Corporate Communication still dominated by Email

Corporate Communication Email

For many years, there have been ongoing predictions that Email would be replaced by social media.

Although the use of social media channels have expanded significantly in personal and consumer-oriented communications, (e.g.: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.), we have still not seen this resulting in a reduction in corporate Email volumes.

In fact, based on the results of a recent survey of internal and external communications professionals conducted by Newsweaver and Ragan Communications, Email continues to grow and strive as the primary mode of business communication.

Here are some of the key findings from their survey, which included 600 respondents spanning a variety of industry types and sizes.

Corporate communications departments still make extensive use of Email communications.

  • Nearly 60% still send out Email communications at least once a week, with 19% sending messages weekly, 26% 2 to 3 times a week, and 14% daily (and the reminder at varying rates).
  • In large organizations (100,000 employees or more), corporate communication Email frequency is highest, with 62% sending out messages twice a week and 27% sending daily messages.

These are corporate-wide messages often distributed to an entire organization, so just one Email can impact thousands (or tens-of-thousands) of recipients.

Email is still the preferred method for distributing corporate communications.

  • 40% of the respondents believe corporate Email messages are still best communicated via Email, with 30% disagreeing (and the remaining 30% undecided).
  • Email is used almost exclusively (over 90%) for critical and time sensitive communications.

When it comes to distributing corporate information, Email remains the “go to” media of choice.

Social networks are still not widely embraced in corporate environments.

  • Only 27% believe that internal social networks will replace email communications for corporate communications within the next 5 years, with 48% disagreeing (and the remainder undecided).
  • Emails are used a method to prompt people to review information posted on corporate intranets and internal social sites.

Despite large corporate investments in intranets, internal social networks, and other types of employee communication channels, Email appears to retain its place in corporate use for the foreseeable future.

Email Policies are less common then social media policies.

  • Whereas 75% of the respondents have a social media policy in place, only 62% have an E-mail policy in place.
  • In large companies, nearly 90% have a social media policy, while only 57% have an E-mail policy.

Although Email has been around for decades longer than social media and the problems of Email mismanagement well documented, companies appear more concerned with controlling employee social media use then Email management.

Email Overload remains a major problem.

  • 80% of respondents stated that Email overload is a major problem in their organizations.
  • 77% stated that they have launched initiatives that attempted to reduce Email overload.
  • Yet only 57% of those that attempted to reduce Email Overload are able to quantify the impact of their initiatives, although some did report successes from their efforts.

Once again, Email Overload in the workplace remains a major problem that is relatively unaddressed.

This study reinforces that despite the growth of social networks and alternate media channels, Email still remains the primary means of internal and external corporate communication.

How do we address the results of this study?

  • Stop viewing Email Overload and Email skills as just a personal productivity or technology issue.
  • Address Email Overload at the organizational level by implementing meaningful corporate policies and encouraging long-term, transformational improvements that change the “Email Culture”.
  • Invest in comprehensive employee training programs that focus not only on feature and technology training, but also on impacting behavioral changes, workflow skills, and media selection choices.

It is only by addressing Email overload across multiple levels and dimensions that true, long-lasting improvement will be realized.

What is your experience in your firm or organization?

Has your company tried to implement any Email Overload improvement initiatives?

References: Exploring the Use of Email for Internal Communications, Newsweaver and Ragan Communications