Sample Paper on Alternatives to emails in Business Communication

Alternatives to emails in business communication processes

The problem

At this age of technology, some companies still rely heavily on email to pass message to their employees. These companies are yet to realize that technology has made incredible progress in communication processes by providing more enhanced means of communication. Although this report does not intend to imply that companies should not utilize emails to pass messages to their employees, the report is opposed to some practices of emailing. In particular, this report opposes the practice of using email list to pass urgent messages to employees.

Company ABC which is located in the city has seventy employees both permanent and casual. Because of this number of employees, the company occupies four floors of a certain building. This notwithstanding, the company’s employees meet frequently though they do not have a regular meeting program. Based on this fact, the company’s management team passes messages regarding these meetings via emails. In some instances, the management team organizes urgent meetings and sends them through emails as well because it does not have alternative method of doing so. Although the company boasts of its efficient emailing program, the company does not reach its employees on time when it sends urgent messages via email. The company did not realize this problem until it recently issued some of its employees with warning letters for not attending urgent meetings when organized.

The problem of using emails to pass urgent meetings is that even if one can confirm that he/she has sent messages to the right people, it is impossible to tell whether the intended recipients have received those messages on time or not. Another problem with emails is that employees have to check their emails regularly. The quandary with this practice is that even if employees can check their emails regularly, it is not possible for them to check them on hourly basis. If anything, some of them can manage to check them on daily basis while others can do it on weekly basis. As a result, emails can be inconvenient when one wants employees to take action within a short period (Horwitz 439). In terms of resources, emails tend to use more resources if the company sending emails does not have a mailing list to help it in sending those emails. Therefore, it would be wise to supplement emails with social media platforms that have tremendous followers, which employees are part of them.

Jeff Horwitz claims that when communicating via emails, a person should send emails in good time. Good time in this case may vary from one organization to the other depending on the time employees take to react to issues. For some organizations, the turnaround time may be a day while in other organizations it may be three days or more. It is impossible to tell the best turnaround time for an urgent message. With regard to this issue, Jeff Horwitz claims that it is possible to miss an urgent message when using emails to pass urgent messages (Horwitz 439). With regard to company ABC, the management team could send messages to employees, but it could not confirm whether they received those messages on time or not. Therefore, some employees could pretend that they did not receive those messages on time. Although this report does not dispute the fact that emails are efficient methods of communication that organizations can use, the report disputes the fact that emails can be efficient methods of passing urgent messages. As the case might be, some employees might protest against this method of communication because it is quite tedious to prove that they read messages on time.

From a general viewpoint, an effective process of using emails to pass urgent messages calls for the cooperation of employees with their management teams which is not easy to come by. This means that if employees are unwilling to cooperate with their management teams, then it is not possible for emails to be successful in sending urgent messages. In spite of this, even when employees cooperate with their management teams, it is still impossible to pass urgent messages via emails because the method uses a lot of resources in the absence of a mailing list. For this reason, there is an indication that the popularity of social media platforms among employees will transform communication processes in organizations (Jones and Teevan 185).

Literature

To start with, there is an indication that some organizations opt to use social media technologies in their communication processes rather than relying on traditional computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies (Treem and Leonardi 143). This suggests that organizations are moving away from using emails and other traditional CMC technologies that do not support their services. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that organizations will stop using these technologies, but it suggests that organizations are seeking for better alternative methods of communication.

Current literature demonstrates that social media can be an influential aspect in business if utilized in the right way. In fact, the term itself is a great resource in communication process given that it has something to do with bringing people together that share interests, backgrounds and activities. In an organization set up, people share common interests, activities and perhaps backgrounds given that they come from one organization. At the same time, social media platforms have gained considerable popularity among employees (Guffey and Richard 28). Therefore, they are great resources to incorporate in communication processes.

Current literature demonstrates that as soon as social media became widespread, some companies developed their own social media platforms. IBM Company in particular developed Beehive for its employees to share their experiences as well as showcase their expertise (Schermerhorn 98). Marsh Inc., on the other hand, developed Marsh University social media platform. This platform has been influential in enhancing education at Marsh University as well as enabling students connect with their colleagues. While this practice might appear to be insignificant or not well thought, the practice has been influential in one way or the other. It has enabled people in one organization to stay focused on their area of specialization as well as enabled them share resources. In addition, it has enhanced the processes of generating ideas and developing new insights (Kelly 202). As such, companies should strive towards incorporating social media in their communication processes. This practice would enable employees receive messages on time and enable employers to confirm that their employees have received such information on time. In contrast, email communication does not allow employees to confirm that they have received messages on time and that they will act on them, and if it does some employees might be reluctant to do so. For this reason, email communication remains less effective in passing urgent messages to employees.

A quick overview of the current literature indicates that social media has taken over in communication processes. In fact, if you ask people how they communicate, they will probably tell you that they use social media platforms. Others will tell you that they rarely use emails to send short messages and if they use emails, they use them less often. This is an indication that if companies that rely heavily on emails to communicate with their employees do not change soon, then they will experience communication breakdowns (Guffey and Richard 28). This should not sound like a prophecy of doom, but it should be a waking up call to the companies in question.

Twitter has been widely recognized to be one of the influential social media platforms. The platform is effective in online communication processes because it enables its users to send short messages to their followers. At the same time, it enables them to leave messages if they have to do it. Certainly, one does not need to write everything on the tweet, but a simple and direct message is enough. As an alternative to emails, twitter can be an efficient method of communication within an organization. This is in relation to the fact it is possible to send short messages to all employees without necessarily calling them (Bovee and Thill 145). In addition, majority of the employees log in to their twitter accounts more than they log in to their emails. For this reason, employees are likely to receive urgent messages via twitter than they can receive them via their emails.

Literature demonstrates that twitter account holders can convert their tweets to messages and messages to tweets. By so doing, these account holders can receive messages on their cell phones regarding the tweets they have on their twitter accounts. This might be an efficient method of alerting twitter account holders that they have tweets on their twitter accounts thereby enable them to receive urgent messages on time (Merrill et al 6). However, the challenge with this practice is the high cell phone bills that come with the practice. In other words, twitter account holders must pay for this service to their mobile service providers. Contrary to registering for frequent messages over the cell phone, sending direct messages to employees via their twitter accounts can be an efficient method of sending urgent messages through twitter. The only thing that you need to do is to ensure that all employees follow you. The best thing with this method is that majority of employees embrace twitter than they embrace emails (Sengupta 324). For this reason, you are likely to meet them on twitter than to convince them to check their emails frequently just to check whether they have urgent messages or not.

Facebook is among the trending platforms in social media. It has been influential in communication processes. Literature depicts that with Facebook it is possible to confirm that recipients receive messages on time. In fact, you can easily confirm that a recipient has received your messages on time when you connect to him/her using your Facebook account. This platform allows you to exchange messages with every person that is logged into his/her Facebook account. Based on this understanding, it is possible to notify employees about an urgent meeting via Facebook than to do so via email (Krizan et al 64). The practice is more efficient in organizations that do not restrict access to Facebook and organizations that rely on Facebook to market their products. The practice is also efficient among other organizations because majority of employees have Facebook accounts. Accordingly, it is possible to meet them online during their free time.

An efficient method of communicating within an organization using Facebook would be to create a closed group. In this case, although the group would still be public, the material shared within this group would be private. For this reason, the members of the public would not be able to access these materials. This means that when employers together with management teams share private information with employees, the members of the public would not access that information. Apart from this, any time such information is shared, the members of the group would be notified about that information right away.

As it can be seen, Facebook can be an efficient tool for passing urgent messages to employees because of three basic reasons. First, majority of employees are Facebook fans. Accordingly, management teams do not have to drag employees to Facebook. If anything, employers restrict employees from accessing their Facebook accounts. Second, it is possible to confirm right away that all employees have received urgent messages on time by interacting with them online. Third, Facebook has the capacity to notify all employees that they have urgent messages (Krizan et al 64). Based on these three reasons, organizations should embrace Facebook in their communication processes. More importantly, they should use Facebook when they want to pass urgent messages to employees.

Internal social network is also another alternative that organizations can embrace in their communication processes. Unlike Facebook and Twitter that are external in nature, internal social networks operate within organizations. As such, the members of the public cannot access these social networks. This might work to the advantage of organizations, but it might as well work against them in the sense that employees might boycott accessing them regularly as they do to emails. Various organizations such as IBM and Marsh Inc have embraced these social network platforms thereby have developed their own social networks (Schermerhorn 98). However, this platform is costly because organizations should either buy or develop their own internal social network. At the same time, the technology might be less attractive to employees; thus, fail to compete effectively with Facebook and Twitter.

Recommendation

This report recommends that at this age of technology companies should embrace social media in their daily communication processes. They should do this because people have moved away from the traditional methods of communications. In fact, people that have not abandoned the traditional methods of communication are on their way out or they have something that hinders them from abandoning that method of communication. This notwithstanding, those hindered from abandoning the traditional method of communication protest against it in one way or the other. With regard to company ABC, employees protested against email communication by pretending that their emails were blocked; thus, they could not receive messages on time (Horwitz 439). Given that it is not possible to tell how employees in an organization will protest against emailing practice in the near future, it is wise to embrace social media when sending urgent messages.

Therefore, after a thorough research on the current social media platforms, the report hereby recommends that rather than sending urgent messages using emails, organizations should use Facebook to do so. This is in relation to the fact that Facebook ensures that intended recipients receive messages on time and they respond to them right away. In fact, when management teams use Facebook to pass urgent messages to employees they are likely to reap huge benefits from this practice in the sense that it is possible to meet a few employees online if not all of them. Once the management teams meet these employees online, they can encourage them to pass messages in question to their colleagues (Krizan et al 64). On the contrary, even if it is possible to encourage employees to pass messages to their colleagues using emails once they receive them, it is not possible to confirm whether they will do it or not. If anything, it is not possible to confirm that employees share information using emails appropriately, but it is possible to do so using Facebook.

From a general viewpoint, it is easy to see that employees are likely to share urgent information as they interact with one another on Facebook and in that process organizations achieve their objectives. Apart from this, it is possible to confirm from Facebook that indeed every employee received message on time; thus, address the challenges that organizations face when employees pretend that they do not receive messages on time.

All things said and done, the report does not imply that organizations should turn to using Facebook when they want to pass urgent messages. Instead, the report only suggests that Facebook is an efficient method of passing urgent messages unlike emailing. Therefore, the report recommends that organizations should use different forms of communication when they want to pass urgent messages to their employees. In relation to this fact, Jeff Horwitz urges organizations to use different forums rather than sticking to one forum (Horwitz 440). The report equally urges organizations to use different forums when sending urgent messages to their employees, but highly recommend that they should use Facebook.

 

Works Cited

Bovee, Courtland, and Thill John. Business communication essentials: a skills-based approach. London: Prentice hall, 2013. Print.

Guffey, Mary, and Richard Almonte. Essentials of Business Communication. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2009. Print.

Horwitz, Jeff. Unix System Management: Primer Plus. Indianapolis, Ind: Sams, 2002. Print.

Jones, William, and Teevan Jaime. Personal Information Management. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007. Print.

Kelly, Patricia. Nursing Leadership & Management. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Krizan, A et al. Business communication. Mason: Cengage learning, 2010. Print.

Merrill, Toby et al. Social media: the business benefits may be enormous, but can the risks – reputational, legal, and operational – be mitigated? Information law group April 2011. http://www.acegroup.com/us-en/assets/ace-progress-report-social-media.pdf 28 January 2015.

Schermerhorn, John. Management. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2011. Print.

Sengupta, Sailesh. Business and Managerial Communication. New Delhi: PHI Learning Private Limited, 2011. Print.

Treem, Jeffrey, and Leonardi Paul. Social media use in organizations: exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Communication yearbook, 36 (2012): 143-189. Print.