Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
No two organizations are alike, so every organization will have different requirements for an employee communication platform. How do you determine which platform is best suited for taking your internal communication to the next level? These are five essential questions you should ask yourself when choosing an employee communication platform.
You are probably looking for a way to reach all your employees. But not all employees are the same. Let’s start by making an overview of your target audience(s). Describe your audience as detailed as you can. For example, write down your colleagues’ departments and sites (like the office or the factory hall), which devices and means of communication (such as email address or Office 365 account) they have at their disposal, and what their working day looks like. Also, consider whether you want to reach people that aren’t employees, such as customers, visitors, students, or patients. All these factors will determine which channels your future communication platform needs.
Organizations with many non-desk employees will need different communication channels compared to organizations with mainly office workers. While you can easily reach office workers via a PC (e.g., by using a corporate screensaver or desktop app), channels such as digital signage or a mobile app are more suitable for non-desk workers. When you’re having doubts, just talk to your employees and ask them what communication channels they prefer!
Chances are, your workforce is quite mixed. So, in order to reach everyone, you usually need multiple communication tools. An all-in-one solution is often the best choice. Purchasing separate tools is usually more expensive and requires more resources from the IT department. After all, the IT department must perform the deployment, updates, and maintenance for multiple applications. Content managers also must create and manage content in each and every system. With an all-in-one solution, you save yourself extra costs, maintenance, and work. Just make sure that you can target messages so that your content remains relevant and exciting for every employee, regardless of function, department, or site.
Furthermore, a more advanced platform helps you prepare for the future. After all, you might know what you need today, but who knows what tomorrow will hold for you? Who could have predicted that working from home and hybrid work would take off in such a way over the past two years? Many organizations are still searching for the right balance between working from home and at the office – or have to keep adjusting their plans to new government regulations. With multiple channels at your disposal, you are better prepared for such trends and developments.
Not all communication platforms support the same media, content types, and features. So think about what your organization needs in advance. For example, is it enough for you to just send out messages? Or are you also looking for a way to gather feedback from your employees using polls and pulse surveys?
Perhaps you need to share important news with your staff and require confirmation they’ve read the message. If you want to enable employees to respond to each other or post comments, you’ll need a platform that supports social interaction. The possibilities are endless; you just need to keep your preferences in mind when looking into different platforms. Make sure they support the functionalities you would like to use.
Nowadays, pretty much every platform will have the basic functionalities available, like the option to post content through multiple accounts or an easy editor to create messages and apply text formatting. Platforms distinguish themselves with their features and integrations. Not every employee communication platform supports (attention) boosters and pulse surveys. The available integrations also often differ from platform to platform. Therefore, think of all the external sources you would like to connect to your employee communications platform. Is your organization struggling with the user adoption of your intranet? It might be worth your while to look for a platform that can connect with your intranet. The platform will amplify your intranet and generate more traffic to it.
Make choosing a little easier for yourself by making a list of must-haves and nice-to-have features. Use this list when comparing platforms. This list should help you determine quickly which platforms do meet your requirements and which do not.
If you also want to use your platform for crisis communication, you’ll need to look for particular features. After all, crisis communication must be lightning-fast and crystal clear. You must be able to create messages at the push of a button, and you must be confident your message will be brought to everyone’s attention quickly. Keep in mind not every communication platform is suitable for crisis communication.
With Netpresenter, you can send out alerts in addition to your daily messages and information. Alerts allow you to reach everyone immediately in case of a calamity or emergency. Imagine a cyberattack, causing email systems to be temporarily ‘offline’, and you need to reach everyone with up-to-date and essential instructions. Read confirmations are pretty useful in such cases: you can quickly and efficiently check who has received and read the message knows how to act.
By now, you’ve probably determined which devices your employees can or want to use. But have you also considered how tech-savvy your employees are? And how many resources your IT department has available to manage and maintain the employee communications platform? Some applications are easy to deploy to all devices within the organization. For others, the end-user (i.e., the employee) has to perform one or more actions. If many employees can do this themselves, the deployment and maintenance will cost the IT department less time. When more employees need assistance, it will cost the IT department more resources. Some platforms even have some fallback options, such as SMS. Such channels ensure that the most critical messages always reach all employees, regardless of anyone’s technical skills.
In addition, some platforms come with handy features that make management easier in the long term. A platform might be able to sync with the user groups you already have with Microsoft 365. In that case, the IT department only needs to manage the familiar user database of Microsoft 365. Employees can then even use their secure Microsoft account to log in to your new company app. Integrations like this will save you work while providing more safety and ease of use!
Let’s be clear: we think keeping track of your platform’s performance is always a good thing. Only by measuring results can you improve your communication. We suggest choosing an employee communication platform that keeps track of as many (useful) statistics as possible. How often do employees read your messages, how many people click through on links in messages, which devices people use – statistics always provide valuable insights. This data is valuable for communication professionals and managers or board members who want to know how things are going within their organization (and who wouldn’t?!).
Perhaps there are also specific statistics that you really need, for example, to justify the purchase and use of the platform internally. Think carefully about which statistics you need and which statistics are nice-to-have. Also, be sure to check whether the statistics are easily accessible. It would be best if there’s an informative dashboard containing the most important statistics, right in the system itself.
Even with the best preparation, it can be challenging to determine what you need. Why not get some advice from the vendors of employee communication platforms? They have assisted many companies with their internal communication and should have a good idea of their customers’ needs. Ask for a demo and see for yourself how everything works and what exactly you can do.
Also, check out reviews on specialized review sites like Capterra and G2, as well as customer stories. You might learn a lot from the experiences of a very similar organization or even an industry peer or competitor. Such a customer story will usually tell you what challenges organizations in a particular industry faced and how their platform helped to overcome these challenges. Who knows, you might even get inspired or learn things you didn’t think of yourself in the first place.
Is your organization currently looking for an employee communication platform? Start your search right. Download this free guide and discover which communication tools you need to reach your employees. Or request a demo and find out what Netpresenter has to offer!