In September 2022, the SEC issued more than $1.8 billion in fines across 16 financial companies because employees discussed trades and other sensitive information on their personal devices and apps. Now, one year later, the SEC is investigating the communication channels used by employees from more than a dozen major investment companies.
Morgan Stanley, one of the companies affected last year, has already penalized employees up to $1 million for using personal communication channels to discuss company business, with employee penalties increasing for workers who had already been warned against using such apps.
This major off-channel communication probe should serve as a wake-up call for all businesses, not solely those within heavily regulated industries. It underscores the crucial need for understanding your employees’ communication methods. While you may not face billion-dollar fines, you might encounter issues like communication breakdowns, decreased productivity, or, in more severe cases, exposure of confidential business information or personal data breaches involving customers and employees. Such instances can certainly impact your financial performance.
In this article, let’s address this concern, regardless of whether you manage a medium-sized company or a global corporation.
Streamline company communications
There is no shortage of opportunities for employees to communicate. They speak on the phone, chat, send emails, message via text, send updates in project management tools, and collaborate within documents and spreadsheets. Unfortunately, the more communication channels your company uses, the greater the chance for messages to get lost or key information to get missed in the clutter.
Evaluate your team’s communication flow and how your team members talk with each other so you can build company-wide best practices. For example, one survey of 1,000 IT professionals found that 51 percent of workers prefer real-time messaging apps over email. That’s a slim margin and it might be higher or lower in your company. Should employees share documents via the team communications platform or is it safer to send them via email?
Your goal with this process is to declutter so your projects don’t get bogged down because of too many communication channels. With a unified communications platform like VoipNow & Hubgets, your team will spend less time searching for documents and increase their productivity while working on them.
Pick your battles
Half of all workers feel like being on camera during meetings makes them more exhausted. Studies show that video fatigue builds up when employees are constantly on camera. They spend more time watching themselves and their coworkers in the video session, which limits their ability to pay attention and retain information.
Managers, however, like video calls. They want employees to keep their cameras on and microphones unmuted. One company even fired an employee for not turning the camera on, considering it insubordination.
Do you really want to force your employees into using communication channels they hate? Pick your battles and clearly define your team’s communication flow. Your meetings will be more organic and productive when you have engaged team members.
Prepare to communicate with the next generation
It’s easy to make fun of Gen Z (the Zoomers) and pretend like they’re kids, but this generation is quickly entering the workplace alongside millennials. By 2030, this generation will account for more than 30 percent of the workforce in some countries.
Younger workers also prefer chat communication over email messaging. Email is often considered too formal when a quick chat can suffice. They also have different ways of communicating. Rather than reading large blocks of text, they prefer shorter, broken-up messages.
Workplace communication evolves over time. Employers can expect their workers to stick with formal messaging platforms or they can adapt. As a leader, you will better connect with your team if you create a communication channel where everyone can talk openly and effectively.
In VoipNow & Hubgets, you can use group Topics to work on collaborative projects, to communicate between various teams, or discuss common subjects of interest. Furthermore, the Team board can be used to cultivate your team’s engagement and maintain your employees’ dedication to shared objectives and milestones.
Save money on unnecessary tools
The average mid-size company has way too many apps in its SaaS portfolio. Are you guilty of SaaS sprawl too? Did you find a really cool emoji messaging app two years ago that it’s never used today?
Understanding your team’s communication preferences allows you to streamline your channels. You can eliminate apps and software systems that are rarely utilized. Such a software declutter operation may help reduce your subscription expenses and reallocate resources to other areas.
Understand communication patterns
When you possess a profound understanding of your employees’ communication patterns, you can collaborate with them more efficiently.
Educate them on the advantages offered by a Unified Communications and Collaboration platform like VoipNow & Hubgets. The significant productivity enhancements it brings impact both individuals and the team as a whole.
Furthermore, encourage them to remain connected not only in the professional realm but also within your organization’s social life. This will foster increased engagement and strengthen the bonds among team members.