I was reading my Sunday newspaper a few weeks ago, when I came across an article claiming companies should do away with internal voice mail. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it. I read the article and I saw the author’s reasons; voicemail takes too long, we have easier and better ways to communicate nowadays, it’s a pain. I get that. But I also come from a perspective that we need to TALK to each other. We need verbal communications sometimes. Imagine that!
As a manager, I see more and more young people coming in to the workforce who know how to communicate via social media. But in the working world, while you can do that a lot, and instant message each other or email each other, sometimes talking is better. I don’t know how many times I just organize conference calls to make people talk to each other, either because they don’t want to, or because I really just want to end some endless email chain.
My fear is that if you stop internal voice mails, then you are giving people license to not talk to each other. While I don’t get too many voice mails at all any more, if I receive one from a colleague, I know it’s important. Even though I’ll be much more speedy getting to emails or instant messages, I see the value in voice mails. They come across more urgent nowadays. And if someone takes the time to call me, I will call back. This fosters talking. And that’s what it’s all about.
I am also looking forward to the day we use video voice mails internally. I believe they will be able to convey more (non-verbal) information than a regular voice mail (and certainly an email or instant message) and help create an organization with remote employees.