Workplace Communication: When Emails Don’t Work…

4 minute read

Are you still using email for internal communication? That is probably not the best solution for more than one reason. Emails are inadequate when it comes to reaching your desk-less employees, especially. In this article, we compare the possibilities and limitations of email with three other tools for employee communication:

  • Collaboration platforms
  • Intranet
  • Employee apps

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Emails don’t support engagement.

Once upon a time, emails revolutionized communication. But since then they have become a bit, well, old fashioned. People do not use email for communication anymore, as it lacks the convenient user experience of social sharing. If you still use email for your internal communication, you are probably aware of the limitations of this medium:

Non-desk workers are often left out.

Desk-less employees are notoriously hard to reach by email. They don’t have a desktop, often no corporate email address, and in many cases, they are not that computer savvy either.

Emails are not attractive.

Your employees are used to the versatility of social media. Pictures, video’s, infographics and games give a much richer and satisfying experience than the messages in their inbox.

Emails are not personal.

Sure, you can send a personal email to any of your employees, but it is an inefficient and time-consuming way to target your messages to teams and individuals.

You won’t get much feedback.

Emails don’t encourage interactive conversations, so you won’t get as much feedback as you’d probably like. And if you want to give regular feedback to your employees by email, you’ll have little time left for other things during the workday.

So, let’s have a look at the alternatives - newer digital tools that allow employers and managers to connect with their employees more effectively and engagingly.

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Team collaboration platforms

Collaboration platforms such as Slack are an invaluable step forward in digital collaboration. Both employers and employees can use them to create groups and connect with co-workers. There is a risk, though. You may end up overwhelming employees with too many possibilities, so the choice of the platform is critical. Another thing is that these platforms don’t offer a way to measure metrics and analytics about who’s participating and how this relates to their performance, engagement and other KPI’s.


Intranet has come a long way since it was first introduced as a secure way of internal communication. Modern cloud-based intranets are personalized, mobile-first and offer built-in analytics. Although it is a useful communication and collaboration tool, and an excellent way to make documents and information accessible for all concerned, it has its limitations. The intranet is often experienced as complex, which may discourage employees from using it. It lacks the kind of user experience that people have come to appreciate, and it’s relatively costly to implement and difficult to manage.

Employee app

Compared to the intranet, a mobile employee app offers some clear advantages. This tool is designed to connect with all your employees, wherever they work, in the fastest and most appealing way. The better employee apps offer a wide range of options, such as push notifications, individual targeting, analytics, gamification and more. They also give your employees readily available experience of their social media and consumer apps, tailored to your brand.


Communication in the workplace evolves continuously with the availability of new digital tools. Emailing, with all its limitations, has become obsolete. Collaboration platforms and cloud-based intranet are a big step up from the internet, and a mobile employee app is a great tool to stay connected with desk-less workers. Ultimately, this is good news for employers, but also a big challenge, as it’s not only important to choose the right tools, but also integrate them into a company-wide network of human connection.

Interested to know how to effectively communicating with and engage a millennial and Gen Z workforce? Download our eBook here!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

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