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Pass it Down – 4 Ways Business Communication Suffers from the Game of Telephone

Remember the game of telephone you played as a kid? One person shares a message and it’s passed down the line of players. Once it reaches the end, that person relays the message, and more often than not it is completely different from the original message. In many ways, modern business communication isn’t much different, except the impact has more serious consequences than the frivolous game of our youth.

Stop playing telephone with your frontline workers

Today’s businesses are communicating in a virtual game of telephone. Think about it, most organizations are set up in a hierarchical format. A message from the top has to go through multiple channels and managers until it reaches its intended audience, the frontline workers.

By the time they get the message, many things could have happened to it:

  • Diluted: If the original message is unclear, as it is passed down, important information can be excluded from the final message.
  • Less Impactful: With the message now diluted and important parts of the message lost in translation, it could become less impactful to the intended final audience.
  • Skewed and/or Corrupted: Unfortunately, there are times when a message could be changed or completed stopped to better benefit an individual in the line of business communication.
  • Delayed: Think of how long it could take for that original message to travel from the top to the frontline. By the time the message was delivered to the intended audience it could be too late or old to be relevant.

Let’s take a closer look at these downsides of traditional business communication. When it comes to consistency, relying on managers to share corporate messaging to frontline workers isn’t the most effective option. Decentralized messaging can create misinterpretations as well as skewed and corrupted information.

Take the retail industry example. Perhaps corporate has an important message that needs to be shared with all stores. The message is shared with store managers in each state to relay to their individual store employees. The problem with this approach is that message has the potential to be interpreted differently by each manager and is thus delivered inconsistently across all stores. A diluted and unclear message that cascades down the corporate ladder have the potential to create unnecessary confusion across the company.

All of this begs the questions; With more people involved in sharing of company communications how is that message changed? Is it as impactful if it’s not coming directly from the source? And what can we do about it?

Mobile Apps Provide a Solution for Business Communication

The solution is already in hand – literally. With the advent of smartphones, we’re used to having news and information right at our fingertips, 24/7. And while not everyone frontline workers may have access to a computer, 96% of Americans have access to a mobile phone or smartphone and 76% of people across 18 advanced economies have smartphones. Having widely available and timely mobile access to mission-critical business information needs to be a must-have for modern enterprises.

This is especially relevant to the situation today where a global pandemic is disrupting our daily lives and business operations. States and cities are making rapid decisions to close non-essential businesses to control the spread of the virus. For example, if a store needs to close immediately or non-essential workers need to stay home for their safety, delivering this information via a timely and accessible communication channel like mobile is critical. Delaying the information by sending it through less accessible traditional channels, can be disruptive if not dangerous to employees at all levels. With mobile communications, this message can be sent out immediately and every employee is aware of what is going on within seconds.

Another example when making the move to mobile communications is beneficial is for employees working in shifts. If an employee missed an announcement that’s shared in the breakroom when they were off, this worker won’t see this information until their next scheduled shift. Again, mobile communication can ensure everyone gets the same message at the same time.

Benefits of Adopting Mobile Business Communication

Just as our personal apps deliver us news, weather updates, banking info, and more, an enterprise mobile communication app can do the same for its employees providing instant access to company news, events, critical alerts, documents, and more.

Additional benefits include:

  • Centralized Communication Hub
    • Every employee has a central location to go to get important information, news, updates, and critical alerts.
    • Messaging is direct to employees, so miscommunication or delayed delivery is a thing of the past.
  • Increased Efficiency
    • Immediate access to information allows companies and employees to act on new plans and efforts as soon as the information is provided.
  • Improved Corporate Culture
    • Create positive relationships between corporate, managers, and employees by allowing for easy recognition and group collaboration through the app.

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