Failure to communicate?

Talk is cheap, goes a saying. But it’s also vital in organizations when products and services are being selected that management hopes will lead to improved productivity.

Which is why a survey of 250 IT managers and 750 line of business employees in the U.S. released this week by Softchoice, which sells a wide range of software and consulting services to enterprises, is food for thought.

Apparently there are a large number of organizations that talk about listening to employees but don’t always carry through:

  • 77 per cent of employees surveyed say their organization does not consult with them before selecting a new office communications tool;
  • Employees who are not consulted are three times as likely to not see themselves at their current employer long term;
  • 72 per cent of employees who are consulted feel their communications tools make them more productive (compared to 54 per cent of those who are not).

The survey was in part sparked by Softchoice’s belief that IT mangers are hesitant to invest in new collaboration technology because what’s already implemented is not being used.

As expected, desk phones, mobile phones and email are well used. But many aren’t: 70 per cent of those surveyed have access to video conferencing, but only five per cent use it; similarly, 69 per cent have access to teleconferencing, but only 12 per cent use it; 40 per cent have access to social collaboration tools (aside from email), but only 10 per cent use them.

Why? Maybe because 74 per cent of employees surveyed said they prefer face-to-face communications at work (“I’ll just go down the hall and see Virgina”). Thirty per cent said they spend five hours a day or more meeting with others.

Or maybe because of poor training. One third of those surveyed said they don’t get training on new communications tools. Of those that do, half say the training was less than 30 minutes.

Just over 70 per cent of employees said that at most they use half of a communication’s tools features. That raises the question of whether training is bad, or the tool has too many features. But just over one-third of employees say they have access to communications tools they don’t know how to use — so don’t use them.

“Implementing and using the technology is the easy part,” says Softchoice. “Unleashing your employees’ potential through that technology takes strategic planning, great communications and superior employee engagement.

Has your organization laid an egg with a communications tool? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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