It really makes no difference if you work for a firm with just a dozen employees or 12,000 workers, effective communication is so important in any organization. Without it, employees would be at a loss on their work assignments. It creates confusion which affects productivity. Lower productivity translates to lower profits.
It is not surprising why companies, big and small, put so much emphasis on communication. From the conduct of group meetings to the exchanges of emails to the holding of town hall meetings, leaders try their best to reach out to their employees and hear their thoughts and ideas on various issues in the workplace.
Through the years, companies have put in place different mass communication systems that are designed for information sharing and dissemination of news. These include:
Perhaps the most widely used communication tool in the business world today, the electronic mail or e-mail didn’t become so popular until before the start of the new millennium.
One of the things that made the e-mail a hit is how quickly it can send a message. It would only take a few seconds for an office worker to send an e-mail message to a colleague or client. Moreover, the message can be sent to any part of the world as long as the recipient has his own e-mail account and computer.
Another mass communication system that today’s firms harness, the intranet is simply a private network that is accessible only to the staff of a company. It can contain a wide range of information and services, from manuals of IT software to employee payroll and attendance.
Aside from sharing of information, an intranet allows collaboration across an organization. For instance, a sales unit can use the intranet for maintaining all sales leads. All sales persons can then access that list, eliminating the need for one sales person to go to each of his colleagues and ask for their sales leads.
Yet another mass communication system that employers make use of in communicating with their employees is the public address (PA) system. As its name suggests, the PA system transmits audio message to a group.
Transmission of the message starts with the microphone, while the output end of the PA system is the loudspeaker. It transforms the electrical signal back into a sound that the entire office can hear.
This is an informal public meeting or event that was inspired from the old town meetings of New England. In the corporate world, townhall meetings are conducted by employers to generate ideas and ask for the opinions of the employees.
In some companies, townhall meetings are conducted monthly or quarterly. Townhall meetings are designed to make the management, particularly the company president and CEO, more accessible and responsive to the employees.
Townhall meetings can be used by the company president to share information about a new benefit, or company policy, or to clarify an issue. Corporate communicators also call a townhall meeting to increase employee awareness on a new product or service, or to hype up sales goals or milestones.
Printed newsletters can be disseminated to employees to share the latest in the organization. News such as financial performance, new products and services, and new company policies are usually featured in newsletters. Other topics that are of interest to the employees are also included in this publication.
There is also a new form of newsletter – electronic newsletter—that companies send through email or made available on the Intranet. The e-newsletter is just the electronic version of the newsletter. However, some corporate communicators spice up the e-newsletter by using infographics or running promos to entice more employees to read and browse the material.
While a website is more for an external audience, it can also be used by a company to share information to its employees. Most websites usually carry a news section which employees can access to know more about the things happening in their firms. Most websites too have a section that focuses on the profiles of executives, making these leaders look more accessible to their staff.
A relatively new mass communication system that companies are harnessing, social media includes the very popular Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Companies are into social media given that a huge chunk of online users have their own social media accounts. Firms use social media to promote their goods and services as well as to engage their clients.
Social media has also proven to be effective in sharing information among colleagues. Employees can share news updates on their firms through Facebook, or promote a new product or service by tweeting about it.
Indeed there are lots of communication tools that enterprises have tapped to reached out to a greater number of their workers.
5 Features Mass Communication System Must Have
A notification system can be used for the purposes of sending a message to employees regarding scheduled maintenance of the network or even during cases of an emergency. While the complexity and purposes of notification systems may vary, the following are the common features all of them have:
Escalation has to do with how a critical an event or situation is, as well as how the criticality changes before the given event or situation is resolved. At times, even a small failure or an event considered as only mildly critical can lead to a chain of errors that would require haste and immediate attention. For example, situations wherein fire accidents are involved can severely escalate in a short period of time.
2. Real-time Interaction
When accidents and emergencies occur and human intervention is required in order to counter the said events, notification systems are efficient tools when it comes to providing a way to accept feedback. The said feedback is then utilized in order to make determinations and provisions as to what tasks the systems should perform. For example, when a fire breaks out in an office, a system sends off an urgent notification to the fire department regarding the incident. After the fire department receives the notification and the firefighters are on their way, the fire chief can then send another message to the system to inform those in the office that help is on its way.
3. Prioritizing or Pre-emption
Priority or Pre-emption has to do with which notifications are more important and urgent than others. This is especially relevant when notification systems receive more than one notification. When this occurs, urgent and important override existing notifications that are deemed to be of lower priority. For example, an earthquake alert would be deemed more urgent and more important than a notification regarding a change of menu in the cafeteria; therefore, the earthquake alert would override the change of menu notification even if the said alert was sent out first.
If a system is unable to reach the party that it intends to contact, this does not mean that the notification will be erased. Instead, the system will scan a predefined roster to check for another person to notify. For example, if a notification is intended to be sent to the director of a company, but he is unable to see the said notification because he is in a meeting, the said alert will be redirected to his or her assistant instead.
Notification systems also take into account the hours in which notifications are sent out to recipients. For example, if a recipient works from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm only, the system should not make any attempts to contact and send notification messages to the individual outside of those hours. Systems can also take into account weekends, holidays and vacation times.