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The risk of playing favorites with UC

August 11, 2016 by Amanda Maksymiw

Why it takes more than good text messaging to effectively chat with the Millennial workforce

For businesses of all shapes and sizes, selecting the best communication software is an important choice. It’s one that can often be made without considering how your workforce preferences. In today’s world, digital comms is the new gold standard. According to a recent Forbes article, “Digital Communication In The Workplace Is No Longer Optional,” organizations need to have a cohesive messaging platform in place to meet the growing expectations of Millennials who favor instant, collaborative communication. But what about other forms of communication beyond messaging?

The article places a disproportionate emphasis on this one channel over all others. This is a trend that is all-too-familiar as companies deploy the latest technology to engage the Millennial worker. Instead of searching for the latest messaging platform, organizations need to prepare for the growing influence of Millennials in the workplace with an intuitive option that brings together the best that all forms of communications have to offer. After all, there’s a reason the industry is called unified communications, not fragmented communications.

While messaging is a key element of any unified communications platform, don’t forget video and telephony capabilities when adopting a new UC strategy. CIOs shouldn’t put all their eggs into the messaging basket. The most effective platforms have a well-rounded balance of all three features. Consider that the latest research forecasts the video conferencing market to grow 19.6 percent to $2.63 billion by 2022. And, keep in mind that phone calls continue to be a trusted form of communication among the older generations in the workplace. When thinking about communication, companies must remember that text is only one part of the equation. Just like email, it too may lose favor as quickly as it grows in popularity.

As Millennials become the prevailing generation in the workforce, trends such as remote work make communication more complex. Phone and video can make an impact on distributed teams by fostering a greater sense of connection between employees, whether working together at the office or across geographic locations. Companies that don’t get the communications game right risk the potential for remote team members to feel isolated and detached from coworkers. While few options can replace face-to-face interaction, video gives users insight into nonverbal cues such as tone and expression. It is easy to misinterpret a short response as rudeness in an IM. Hearing stress in a voice or seeing distraction on a face offers so much more. These interactions are essential to connect with the social, multitasking Millennial.

At the end of the day, it’s not about what method you choose, but how easily you can move between those methods that will help employees communicate across geography and generation. A platform’s ability to connect Millennials with chat and just as easily connect to others on speed dial makes a world of difference today. The ability to seamlessly transition from one preference to another will encourage workers to use the tools available to them more regularly, improving communications across the board. Voice, text, and video are the three pillars of today’s communication experience. Leaning on one method too heavily could actually lead to miscommunication, reduce productivity, and leave all workers – regardless of generation – feeling disconnected.

Alone, communications platforms can create a divide. Together, they can create a bridge for more comprehensive and effective collaboration between teams. Though for Millennials it may seem like voice and video are the step-sisters in the Cinderella communication story, they will always have an important role to play alongside text. For all three to live up to their potential, they need to work together in harmony.

Interested in communications preferences across generations? Read the latest blog by Fuze CTO Derek Yoo, “Generational shifts driving communications change.”

Amanda Maksymiw
Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she's worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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