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4 Ways Games Can Help Your Company Innovate

Innovation produces employees who think fresh thoughts. The more innovative your team is, the quicker it can solve problems, as it's constantly anticipating potential roadblocks. Equally as important, an innovative mindset engages your employees in a way that makes them feel connected to their work. They not only feel more satisfied within their roles, but they also become more service-oriented toward customers.   However, in the hustle and bustle of a startup, innovation isn’t easy. Companies find themselves either stuck in a creative rut where they’re unable to push past initial visions or plagued by “shiny object syndrome.” Thankfully, practice makes perfect -- just take a look at Google. The company enacted a “20 percent rule” that encouraged employees to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects. Some of Google’s best products -- Gmail, AdSense and Google Talk -- came from this initiative. Related: How Gamification Is Engaging Customers and Employees Alike A policy like …

The 4 Best Tools For Internal Business Communication

Wave after improving wave of business comms platforms can confuse a founder. Let us help sort that out.
We live in a digital age. As such, the working world is becoming an increasingly smaller place in which internal communication is conducted. And while we don’t use carrier pigeons or megaphones to transmit work-based messages, things could definitely be more effective.
In fact, reports Hyperlink InfoSystem of our present-day situation, “Almost 15 percent of an employee’s time is spent in communication with co-workers, 20 to 25 percent in looking for business-related information and 20 percent checking messages and mailboxes.”

Workplace communication crowds out work.

The end result? If the above findings hold true, less than 50 percent of an employee’s working hours are actually productive. So yes, though our modern-day business environment has all but eliminated archaic forms of internal communication, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Fortunately, a number of tools exist to keep employees on task, allowing them to make the most of their time to bring about bottom-line growth. Below, you’ll find four of my favorites -- they’ve helped unite my team, and I’m confident they’ll do the same for yours, too:

Brosix.

While Slack and Skype might both be household names within the real-time messaging space, as far as efficiency is concerned, there’s a good chance they’ll soon take a backseat to Brosix.
Similar to Slack and Skype, the basics are the same -- Brosix is easy-to-use and straightforward, and it comes with premium tech support for any and all users. That said, Brosix begins to significantly distance itself from the competition in the ways of strong encryption and user security.
Furthermore, multiple languages, zero interface ads and plenty of made-for-business chat features make Brosix the smarter, more streamlined option for entrepreneurs hoping to tighten the screws on their team’s arsenal of efficient internal communication tools.

Yammer.

Does your business have a top-notch Facebook group? Though complete with a loyal following, engaging content and plenty of employee camaraderie, for internal matters, there are simply some topics that aren’t meant to be shared on Facebook for all of the Internet to see.
Not an issue in the slightest -- if it’s a social network you’re looking for to unite your staff, give Yammer a try. The platform might look like Facebook, going as far as offering up profile pages, status updates, likes, comments and shares, but it’s been completely privatized for business use.
Furthermore, following in the footsteps of its social predecessor, Yammer’s basic service is 100 percent free. Even if you’d like to upgrade to a paid plan with advanced administration, support and security, pricing is as low as $3 a month per user. Safe and fun, Yammer is worth trying.

BaseCamp.

It’s hard to talk about internal communication without bringing up one of the biggest of in-house beasts -- project management. Whether you’re an up-and-coming business that lays claim to five or 500 employees, keeping everyone on the same page is yet another thing easier said than done.
Since launching in 2004, however, BaseCamp has made impressive strides towards making project management a simple, collaborative affair. Truth be told, with BaseCamp onboard, never-ending email chains, cluttered boxes and random sticky notes are all things of the past.
The key to BaseCamp’s brilliance comes from the fact that any and all facets of a project are tackled in one place. To make this possible, BaseCamp offers its users state-of-the-art discussion boards, to-do lists, automatic status updates and built-in chat for all involved parties.
As the newest addition to your team, BaseCamp promises to make tasks easier to track, ensuring that you know what’s done, what’s in the works and what's yet to be started. You’re an entrepreneur; the last thing you need are last-minute surprises. BaseCamp eliminates them.

Fuze Meeting.

Instant messaging? Done. Social media? Check. Project Management? Naturally. Sure, we’ve hit the nail squarely on the head with three pillars of internal communication, but we’re still missing one major challenge: meetings.
Personally, my favorite thing about Fuze Meeting is its flexibility. Like most major meeting programs, Fuze Meeting comes with high-quality audio and video conferencing. What makes it different, though, is the multitude of ways Fuze is able to enhance meeting performance.
Sharing important files, presenting a variety of media-rich content and accessing from any device in any location around the world, Fuze Meeting is beyond flexible. Moreover, this is all free of charge for up to 25 participants, too.
Are there more internal communication options out there? Of course. Still, having founded and co-founded numerous businesses, I know that entrepreneurial savvy can only take a person so far; the right tools are what can make the difference.
-Nathan Resnick

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