Paradigm Shift of Internal Communication
The Email Era since the 1990s has ended, and new ways to collaborate are spreading fast. Emails will not completely disappear, but email has become less and less important for internal communication. The modern era is not just a technical change of communication platforms, but also a transformation of the whole communication culture. Surely, we can say this is a paradigm shift of internal communication. Let’s be frank, email is clumsy and starts to come apart when you’re trying to communicate updates, check-ins in an ad-hoc manner, or you find a new idea.
Email is Terrible for Internal Communications. Each day, the average office worker receives about 120 emails (Radicati Group 2019: Email Statistics Report, 2019-2023). Also, email is a kind of old-school in its formality and lack the smooth user experience of social sharing and engagement. When too many people join an email conversation, they become difficult to manage.
Besides, emails tend to be too long and have too many things in the same email. Surely, shorter emails are possible, but the format encourages users to write lengthy texts — contradictory to today’s desire for speed and brevity that is favored by the generation of younger workers. As speed of everything increases, people are less willing to wait for websites to load, videos to buffer, and colleagues to respond to their messages. In other words, if you’re still exclusively using email for internal communication, then you’re risking your message is skimmed, unread, or just deleted.
Communication and collaboration in the modern era
Advanced communication channels, like chats, encourage interactive conversations between peers and notifications to allow users to give feedback faster. Still, it can be targeted and sent on the go. Advanced channels enable you to create open and closed groups, automatically assigning employees according to location, department, or role. These groups are instantly updated when employees are on- and off-boarded.
The reality in the organizations is that instant and channel communications are invading every corner of the organization. However, if you observe beyond those in-depth analyses of last night’s TV series or plans for next weekend activities, you’ll find that channels can play a critical role in team building, company culture and especially organizational agility.
You can’t invite people in a room and miraculously demand them to be creative within a defined time frame. You may not be able to push creativity. Creativity is asynchronous by nature, and it is a natural process that can be nurtured, harnessed, and cultivated, but you can not make it like an appointment to your calendar. Nothing remarkable comes out of forcing creativity.
When you get an idea, you post it instantly to the right channel. Truly innovative companies today treat innovation as a continuous activity. All the time, they identify opportunities for improvement and take action. In a world of constant change, it’s the only way to succeed.
Innovate to compete
History teaches us that delaying innovations can cause companies to be beaten by competitors. Companies were innovative, but they died because employees with the best ideas weren’t able to collaborate freely together. This won’t happen in social and digital enterprises where sharing and acting on transparent information is vital and encouraged.
The communication in organizations is not synchronized any more, because all the people are not in the same place or online at the same time. Typically, we don’t have an appointment for discussion on channels. Synchronous communication is a live conversation with a clear start and end and can usually be identified by faster response times. In channels, communication is technically synchronous, and it’s used as a synchronized manner, but the nature of discussions is open-ended and asynchronous concerning all threads of conversations.
Formality and synchronization of meetings and also email is killing agility and innovation, whereas the chat is fast, authentic, and informal. Today it’s not possible to get all the participants in the same place and at the same time when the idea pops up into people’s minds. There is no time to wait for three weeks for the next meeting. When you have an idea, proposal, or problem, you post it to the right channel. The other participants of the channel will join when they have time for it, they are interested in it, and they are online.
Benefits of shifting to channels
Channel communication has several benefits over email and in-person meetings. One is that channels create a public archive of objects and discussions that is easily and quickly searchable. Everyone sees what others are talking about and doing. Plus, you can add new comments and objects also asynchronously. Another point is information overload. There are too many tools, and the channel is one useful attempt to try and gather business intelligence into one private portal.
Advantages of synchronous communication e.g. phone, in person, video conferencing, and chat:
- Resolve complex issues more efficiently
- Focus on the issue from start to finish
- Non-verbal communication and human connection
There are also some additional advantages in channels:
- Keep the conversation open-ended
- A more mobile-friendly option
- A public archive of discussions which is easily searchable
- Participants can add new comments and objects asynchronously
The shift away from traditional tools of communication such as emails and in-person meetings has given rise to new forms of communication with features of social media platforms: mentions, likes, newsfeeds, and more. This transformation in communication results in decentralization and flattening across corporate communications.
Whereas company decisions were once made via long email threads, formal meetings, and conference calls, they are now determined within more collaborative channels and also asynchronously. Moreover, as employees get more connected through engagement and platforms, more decisions get made lower in the organization.
Information transparency requires that employees have unfettered access to customer and operational information and that they can quickly share ideas, learnings, and insights across organizational boundaries. Fundamentally, it’s simply people having conversations and collaboration aided by platforms.
Read about Fingertip’s features and how to approach the paradigm shift in your organization!