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July 16, 2015

Is Yours An Email or Bust Organization? It's Time to Consider Fresh Options

With email volume mounting by the day, it’s no wonder that some organizations have floated the idea of banning email in the workplace. One of the most famous ban attempts was from global technology firm Atos, which has been working to eliminate internal company email among employees through a multi-year process (employees still send external emails to people outside the company).

Atos now discourages employees from sending or receiving internal emails, moving them to an enterprise social network model instead. Similarly, German car and truck maker Daimler recently launched a seemingly radical solution of its own: no email on vacation, guaranteed. Meanwhile, a French government proposal to allow some technology workers to officially sign off from emails and smartphones after 6 p.m. also generated much attention and debate.

Still, those moves remain deviations from the norm.

A number of researchers and communication experts  – including The Grossman Group – have suggested new ways to simply diversify communications so you don’t really need an outright ban on email. One idea is to use an electronic newsletter for various departments. This could be accessed online through Intranet or Sharepoint, and employees could quickly narrow in on key information that’s stored in one, easily accessible spot.

The key is to make sure that you’re carefully selecting your communication vehicles in all instances, rather than bombarding employees with emails. One of the most popular ways to avoid the email flood is to use a variety of enterprise social media platforms. Social media enables users to opt into the conversations and news feeds that are most meaningful to them. It’s hard to deny the importance of trending conversations, peer-to-peer sharing and the unprecedented ability to promote and scale new ideas.

Over time, most companies have introduced software and platforms to enable employees to harness the power of social media behind the company firewalls. For instance, commenting, sharing and liking are now commonplace on company intranets, while password-protected video operate like private YouTube channels. Platforms like Yammer and Chatter combine elements of Facebook and Twitter, while company CEOs and executives are increasingly expected to blog about their experiences.

Enterprise Social Media Could Include

  • Company blogs
  • Intranet articles that enable commenting, sharing or liking
  • Team sites for collaboration and idea exchange
  • Social platforms like Yammer, Chatter or Jive
  • Company-curated (member only) LinkedIn networks
  • Behind-the-firewall video channels
  • Other opt-in conversation and collaboration sites (now commonly built into intranet platforms like SharePoint)

What exactly is the impact of enterprise social media to date? Its use is clearly on the rise:         

  • 79 percent of business communicators report using social tools frequently to engage employees and foster productivity (Source)
  • Increased Collaboration (42%) and Knowledge Sharing (40%) are seen as the biggest benefits of integrating social into processes (Source)
  • In 50% of organizations, employees are encouraged to use social tools in relation to their jobs (Source)

 

Which new forums could you consider to help cut down on email volume inside your company?

 

--David Grossman

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Want to learn more about enterprise social media? Download the free eBook, Enterprise Social Media: 5 Ways to Maximize Trust and Master Social Media on the Inside. Click the image below. 

Enterprise Social Media eBook

 

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