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Mobile now, intranet later – Internal Communications Best Practices

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Here's why taking a multi-channel approach with your internal communications tools will improve the employee experience and your organization's bottom line.
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If you could get more employees to engage with your company right now, would you do it?

Or, would you hold off for three years while you wait for a new intranet release?

Shockingly, only 10 % of employees say they know what’s going on in their company at any given time, and 85% of employees are not engaged. Lack of employee engagement is a rampant challenge facing organizations, yet many are overlooking a simple fix: taking a multi-channel approach rather than limiting themselves to an intranet.

For companies with intranets, it can be tempting to hold off on going mobile until a new intranet release comes out–rather than devoting resources to a communications overhaul. But intranets are far from the end-all-be-all, and companies lose valuable engagement opportunities by waiting for a new release.

Instead, by meeting employees at all the places they already are–from email to mobile to tablets and other convenient platforms–organizations can instantly improve communications, which, in turn, impacts company performance, employee experience, and productivity.

Internal communications directly impact company performance

Did you know that effective internal communications have a direct correlation to employee engagement? As any HR or communications professional will tell you, relevant information and updates are what make people do their jobs better.

Mobile now, intranet later - Internal Communications Best Practices

Intranets, alone, are not the way to improve employee experience

Using an intranet for employee engagement can seem like the natural choice for distributing information. But it doesn’t surface relevant and timely stories in the way we are used to receiving information today. This is where a more modern, flexible approach comes in–easily fitting into the habits employees have already developed around consuming content. An intranet is either clunky or simply inaccessible for any employee, especially deskless or frontline workers who make up 80% of the global workforce.

In addition, information contained within the intranet is often out of date, irrelevant or disorganized, making it difficult or frustrating for employees to quickly find the insights they need. What’s more, employees aren’t always sure how to access or use them.

Only 25% of communicators use their company intranets to communicate with employees anyway.

Platform updates can also compound existing intranet problems

With new releases, employees have to learn complicated new features and adjust their workflows when old features are deprecated. New versions might lag behind other software you use, creating further difficulties. And, if you’ve skipped a software release, you might have

to move through each version before you can upgrade it, making an already time-consuming process even more cumbersome. Suddenly, your intranet’s low adoption rate is even worse.

The point is this: If no one is using the intranet, it’s the same as having no internal communications at all.

Before making strides to improve your intranet, you should ask yourself:

Are people actually using it? Do they even have access in the first place? If your answer to either of these questions is “no” or “unsure,” an intranet update is not going to fix your communications issues.

Employees want the right message at the right time, but to the right place.

It’s no secret that mobile use, for instance, is everywhere. Recently, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time in history–a fact that HR and internal communicators should be using to their advantage.

By giving employees access to communications in a form that’s convenient for them, they are more likely to engage. And mobile is just one place employees already get information. Others use tablets when in the field, email at their desks, or digital signage on a warehouse floor.

Sending out employee communications through multiple channels helps guarantee delivery and engagement, so you will be able to measure what content your employees care about. You’ll have new ways of evaluating what information is most relevant, what pain points must be addressed, and how to better serve customers.

In this way, what you learn from utilizing multiple communications platforms can actually also help transform your intranet into a more efficient tool.

You don’t need to wait for the right company internal communications technology

As many HR and communications professionals know, it can take years for new intranet versions to come out. Microsoft, for example, is on a three-year release cycle. But, with the current pace of development, so much can change with employee engagement and satisfaction in three years. And, if no one is accessing your communications during that time, you have a company-wide crisis on your hands.

Still, think you need to wait for your intranet update to improve communications? Here are three practical steps you can take today to build your case:


High-performing companies don’t wait three years for a new intranet to address a crisis. Instead, your entire approach can be restructured around deploying communications to multiple, flexible channels, including mobile. And, if and when you are ready to update your intranet, you’ll be able to tackle the process with a better understanding of what employees value in their communications.

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Internal communications Best Practices

With a wide array of best practices for internal communications, here are seven essential best practices to improve employee engagement (plus a bonus tip).

7 Internal Communications Best Practices

#1 It is critical to approach internal communications in a strategic manner.

Before blasting your employees with all types of announcements, you need to set your team’s goals. Next, align them with larger organizational objectives. This is essential to have this alignment to make sure you are providing value to your company. Even if you already have a plan in place, it may be time to reevaluate it to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

#2 It is essential that before internal communications are written or shared throughout an organization, sufficient thought should be given to who the target audience is for those communications.

Simply sending out generic information, such as organization-wide surveys is not a way to obtain the best results from internal communication efforts.

Rather, more personalized practices are recommended such as studying your employees to create personas and then send out targeted messaging informed by this research. Use a template to study and craft employee personas from our new guide, 7 Templates for Communications and HR Professionals.

#3 Internal communications should be distributed in a minimal, limited manner, and should not be overdone.

Dispensing too much information can lead to employees ignoring internal communications.

#4 Presenting internal communications in a visual format increases their effectiveness because 65% of people learn best from visual information.

Additionally, our Comms Effectiveness Survey found that video had three-times higher engagement than other forms of content.

#5 Publish your employee communications on a regular, predictable basis.

If it’s a newsletter, a best practice is to select a time interval for how frequently it will be published — monthly, quarterly, etc. Another tip is to select themed days or times when specific content is posted, such as Friday employee updates. By creating a regular cadence, your employees will know when to expect your communications and get excited by them.

#6 Evaluating and tracking internal communications metrics is critical in today’s insights-driven world.

Your team and leaders expect a level of performance success and quantifying data is a great way to present that to them. An organization’s performance metrics can be provided at many different levels, from organization-wide performance all the way down to a specific individual’s performance.

#7 In our age of distraction, you must meet your employees where they are.

They are inundated with an abundance of tech and communications tools, and they have their preferences. Communicators must reach employees on their channel and device of their choice. It could be an employee app for frontline workers who are always on the go, email for your office-based workforce, or even the intranet. A multi-channel approach is the best method to connecting and engaging your employees.

Bonus tip: Employee engagement best practices include robust workforce communications platforms that span the workforce and integrate tools, allowing you to do the following.

  • Publish to multiple channels, including e-mail, intranet, and apps, from one platform.
  • Reach your employees wherever they are—including gig workers and employees in the field.
  • Measure everything (in one place) with detailed metrics and feedback.

Transform how your organization and workers connect every day, schedule a demo today!

Related reading:

Your 2019 Planning Checklist For Effective Internal Communications Strategy

Collaboration Tools Versus Workforce Communications Tools

How To Prove Your Internal Communications ROI

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Charong Chow

Charong Chow

Charong leads content strategy at SocialChorus. After film experiments, gallery shows, and a novel, she took the plunge into content marketing for tech startups. When Charong is not weaving narratives, she curates a small zoo that her two children have somehow managed to assemble.

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