Face-to-face communication still important in our digital age



New technologies have changed the world of work and enable colleagues from around the world to communicate and collaborate. As a result the global workplace is somewhat smaller, but it would be a mistake to assume face-to-face communication is now redundant, says Alistair Cox, CEO of recruiting experts Hays.

In his latest LinkedIn Influencer blog, Alistair argues that face-to-face communication is as important as ever. “Face-to-face is the 'glue' that binds a business together and, in my opinion, is still the best way to create the relatedness between colleagues that allows a business to get things done”, says Alistair.

The facilitation of face-to-face interaction can come in many forms, such as inter-office or inter-department visits, secondments and placements nationally or internationally. According to Alistair the significant benefits that could be afforded to a business through encouraging such practices include:

• Fostering stronger working relationships
It isn’t rare for colleagues based in different parts of the world to never meet in person. In this instance, a face-to-face meeting would be invaluable in improving working relationships.

• Promoting big picture thinking
Employees experiencing other parts of the business will gain a greater understanding of how it all comes together, which will improve collaboration.

• A powerful succession planning tool
Secondments and placements can help to develop talent within a business by seeing how they perform out of their comfort zone, helping to create the leaders of the future.

• Encouraging innovation
Face-to-face interactions can encourage innovation through learning new ways of working and skills transfer by trying to solve problems together.

• Improving your staff retention
Allowing employees to experience other areas of the business, or allowing them to take a secondment to a client’s business, will provide the employee with different experiences and can help to retain them.

• It demonstrates trust
When encouraging employees to be more mobile you are also showing that you trust them to use the time productively and that you are investing in them.

Despite these clear benefits, there are potential challenges to encouraging your talent to be more mobile. “Some of these challenges may be more obvious than others, such as the cost,” says Alistair. “Some may even question whether the cost is worth the benefits when the technology is there to save time and money. However, by ensuring there is a clear agenda and solid reasoning to the visit, you will ensure that the time is spent productively.

“Each employee will be different and must be judged on a case by case basis. Sometimes encouraging these face-to-face interactions can be as simple as persuading employees to walk down the corridor rather than sending an email! As I see it, as a leader, you should never underestimate the importance of real conversations, in real time, in real rooms, in real offices for both your employees and your business.”

Hays is located in Kuala Lumpur at Suite 4 & 5, Level 23, Menara 3, Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Phone +60 3 2786 8600 or email tom.osborne@hays.com.my

- Ends -

For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or lucy.sharp@hays.com.au


Search for jobs