If you’ve decided to improve internal communication within your organization, by now you’ve probably realized that it can be quite challenging. Ensuring that people get the right information in a timely manner not only helps them to do their jobs well, but helps build your company culture, boost engagement, increase productivity and gives you a strategic advantage over your competitors.
Not only do you need to have an internal communications plan in place, you also need to carefully examine the ways you will deliver information to your employees. Relying on emails, meetings, intranet content and passive tools like posters and flyers is often not enough to cut through and reach employees.
In a world where people are increasingly overwhelmed with too much information thanks to email overload and having to engage across multiple social media platforms, it can be hard to keep up. You can’t just expect people will find your information because you put it out there: especially in the internal communications space.
Investing in critical communication software might be the right solution for your organization. In general, these systems will send messages out straight to employees on their computers or other devices such as mobile phones and tablets. They are designed to cut through and be noticed – ensuring important messages are not missed or ignored.
What do you need to look for when comparing mass notification software?
However with many alerting software for critical information delivery on the market, it can be like comparing apples with oranges when you decide on the right one for your organization. We’ve made a free spreadsheet you can download to make it easier for you to compare systems, saving you valuable time.
Will you have a perpetual license meaning that once you buy the software, technically your organization “owns” it? Or is it a subscription model meaning that you have recurring costs (monthly, yearly, etc.)?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both license types. For example, perpetual licensing may only have support from the software vendor for a limited number of years, while the subscription model may have ongoing support.
Only you can be sure which system would suit your individual business’ needs
As mentioned, support could be tied to licensing. There are other factors to consider with support. Does the software company offer support? Is it free? Do you have to pay extra to receive ongoing support? Is it something you can access 24/7 no matter where you are in the world or is it only available 9-5 in a particular time zone?
Check the specs and determine if the software will easily integrate with your specific business environment, or will it require a lot of work to install and set up? Will there be a lot of work required ongoing to maintain it?
Is the software cloud-based or does it have to sit on your servers? Does that align with your own business practices and policies?
Can the software be integrated easily with other systems you have in place, such as software that already sends notifications or warning systems and sirens?
EMERGENCY WARNING SYSTEM
Many mass notification systems are designed only to be used as an emergency warning system. And many others can be used for communicating during emergencies alongside a range of other functions.
Again, you will know your specific needs. But if communicating fast during an emergency so your staff can take appropriate actions to be safe, a mass notification system of some variety could be a good solution for your workplace.
TWO WAY COMMUNICATION
Many systems are only one-way, meaning they broadcast information to employees but there is no function built into the software to allow employees to communicate back.
Some systems offer functionality with surveys, polls, RSVPs, quizzes where information can be requested of employees instantly.
Two-way communication is often a good feature to have if your aim is to improve engagement levels.
Today’s workforce is increasingly flexible. Employees may work from home, travel for work, work unusual hours, work in a role that doesn’t require them to be in the office or have a computer and so on. Reaching these employees is not always easy to do if they aren’t on a company computer, let alone have no access to a computer at all.
Some mass notification software systems have apps to cater to these employees that can be downloaded and installed on smartphones and tablets, ensuring that they receive the same information a colleague based in an office would receive.
Another mobile option is SMS messaging, where a traditional text message is sent to employees’ mobile phones.
EASE OF USE
When it comes to sending the notifications to employees, what is the process like on that end? Is it difficult? Are there many steps? Does it require advanced IT skills, or is it something that just about anyone can do?
Is there an option to send messages that doesn’t require logging into a physical computer? For example if there is an emergency situation and the person who would normally send these alerts is outside the building away from their desk? Solutions might include an app or a shortcut on a desktop.
Some providers even offer free trial for a couple of weeks so you can get an idea of how easy it is to use and if it is the right fit for your organization.
As well as pop-up alerts, there are other tools available within many internal communications solutions such as screensavers, desktop tickers, wallpapers, digital signage and newsletters.
If you plan on running internal communications campaigns, a range of features built in to the one system could be very convenient so you don’t have to purchase multiple systems.
How much is the system going to cost may vary depending on a range of factors. This could be based on licenses (type of subscription) and number of users.
DeskAlerts is one provider of critical communications software to different types of businesses all over the world. The system is based on sending pop-up notifications in an obtrusive manner to employees’ computer screens and mobile devices.
With a range of other features such as surveys, quizzes, wallpapers, screensavers, RSVPs, desktop tickers and digital signage, DeskAlerts is a great all-round communications system that easily integrates with your environment.