense of how SMS served the internal communication network for two different companies.
Livestorm has a focus on video streaming and conferencing. Their program can host events as small as meetings and online training courses as large as conferences. For $120 per month, it’s one of the most expensive tools in this market.
Right off the bat after signing up for a free trial I could see that this platform is very event focused. Your dashboard features a running bar of statistics relating to the number of meetings you’ve held, the number of attendees, minutes in meetings, etc.
I also found that the product itself delivered a lot of the same functionality as Zoom, with the option to more professionally brand your meetings and events in accordance with your business. While Zoom is a much cheaper alternative, it feels like leasing a product. Livestorm feels like really giving your company its own virtual office.
For the price of the service, I was a bit surprised at the lack of chat or push notification features. However, the platform was very clean, functional, and the value is absolutely there if you want a tool for external and internal communications. For a meeting-heavy company, Livestorm seems like a great way to catalog and facilitate a large revolving door of events.
Slack is one of the most well-known internal communication tools on the market. We use it with our team.
If you’re unfamiliar, Slack is a workplace messaging platform that allows you to group employees by teams, host voice and video calls, share files, and integrate with third-party tools such as Google Docs.
Slack offers a free version of their service with the ability to send up to 10,000 messages within your team. From there, pricing increases to $6.67/month for standard-sized companies and $12.50/month for larger organizations. It’s simple to adjust your plan based on your growing (or shrinking team) as each price tier has a large amount of wiggle room on their specs.
From my own experience, I believe Slack is one of the most effective workplace communication tools for traditional desk workers. It has ample space for daily dialogue as well as the ability to save, bookmark, and search for any previous communication.
Similar to Slack, Zoho Cliq is a real-time messaging service. They have a lot of the same functionality including channels, individual messaging, audio/video calling, and searchable chat history.
The reason I felt like Zoho makes a better tool for a small business is the number of extra capabilities wrapped into one program.
Zoho’s Office Suite offers a few different productivity products à la carte, and they make tons of them available for free as widgets within Cliq. For example, their calendar tool, an expense report generator, file sharing storage, payment processing tools, and more. For businesses looking to stretch their dollar, Zoho Cliq provides a lot of functionality.
As a sacrifice to all the additions, I did feel their dashboard was a little bit cluttered compared to Slack. And I can imagine with a large directory of employees, it could get a little difficult to keep up! But for a smaller company, it may fit the bill perfectly.
One of Slack’s biggest competitors is Microsoft Teams. And the battle over which one is the top tool can get pretty polarizing (you either love one and hate the other or vice versa). Like Slack, Teams is a cloud-based application with three main focuses: chat, meetings, and file sharing.
Why I ultimately decided Teams was a better fit for larger organizations all comes down to Teams having a much larger capacity for company-wide meetings. You can host up to 10,000 attendees inside or outside of your organization!
While I ultimately find Slack to have a better UX, it boils down to individual preference. For a large business, Teams offers near-identical functionality to Slack with fewer limitations.
The enemy of all successful corporate communication is disorganization. And when you leave all your correspondence to email, the chance of information falling through the cracks skyrockets.
Not only does an organized space for meetings and chats save you valuable time, it can help your team feel connected, prepared, and positive.
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