By Siv Rauv, Elcom’s blog.
Back in the early 1990s, many were skeptical about the prospect of email becoming a viable digital communication tool. Some even doubted the influence that the Internet itself would have on business. However, it didn’t take long for both the web and email to move from the fringes to a primary communication tool for both personal and business use.
Soon email came to be seen as integral to business communications and was favored by many over making phone calls. Now, nearly three decades later, email is being replaced by even more efficient communication methods. Streamlined social intranets and related internal business communication tools have taken the place of more traditional emailed messages, and the result has brought business communication to new levels.
Intranet Tools Offer More Efficient, Intuitive Communications
These dynamic tools are built into company intranets or ESNs (enterprise social networks) as opposed to endless emails. Emailing is now no longer as necessary due to the creation of a company-wide intranet that allows for the easy posting of schedules, events, policy changes, news and other crucial updates.
While these solutions may not be able to replace every group email or individual communication, internal collaboration can be tremendously improved with the following popular tools.
Message Boards are another excellent tool for staff communication. Workers who seek basic advice can talk back and forth with one another and allow others to benefit from the information shared. Message Boards are also a great place for company leaders to share the company’s mission, vision and goals for the business as well as its internal culture.
One concern about internal company message boards is that they will become too social and less focused on business matters over time. However, with an internally controlled system the message board can be given permissions and parameters so that it is always used productively and in the service of the company. Message Boards eliminate the need for many company-wide emails due to their function as a focused, targeted resource that remains continually available to all who require it.
Discussion Forums offer a more informal tool for workers to loosen up and have longer conversations about topics of interest. Many businesses are more relaxed and liberal with their policies when it comes to company discussion forums. While the majority of threads should be kept work-related, you can also create a “water cooler” thread to allow for more informal conversations when employees are on break or outside of business hours.
Discussion Forums allow workers to contribute in areas of their interest and expertise, making it a win-win for both the participants and the business. They are more dynamic than email and easier to track historically in terms of how the conversation unfolded over time. Workers can participate and then easily drop out when the conversation is no longer relevant to them. A company intranet makes it easy to subscribe and then unsubscribe if the thread evolves in directions that no longer pertain to individual specialties and required tasks.
Facilitate communication by enabling teams to quickly create workspaces, where they can easily participate in conversations and share documents around a topic or project. Workspaces allow teams to move work out of email threads and into centralized collaborative areas which are more efficient, searchable, and can be as open or private as needed. Users with the right permissions can create a Team Workspace for project specific communication and content. You can add a document list, calendar, news stream, RSS feeds or any elcomCMS module to build a specific collaborative environment.
Are You Making the Most of the Social Intranet?
Streamlined internal communication is crucial to success in business today, and internal tools are facilitated by a company intranet. The social intranet facilitates more efficient and effective communication than ever before, allowing workers to stay connected, plugged in and more productive.
Email is still a key component in many business communication today, and will likely never be eliminated completely. However, there are numerous more powerful tools for internal communication that can optimise cooperation, collaboration and efficiency in any organisation.
Email Alternatives and Much More
There’s a surge of new technology solutions entering the market that open up new possibilities for social intranets and internal communication. If you’re unsure about which tools would work best in your business speak to us about customising a solution specific to your business needs and demands.
We’re here to provide advice and insights about the ideal set of workplace communication tools to minimise your reliance on email. Take a stand against email overload today by optimising your internal communications.
This article was originally published on Elcom’s blog.