Being smart in the way you communicate

With the best intentions, and usually a hefty investment in on-going learning and development, when it comes to doing their jobs people like to assume they know it all.

While we want to encourage employees to become self-sufficient in knowledge and for them to have the tools so that they know where to go whenever they’re not sure about something, we still need to be sure that employees check that their knowledge is up to date.

There are always team huddles – a good way to discuss changes but they can’t be archived for future reference meaning people will continue to ask a colleague for a reminder. There are information desk-drops – easy to reference but costly to produce and difficult to control when information changes regularly. Then there is always email.

Email is not the only answer

The problem with email is that it puts all of the onus on to the employee. Did they read the email? Did they understand it? Did they forward it to colleagues and add their own notes? Will they remember the new instructions next time they need to use them? Where did they store the email? Did they even bother or did they just file it in the bin?

With email we are creating an individual knowledge repository for every employee over which we have no real control. Email enables us to grab any number of resources and turn them into a random package of attached content. It encourages us to deal with the short-term without thinking through how that information will be used or controlled in the long-term.

Creating a truly smart workplace

In the smarter workplace, email has a place but with a clearly defined purpose – as a way to direct employees to the most relevant information. Email is no longer used to constantly churn out information that needs to be corrected, updated and redistributed; it is made to work as a navigation aid that reminds employees that their knowledge is out of date and points them in the right direction.

In the truly smart workplace, email becomes a channel for social communication while the business process guidance system alerts and notifies employees that the way they need to work has changed.

As a single-source of truth, SupportPoint provides a place to archive communications by date so that an employee can catch up on everything they’ve missed while they were away from work, or by subject so they can track an issue over time without having to piece together an email trail that they may or may not have been included on throughout.

SupportPoint communications provide the key details of a change before directing the employee to the most relevant and current pieces of content. They avoid the duplication of business information and they don’t blur the lines between the one-off event delivered by an email and the continual support provided by business process guidance.

In the smarter workplace, SupportPoint helps to turn internal communications into actionable pieces of content that improve an employee’s knowledge and skills and that can be centrally managed as valuable organizational assets. With SupportPoint, business process guidance limits the volume of disposable communications and increases the amount of sustainable knowledge.

If you asked people in your organization to name the main way of communicating change, it’s fair to assume the majority would say, ‘We use email’? The real question is how many of those people can demonstrate they communicate in a smart way?

Ted Gannan

Ted Gannan co-founded Panviva after 20 years in a variety of senior management, sales, and editorial roles in the publishing industry, including Managing Director of Thomson Learning, Australia. Ted led the development of SupportPoint after identifying a need for an improved method of delivering ‘moment-of-need’ procedural and product knowledge to employees. He is responsible for overseeing the company’s growth worldwide.

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