In a span of just 3 decades, email has fallen from its lofty position as the most irreplaceable, efficient, enterprise-wide internal communication tool, leaving most organizations desperate for eliminating email overload.
There was a time when it was hard to imagine how any business could function prior to the dawning of the email age. Once lauded as a more reliable method than the inter-office phone call, email is frequently regarded now as an unrelenting daily burden. In this post, I look at 6 solutions for reining in email overload with state-of-the-art intranet communication tools that increase efficiency and optimize performance.
Businesses worldwide are waking up to the fact that with email, too much of a good thing is actually an obstacle to performance. Overstuffed inboxes and hours spent responding to incoming messages have become such a burden that some companies have taken drastic measures to combat email overload. As far back as 2012, organizations such as the French IT company Atos considered banning internal email altogether. The Volkswagen corporation took radical action to curb email traffic by eliminating messages to employees sent after work hours, according to this 2012 article at the Harvard Business Review.
Eliminating email completely is a radical option, about equivalent to throwing out the baby with the bathwater for most of today’s IT-reliant enterprises. Productivity experts such as David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and Bob Pozen, senior Harvard Business School lecturer and author of Extreme Productivity advise against the total discarding of such an integral communication tool. There are measures which can be taken to regain control over runaway email while driving performance with the powerful internal communication tools available at IC.
1. Access Qualified Personnel With IC’s People Directory
One of the negative characteristics about email is that it tends to be self-perpetuating in volume. Lengthy messages trigger more messages and depending upon the inbox volume and availability of the recipient, responses can be delayed for hours if not days. Many enterprises are spread across diverse, remote locations and coworkers aren’t locally available for quick answers or decisions. The solution is true corporate social networking with IC’s People Directory, part of the Corporate Intranet suite preferred by 1600 of our clients worldwide for over a decade now.
The People Directory is the hub for employees to connect with each other for true corporate social networking with Message Boards, Live Chat, Skills Tagging, and Status Updates. The Simple Colleague Look-up tool displays the results in real-time while you search by name, department, division or custom tags associated with the individual. Custom tags such as “technical” or “first aid” allow you to locate individuals by specific topic or qualification without the need to know in which department or division they can be found.
2. Live Chat For Instant Access
Live Chat streamlines communication with quick answers you need from the decision-makers in your organization without the delays caused by long response times to email or voicemail. A chat icon in the people directory sends an audio alert and a visual red blinking chat window appears to the respondent to notify them of your chat message. Live Chat can connect with your IT department for instant technical support, and a Live Chat Feed can be added to display all employees who are online and available at a glance.
3. Message Boards: Leadership Without “All Staff” Emails
All staff emails can add clutter to inboxes when important updates concerning company policy, vision, goals, and best practices need to be communicated quickly on an enterprise-wide basis. Worse yet, that “priority message” could be buried in an employee’s inbox queue where it won’t receive the timely attention it deserves, and it will generate yet another email if an acknowledgment reply is required. The employee message board provides a streamlined platform for thought leadership by executives and management and enables a more efficient way of tapping into the collective knowledge pool of the organization with feedback from the workforce.
Intranet administrators can open up the board to let everyone contribute or restrict it to one-way communication to distribute important messages from management to staff as required. Status Updates and Follow Colleague features allow the entire organization to keep up to speed on the activities and availability of everyone with an employee profile.
4. Driving Performance With Mobile Intranet Access
From the customer service perspective, the best practice mantra for businesses today is “Go mobile or go home”. As this article at Small Business Trends points out, mobile apps provide a host of ROI benefits for businesses of all sizes including better customer engagement, service and support, more direct promotion, and increased sales. These benefits are possible because portability=profitability and those same mobile features can also play a role within the enterprise itself. Just as customers benefit from 24/7 access, so can business operations reap the rewards of mobile access to the corporate intranet. In today’s mobile age, mobility on your business intranet is a critical key to success.
Our Mobile Intranet makes all of your business intranet resources available by accessing the regular web version of your intranet through your mobile browser. Personnel in the field can stay in touch without having to be physically present to respond and collaborate with colleagues at the corporate home office. Mobile access to all of the intranet features including the People Directory, Department Sites, Company Contacts, and Documents and Policies, streamline performance for any employee using a major mobile operating system including Apple IOS, Blackberry, or Android.
5. Personalized Employee Profile and Workspace
Widgets and the People Directory allow each individual to personalize a custom workspace with the intranet site content they use most frequently including documents, bookmarks, and content subscriptions. The message box is perfect for to-do lists and reminders and allows employees to add text, images, tables, and entire documents to their personal workspace. Page Bookmarks and Tools contain a Share Content tool for forwarding pertinent intranet content to colleagues they choose.
6. Automated Emails
Manual replies to emails are a chore which can be eliminated by Automated Emails for recurring internal tasks such as timesheets, registrations, and vacation request forms. Accounting and Payroll can be automatically notified anytime an employee submits a timesheet, and another automated email can notify the employee that the submission has been received and is approved or denied. Automated emails can be configured to notify Company Contacts with quarterly updates, invoices, and other routine communications. Registrations for training courses and company events can be streamlined with automatic replies and updates while keeping all concerned up to speed with event details. Automated emails can even enhance your External Connections. We can show you just how when you take a Free Personalized Corporate Intranet Demo with one of our Product Specialists.
How Communication Drives Performance at IC
Our corporate intranet software is tailored specifically to your company or organization’s individual needs. We’ve made it our mission to ensure that you’ll have the collaboration tools your team needs to communicate effectively, find documents easily, and revolutionize the way you share information. We improve business processes with intuitive Automated Workflows and Online Forms and promote open communication with Enterprise Social Networking tools. We provide a Cyber Secure SharePoint alternative and we can host on-premise or in a private cloud which means that neither us or any other contractor needs to access your private files. IC is the ideal solution for highly regulated industries such as those in the financial, healthcare, and government sectors, so don’t hesitate to contact us for a free live demo today.