by Tracey Schelmetic | May 18, 2016

channel_logoWhen it comes to personal communications, the world is different today than it was a decade ago. Fewer Americans – particularly young Americans – are using the telephone for phone calls. Email, once a staple of both personal and workplace communications, is on the wane, and text messaging and social media are on the rise. Voicemail, also once very common, is now largely ignored. While employees still use desktops to communicate – particularly if they are using a desktop application – mobile devices still rule the communications landscape.

All this news is relevant to employers, who strive to keep open communications channels with their workers. It’s particularly relevant for workers who support customers, since customers take their communications preferences from their personal lives. Today, workers are less likely to be under the same roof as their employers or their coworkers, so business communications becomes one of the most pertinent issues to success.

The 2016 Digital Workplace Communications Survey, conducted by the PRSA Employee Communications Section and APPrise Mobile, creators of theEMPLOYEEapp, recently set out to find out how people are communicating in workplaces today. The results, presented in both text and infographic format, are quite different from what they might have been 20 or even 10 years ago.

To carry out the survey, researchers asked 250 communications professionals about their use of employee communications tools. The study found that while digital communications are effective, they’re not being used as well as they could be. The breakdown of tools was as follows:

Email use is way down. Nearly half – 46 percent – of respondents said they use email only “monthly” or “rarely.”

Mobile apps are hot. Forty-one (41) percent of respondents claim they use mobile apps “daily,” and another 21 percent reporting using them weekly.

Social collaboration tools are becoming more popular. One third (33 percent) of respondents use them daily, while another 25 percent report using them weekly.

Social media is the most common. Forty-two (42) percent of respondents said they use social media daily; another 17 percent use it weekly.

SMS is still popular. But it’s perhaps not as popular as people think. Thirty-nine (39) percent reporting using it daily and 17 percent weekly. Forty-four percent, however, use it monthly or rarely.

It would appear that younger workers are now shaping the way the workforce communicates and collaborates.

“As the workplace evolves and Millennials continue to comprise the vast majority of the workforce, the importance of communicating and engaging with employees has never been more important,” said Jeff Corbin, CEO and Founder of APPrise Mobile. “There is definitely a shift taking place from ‘old school’ and legacy communications solutions like email and corporate intranets to newer, more mobile friendly tools.”

The study authors emphasize that one size will never fit all. Depending on a particular use case or situation, and a company’s needs – does communication need to be instant? One-to-one? Group-based? — different solutions will need to be considered as they may prove more effective in distributing content and information to the important employee audience.

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