Companies have been completely dependent on digital communications since COVID shut down corporate offices back in 2020. While some companies flourished, others full on belly-flopped. Stressors like budget cuts permanently damaged many relational workplace benefits, causing massive layoffs and resignations. It was extremely difficult to keep employees reluctant to change, and left those unable to adapt and digitize their communication styles, unemployed.
A digital communication platform is a software solution that facilitates external and internal messaging. Pre-pandemic, these platforms were seen as more of a luxury service, popular with new, modern tech companies. Forcing most people into working from home, the pandemic allowed providers, like Google and Microsoft, to expand their target audience, adapting features to better cater companies of all sizes and genres.
These services allow teams to chat instantly and remotely and while they cannot guarantee employees are always communicating effectively, they’re designed to help. Many platforms are a combination of features with their own unique user experience and communication style. Age, gender and job title all play a major role in how your employees communicate with one another. There will never be one perfect way to communicate. However, language has evolved alongside technology, standardizing certain behaviors and writing styles. While some rules have been around for years, new ways of communicating popularized due to the effects of COVID and generational workplace trends.
Email is probably older than your first-born kid. So yeah, email etiquette has been well practiced and like a family tradition, passed down through many generations. For instance, when communicating with clients or other external business partners, we all know professional, formal emails are considered industry standard. Professional, branded business email allows companies to address and forward legal documents, signatures and other confidential information. Because of this, writing styles are usually objective and direct. There is little to no “loud” punctuation (i.e., exclamation points), colors nor photos attached.
However, most new-age SaaS platforms, like Slack, are specifically designed to encourage the use of emojis, memes and other informal means of communication. This is a great alternative for employees who prefer to do things like assign tasks, ask for help or request time off, face-to-face. Body language, tone and facial expression can all be misinterpreted through text or email. By eliminating the pressures of formalities, users can send a casual fire emoji or trendy slang word to connect and communicate their feelings about a project or task without having to leave the comfort of their desk.
But of course, your boss may not find that one meme as funny as you do. It’s a good rule of thumb to re-read a response to any manager before sending it off. A new employee may not understand your humor (or lack thereof), making them uncomfortable and nervous to respond. Your desk mate prefers to text like they talk and may find your direct emails short and condescending.
It’s important to know your team well enough to pick the best overall platform, but knowing them as individuals allows you to discern what kind of messages and communication styles they will respond to best. Whether you're out looking for a new SaaS or just learning to appreciate the one you already have, remember that these digital communication platforms are a hub for all employee engagement activity. 🎉