The internal communication industry faces a challenging future – because employees are constantly being overloaded with information, according to a leading academic.
Targeted communication continues to be popular in IC with a plethora of channels available to communicate with employees.
The much-heralded digital revolution has seen communication evolve away from the traditional printed newsletter and occasional town hall get-togethers.
With evidence revealing its links to increase productivity and profitability, employee engagement is big business.
This, in turn, has increased expectations on internal communicators to sustain a fully engaged workforce.
Yet the ever-increasing openness in today’s IC brings its own problems, according to Cary Cooper, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, University of Manchester.
In this blog post for Metro, he wrote: “Most of us are guilty of checking in with work too often.
“Last year HR Magazine’s Reclaim Your Time survey found that 34% of employees check their email immediately after waking up and 38% do it every night just before they go to bed.
“The difference between “we don’t expect you to check your email” and “we expect you not to check your email” is crucial.
“Of course, completely disallowing out-of-hours emails won’t work for all businesses. We need flexibility.
“Discouraging overuse is fine, but let’s take a more mindful approach to internal communications in general.”
But email is only one issue. Other channels cause problems with information overload too.
Cary continued: “Some 37% of startups no longer view it [email] as their main comms channel, favouring collaborative platforms like Slack and Google Docs.
“These tools are ripe for overuse, designed to facilitate group-wide communication from a smartphone. What could go wrong?
“Overuse of workplace communication is linked to a reduction in mental well-being.
“Flexibility and a culture of openness are valuable to any organisation.
“But those organisations that embrace openness have a duty to protect their people from the risks, both to their well-being and to their career, of being able to communicate so easily with so many.”
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