Author: Dorian Stone
During the past few years, leaders have used phrases such as “navigating unprecedented times” and “building resilience to weather the storm” to motivate their teams through near-constant volatility. Amid this unpredictability, entire industries shifted to hybrid work while IT teams raced to find tools that could support a new hybrid infrastructure. Now, as the dust settles, we’re facing the fallout from nearly three years of white-knuckling: employee burnout and declining productivity.
Meanwhile, falling stock prices, slowing growth, and other factors are converging to create new threats that will continue to disrupt operations. Leaders need to find new ways to boost efficiency that take into consideration the new realities of hybrid and remote work. Effective and consistent communication will be pivotal in this environment to ensure continuity and productivity and instill confidence among employees.
Effective communication is a gaping opportunity to boost hybrid productivity
According to research commissioned by Grammarly from global marketing intelligence firm IDC, 75% of organizations offer “very or extremely” flexible work environments to their employees. In a hybrid work environment, where employees are dispersed across time and place, a good portion of collaboration takes place asynchronously, meaning not in real time and largely in a written format.
IDC found that organizations rank “team collaboration” as the leading concern impacting employee effectiveness. With asynchronous work, physical cues like facial expressions and demeanor are often absent, making trust-building and collaboration more challenging. Asynchronous work also takes place across multiple channels (email, instant messaging, voice memos, etc.), which creates information silos that further impair teamwork. All of this can lead to less effective or unproductive work.
An influx of workplace tools has emerged to solve asynchronous collaboration challenges over the past few years. However, most of these tools fail to address a key aspect of trust and collaboration: the quality of communication—the clarity, tone, and consistency with which messages are delivered across the organization to drive alignment. The IDC study found that 74% of executives highly value “professionally-written business communication” (i.e., they value tone, clarity, and quality); however, more than half (54%) have not taken action to operationalize such an initiative.
Because asynchronous communication carries the weight of the workday, businesses should make operationalizing quality communication a mission-critical priority.
Scaling quality communication will be a competitive differentiator
Effective, context-aware communication is especially relevant in a fast-changing environment where ideas must be conveyed quickly and with a high degree of consistency and clarity. Businesses that can keep pace while communicating well will propel ahead.
As Marci Maddox, Research Vice President, Digital Experience Strategies at IDC, notes, “achieving significant ongoing success happens when companies emphasize the value of communication as part of their broader business strategy.” Maddox calls this type of business the “conversational enterprise”—a perspective in adopting and integrating technology that augments employee capabilities to drive effective communication across all their day-to-day applications and workflows.
The conversational enterprise will leverage AI-based tools to augment employee skills and scale consistent, clear, and tone-aware communication across the organization. For example, Grammarly Business augments employee capabilities to enhance team communication by providing in-line recommendations to replace complicated sentences with clear, concise messaging that aids comprehension. Grammarly Business also goes a step further, by providing guidance on tone to improve the delivery of the message and align teams around a consistent brand voice and style.
The path ahead
Reimagining communication as not just a means to an end but as a vehicle for employees to connect, engage, and innovate will be one of the greatest determinants of a business’s ability to succeed in both the short and long term. By prioritizing technology that ensures consistent, context- and tone-aware messages across the organization, businesses can reduce friction, instill confidence in employees, eliminate costly rework, and improve employee and customer experiences.
To learn more about the “conversational enterprise” of the future, click here to download our report with IDC.