Communication is one of the most important tools in any team’s arsenal. Without it, people become disorganized, disengaged, and disadvantaged. When traditional, in-person communications were forced to transition to entirely digital formats in the workplace last year, some companies suffered. Not only did employees feel alienated and burnt out from the unanticipated change, but poor communication caused a slew of other issues as well. Even without remote work, poor communication costs companies approximately $62.4 million on average each year, according to this article published by SHRM.
Perhaps team members seem disinterested during virtual meetings or tasks are going undone because they “slipped through the cracks.” Maybe you’re even noticing that it’s taking longer for team members to complete projects due to confusion over expectations. Whatever the issue may be, if the disconnect between your employees is growing, it may be because of inefficient, or entirely absent, digital communication. Luckily, there are plenty of options on the market to help ensure your team is communicating frequently and effectively despite the distance.
What tools are available
Every team is different, and therefore, what tools will work best for them is going to be different. However, to make your life a bit easier, we’ve gone ahead and provided a list of some of the highest-ranked and most widely used communication tools available.
What differentiates Jive from some of the other options on this list is that it is an intranet software program, so it’s used as more than simply a communication tool. For those on the less technical side, such as myself, an intranet program is an internet-based private network that is most frequently used for sharing information, communicating, and collaborating.
One of the most interesting features of Jive is its PeopleGraph, which uses technology to understand each person’s role within the organization and what those roles entail in order to deliver information employees would need to effectively do their job.
It also allows users to communicate directly with each other via text and email both internally and externally, and your team can even conduct polls, send video messages, or assign tasks. It’s a strong option for teams that require close collaboration to operate.
Staying true to its name, RingCentral also aims to condense all of your team’s communication needs into one platform. It offers a variety of different plans to allow your team to choose what option best suits your needs. Most of these available plans include the ability to send internal text messages, make phone calls, or conduct video meetings.
If your business has a heavy focus on customer service, you may even want to look into the Contact Center feature. This option allows your customer service representatives to speak directly to clients, record client conversations, distribute customer satisfaction surveys, and route calls to other departments.
A nice aspect of RingCentral is that the price is heavily determined by the needs and size of your team. For a startup company that anticipates fast growth in a short amount of time, it can be a good option because of its flexibility.
If your team is already using Microsoft 365 to conduct business, Yammer is a useful and fun add-on to help increase internal communication. A unique characteristic of Yammer is that it operates similarly to a social media platform. Users can interact with one another in a unique, engaging way that’s also familiar.
For remote teams, employees may often feel disconnected from one another, which can impact how they are able to collaborate and communicate. Yammer helps employees to feel connected and is one resource for building a stronger company culture.
While Yammer is a great add-on for a team lacking in company culture, it also allows your team to create groups to communicate with each other or to make announcements to the entire team. If fun is something you’re trying to bring to the virtual office, this could be a good option.
This option provides a plethora of features for businesses (maybe even more than you might need). It allows users to interact via text and voice messaging, group messages, virtual team meetings, and even fax!
Perhaps its strongest feature is the fact that it allows your team to communicate directly with clients, especially if you have a department dedicated to customer service. To meet those client needs, Vonage allows your customer service team to directly contact the best source for information quickly and effectively in order to satisfy client questions. So if a prospective client or potential employee ever approaches your team with a tricky question, you can receive the perfect answer from the correct team member in real time.
Another interesting feature of Vonage is its SmartWAN feature, which provides a secure network for your team to operate from despite the distance between team members. Not only does this keep the data shared amongst your team safe, but it also allows users the ability to customize web traffic based on need. Essentially, it prioritizes communications for you in order for your team to receive communications as quickly as possible.
Slack is a widely-used communication software particularly because it’s so easy to use; however, its singular purpose is team communication so it may not offer as many collaboration features as some of the other options listed. It does offer users the ability to create separate channels or groups where those channel members can alert individuals or the entire channel of their message to receive a response faster than they might receive if done via email.
In addition to team members being able to communicate more effectively, Slack also allows users to share files from different programs. For instance, Slack has the ability to connect with platforms such as Calendly, Google Drive, Zoom, and Crossbeam. If your team frequently uses these programs, Slack is a good, user-friendly option.
If you have a younger team, they may also prefer Slack because it tends to feel like a less formal option for digital communication. Essentially, different generations tend to view forms of digital communication differently.
Older generations may see email as an effective, informal way to communicate while younger generations feel as though email is one of the most formal methods for digital communication. This can cause stress and miscommunication on both sides. Offering your team another form of digital communication can help ease that stress.
Due to remote work becoming a standard in today’s workforce, there are almost too many digital communication platforms to count. Many of them offer the standard features, but at BrandResumes, these five platforms stood out. Whether you’re looking for something easy, flexible, or even simply something fun, there are plenty of options out there that can meet the unique needs of you and your team.
For teams either operating remotely or transitioning into a hybrid schedule, your digital communications need to be strong, and these tools can help you accomplish exactly that. Start the conversation about it and continue to check in with BrandResumes’ HR Corner every Friday at noon for more information.