Redefining Internal Communications: A Guide for Modern Leaders

Discover challenges in internal communications and learn strategies to improve engagement in the modern workplace.

August 21, 2023
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A simple "hello" between coworkers can spark an instant connection in the busy hallways of any modern workplace. However, internal communications go much further than simple greetings. 

Many organizations struggle with a confusing array of communication issues that impede their development and productivity. This article will help you navigate the complex web of internal communications, explain its fundamental principles and history, and offer tips on how to improve your company's communications.

What Is Internal Communications?

What is meant by internal communication? In its simplest form, it's the way information flows within an organization. Whether it's an executive's announcement, team updates, or casual chats among colleagues, internal communications is the heartbeat that keeps everyone informed and aligned.

What Are the Main Purposes of Internal Communications

The main purposes of internal communications are about making sure everyone in the company is connected and working together. Here's how it helps:

  • Keeping People Informed: Letting employees know about important updates, policies, and news.
  • Building Teamwork: Helping everyone feel like they're part of a bigger team.
  • Aligning Goals: Making sure that everyone understands what the company is trying to achieve.
  • Listening to Ideas: Creating ways for people to share their thoughts and feedback.
  • Improving Productivity: Making communication smoother so work gets done quicker and better.

Brief History of Internal Communications

Looking back, it's amazing to see how much the ways we talk at work have changed. Let's take a quick look at how internal communications have evolved over the years:

  • Early 20th Century
    Internal communication was rigid. Most were top-down methods like memos and formal letters. Meetings were hierarchical, and managers primarily drove the conversation. Employee feedback was minimal.
  • Late 20th Century
    Technology reshaped communication. Internal communication tools like mail, fax, and teleconferencing introduced quicker, more dynamic ways to share information. The internet's emergence sped up this evolution, connecting people in ways previously imagined.
  • Late 1990s to Early 2000s
    The term “the engaged employee” was formed. Employee engagement became the focus. Organizations valued two-way communication. Tools like intranets and internal social media encouraged more interaction, emphasizing peer-to-peer communication.
  • Recent Years
    The emergence of remote work introduced platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. They've reshaped communication for dispersed teams; stressing community, collaboration, and inclusion more than ever..

Internal Communications in Today’s Workplace

Years back, internal communication was often as simple as a memo on a board or an announcement in the break room. But times have changed. It's no longer just about giving out information; it's about building a shared understanding. 

Rachel Miller, Founder of All Things IC, sums it up perfectly: "The purpose of internal communication is not telling people what to do. It is to create a shared understanding and meaning. Only when this happens can employees work together towards a company’s goals." 

That shared understanding? It is what's driving the ways we communicate now. Sure, we have emails, but they’re just one part of the mix. We’re also leaning into team chats, one-on-ones, and digital platforms that encourage engagement.

Technology's role here can't be overstated. Collaboration tools, intranets, and even internal social media have become game-changers. They're not just for sharing news; they're spaces where ideas are swapped and feedback is actively sought.

For those juggling office life with remote work, these tools help keep us all on the same page. They make sure that everyone, whether they're at their desk or on their couch, is in the know.

Breaking it down, today's internal communication is:

  • Inclusive: Everyone's in the know, wherever they are.
  • Interactive: It’s a two-way street, not just a shout into the void.
  • Integrated: Old school meets new tech.

Bottom line? Good internal communication has shifted from being a bonus to being the glue that keeps a modern team together.

Challenges in Internal Communications and Strategies to Solve Them

Effective communication within a company is an art and a science. Here are some roadblocks many businesses face and actionable internal communication strategies to overcome them:

1. Miscommunication and Mixed Messages

  • Problem: Information sometimes changes form as it goes through the chain, causing confusion. For instance, if an important meeting gets rescheduled, but not everyone is properly informed, some might show up at the wrong time.
  • Strategy: Implement clear communication protocols. A solution could be using a shared calendar where any change automatically sends notifications to all concerned parties.

2. Lack of Feedback and Interaction

  • Problem: Employees can feel undervalued if they’re just passive receivers of information. Consider when new office policies roll out without any prior consultation — it can make staff feel sidelined.
  • Strategy: Open up feedback channels to improve internal communication. Regular town hall sessions, for example, can offer a platform for everyone to voice their thoughts or concerns about organizational changes.

3. Remote and Hybrid Work Challenges

  • Problem: Those working remotely might miss out on spontaneous office conversations, and may feel excluded.
  • Strategy: Use collaboration tools designed for real-time interactions. Platforms like Teams or Slack allow for spontaneous chats, recreating that casual office conversation vibe.

4. Resistance to New Tools and Technologies

  • Problem: Introducing a new system without proper training can be met with resistance. Say a new CRM tool is launched, but half the team sticks to the old one because they find it familiar.
  • Strategy: Offer thorough training sessions. A few hands-on sessions where employees can get used to the new system, with experts on hand to answer queries, can go a long way. You can also establish a reward system for the employees who try their best to understand the system.

5. Lack of Clear Goals and Direction

  • Problem: When the team isn’t aligned on objectives, efforts can scatter. For example, a marketing team running multiple campaigns without a clear focus on the target audience or desired outcome.
  • Strategy: Regularly communicate objectives. Start every month or quarter with a clear list of goals and check-ins to see everyone’s on the same page.

The Future of Internal Communications

Internal communications is steadily evolving, adapting to technological advancements and the changing dynamics of modern workplaces. Here's a look at the horizon:

1. Remote Work and Flexibility: The transition to remote work was more than just a momentary adjustment; it's a lasting shift. According to a PwC survey, 83% of employers believed the move to remote work was successful for their company, indicating that such setups will be more commonplace in the coming years. This emphasizes the growing importance of tools tailored for remote teams.

2. Virtual Reality (VR) Meetings: Instead of the familiar grid view on Zoom, imagine participating in a meeting on a virtual tropical beach or a high-rise boardroom — all from your living room. 

With VR technology advancing at an unprecedented pace, Statista projects that the XR market will grow to approximately $100 billion by 2026, hinting that VR meetings might soon be a standard practice.

3. AI-powered Communication Tools: The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence into workplace tools is becoming more common. Companies (like Unily, Haiilo, and Pumble) are looking into how AI can examine communication behaviors, suggest improved collaboration techniques or even anticipate when an employee might feel excluded or burdened. 

In fact, McKinsey reported that by 2030, AI techniques have the potential to create between $3.5T and $5.8T in value annually across nine business functions in 19 industries by 2030

4. Instant Translations: In the future, linguistic barriers in multinational teams may cease to exist. With the help of certain tools, someone could speak in Spanish during a meeting, and another participant can instantly hear it in English or their preferred language.

5. Feedback in Real-time: Immediate feedback loops will likely be the norm. We might soon have platforms where, post-meeting or post-presentation, feedback from peers is instantly available, facilitating rapid growth and adaptation.

6. Emotional Recognition Software: Picture this - you're in a virtual meeting and a tool helps you see if people are engaged, bored, or confused, just by reading their facial expressions or how they talk. Companies might soon use this kind of software to make online chats more effective, and it could help make sure everyone feels heard and valued.

Internal communications is about to enter a new era that is both exciting and inclusive, ensuring that every team member—whether they are at work or at home—remains connected and informed. The challenge and opportunity will be in effortlessly incorporating these technologies into our daily processes.

How Assembly Can Enhance Internal Communication

Assembly isn’t just another internal communication software. At its core, it is a cutting-edge platform designed to support and enhance your internal communication processes.

Here’s a closer look at what Assembly offers and how it could be the game-changer for your organization's internal communications plan:

  • Unified Communication Channels: Assembly provides a single platform where teams can chat, share files, and manage tasks. No more juggling between apps. Everything’s in one place.
  • Pulse Surveys: Want to know how your team is feeling? Assembly allows managers to send out quick pulse surveys, ensuring that employee sentiments are continually recognized and addressed.
  • Customizable Recognition Programs: Recognizing your staff's efforts is a powerful communication tool. With Assembly, you can customize how you want to reward and recognize employee milestones and achievements.
  • Feedback Tools: Open channels for feedback are essential. Assembly provides tools where employees can offer suggestions, share concerns, or give shout-outs, ensuring everyone has a voice.
  • Integrations with Popular Tools: No need to abandon your favorite software. Assembly can integrate with many of them, enhancing your current communication flow.

Unite Your Team with Effective Internal Communication

Internal communication has transformed, adapting to new work environments like remote and hybrid work. This change hasn't been easy, and businesses face challenges in keeping everyone connected and informed.

We traced how communication has evolved over time, discussed today's practices, and looked at what the future might hold, including new tools like AI. In short, good internal communication is vital for a successful business.

With platforms like Assembly, enhancing and simplifying internal communication becomes less of a chore and more of an exciting opportunity. Try it now!

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered