It might surprise you to hear businesses around the world still use fax machines.
Despite the countless new options for communicating which – let’s face it – are far nimbler than the old school fax, these machines still play a fundamental role in business comms.
So how have they stood the test of time? As others have pointed out, once a new piece of kit is embedded in the workplace, it’s quite hard to take it out again.
But I think there’s another reason. Faxes are an asynchronous form of communication. They take a little while to come through, and they don’t always require a response from the recipient. In a world of instant messages and the ‘always on’ mentality, faxes provide a little break from the immediate demands of others.
In a recent episode of Dublin Tech Talks, I spoke to Joe Lennon from Workvivo about the impact of modern communication styles.
He explained the two types of communication found in our workplaces. The first is synchronous, and this can be anything from Slack messages to video calls. Synchronous communication demands an immediate (or almost immediate) response. You’re asked a question on Zoom, and you answer it.
Synchronous communication requires us to respond in accordance with someone else’s schedule. It’s partner, asynchronous communication, is less of a chat and more of a pen pal relationship. One of you sends an email, the other person responds once they’ve had time to consider their answer.
Asynchronous communication lets individuals respond according to their own schedule. Sometimes things take a little longer to happen, but it also means employees can fit their replies around other tasks, so they’re not dragged away from focused work.
Instant messaging platforms and video meetings have kept the corporate world afloat, particularly when snappy decisions have had to be made. For the last 18 months, these platforms have enabled seamless communication between teams spaced out around the world.
But what about those wider company messages? The ethos, mission, or purpose of companies? Those messages are much harder to communicate, and they need to last a lot longer than a Slack chat.
Businesses that were new to remote working have spent so much time figuring out how to communicate day-to-day, that maintaining wider brand messaging has been a struggle.
Ethos, mission, or purpose, whatever you want to call it, is quintessential to attracting the right people. Candidates are looking for something to align with, and if you haven’t been investing in the communication of your company messages – both internally and externally – no one is going to have a clear picture of what you stand for.
Hiring businesses need to make sure they’re communicating company messages to potential candidates and new recruits, if they want to find the best match for the job. That’s where employer brand comes in. Think of it as the vessel for communicating your company values to the external talent market.
Internally, they should also be communicated consistently to bring unity to your existing workforce. Ideally, candidates should have a good understanding and alignment with your company messages, long before they step foot in your effort.
There’s an unquestionable connection between employer brand and company messaging. Your employer brand consolidates your existing company messages because candidates who resonate with your values will be more likely to apply. It follows that, the people you recruit will be a values-based fit.
So, if your business is focused on reducing carbon emissions, then this needs to be highlighted in your employer branding. It’s not rocket science – if you care about the environment, you want to hire other people who care too.
If your company messaging fell out of sync during the pandemic, pull it back by redefining your employer brand. Figure out the messages that are most important to your business and communicate them to the external world when you hire. This doesn’t need to be complicated; you can add your values to your job listing or set time aside in the interview to go through your company messages.
While you’re doing this for candidates, existing employees will also benefit from a renewed focus on the company messaging. So, make sure they play an integral role in defining those values too. Remember, not everything can be communicated through a gif on Slack.