Employees are frustrated. Everyday, they are overwhelmed and inundated with a surplus of email correspondence. According to a McKinsey report on “The Social Economy”, employees have to spend one-fourth of their work day reading, answering, and sending email communication.These time-consuming tasks have become such a large portion of their job responsibility that they struggle to get actual work done.
It can take employees “around 16 minutes to refocus on their tasks” after each time they manage emails, making it nearly impossible to stay focused at work.
Although email is a great for external point-to-point business communication, it is being overused internally. Coworkers are using email to share documents, invite people to events, share meeting notes, and to discuss important topics. It has become overwhelming to manage team communication and all other business correspondence in the same inbox.
There are more effective ways to communicate and collaborate within a team!
Incorporating the use of more social communication technologies can significantly reduce time spent handling email communication. IBM was able to reduce email traffic by 98 percent after utilizing a social site to post email responses. They claimed the social site helped with information redundancy, “thereby eliminating all the follow-up questions, copying, and forwarding that multiplies e-mail traffic.” Reducing email traffic and incorporating a social and collaborative, communication platform is critical to not only to improve productivity, but also to increase employee engagement.
Social sites automatically create user engagement because they directly ask for our input. When you login to Facebook the first thing you see is a status box where you are asked: “What’s on your mind?”. Suddenly, we are prompted to voice our thoughts and we are given the expectation that what we say really matters. People can use technology to announce their ideas, opinions, and life updates so they will be heard by others, and this expectation is being brought into the workplace.
If people can quickly reference social technologies to get up to speed and communicate with friends and family, why does communicating at work have to be so frustrating and time consuming?
Facebook and Twitter are engaging communication tools because they give people a voice and create an equal opportunity environment for people to receive social recognition. So, it is only fair to assume that the most effective way to engage an employee is to continually ask them a simple question: “What do you think?”
By providing an online environment where anyone’s ideas are welcomed and recognized, people participate because they are encouraged to and they have something valuable to contribute. This naturally makes the information that is shared more meaningful and engaging for people to discuss.
The communication methods employees use internally should align with their workflow and enable teams to collaborate around valuable information. Unfortunately, email creates disjointed conversations, which make it difficult to maintain transparency and keep everyone informed.
It is time to reconsider how we use email, so we can find a better way to work together virtually!