Every startup (including yours) runs on a variety of tools. Some tools are occasionally helpful. But others completely shape your team’s daily workflow. Your internal communication tools belong in that second category.
Are you reconsidering your current internal communication tool? Then this post is for you.
- How internal communication tools can make a difference in your internal processes
- How to choose the best internal communication tool for your team
- Our top 5 internal communication tools
Ready? Let’s dive in.
How Internal Communication Tools Make a Difference
Internal communication tools are key to building sustainable workflows.
With a good internal communication tool:
- Your team can easily track conversations and processes
- Details and important information are less likely to slip through the cracks
- All team members can easily participate, either by chatting or just reviewing relevant conversations
- It’s easy to determine what is high-priority and what isn’t
- Members can use instant communication to achieve their goals, while keeping control of their schedule and priorities
The shift to remote work in 2020 showed that, when used correctly, internal communication tools are more than just tools. They are fully-functional digital workplaces. So, a good internal communication tool will be especially impactful for you if your startup plans to continue working remotely.
But even if everyone’s back to the office, with the right communication tools, your team is better equipped to accomplish their goals. Everything flows naturally, and everyone knows where the information and resources they need are.
At this point, you may be wondering what’s the impact of using the wrong internal communication tool. Using an ill-fitting tool can result in:
- Information silos
- Untrackable processes
- Unclear priorities
- Lack of accountability
If these issues resonate with you, it may be time to rethink your team communication stack. But, what are the signs of a good team communication tool? Let’s dive in!
How to Choose the Best Internal Communication Tool for Your Team
Now you know why team communication platforms can shape the way your team works. Let's see what you should consider when choosing one.
We advise you to pay attention to:
- Key features
- Its ability to facilitate (or erode) work/life balance
- Accountability & conversation trackability
- Collaborative features
Let’s take a closer look!
Pricing is a basic but crucial factor. How much are you willing to spend on your team communication tool? As you do your research, you'll discover that there are platforms & plans for every budget. And pricing is usually calculated on a per-user basis.
When comparing the pricing for different team communication tools, assess which platform offers you the best value for your money. Choosing a tool that’s a little pricier than the competition, but that offers your team everything they need to work together, will be a sounder investment than going for a more affordable but ineffective option.
Check whether the team communication tool you’re considering can adapt to your team as it grows. Over time, it’s likely that your company will encounter new challenges and expand its workforce. Some solutions may work well for a founding team of 10 people, but be ineffective to manage a team of 200.
At this point, you may think “Well, if we grow, we can easily switch to another tool”. This is true, but bear in mind that the transition to new tools can be time-consuming and costly.
Plus, switching to another tool while you grow can result in:
- Investing considerable time in training your team to use their new stack
- Losing key information and conversations
And, what if the new communication platform simply doesn’t work? It’s less risky to try new communication tools with a team of 10, than with a team of 200. So, even if you’ll stay small for a while, find a tool that can keep up with you as you scale.
Depending on your team’s workflow, there may be some features they’ll highly value in a communication platform.
Some conversations are best when conducted through audio, not just text. And if your team’s frequently hopping on voice-only calls, you may want your next communication platform to include them. That way, you can avoid using third-party video conferencing platforms and keep all internal communication in one place.
Your company runs on multiple tools. While it’s normal for team members to rely on several platforms to get their job done, an abundance of tools can make their workflow slow and convoluted. Especially if they’re not integrated.
It’s key for your internal communication tools to integrate with your current stack.
- Give you a holistic view of your business
- Automate processes
- Help you keep information synchronized across platforms
- Help you break down knowledge silos
- Save you time and energy
Make sure that your next internal communication tool integrates with your current stack.
Team chats flow faster than email threads. However, whether you’re focused on important tasks or enjoying your lunch break, receiving constant notifications can feel intrusive.
That’s why it’s important to consider if your internal communication tools:
- Facilitate or erode your team’s work/life balance
- Force your team to be always available, or allow for asynchronous work
These two features can make a huge difference:
- Customizable notifications
- Multiple statuses for connected users, such as “available”, “busy”, etcetera
Accountability & Conversation Trackability
You’ll want to know what your team is talking about and what they’re focused on. So your communication stack should make it easy to stay on top of key conversations.
For example, not all messages are meant for all team members. Some will only be relevant to specific departments. So, it’s key to manage who has access to what conversations, so everyone can stay focused on their top priorities.
The possibility to organize conversations in channels can keep discussions from becoming cluttered. Plus, the ability to tag team members can also come really handy. That way, you make sure no one misses out on the relevant stuff.
Finding and tracking past conversations is also a must. So, having access to a conversation archive with filtering and search features is ideal.
Our Top 5 Internal Communication Tools
In this section, we’ll share our top 5 of the best internal communication tools for startup teams. We’ll cover some popular options, as well as two promising newcomers.
If you’re considering moving your team to a different communication platform, we recommend checking out:
- Microsoft teams
Discord was designed for online gaming. But many startups have adopted it, thanks to its friendly user experience, and voice chat capabilities.
Considering moving your team to Discord?
Here are some key facts about the platform:
- Discord can be accessed through most modern browsers, with native apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS
- It offers voice and video chat, as well as screen sharing
- It doesn’t include business-specific features or integrations
- While you can integrate bots seamlessly, most Discord integration require a “glue layer” such as Zapier or Make
- Discord workspaces are known as “servers”
- Servers can be organized through voice and text channels, which can be grouped into folders
- Text channels can be further divided into threads
- Users can customize channel notifications freely
- Server administrators can create custom member roles and manage access to specific channels
- Specific searching and filtering options
Almost all of Discord’s core features are available for free. But the platform also offers a “Nitro” plan for $9.99/month. However, it includes non-essential functionalities, such as the possibility to set custom emojis and share large files.
With over 10M daily active users, Slack is the most popular team communication tool. And for good reason!
Among other features, Slack:
- Runs on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux, and most web browsers
- Allows teams to organize their conversations across channels & threads
- Give users full control over which channels they want to participate in
- Offers thousands of integrations
- Comes with specific searching and filtering features
- Allows teams to collaborate with other organizations, through Slack Connect
- Includes simple file-sharing functionalities
Slack pricing goes as follows:
- Free for unlimited users, including 1-1 calls and 10k message history
- Paid plans start at $8/ month per user. This includes team video calls, screen sharing, unlimited conversation history, Slack Connect, and huddles.
Microsoft teams can be considered one of the best options for large organizations with multiple teams. And it’s especially convenient if your team is already using the Microsoft 365 stack.
Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft teams:
- It runs on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and browsers
- Accounts can only be tied to a single organization
- Workspaces are divided into channels and channels are divided into threads
- It offers in-platform video and audio calls
- It seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, allowing teams to easily collaborate on documents, schedule calendar events, and more
Microsoft Teams’ pricing goes as follows:
- There’s a free version included with Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Paid plans start at $6/month per user and include OneDrive, Sharepoint, cloud versions of all Office apps, and Microsoft Teams chat
Twist is a great option if you’re looking for a non-invasive communication platform. Developed by the team behind Todoist, Twist was designed to protect team members’ time, empowering them to do deep and mindful work.
Here’s what you need to know about Twist:
- It uses a simple system, similar to online forums, where every channel hosts one conversation, with no further nesting
- You can customize every channel’s visibility, so only relevant team members can access
- Aside from channels, Twist users can communicate through private chats
- The platform’s packed with small features and messages guiding users to communicate more efficiently
- On Twist, you don’t get to see whether a team member is online
- Notifications are gentle reminders, and you can customize them to taste
- It comes with a small but robust set of integrations (including Google Drive, Calendly, Asana, and more)
Twist offers a free plan, for up to 500 members and unlimited guests. This free plan comes with up to 5 integrations and 5 GB of storage.
Paid plans start at $6/month. They include:
- Full access to your workspace’s message history
- Unlimited integrations
- Unlimited file storage
- Unlimited users
Dialpad is a great option for growing teams looking for an all-in-one communications solution. It’s a cloud-based platform that offers voice calling, meetings, and messaging for both internal teams and client engagement.
Some of Dialpad's key features include:
- The ability to record and transcribe calls & meetings
- Unlimited video meetings for small groups
- Coverage for a wide variety of communication channels (SMS, Voice, team chat, video meetings, and more)
- Multiple integrations (e.g.: Google, Microsoft, Slack, etc.)
- AI-powered sales features
- Local and international virtual phone numbers
- Analytics and reporting
Dialpad offers a 14-day free trial. As for pricing, it starts at $15/month per user.
As we’ve seen throughout this post, the tools you use can greatly influence your team’s workflow.
If you’re considering moving your company to a new internal communication tool, we recommend you:
- Do your research
- Make your team a part of the selection process
- Stay open to trying new tools and letting them go if they prove to be inefficient
It’s also important to keep an eye on which tools your team is currently using. Are you aware of where your SaaS budget is going? Are you tracking your tech stack and identifying redundant tools? These processes may sound tedious. Especially if you consider doing them manually. But don’t worry, Cledara can help.
With Cledara, you will:
- Get a centralized view of your software spending
- Detect redundant or inactive tools
- Prevent shadow tech
- Easily cancel any tool subscription
- Track tool usage & manage team member access
Discover how Cledara can bring clarity to your tech stack. Book a demo today.