“More talk out there!”
If you’ve ever played a team sport or watched a game from the sidelines, you’ve no doubt heard a coach using this line to encourage her players. More communication means more awareness of what’s happening in the game, which typically leads to better outcomes.
Internal comms apps work the same way for businesses.
But communicating in business isn’t the same as communicating in sports; more communication isn’t always better. Just ask your coworkers if they want to receive more emails and Slack push notifications…
It’s not more communication we need, it’s more specialized communication.
For example, if your team communication needs involve scheduling, then Slack probably isn’t the optimal solution. Or, if you need to access a team member’s physical address, it would make more sense to use a company directory rather than interrupt their workday with an email. Using the right tool for the job is important.
In this post we’re going to unpack the best internal communication software to keep your team (especially if you manage a remote team) in sync and boost productivity across the board.
Let’s dig in.
Note: In 2022, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard of email and Slack by now. Both are great internal communications platforms, but you’re likely already using one or both of these and fully aware of their capabilities. For that reason, we’ve excluded them from this list so we can show you some lesser-known apps that can boost your employee productivity and engagement.
What is an Internal Comms App?
An internal communication app is a tool teams use for employee communication. As both technology and teamwork evolve we are seeing more specialized apps that serve a specific type of communication like scheduling, task management, or to share information—to name a few.
What this means is that in order to find the best internal comms app, first you must sort out exactly what you’re trying to accomplish—which type of communication stream are you trying to streamline?
Let’s take the topic of project management, for example. Which sounds like a better communication method?
- Emailing your colleague randomly to ask when their piece of the project will be completed. Note that email frequency and intensity increase as the deadline nears…
- Accessing an overview of the project organized by subtasks including who’s responsible, when it’s due, and their progress thus far.
That was a rhetorical question—it’s #2.
As more and more organizations embrace remote work cultures, it’s important to develop employee communication channels that allow people to work asynchronously via full transparency into progress, deadlines, and feedback.
With that said, here are some of our favorite apps for effective internal communication.
Glide: The Best Tool for Customized Internal Comm
No surprise here—We truly believe Glide is the best tool available if you’re looking for an internal comms app that’s customized to your organizational needs. The ability to build custom applications (with no-code!) that are immensely powerful and flexible is actually the entire purpose of the platform.
While there are many tools that niche down into a single use-case for comms (and do it well—see below!) Glide takes the opposite approach. Glide is like a Swiss-army knife that can be adapted and flexed to solve a virtually endless list of communication challenges.
Let’s take a look at a few of these customized solutions in practice.
Let’s say you’re organizing some type of internal event for your organization and you need the mailing address of every employee. This is especially true when managing remote employees. Rather than send a ton of emails and managing all the responses, you could use Glide to create an employee directory. In fact, we already have an employee directory template you can just copy and paste.
In just a few minutes you can make a fully customized app that uses spreadsheet data to populate an interactive experience. Your HR department likely already has a spreadsheet with that data, so you can just make a copy, add any desired data points in new columns, and configure your app to do exactly what it needs to.
1:1 Private Chat App | Messenger
Need a way to instant message your coworkers but aren’t satisfied with the current offerings of the chat marketplace? Build your own!
The major benefit of building your own messenger app is that you can customize it to suit your use case. For instance, you can organize your company into different teams to facilitate group chats, create rich personal profiles, enable file sharing, and add functionality that doesn’t exist elsewhere. The possibilities are virtually endless.
When your organization needs to communicate at the task-level, nothing beats a good project management app. Project management apps are absolutely crucial for several reasons:
- They offer team-wide visibility into active projects
- They allow teams to work asynchronous while maintaining accountability
- They house and archive past communication in a way that messenger apps can’t
And while there are dozens of options for project management software, there are none that you can fully customize to your workflow needs to the level that Glide can. No need to try and fit a square peg into a round hole—design your project management system exactly how you’d like. You can start with our Company Tasks & Projects template :)
If you’re looking to get team or company-wide feedback on an issue, you can certainly just email or use direct messaging to all your coworkers. But then you’d have to sift through their responses, find some way to organize who said what, and then prepare your findings in a presentation.
Why not just build an app that does all that for you? In just minutes, you can build a custom feedback loop that will solicit, organize, and prepare your data in a manner which suits your preferences. Get started with our Feedback Form template.
Hopefully this sheds some light on how you can use Glide to build custom employee communications apps for your business that will improve productivity and enhance employee experience.
ContactMonkey - The Best Internal Newsletter
If you’re looking to distribute company info to employees and coworkers, a newsletter is a great way to do that. Unlike personal inboxes, employees have an obligation to read their work emails—this means that an internal newsletter has a very high chance of being opened and read.
Because you have a captive audience, you have a great opportunity to take advantage of their attention with an engaging newsletter. Internal newsletters are a great channel to give employees the inside scoop on company news before the public hears it. With some thoughtful planning, you might even be able to get your employees to help your public relations efforts.
One of the reasons we like ContactMonkey for this service (as opposed to something like Mailchimp, which is designed for public-facing newsletters) is that it integrates with Outlook and Gmail. Without ever leaving either of the two most popular email clients, users are able to create rich emails in HTML with a drag-and-drop editor.
Additionally, another nifty feature we like is the ability to capture employee feedback with features like emoji reactions, pulse surveys, eNPS, and anonymous comments. Beyond email open and click rates, this gives companies another tool to measure employee engagement—all of which is recorded with a built-in metrics dashboard provided by ContactMonkey.
Storyboard - The Best Internal Podcast Service
Podcasting has exploded in recent years. 75% of Americans are familiar with the term “podcasting,” 55% are podcast fans, and 24% (68 million people) listen to podcasts on a weekly basis (Podcast Insights).
And since so many people are listening to podcasts at work, many companies are taking advantage of this by starting their own internal show. You might be surprised by some of the names on this list:
- Netflix – We are Netflix podcast
- Deloitte – The Green Room podcast (also available publicly)
- Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s podcast
- American Airlines – Tell me why podcast
And that’s just to name a few!
And if you’re looking to start your own internal podcast, we recommend checking out Storyboard. This service was designed specifically to plan, produce, and host private podcasts. As opposed to standard podcasting platforms, Storyboard offers a variety of security features to ensure your private podcast stays private. Security features include:
- Password protections
- Easy deactivation
- Single sign-on
- Email verification
Private podcasts look to be a burgeoning tool in the internal communications space—will you take advantage of them?
BlogIn - The Best Internal Company Blog
Back in the day, most mid-market to enterprise companies maintained an intranet that was often equipped with some sort of weblog or other social media features. And more often than not, it was a total snoozefest.
Blogging has evolved to become a massive business asset externally—shoot, you’re reading one now! But what many companies haven’t yet understood is that you can replicate some of that business value by hosting an internal blog.
The goals and metrics for success for an internal blog are much different, though. While marketing blogs seek to gain search rankings, organic traffic, and sales, internal blogs should be optimized for building community, company culture, and employee engagement.
BlogIn was designed with an impressive array of features specifically to help organizations achieve these internal common goals. A few standout features include:
- Security - Set up invite-only member access
- Activity log - See what your users have been up to
- Company Wiki - Document and organize institutional knowledge
- Segmentation - Organize your users into teams with different roles and permissions
- Single Sign-On - BlogIn has integrations with SSO providers like Okta, Azure, or Google
Take a look at the full list of BlogIn features for a more comprehensive view.
Honorable Mentions - Other Internal Communication Tools to Consider
While we curated the list above for a few specific use cases, we understand your organization may have more internal communications needs than they can fulfill. That said, here are a few other apps worth checking out:
- Slack - Instant messaging app used by more than 10 million people every day
- Asana - Project management software used by more than 75,000 organizations
- Google Drive - Affordable cloud storage with best-in-class ease of use
- Donut - Team-building app for remote workplaces
- Zoom - Powerful and ubiquitous videoconferencing service
Did we miss anything? What would you add to this list?
How to Choose the Right Internal Comms App for Your Organization
The best advice for choosing an internal commons tool is: It depends…
Ultimately, your use case will be the primary factor in your decision, so it’s worth taking a little extra time to make sure you know exactly what you’ll need it to do.
That said, if you’re looking for a highly flexible tool that can be tailored to do exactly what you need it to do, Glide is the superior option. From two-way instant messaging to project management to team directories to employee onboarding, Glide is the ultimate solution for custom desktop and mobile apps—both iOS and Android. Whatever your needs are, Glide can help power your internal communications strategy. And you can try it for free!