Effective Staff Communication Tools For Small Businesses

Staff communication tools, in essence, are platforms, applications, or systems that enable businesses to streamline their internal communication processes. 

They help ensure everyone within the organization is on the same page, fostering transparency, collaboration, and engagement.

SMBs can significantly benefit from these tools for several reasons.

Firstly, they enhance efficiency by providing a centralized platform for communication, reducing the time and effort required for information exchange. 

Secondly, staff communication tools foster a sense of community and belonging among employees, contributing to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates. 

Lastly, they empower business owners to keep a finger on the pulse of their company, making it easier to adapt to changes and challenges in a rapidly evolving market.

These staff communications tools address three core problems for business owners. 

  1. They eliminate the confusion and miscommunication that can arise in traditional communication channels, ensuring that instructions and updates are consistently clear. 
  2. They enable remote work and flexible scheduling, which is crucial in the modern work landscape. 
  3. Staff communication tools improve the company culture by creating a more inclusive and collaborative environment, resulting in a more motivated and productive workforce.

In the perfect workplace, we’d want employees to enjoy opening company messages as much as personal ones. There are now many options for workplace tools that fall under “internal communication,” ranging from scheduling software to other internal comms tools. 

The hard part is finding more than just tools, but tools that can solve real organizational or employee problems and improve workflow.

Anyone can download a communication tool, but if you don’t know how to use it properly for your business, then they are worthless. 

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Types of Internal Communication Tool

1. Intranet: Staff Communication Tool

The intranet is a privatized network that is connected via the web. 

It is designed as a central channel for internal communication strategy where employees can share, gather, and access information. 

The intranet is often used to allow employees to stay connected to what is happening with the business.

An intranet can be a hub for knowledge sharing – from transferring documents and new company news to project notes and photo-sharing. 

The main page of an intranet can increase the visibility of company information along with relevant policies and notices through file sharing. 

Dedicated sections and channels can be created that allow employees access to all information available in one convenient knowledge base. 

Employees can also focus on the areas that pertain to them.

Intranet Benefits
• An intranet is a private community, so sensitive information can be shared within the business without outsiders gaining access. 

• It’s online, so even remote workers can collaborate with effective internal communication.

• The intranet can be split into sections and channels, helping to organize information. 

• Files such as documents and spreadsheets can be hosted on the intranet, making them easy to access. 

• All conversations are available to those with access to the intranet, so information is open to all teams, which supports a collaborative working environment. 

An intranet allows you to streamline different types of communication channels. 

You can have a forum or implement instant messaging. You can also store documents and information, which can act as guides for your employees.

The Importance Of An Intranet As A Communication Tool

An intranet is a secure, centralized hub where employees can access critical information, share knowledge, and collaborate seamlessly. 

Its importance lies in its ability to bridge geographical gaps, making it especially valuable for remote and dispersed teams. 

Here’s why it’s a game-changer:

1. Enhanced Knowledge Sharing

An intranet fosters an environment where employees can effortlessly exchange documents, policies, and best practices. 

It becomes a repository of institutional knowledge, aiding in onboarding, training, and day-to-day operations.

2. Real-Time Updates

Unlike traditional communication methods, intranets allow for instant dissemination of company news, announcements, and policy changes. 

This real-time information flow keeps everyone on the same page.

3. Improved Collaboration

Intranets enable project teams to collaborate effectively. 

They can create and share documents, calendars, and project updates, ensuring everyone is aligned and progress is tracked efficiently.

How Intranet Tool Works?

The Intranet operates as a centralized hub for information storage and dissemination. 

Here’s how it functions:

1. Centralized Information Repository

Intranets serve as a digital library, housing a wide range of documents, policies, procedures, and resources in one location. Employees can easily access this repository, ensuring everyone is on the same page.

2. Streamlined Communication

Intranets facilitate two-way communication. They enable company-wide announcements, news updates, and discussions. Employees can interact through forums, blogs, and chat, promoting collaboration and engagement.

3. Access Control

Security is paramount. Intranets employ access controls and user permissions to safeguard sensitive information. This ensures that only authorized personnel can view, edit, or share specific content.

4. Mobile Accessibility

Modern Intranet tools often come with mobile applications, allowing employees to connect and access information on the go. This is particularly crucial in today’s mobile workforce.

Mobile Intranet Apps And Remote Work

Mobile Intranet Apps play a pivotal role in fostering effective internal communication, and their significance is magnified, particularly in remote work.

The significance of Mobile Intranet Apps in remote work is evident in their ability to break down geographical barriers, allowing employees to work from home or other off-site locations while remaining in the loop. 

These apps ensure that team members have continuous access to essential documents, updates, and colleagues’ contact details, all from the convenience of their mobile devices, be it a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

Mobile Intranet Apps facilitate remote work and enable real-time updates, empowering employees to make informed decisions and provide efficient customer service. 

With their potential to enhance remote work’s efficiency and efficacy, Mobile Intranet Apps have become indispensable tools for modern businesses navigating the dynamics of an increasingly remote and digital workplace.

Intranet Tool Example: Igloo

Staff Communication Tools

Most people, when they hear “intranet,” think of it as outdated and clunky. 

Igloo is here to change that. 

Igloo is an internal communications software that efficiently pulls together the information and resources important to a business. 

Igloo allows you to create team rooms where employees can discuss projects or ideas and “hubs” of information which can be accessed anytime. 

You can even set up a room to discuss a podcast with an episode relevant to your team!

Instant messaging tools provide a quick and easy way to communicate with colleagues and ask questions about projects.

2. Human Resources Staff Communication Tools

Human resource tools allow employees to view important information, whether it’s regarding their time 401k, scheduling software, or paid time off

These tools can vary depending on what process you’re looking to automate and can range from scheduling software to financial services. 

More companies are moving to web-based human resources tools that provide employees access to a portal containing all of their information. 

These portals are forums where employees can ask questions or chat with colleagues. 

Most topics in these portals cover issues more specific to human resources, such as which HMO to choose or if employees plan to let their time off roll over. 

Benefits Of A Human Resources Tool
• Allows employees to provide feedback about specific HR processes.

• Employees can act as a support system for those new to the company.

• Employees can easily update their personal information, which will automatically be sent to HR for review. 

• Most options, including scheduling software, are cloud-based for easy access.

Human Resource Tool Example: Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch is a simple time clock software

It allows leadership to create schedules for their employees easily. 

Employees can review their schedules as well as the schedules of other employees. 

Other information, such as time worked, salary, pay rates, and personal information, can also be stored in Buddy Punch for easy access. 

If you’re looking for easy-to-use time tracking and scheduling software, then Buddy Punch is a great choice.

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Reporting and Analytics

Within staff communication tools, Reporting and Analyticsserve as a vital component, enabling organizations to gain valuable insights into the performance and impact of their internal communication strategies. 

By leveraging advanced analytics, businesses can assess the effectiveness of their communication efforts in real-time and make data-driven decisions for improvement.

Analytics can provide detailed metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and engagement levels, allowing HR professionals and communication teams to gauge the reception of messages and identify which communication channels are most effective. 

This data-driven approach measures the success of communication strategies and helps understand employee preferences and needs.

Furthermore, analytics can uncover trends and patterns in employee interactions, indicating which topics resonate the most and which may require additional attention. 

This information empowers HR and communication professionals to tailor their strategies for better employee engagement and satisfaction.

Incorporating reporting and analytics into your internal communication tools ensures that you can continuously refine and enhance your communication strategies, creating a more informed and engaged workforce, which, in turn, contributes to improved overall business outcomes.

3. Instant Messaging Tools

Instant messaging tools allow team members to communicate instantly. 

They can send messages, videos, photos, and links to colleagues. 

This method is a much faster and more natural way of communicating and mimics two-way tools that we use daily – such as WhatsApp.

When you send someone an email, you know it will sit in their inbox and potentially be ignored for a few days. 

With instant messaging as your main communication platform, it is immediate so that you can immediately begin a dialogue. 

Instant messaging channels can be set up for group discussions or project management. 

For example, you can have one room dedicated to sales or marketing. 

This communication method allows employees to share relevant information without email overloading everyone.

Instant Messaging Benefits
A quick and easy way to share information or ask questions.

A lower volume of emails needed to be sent.

Conversations can be searched – rather than private conversations happening solely through email.

Easy access to video and voice calls.

The ability to share photos, videos, and documents in one employee communication tool.

Instant Messaging Tool Example: Flock


While Slack has become a widely used messaging app, another excellent option is Flock. 

Flock is easier to use than Slack and has nearly every feature you need to share information with your team. 

Not only does it allow for instantaneous communication, but it also has notes, to-do lists, and integrations with applications like Google Drive. 

It’s also available on mobile devices if you’re looking for employee apps.

4. Digital Signage

Digital signage requires you to place screens and monitors in strategic locations. 

This method is one of the lesser-known tools for workplace communication – likely because it is one of the only passive means of team communication.

If you feel that your employees are not absorbing company information flying around, then digital signage could help. 

By implementing a passive method of sharing internal information, you can increase the flow of company updates without adding another channel that employees have to check.

You can use digital signage to focus on specific information, such as help numbers, or add ever-changing content depending on employees’ needs. 

One person, a group of employees, or even the entire company can easily manage the screens.

Digital Signage Benefits
Information can easily be updated and quickly deployed. No having to wait for printouts.

Data you already have can be seamlessly connected to screen apps.

Screens can provide information that employees can view while they work. They can save time by not having to read a handbook or open an email.

Screens can be scheduled to display different content at different times of the day.

Digital Signage Tool Example: ScreenCloud

One great example of a digital signage tool is ScreenCloud. 

ScreenCloud lets you share any content you’d like through your digital screens. 

You can display the most relevant information in an office-wide view. Whether in your office, lobby, reception area, or team room. 

Collaboration tools can significantly increase lateral communication and productivity. Most collaboration tools are cloud-based, granting users access to the tools from any device or location.

5. Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools allow more than one person to share a project, add notes or feedback, and provide sign-off. 

Thanks to modern technology, most collaboration tools are cloud-based and allow multiple users to access them simultaneously. 

Benefits Of Collaboration Tools For Internal Communication
It allows users to access the tool simultaneously.

Promotes and increases collaboration.

Changes are made in real time.

Collaboration tools allow you to revert to previous projects or changes.

You get a convenient place to store all project notes.

Not all businesses decide to use collaboration tools, but those who do find their employees are more productive, and they have to deal with fewer email chains. 

Collaboration Tool Example: Google Docs


One of the best collaboration tools available is Google Workspace

This comprehensive suite of online applications includes Google Docs for creating documents, Google Sheets for spreadsheets, and Google Slides for presentations. 

It simplifies online meetings and file sharing, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to enhance productivity. 

With Google Workspace, all your documents and data are securely stored in the cloud, ensuring that you never lose essential files. 

Additionally, Google Workspace offers integrated dashboards for streamlined task management and project management software, allowing your team to collaborate effectively within a single collaboration platform. 

Furthermore, it seamlessly integrates with Gmail, providing a cohesive and efficient communication and collaboration experience.

6. Team Bonding Tools

Effective team collaboration and teamwork are crucial for a company’s success. 

While many organizations prioritize top-down communication, the importance of lateral communication among co-workers should not be underestimated. 

The way employees interact with each other plays a vital role in fostering a positive employee experience and obtaining valuable employee feedback.

To facilitate seamless team collaboration, businesses should invest in the best internal communication tools available. 

These tools, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, offer various features that enhance business communication, including video conferencing and video calls. 

They also provide notifications and push notifications to ensure that all stakeholders are informed and engaged.

In the case of remote or in-person teams, these communication management software and project management tools can significantly improve the overall employee experience. 

They enable quick and efficient exchanges of ideas, project updates, and feedback, fostering a sense of togetherness among co-workers, whether they are long-time employees or new hires.

Moreover, for remote teams, video conferencing and screen sharing capabilities within these tools enable effective collaboration that mimics in-person interactions. 

With the help of mobile apps, team members can stay connected and receive important updates on the go, making it easier for employees to stay in the loop with the latest initiatives and updates. 

In this evolving workspace, having the right management software and project management tools is essential for a productive and engaged workforce.

Benefits Of A Team Bonding Tool
Helps employees who may not speak up to connect.

Increases transparency across the business, projects, and roles.

It can build a stronger connection between colleagues.

It makes communication much more straightforward.

Team Bonding Tool Example: Know Your Team

One example of a team bonding tool is Know Your Team

This tool provides icebreaker questions for new team members and can be set up to ask non-work related questions such as “What’s your favorite holiday and why?”

There are many human resource tools, such as scheduling software, that can improve communication between employees as well as management.

7. Employee Social Networks

Employee social networks are relatively new tools for staff communication. 

Businesses can use the same features public social networks use to encourage participation. 

These can be spin-offs from regular social media networks such as Facebook. 

As with other communication tools, employee social networks can overlap tools such as instant messager or company intranets. 

Most businesses see their employee social networks as more than just a nice tool. 

Instead, they use them for company blogs to share upcoming events and to provide any other information necessary for employees. 

Employee social networks can become a place that allows employees to express themselves creatively.

Benefits Of An Employee Social Network
Mimics other social networks.

It can provide instant feedback, advice, or the ability to collaborate on tasks.

A way to include remote employees in daily proceedings.

It allows you to increase transparency by giving employees recognition, praise, and project updates.

A safe place for employees to discuss shared interests – work-related or otherwise.

Employee Social Network Tool Example: Jostle

Jostle is an excellent example of an employee social network. 

It considers itself a “People Engagement Platform” tool with a blog news feed and a specific area for employee praise.

Every tool available offers different features and functionalities, so it’s essential to research and find the best solution to meet your needs. 

8. Internal Newsletters

Internal Newsletters

Internal newsletters are a powerful staff communication tool, offering several significant advantages for organizations. 

These newsletters are a central hub for sharing essential information, updates, and company news directly with employees, ensuring that everyone stays well-informed and engaged.

The value of internal newsletters lies in their ability to create a sense of community within the organization. 

By sharing official news and highlights of employee accomplishments and team successes, these newsletters contribute to fostering a positive company culture. 

Recognizing and celebrating employee achievements within the newsletter promotes appreciation and camaraderie, further motivating the workforce.

In terms of content, internal newsletters are versatile and can include various elements. 

They can feature company news, industry insights, product updates, and important announcements. 

Additionally, internal newsletters can incorporate multimedia elements, such as photos, graphs, or videos, to make the content more engaging and memorable.

The role of internal newsletters in keeping employees informed and engaged is vital. 

They act as a two-way communication channel where employees can also contribute by sharing their successes or updates. 

This interactive approach helps bridge the gap between management and staff, fostering a sense of involvement and inclusivity.

Conducting Employee Surveys To Improve Staff Communication

Employee surveys are a powerful tool in the arsenal of staff communication. 

They offer many benefits, making them an indispensable resource for organizations. 

First and foremost, surveys provide a direct channel for employees to voice their opinions and concerns. 

By collecting feedback on various aspects of the work environment, including internal communication, companies can gain valuable insights into the sentiments and needs of their workforce.

These surveys serve as a vital mechanism for identifying areas that require improvement in internal communication. 

Employees can highlight whether they feel well-informed about company policies, changes, or updates. 

Additionally, they can express their preferences for communication methods, helping organizations tailor their strategies to align with the workforce’s preferences.

Employee surveys also play a crucial role in promoting transparency and trust. 

When employees see that their feedback is sought and acted upon, it fosters a culture of open communication and demonstrates that their opinions are valued.

Moreover, surveys can be utilized to measure the success of internal communication strategies. 

By tracking responses over time, organizations can assess whether their efforts have led to positive changes in employee satisfaction, engagement, and understanding of company goals.

9. Employees Experience Tool

Employees Experience Tools are designed to cater to the individual needs of each employee, creating a more tailored and user-friendly work environment. 

These tools significantly contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity by offering personalized experiences.

One of the key features of these tools is their ability to centralize information. 

Employees can conveniently access their daily schedules, work emails, recent documents, and applications, all from a single platform. 

This simplifies their daily tasks, as everything they need is at their fingertips, enhancing efficiency and reducing the time spent searching for information.

Moreover, these tools often incorporate global search functions that scan through various communication channels, such as emails, blog posts, and articles. 

This powerful search capability enables employees to find specific information swiftly, improving their decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Additionally, multilingual capabilities in these tools accommodate diverse workforces. 

Employees can view and interact with content in the most comfortable language, enhancing inclusivity and ensuring that language barriers do not hinder communication and collaboration.

10. Social Employee Advocacy Tool

Social Employee Advocacy Tool

Social Employee Advocacy Tools empowers individuals within the organization to become enthusiastic champions of the company’s brand, both online and offline.

One of the primary advantages of a social employee advocacy tool is that it fosters a sense of trust and authenticity in the eyes of customers and prospects. 

When employees willingly share company content, it lends credibility to the brand’s message, as it’s perceived as a genuine endorsement by those who understand the company best. 

This personal touch can significantly influence brand perception and customer trust.

Furthermore, social advocacy tools expand the company’s reach across social media platforms. 

By sharing company updates, news, and content, employees can tap into their own networks, exponentially increasing the brand’s visibility. 

This not only broadens the audience but also drives organic growth and engagement, all while reducing advertising costs.

Another notable benefit is aligning employees with the company’s goals and values. 

As employees become more involved in advocating for the brand, they tend to feel a deeper connection to the organization’s mission. 

This sense of purpose and engagement can lead to improved job satisfaction, higher retention rates, and increased productivity.

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