5 crucial communications tools in the digital workplace

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August 2, 2019
5 min read
Crucial Communication Tools In The Digital Workplace

Companies are quickly adopting new social technologies as communications tools in their digital workplace as a means of improving productivity, collaboration, and communication within their organization.

When communication switched from phone calls to emails in the 90s, it was revolutionary. Now the speed of adopting technologies has taken off to rocket speed. Emails and phone calls are now seemingly archaic means of communication when it comes to getting information quickly. We’ve compiled a list of five advanced communication tools that are vital for thriving in this fast-paced digital world we live in.

The History of Social Technologies in the Digital Workplace

According to a research study conducted by McKinsey & Company, companies began experimenting with social technologies as a means of communication and collaboration in the mid-2000s. At the time, it was typically through YouTube or with social influencers to connect with customers. Then around 2010, companies started using these tools internally, as a knowledge base to add information such as company goals and vision, as well as for team collaboration. Most recently, organizations have been using internal social technologies for more advanced purposes such as strategic insights.

Millennials (Generation Y) and nexters (Generation Z) who grew up with technology, prefer to communicate online, and typically dislike phone calls. They grew up in an online environment where they are always ‘logged on’. Which has resulted in a preference for a more flexible workplace. The typical 9-5 doesn’t always work for those born after 1981. They also typically crave mentorship, use social media as a means of communication and newsgathering, and prefer a collaborative work environment. Here are five social technologies to connect all the generations in a digital workplace. These tools help to foster collaboration, improve productivity, and reduce time-consuming processes.

Five Examples of Crucial Communications Tools In A Digital Workplace:

Company News

Rejoice in the reduction of the ‘all staff emails’ with the use of Company News in your digital workplace. Share articles, events, updates, goals, holiday schedules, policy changes, and much more on the main site of your digital workplace. Ensure the information stays secure by adjusting permission levels to designate specific users or departments the ability to add or delete posts to the company news. Add a ‘What’s New’ widget to the side of the homepage to ensure employees are being kept up to date. Finally, check site stats to ensure the news is being read by all employees. This information can be displayed as general as a percentage, or as detailed as down to the specific user.

Message Boards

Message Boards are a great tool for employees seeking information regarding specific work tasks or general work-related answers. Management can use this tool to share company vision, promote corporate culture, and announce updates on goals. It’s a great way to share information while eliminating the need for ‘all staff’ emails.

Live Chat

Reduce email volume and improve productivity by enabling your employees to communicate in real-time with live chat. This tool is especially helpful for employees working remotely, or when an organization has several different geographic locations. Get answers quickly and keep the communication door open between employees with live chat.

Discussion Forums

Another indispensable tool in the digital workplace is discussion forums. Here is a platform available for employees to discuss topics of interest as they relate to the workplace. An important way to keep communication open within an organization, and a means of reducing the number of meetings or long email chains. Discussion forums encourage fluid interaction between employees of all levels and locations within the organization.

Project Sites

When collaboration is a top priority without relinquishing security, project sites are a robust tool that allows users with proper permission levels access to information on a project they are working on. This is a powerful internal communication tool providing a dedicated workspace that improves efficiency, collaboration, and communication among project teams.

What Direction Is The Digital Workplace Headed?

The survey by McKinsey & Company confirms that more organizations are integrating new communications tools and social technologies into the way they conduct business each day, from simple one-off communication to advanced strategic decisions made online. The number of organizations that have adopted innovations communications tools and social technologies as a means of communication more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, and the number is not slowing down.

A few of the findings from their survey with regards to where the digital workforce is heading include better communication, across different levels, roles, organizational units, and to ‘all staff”, generating a more horizontal hierarchy in the office. They have also improved the self-sufficiency of individuals and teams to ‘self-organize’ and become more project-based, as opposed to team or function-based. A greater number of strategic priorities are set up and followed through completely. Voting has become an integral part of allocating resources. Company transparency has improved, especially in the finance department. Peer evaluations are gaining more traction as opposed to manager insights, and in some cases, employees have played a part in selecting leaders.

Social technologies as communications tools are readily available to improve the workplace. Selecting the right tools will help to keep your organization competitive in their field, improve collaboration, and promote communication throughout the teams.

Do you have any questions related to the future of the digital workplace? Leave us a comment below! If you want to learn how IC Thrive can help you improve your internal communications with innovative products and services, feel free to book a free demo today! Also be sure to check out our assessment tool to get a run-down of what works best in your internal comms strategy.

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IC transforms businesses with state-of-the-art internal comms software. Since 1999, we have connected workers to their organization's goals and each other. Adopting our purpose-built software has led to measurable successes for our customers: productivity increases, turnover decreases, and better employee experiences.