Imagine: A leader comes to you asking for your help. She wants employees to be aware of the potential for risk in their daily work activities, and to use the educational resources that her team has developed to learn more.

What do you do?

You might be surprised how many communications professionals answer this question with “prepare an email.” And then they claim mission accomplished. 

This really bothers me. After all, there are so many channels–some new and interactive–that are available for communicating internally, why rely solely on the email crutch?

I guess it’s because from the communications process perspective, email is a common denominator, and it’s administratively easy to push the email button. Plus, there’s no visible incremental cost.

But that kind of mindset demonstrates a bias to maintain the status quo. It’s evidence of  inflexibility and rigidity. It’s doing what’s simplest for communications. Above all, it doesn’t show an orientation towards what’s best for the company.

If you’re a business leader, whether you’re in communications or another area of practice, this communications-first attitude should bother you. What’s even more worrisome is that the internal communications function reflects and reinforces attributes of your organizational culture overall. So, if your internal communications pros aren’t thinking about the enterprise, then your other employees aren’t either.

My recommendation would be to challenge your internal communications function to take a few minutes to articulate communications objectives. Then, the communications pros should consider both passive (like, email) and active communication channels to craft a holistic program that is deliberate, thoughtful and, above all, effective.

There’s nothing wrong with email, per se. What’s wrong is tolerating a knee jerk reaction, and allowing communications to reach for a solution before the problem has been considered. There’s too much at stake for our employees, business strategies and  companies for a communications function to stand pat inside their comfort zone.

Set a higher standard for your communications team.

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