Why ESN tools like Yammer or Slack are great for internal communication

Last week I wrote about the do's and don'ts of team engagement and what is important to create dedicated, engaged and high performing teams. One of the main factors to achieve, it is to make sure that the team is well informed about what is happening within the organisation. So, how to make sure everybody stays up to date with what’s going on internally?

Organising a meeting every once in a while to inform everybody about the changes is an option, but it is not the best choice because the speed of information is very slow in this case and it’s hard to gather everybody at the same time in the same place regularly.

An alternative solution that is quite efficient and is used by a lot of companies is emailing an internal newsletter including all the information that is important to communicate. A newsletter is better than a meeting because there’s no need to gather everybody in one place for a meeting, but the speed of information is still very slow. But there is a better option: Enterprise Social Networks (ESN).

Social networking websites have been with us for a while now, and pretty much everybody is using one or another social network. Although, face to face interactions are much better than networking online, in certain situations social networking can be beneficial. Social networking is like everything else; you need to know when and how to use it right to benefit from it.

Most of the social networking activity is around personal use. There’s been however a significant growth over the last few years in social networking for business with LinkedIn being a clear leader here. The main feature of LinkedIn is to connect professionals from different organisations and create a communication platform for them. Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), like Yammer or Slack, work slightly differently; their goal is to create a platform for internal communication.

Ok, but we have an email. What’s wrong with the old good email and sending a newsletter every few weeks?

Email is good, but Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) have a few advantages:

1. The speed of information. Instead of sending an email every month or every few weeks information posted on Yammer or Slack is available immediately. There is no need to wait until a sufficient amount of information is gathered; updates can be posted on ESNs as soon as they become available.

2. Convenience. Users can read the information at their convenience. They can open the Enterprise Social Network (ESN) when they decide they want to read these updates. They’re not “forced” to read it when the message arrives in their inbox while they’re waiting for an important email from the client.

3. Everything in one place. There is a thread of messages that can be called Company updates so users can easily find and read all previously posted messages. It is easy to find all current and past information, no need to search for it in the inbox.

4. Engagement. People can engage with the posted content by adding comments or reactions which is a great feedback loop (if people were starting replying to emails and comment on things it would easily get messy very quickly).

5. Tagging. The messages that are posted can be tagged and grouped into even smaller topics so if somebody wants only to read messages from HR or IT department they can easily display only messages related to this subject.

Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) provide excellent communication and engagement platform that helps to spread internal news and keep everybody up to date. If you are still using the famous all@ email address I highly recommend you to have a closer look at the Enterprise Social Networks like Yammer or Slack. You can see if they can help you with internal communication and improve the performance of your team by making sure everybody is on the same page with what is happening internally.

BTW. ESNs can be used not only for spreading the internal news but also for discussing internal projects and other types of collaboration in a much more engaging and fun way than email.