I spend a lot of time talking with communicators in large organizations. They are usually time and resource strapped and have large, nebulous objectives to meet, such as “increase employee engagement,” while at the same time running numerous communicators programs. They are writing executive messaging, producing stories and content for company news, and delivering HR and benefits information to vast numbers of employees.
Recently, I was interviewed by HR Examiner’s lead analyst, John Sumser, and walked him through the capabilities of PoliteMail. John led off by saying, “Email is dead to me.” That wasn’t surprising. As a reporter who writes about the bleeding edge of technology, he doesn’t work in a large corporate office and spends most of his time communicating with and writing about the dreamers pushing the next shiny new thing.
Fortunately, John is a smart, polite gentleman who is willing to check his rear-view mirror while driving forward. Chances are, John still checks his inbox and sends email like the rest of us.
What corporate communicators want is to write something once, publish it everywhere and reach everyone in their target audience. Yes, they need to communicate where the audience is. We all know multi-tasking millennials dis email and flit from Facebook to Instagram and, as independents or small work groups, are Slackers. These new communications tools may or may not last, but they certainly do not have the breadth of employee reach most corporate executives demand.
If you want to reach all your employees with an important strategic message from the CEO, what is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to do so? What communication tools do all employees already use, and which require no training or much in the way of technical skills?
The answer is email, and for the majority of corporations, Microsoft Outlook in particular. There is a reason that Facebook and LinkedIn use email to communicate with their own users, and loop them back onto the platform. There is a reason for the growing push-back against Slack as creating a multitude of inboxes instead of just one.
Corporations today struggle even with reaching non-desk employees on their mobile devices. Hundreds of start-ups are publishing new mobile apps, which communicators and employees will have to learn and adopt, and which often cost more than simply giving non-desk workers their own company email address. There is a reason the most popular iPhone app is email: we all get and check email on our mobile devices. We might text subsets of people, and regularly check our LinkedIn messaging, but we all have email and use it every day.
Anyone working inside the enterprise will realize email is far from dead, and with Office365, is actually evolving at a rapid pace. Certainly more and more people access email via mobile, and Outlook and Office are already there. Office is the corporate communications platform, Outlook is the hub, and SharePoint is the newsroom and archive. New, email integrated social, video and workflow tools are arriving daily inside Office365.
John, and others who have their eyes on the next shiny thing, can rest assured knowing Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics will be coming to email sooner than they might realize. Anyone else notice how very effective the Outlook Clutter folder is at reducing unwanted email?