No More E-mail Any More at #HREvent13

It’s hardly a secret that I’m no big fan of e-mail…I’ve covered it in a few blogs. I find it unsociable, a conversation killer and too rooted in process and procedure.

No surprise then that an #HREvent13 session on transforming from an e-mail culture to one of social collaboration would get my attention. It was run by blueKiwi who are part of Atos – maybe not the easiest company to champion in these times but they are large so I was interested in how this transformation came about.

Simply put, it arose during a brainstorm on how to engage and empower the future workforce…a business world without e-mail was a subject up for discussion.

Here are some nuggets I picked up during the session…you may have seen one or two on my twitter fed:

“E-mail is annoying. It’s not a collaboration tool, it’s a communication tool and a task management tool”

“A move from e-mail to social collaboration is not just about systems & technology but really about organisation, culture & attitude as well”

“Social collaboration increases agility, productivity, speed & effectiveness through better talent mobilisation, knowledge sharing & communication”

“Next generation communication tools are necessary to attract & retain new generation talent not just in Europe but worldwide”

“E-mail based management style is creating distance between teams and management which diminishes engagement”

“Introduction of social collaboration flattens hierarchy. Everyone has the same voice. Management behaviours need to change”

OK, so it’s one business in a sea of electronic mail but here are my thoughts…

  • E-mail is not a natural communication medium to the next generation (apparently only 11% of 13-19 year olds use it to communicate with each other)
  • The future flexible, contract, project based, locationally free workforce need a collaboration tool not a communication tool
  • A move away from e-mail is cultural and psychological, rejection mainly a fear both of the unknown and of loss of control
  • Management mind-set and behaviours are the keys. Current e-mail usage is too centred on task assignation/management and control

Moving from e-mail to social collaboration requires significant change management – the presentation dealt with how this was being done. HR plays a key role, and the creation of a network of internal ambassadors is important.

Ultimately it’s also about showing employees how it will make their job easier, tasks quicker, productivity higher and allow quick access to essential information.

The end of e-mail? It’s all in the mind…

E-mail Killed the Chat Show Star

There was an interesting article in the Wall Street journal recently – wireless carriers are getting creative in the way they charge customers for voice calls. They need to as the average length of a person to person phone call has almost halved in 6 years from 3.03 minutes to 1.78 minutes.

It reminded me of this op-ed from New York Times about 15 months ago on how people don’t talk on the phone much anymore. I’d like to think I started the trend with ‘The End of the Phone’ but it’s unlikely!

It may seem like the end of conversation, which funnily enough was at odds with a subject occupying some UK HR bloggers recently. Gareth Jones thinks that conversation is the new currency whereas Rob Jones points out that it’s the old currency, it’s been the lifeblood of organisations since well before the days of Don Draper. We’re just going back to being human, as Doug Shaw puts it.

All of which took me back to my very first job in a 150 person accountancy firm. This wasn’t the days of Mad Men (no jokes) but still if you wanted to speak to a colleague you either picked up the phone and dialled their internal extension or walked over to their desk. If a partner wanted to see you they phoned you and told you to come and see them with a specific file. Most days any number from 5 to 50 may drop by the pub for a lunchtime glass of shandy or sandwich, whilst small groups from different departments would gather in nearby cafés. A lunch break was just that! A break to get out the office and usually chat. Continue reading “E-mail Killed the Chat Show Star”

Is Technology Driving Us To Distraction?

A recent survey from, the social e-mail and collaboration software company, looked into workplace interruptions and found that 57% are digitally derived. This was a wide ranging classification covering everything from processing e-mails to Facebook and personal web searches, but as a headline finding it got many in the media (social and traditional) excitedly pointing the figure at social networking.

To put into context, these workplace interruptions lead to over half of us losing an hour or more a day, which in turn costs businesses £3,277.50 a year per employee.

I downloaded the full survey (it’s free, you can do it here) and found that for all the furore over social networking wasting our time only 9% of people felt ‘Facebook and personal webs searches’ were a distraction.

So putting aside distinctions between digital, electronic and traditional, what actions cause the bulk of distractions? Which tool really is the baddie? Continue reading “Is Technology Driving Us To Distraction?”