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25 of the best internal communications tools to try

John Rost

Searching for internal communications tools and employee communication software is no small task – there are dedicated platforms for just about every facet of internal comms strategy. Each one promises to engage your internal audiences in one way or another, but there isn’t a single tool that will truly solve for the complexity of your company. At Workshop, we’ve dedicated our attention to perfecting the internal email platform, and we’ve seen a lot of different tech setups that our customers use. In short, there IS a set of four essential internal communications tools that covers almost every need, and plenty of others tools that add “icing on the cake” if you have the budget and bandwidth. To help you choose the best internal communications tools for you and your team, here’s a round-up of the most best-reviewed platforms and a little about the pros and cons of each.

We’ll cover the four essential internal comms tools:

  • Employee instant messaging tools
  • Intranets and employee hubs
  • Internal email software
  • Employee texting tools

and specialized services that your team might need:

  • Employee recognition platforms
  • Internal podcast recording and distribution
  • Project management platforms
  • Extra internal comms analytics layers

Employee instant messaging tools

It’s hard to remember how anyone worked before employee instant messaging! Today it’s one of our four essential internal communications software pieces, but it wasn’t that long ago it was a new idea. When choosing instant messaging for your office, focus on using something that’s easy and quick and lightweight for employees. Often the one that’s already built into your tech stack is best, unless employees are begging to move to Slack (it happens!).

Slack

Slack is everywhere at this point, and has quickly become the go-to for employee messaging across every type and size of company.  There’s simply no better tool for in-the-moment, day-to-day communication, and employees love it. It’s easy to organize channels, groups, and topics, and it’s super-customizable for each user. Slack also comes with lots of employee instant messaging customizations and lots of “secret” tricks. Don’t sleep on Slack, but also beware – it’s not for communication or documents that need high visibility long-term.

example in slack, an employee instant messaging tool

 

Teams

Microsoft Teams is the other big player in employee instant messaging, and the obvious upside is it’s built into internal comms products that your organization likely already uses. You can message individuals or teams in the system, set up teams for specific groups or products, and link it all to your Outlook calendar and Teams video meetings. The biggest downsides to Teams are it sometimes feels complicated or not-intuitive, and a total lack of charm or “cool” factor.

Google Chat

If your organization is Google-based, there’s a built-in option for you, too. Google Chat sits in middle of the whole Google suite, and it’s set up a lot like Slack these days. You can organize teams and groups, react with emojis and some other fun additions, and click straight into a Huddle to turn any chat into a video call. The obvious biggest plus is it’s automatically part of your Google system – we wouldn’t recommend trying it unless you have that integration.

Instant messaging note: all the major employee messaging apps integrate with other platforms, too, including intranets and internal email tools. You can set up pretty clever notifications and links between all your systems – just be careful not to set up too many tools!

 

Intranets and hubs

There are lots of different approaches to the modern intranet out there right now, but they’re all trying to do the same thing –  provide a centralized hub for employees seeking information. It’s essential to house all this stuff in an accessible and engaging way, but we also know it doesn’t replace email. We strongly recommend a good intranet for employees to “pull” information, and internal email and text solutions for you to “push” information to them.

Sharepoint

Microsoft’s nearly-everywhere Sharepoint is the content platform at the center of a huge majority of company’s communications software. It’s built in with everything else Microsoft so it quickly becomes the default for intranet, information and document sharing, and employee management. It certainly does all of those things – most internal communicators are still looking for something to bring their employees to all that information, though.

Guru

We use some of Guru’s features here at Workshop! We love the employee knowledge base functionality, which helps you create and upkeep an easily searchable knowledge hub that links to all your other services and activities. There’s also an intranet setup, which syncs with your HRIS and helps people build their own dashboard within the web-based app to see what they need each day.

LumApps

A lot of old-fashioned intranets are one-way, meaning HR or Comms is publishing information and expecting employees to read or search it to find what they need. LumApps is set up to give employees the ability to post content and ask questions within the app, making it somewhere between an intranet and a chat tool. It syncs with your major systems and allows communicators to publish campaigns, and comes with a dedicated app for employees to access the information.

Interact

Interact has a wide-ranging platform and a focus on communication, with the goal of offering an all-in-one employee experience platform. They’re using AI integration to personalize and sync to all the employee apps you’ve got.

Workvivo

Workvivo is an extension of Zoom, and also brings together an intranet, engagement, and organization platform into a mobile-first platform.

 

Internal email software

Even with the promises of all-in-one intranets and engagement hubs, the problem of reaching all of your employees where they are hasn’t gone away. According to our own 2024 Internal Comms Trends Report (and plenty of other sources), 94% of teams rely on email. That’s because… it works. Internal email platforms are built to make that experience better for both creators and senders and provide the analytics that old-fashioned emailing lacks.

Workshop

Yay, that’s us! Workshop is web-based internal email software that enables you to create, send, manage, and measure your messages like no other. Workshop syncs up directly with your best source of employee information, and allows you slice and dice your distribution lists to send emails to exactly who needs them. Our drag-and-drop visual email builder and easy editorial calendar (below) eliminates all the hassles of Outlook and lets you create on-brand visuals without calling the design team. Internal communicators – and their organizations – love the deep and easy-to-understand analytics Workshop provides, using them to improve their results and increase employee engagement with email.

editorial calendar workshop, the most recommended employee email software

ContactMonkey

ContactMonkey is a plug-in, so it only works with existing Gmail and Outlook setups. You’ll get the ability to make better-looking emails and get analytics back, but you won’t have the flexibility and stability of a web-based app.

Politemail

Politemail also expands internal communicators’ abilities to create emails, manage lists, and get analytics back, but it only works plugged into Outlook. You won’t get as many features or updates with a plug-in platform.

 

Employee texting tools  

It’s strongly recommended to add an employee texting solution to your internal communications software setup… over 90% are opened, and often immediately. There’s no better way to reach deskless or frontline employees, and to engage with and meet a wide variety of teams where they are. But… there aren’t exactly TONS of options.

There is a series of text marketing apps with great functionality that are designed for external customer use… and they work great for that. But, none of these services will sync with your HR tools, play nicely with your other internal apps, or provide data and support specifically for employee texting.

Textedly

Textedly is an easy tool for texting customers, primarily built for external marketing purposes. You can integrate with most major marketing platforms and respond back to your customers with two-way texting. The shortfall here for internal communicators is you won’t be able to sync with your HR services to coordinate comms with other channels.

SimpleTexting

SimpleTexting has been in the marketing SMS business for longer than anyone else. The service will help text mass lists, manage compliance with external marketing guidelines, and allow you to respond one-on-one. It’s fantastic for customer messages, but runs into the same set of challenges when you try to adapt SimpleTexting for employee audiences.

SlickText

SlickText is experienced in the marketing space, offering a wide variety of tools and tricks to help grow your customer texting list and help them convert. They also bring in automation, analytics and insights,

Workshop

Realistically, we know that there are situations where employees don’t have quick access to their inbox (or don’t have a corporate email address in the first place). That’s why Workshop built a two-way SMS tool to complement your email communications. Our SMS add-on is the perfect way to reach frontline and deskless employees who may not be checking their emails all day long. And when used together, email and SMS are a surefire way to stay connected with 100% of your team!

 

 

Other internal comms tools 

Employee recognition

The link between employee recognition and bottom-line results is strong, but it’s not a simple idea to implement in any company. It takes coordination with leadership, team leaders, HR, and internal comms to implement the kind of program that creates meaningful change. Employee email, employee texting, and your intranet all play a role in recognizing employees, and there are a number of apps that work to tie it all together.

Workhuman

Workhuman’s deep platform has options for social recognition across the company, training and development conversations between leaders and team members, celebration of life events and finding work-life balance, service milestones, celebrations, and more.

Awardco

Another option for recognition is Awardco, which focuses on simplicity and flexibility to reward employees using the rest of your tech stack. For spot recognitions, service and contribution based rewards and ongoing programs, Awardco integrates with HR systems, Slack, Teams, and others.

Bonusly

This is a platform that actually delivers rewards to employees, along with communications and team management. Managers can choose to give gifts from major retailers, or company swag, or Bonusly Bucks which can be saved, managed, and redeemed in different ways. The software integrates with most major workplace communication software to let employees know they’ve been rewarded.

 

Internal podcast tools

The internal podcast is a smaller, but growing, part of many companies’ internal communications strategy. The listen-or-watch-anytime medium is great for getting information across to diverse employee groups, creating and building up employee and leadership influencers within the company, and living the values of a high-communication, modern culture.

Pager.fm

Pager.fm is a dedicated private podcasting app that simplifies the recording process with recording templates, a super-simple platform for creating your podcasts, and sharing with employees via a link you can paste anywhere. They’ll give you analytics including an engagement graph that shows how far into the recording people listened.

Castos

Castos is an all-in-one podcasting distribution service that offers a specialized internal company podcast service, too. You can choose whether you want your recorded material to be distributed to the major podcast networks like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or sent to just your employees via a link and a private media player.

Soundbite AI

Another way to reach your employees is with TikTok-style video messaging and audio podcasting through Microsoft Teams… which Soundbite AI can deliver. You record ideas and information in the style that your employees will digest, and Soundbite will distribute the media and bring you back engagement statistics.

 

Project management

Project management isn’t just an internal communications need (organization is for everyone!), but it’s really hard to keep track of comms work without it. The best project management software tracks timelines, contributors, tasks, calendars, campaigns and more… and makes it feel easy! The worst project management software actually adds time to projects and feels heavy. These are a few of our favorites that get the job done and work especially nicely with internal communications strategies.

Monday.com

Monday.com has a simple, colorful interface for the project management part of their deep platform (project management was how they started, but they’ve expanded quite a bit). You and your team members can choose between all the common views (gantt, kanban, timeline, etc.), make dashboards to see just what you want to see, and track how you’re hitting your deadlines and goals.

Asana

We have to admit – we’re kinda big fans of Asana here on the Workshop marketing team. It’s super flexible – you can set it up like we have it, which is a lean, mean, simple editorial calendar and timeline-based project tracker, or you can distribute Asana across all the teams in your organization and use its powerful tools to track complicated projects from start to finish. Asana integrates with just about everything, and here’s the best part – when you complete a task, a magical creature flies across your screen. ✨

a celebration picture in asana project management software

Trello

If you love kanban, you’ll love Trello. If you don’t know what that is, you just might love Trello, too. Project management in this friendly-looking app divides things in Boards, Lists, and Cards, creating a simple system where you visibly progress through the phases of a project. The backbone of it is much deeper than that, of course – Trello can handle project management for teams of just about any size.


Other internal communications analytics tools

Swoop

Swoop is a unique analytics layer that goes on top of Microsoft 365, Sharepoint, Teams, and other business comms software to give you insights and ideas for your business. All of these super-sized suites get complicated and can be opaque (that’s one of the reasons we took email out of Outlook), so by tying all the numbers together Swoop can help you see your whole team better.

 

Choosing the right internal communications tools for you

The best mix of these services is the one that serves your needs best! Especially if you’re new to role or you’re really looking for a change, we recommend completing an internal communications audit (that template’s free!). It’ll help show you what’s tools are being underused or overused, and where you can improve to show meaningful results.

Start with the four essential internal comms tools. If you’re ready to see how Workshop can help create, send, manage, and measure your emailed internal comms, schedule a time to talk to one of our super-helpful representatives!

workshop, the number one platform for employee email

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