Can effective communication tools empower productivity in the enterprise?

Having an effective communication between different, and often remotely located workforces, is a prerequisite for every organization’s continued success. 

Kaveri Reddy Mar 28th 2019

Hustle has come to define how enterprises presently work. As the competition in the market stiffens with the emergence of fast growing start-ups and legacy enterprises adopting the industry’s best policies, there is a need to stay ahead of the curve. The workforces need to work in tandem, to effectively draw business critical inferences and insights in real-time. And thus, organizations of today cannot afford to operate in silos. Having an effective communication between different, and often remotely located workforces, is a prerequisite for every organization’s continued success. 

This need has raised the stakes for the enterprise communications industry; while the ripples can be observed at a global level, the trend is catching up in India as well. According to the IDC research, the collaborative application segments in India is expected to observe a CAGR of 47.8 percent between 2017 and 2022, making collaborative applications the fastest-growing software segment in India. CIOs and communications evangelists must take the initiative of ushering the organizations into an age of enhanced and effortless enterprise communication and collaboration. Below are a few methods to figure out how to go about it! 

Understanding enterprise communication 

Communication constitutes the spine of any enterprise, especially contemporary ones that boast culturally, and often geographically diverse workforces. Enterprise communication allows an organization to collaborate, share, strengthen relationships, and more importantly, help them forge and consolidate new ideas. It encompasses the entire gamut of communication technologies, ranging from the likes of traditional email and intranet, collaboration networks such as conferencing, and newer mediums like social networking.

Innovations in the communication space aimed at making life easy for consumers have found a comfortable niche in the corporate world. One might argue that a company ‘WhatsApp Group’, where information is exchanged falls under the category of enterprise communication as well! 

Can effective communication tools empower productivity? 

The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer to this question is that it depends. 

Back in 2016, the Harvard Business Review Study revealed that in the past two decades, employees have come to spend 50 percent more of their time on collaborating. This may include different times, managers, vendors or customers. The prominence of collaboration has only increased, as digitalization and advanced technologies like AI and Big Data have covered significant leaps in the past three years.  

Sometimes though, adding a new communication initiative can mean adding a layer that distances an employee from the hierarchy. In a world where organizations are striving to go in the opposite direction and adopt a flatter hierarchy, this is somewhat antithetical. In the midst of ever-evolving technology, we must not forget the core objective that any communication solution aims to serve; to simplify the process, and enhance productivity. 

Here’s how an effective communication tool can help an organization- 

  • Mitigate conflicts: Miscommunication can not only waste valuable company resources, but it can also affect employee morale and eventually productivity. Conflict resolution is a time-consuming process; hence it’s a lot easier to prevent conflict from arising in the first place rather than looking for a cure. Misunderstandings can occur for various reasons; perhaps something was lost in translation over an email, or an employee might feel their needs are being ignored if quicker action is not taken regarding a complaint. Many communication tools allow for audio/video conferencing and can help avoid miscommunication thanks to having a lower propensity for misperception and facilitating critical dialogue when required. 
  • Help save time: This is the big one. Every organization in the world is focused on streamlining their communication strategy so that valuable time is preserved. While this might sound easy, it actually can be an arduous task. Enterprise communication has a lot of moving parts, and to establish a collective strategy that saves time at every level, is where the challenge lies. An organization can start by making tweaks to the type of technology they use. For example, large member conference calls are infamous for being time consuming and unproductive. Companies can opt for a dial-out conferencing service like grptalk, which connects every participant at once, instead of them having to call a bridge number and enter a PIN to join audio conferences.  Another example would be traditional email, which some might argue is tedious for internal communication, and on the verge of becoming obsolete. Subsequently, many organizations are beginning to adopt enterprise chat platforms for a more direct real-time conversation. 
  • Transparency empowers employees: Cloud and data storage enterprise applications such as Dropbox and Google’s enterprise suite (Drive, Docs and more) are allowing for much easier collaboration.  With documents and information readily available at every employee's fingertips, modern companies have established a transparent culture to make their workforce feel more invested and empowered. For a lot of individuals, transparency is one of the critical factors that foster loyalty and trust towards their employer.
  • Engage employees and create a healthy culture: When employees believe they are valued, they tend to be more engaged in their work and want to perform at their best. And while every organization has its own culture, effective communication is synonymous with a healthy and growing culture. Newsletters, internal social media pages, and groups can all be used to interact with and keep employees engaged. Such channels are also great to announce ‘company wins’ and praise your workforce for their efforts. 

The Bottom Line

While enterprise communication can be tricky, it certainly does not need to be. The key to acing communication and enhancing productivity at your organization is finding the right balance between technologies that are user-friendly for the employees, and increasing productivity for your business at the same time.

The time has come for CIOs to make 2019 a transformative year for enterprises. From actively participating in discussions around enterprises transforming to better enable communication and collaboration between employees, to setting aside dedicated budgets and human resources to implement such strategies, transforming communication and collaboration methods warrants determined and systematic efforts. Enterprises that fail to change and evolve with the changing times, risk missing out on a major competitive advantage in times to come.

Kaveri Reddy is the Vice President- Business Development and Operations at Telebu. 

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).