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Choosing your channels

We all have a range of channels and tools at our disposal when communicating with staff.

Some of the most popular methods include:

  • intranet messages
  • internal newsletter
  • face-to-face briefings
  • all-staff emails
  • focus groups
  • webinars
  • internal mailboxes
  • site visits
  • videos
  • internal social media including Yammer, Workplace (Facebook for work)
  • digital signage
  • meetings
  • Informal conversations (sometimes known as ‘water cooler’ conversations)
  • blogs

But with so many channels to choose from, how do you pick the right one?

A helpful starting point is finding out how your employees want to receive information. It is something already well embedded for external campaigns and your internal audiences should not be treated differently. You will need to take issues like budget and your IT infrastructure into account but it is important to start with how your people want to receive information and build from there.

It is also important to think about what you need to say. Some channels, such as face-to-face briefings are better suited to sensitive or complicated information, whereas social networks like Yammer might help employees to quickly communicate with colleagues, while digital signs might more easily help you to showcase your latest campaigns.  

The Government Communications Service (GCS) IC Space has created a really helpful grid that details some of the pros and cons of the most popular internal channels.

As well as thinking about what you need to say, you also need to think about what impact you want your communications to have on your audience. Do you want your employees to think, feel or do something as a result of your messages?

Internal Communications specialist Rachel Miller from All Things IC has also produced an excellent blog and infographic to help you decide what channels best suit your desired outcome.

Internal channels on a budget

While larger finances can sometimes mean better resources, there are many free or low cost channels, beyond face-to-face engagement, that you can use to get your messages across to staff.

  • Canva – Free online design site helping you to create professional quality presentations.
  • Trello – Free interactive collaboration tool allowing employees to manage projects across departments and locations.
  • Piktochart – web-based tool to assist with creating infographics
  • Video – While professional quality corporate videos can be pricey, videos shot on employee mobile phones can be just as effective. Consider downloading software programmes such as iMovie to enable employees to shoot and edit quick films that can be shared across your internal and external platforms.
  • Wordpress – free blog hosting platform
  • SurveyMonkey – online survey platform offering free and costed options
  • Mailchimpemail marketing service offering free and costed options
  • Google hangouts – social platform providing telephone, messaging and video facilities
  • Yammer – internal social network platform offering free and costed options
  • Snapchat – video and picture messaging service
  • WhatsApp – free instant messaging service (including mass messages)
  • Haiku deck – online presentation tools and software
  • Prezi – web-based presentation platform
  • PR stack - a crowdsourced resource of more than 250 free tools and apps that communicators from all different types of organisations are free to use.

Making use of existing channels can also prove to be a cost effective internal communications solutions. Read how Brent Council delivered a budget conscious campaign that still managed to win awards.

Please do contact us if you have used any other internal communications channels that you have found effective in your organisation.