As a communications leader, I have witnessed the tremendous evolution of the communications landscape in the last 20 years – especially with shifts into automation, social messaging, digitalization and remote work. These have changed not only the ways by which we communicate, but also the way we work.
Communicating digitally is a way of life now. Its benefits include, but are not limited to increasing work efficiency, increasing employment opportunities, and enhancing collaboration in transcending time and distance.
With these benefits, it also means that it is easier to lose the human connection, which is vital to the HR, sales or training professionals. It augments the need to maintain employee morale, attract talents, safeguard privacy, retain employees and connect with one another.
Other common issues include:
- Misinterpretation of intended communication
- Lack of privacy
- Virtual barriers that inhibit relationship building
- Information overload leading to important information being overlooked
When not addressed, these issues could lead to a host of other problems. Embracing technological benefits has to balance with the inclusion of human touch that is crucial for businesses and organizations to thrive.
In this new digital norm, businesses are to adopt new communication rules to maintain the people-first approach.
Use of technology to create room for human interactions
The threat of robots replacing job roles has been hovering in people’s minds for a long time, especially in this time of digital transformation. However, the reverse is also true that, technology has taken over mundane tasks that could be automated. This creates opportunities for high-value jobs that require human creativity, and cognitive skills.
It is undeniable that automations like sending messages and updating of real-time project statuses is made more efficient. As such, it allows more time for human interactions, collaborations, brainstorming, customer services and employee relations, which digitalization cannot replace.
Use of digital tools to increase communication flow and efficiency
We make digital tools work for us, not in place of us. By this I mean, we should approach digital communications as a support system, instead of the only system of communications.
Convincingly, HR practitioners have suggested several powerful ways that communications can be enhanced digitally:
- Use video calls to enable better collaboration.
- Leverage feedback tools in work management platform to allow managers to leave feedback when they have time, then follow-up with one-on-one meeting.
- Get digital approvals to leave managers’ schedules open for more face-time with other workers.
- Hold live webinars with video and chat features to provide trainings to more people at once and still be able to communicate one-on-one in breakout rooms.
- Use an operational system to allow managers, CEOs, and other stakeholders to interact directly with workers, rather than through a cumbersome chain of communications.
Ultimately, digital communications help to raise administrative productivity in order that employees can focus on what is digitally irreplaceable.
When digital tools cannot be used or replaced
Having said about using digital tools to help raise productivity, there are situations where digital communications is inappropriate. For instance, when addressing important issues like performance, resignations, termination, promotion, and face-to-face meetings.
A final note, it is people who make organizations successful. While productivity is important, the use of digital tools is exciting, the central focus is the human factor. There needs to be a fine balance between digital and personal communications.
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