How to Improve Internal Communication Without Relying on Email

09 March 2022 | 4 Minute
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How to Improve Internal Communication Without Relying on Email

How to Improve Internal Communication Without Relying on Email 

Email is a technological development used by so many people worldwide in business. In fact, over 4 billion individuals use email globally, and predictions say this will increase to 4.6 billion by 2025. Therefore, it’s part of our personal and business lives and has so many benefits for communication. However, email shouldn’t be the only form of internal communication within a business. You must ensure that email is used alongside other communication methods to create a culture of effective and open internal communication to improve the employee experience and business success.

The Essential Role of Internal Communication

As discussed in previous blogs, internal and employee communication is vital for productivity, engagement, retention, and forms part of your culture (regardless of whether you do it well or not!). Therefore, it’s a business area that requires a strategic approach, buy-in from all levels, and continuous review and feedback.

Why are Emails not Enough?

Some companies may have attempted emails bans or temporary bans to ease the workload and focus their people on other tasks, and it’s easy to see why. For example, one study showed that managers typically spent 100 hours a year dealing with irrelevant emails, yet they did not want email to be taken away.

There are many reasons why emails excel at internal communication, but there are also some ways in which they can fail to create a rounded communication experience for your people:

  • Emails get missed – it’s true of many types of communication, but when everything comes in email form, individuals may miss or delete an important message. It’s easy to save certain emails for later to read when you’re less busy or preoccupied, but in reality, those emails may never be opened, let alone read and understood!
  • Lost in translation – we can all write something we think is saying one thing, but it may come across as different in tone or language to others. Quite simply, your people may not understand the message, feel like there is blame, or read something else into it. Again, this can be potentially damaging to relationships or engagement.
  • Lack of speed – sometimes someone may just need a quick word with a manager, colleague, or employee, and in the old traditional workplace where most people worked in the office, this was relatively easy. However, with remote and hybrid working, teams are located in different places, and emails can be overly formal or seen as slow ways to ask a simple question. That’s why instant messaging and communication apps are fantastic for quick and informal chats.
  • They lack creativity – emails, as essential as they are as communication tools, lack variety. Sometimes communication needs to be more fun or instant without individuals being locked to their screen. So, combined with other internal communication methods, emails are excellent, but on their own, they may not be enough to engage, educate and update your people.

What can you use alongside email?

So, if emails serve an (important!) purpose, here’s how can they work in harmony with other internal communication methods to improve the workplace culture and experience:

  • Meetings – sometimes face-to-face or virtual meetings for remote and hybrid workers are the best way to relay and discuss important messages or changes. Not only can individuals ask questions and confirm their understanding, but the communication is also instant and allows for body language to be seen and responses to be viewed. If necessary, managers can address issues or negative reactions on the spot and may notice employee responses that they wouldn’t know about over email.

Also, all staff meetings are useful for management to make announcements and updates in-person to employees, and meetings can be recorded or streamed live to remote or hybrid workers. These meetings also show employees that management wants to communicate with them and take the time to include everyone.

  • Cultural changes – it takes time to establish the culture you aspire to, but little things can create a culture of effective internal communication. For example, if your company culture encourages instant feedback, this becomes the norm, and people receive ongoing feedback rather than feedback only during review meetings! Such feedback can be virtual, written, or verbal using communication apps, the phone, etc., and should be applied to both those working remotely and in the workplace.

In addition, such instant feedback doesn’t have to be about improvements or about something negative; a culture where everyone recognises and appreciates others creates a place where all employees and managers praise each other for jobs well done or even simple tasks.

  • Mobile communication – almost 80% of the UK population had a smartphone as of last year. So, while you can’t expect every employee to have access to a smartphone, a high percentage of your workforce will probably have one. Some technology will also include more informal and fun communication opportunities to announce and celebrate special days. Managers can share other information across all employees or selected groups. 

Again, if this type of technology forms part of the company culture, employees will become accustomed to giving and receiving communication whenever they want to access it. Suppose your people have a mobile app that offers information, updates, announcements, recognition programs, etc., all in one place. In that case, it also reduces the number of communication channels and should make information processing easier. 

It’s an added bonus if mobile apps integrate the company intranet and other means of communication. Such integrated technology allows your people to check the intranet for updates and key information whenever and wherever they want to, and it helps encourage communication within the workforce.

  • Feedback – how do you know what information employees need, want, lack, or how they like to receive it if you don’t ask them? Apps that offer employee surveys, virtual suggestion boxes, feedback, and pulse surveys are brilliant to gain instant information and show that you care what your people think. Such apps are inclusive and easy to use wherever individuals are located.

The Bottom Line

Email isn’t going anywhere, and rightly so, as it offers many benefits to businesses and users. However, you cannot rely on email as the only way to communicate internally, and you need to strategise a range of communication tools and approaches to internal communication. Communication methods should be varied and consistent to appeal to all employees and accessible by all regardless of location. And it needs to be two-way communication so that while you have ample opportunity and channels to update your people, they have the opportunities to give their feedback too.

Sorwe allows you to publish stories or hear from the company in a personalised way for different target audiences. You can follow different audiences' interactions with your message in real-time. For more information contact us.

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