What Personal Preferences Tell Us About Communicating at Work
Customers have strong opinions about how businesses could be communicating better these days, and their views may shed some light on how companies can improve their internal business communications, as well. According to Vonage's "Global Customer Engagement Report, 2020," almost half of customers say there aren't enough options to connect in ways that suit their needs, and one-third of customers are frustrated when they cannot communicate inside a mobile or web app.
Messaging apps are popular because they allow us to quickly reach one another with brief, direct exchanges that accelerate the pace of business. They also lend warmth to our communications with emojis and GIFs so the conversation doesn't feel stilted or cold. Human communication with a modern touch is as important for internal business communications as it is for customer engagement — especially now. Given the rise of work-from-home arrangements, employees must be able to communicate smoothly, avoid misunderstandings, and maintain the positive working relationships that are so important for effective collaboration.
Research Reveals We Favor Quick, Personal Communication
Recent research on workplace communication patterns reveals that we favor quick, personal communication whenever possible — and modern communications tools are seen as critical to successful collaboration.
Employees prefer tools that enable quick communication. According to Slack's Future of Work Study, 74% of employees surveyed said they prefer to send real-time messages at work when asked about the range of communication tools available to them from email to in-person conversations.
Employees expect timely responses to their messages. The same Slack study noted that 80% of employees say they expect colleagues to answer emails as quickly as possible.
Employees want modern technology at work. As the Workfront State of Work 2020 report noted, 86% of next-generation employees report that they want workplace technology that provides as seamless an experience as the consumer technology they use in their personal lives. What's more, 84% of respondents believe businesses today are missing opportunities by not moving to more modern solutions.
5 Internal Communications Best Practices
In light of these learnings, here are five best practices for supporting more effective internal communication among your employees.
1. Modernize Your Communications Tools
As Vonage's research has found, consumers under 40 are highly likely to use newer communications channels, such as messaging, voice-based personal assistants, and video chat. Many employees also want to work with modern communications tools that are as convenient and easy to use as the consumer technology they already enjoy in their personal lives. Employees particularly favor communications tools, such as messaging and chat apps, that enable real-time interactions. With that in mind, provide your employees with the tools that help them stay connected with one another using their channels of choice.
2. Set Expectations for Responsiveness
Many employees now expect their colleagues to reply to their messages as quickly as possible — ideally, in real time. This is especially true when it comes to messaging and chat apps, which often indicate whether a colleague is present and available to communicate. However, this can cause some challenges when employees are working from home or telecommuting from different time zones. If your business offers such an arrangement, you may want to create a remote working agreement that specifies exactly when and how they'll be available.
3. Provide Flexible Communications Options
Provide flexible communications tools that suit a range of personal preferences and workplace scenarios. As Vonage's research shows, communications preferences vary widely depending on a range of factors including age, gender, and even geographical location. In addition, certain channels are better suited to specific workflows. While a sales team might rely on video chat to establish a strong personal rapport, colleagues in accounting might prefer to share their screens when analyzing a budget proposal. Cloud-based communications tools give your employees all the tools they need to connect with one another using the technology that's right for them. And, what's more, all of these tools are integrated with one another.
4. Select Integrated Solutions
Today's modern communications tools integrate with other platforms, improving both collaboration and productivity at the workplace. For example, cloud communications systems seamlessly integrate with CRM platforms, enabling your sales team to view a prospect's contact record when a call comes in from them, even automatically logging that call within the CRM. Cloud communications systems also integrate with office productivity suites like G Suite and Office 365, streamlining contact management and the process of scheduling meetings, among many other things.
Help Your Employees Communicate Better
In this digitally enhanced era, when everyone we know is a click away, employees want and need to quickly communicate with their colleagues. Today's professionals favor real-time communications that come with a personal touch, whether that's in the form of an endearing emoji or a lighthearted GIF.
By providing your employees with modern communications technology that's flexible and integrates well with your other business applications, you can give your staff exactly what they need to communicate quickly and efficiently with their coworkers — which, in turn, will make them both more satisfied and productive on the job.