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Employee portals VS e-mail, who wins?

Employee portals VS e-mail, who wins?

It is bold to say that everything has changed in just a few days and that tomorrow will probably be very different from what we are writing today, but that is the reality. We have two clear axioms within the business world:

  1. The digital and cultural transformation within companies is moving at a frenetic pace.
  2. Productivities need to be greatly improved in order to be more effective and efficient and therefore competitive in the market. (I would also like to include public administrations in these lines but, well, it sounds impossible).

In this post, I would like to talk about communication.

Until now, employee portals have been a one-way communication tool between company and employee. That is to say, it was a space (generally not very elaborated and without excessive design) where employees receive the payroll, the work calendar, and little else. Generally, the employee has a password within the company’s web page and accesses it.

The current pandemic framework has marked the need to generate new ways of communication between employees and companies, making bidirectional communication necessary. The employee no longer only receives the same products but can and must interact with the company to:

  • Propose changes to their schedules by exchanging them with their colleagues
  • Upload a sick leave
  • Upload their expenses
  • Generate daily clockings
  • Talk more directly with managers
  • Receive online training
  • Etc…

Remote working is here to stay and the development of hybrid working days (part of the week at home and part at the office) is already a reality. Therefore, employee portals have become the best communication tool in the company.

And now let’s talk about e-mail. I have the impression that it has become or is becoming somewhat obsolete. Traditionally we have received all the files this way, making our inbox always full and having serious complications when it comes to managing its traffic. E-mail has gone from being an element of global communication to being little more than the calendar agenda of our meetings. My statement is somewhat blunt, I know, but internally and externally every day more and more tools such as Teams or Google Meet, CRMs, high-performance ERPs, Zoom, etc are used, and make strong competitors to e-mail. It is true that we still use email when we want our communication to be more official, whether it is an internal or external customer, but it is also true that even a WhatsApp message has the same validity as an email. This leads me to think that I have the impression that email is not going through its best moment.

We used to look worriedly at our inbox if we had no new e-mails and we could even immediately think that the system was down. Now if there are not x chats open in Teams, we think the same thing.

Not so many years ago the employee portal was almost non-existent and now it walks on the same level as an email. The employee portal is a vehicle for increasing the well-being or quality of life of the employee in times of need for productivity and affiliation to the values of the company.

E-mail has many competitors on many fronts that have managed to be more agile, productive and made the user experience easier and less “cold”.

Anyway, time flies, even for e-mail.

Written by José Ramón Villaverde

José Ramon is a WFM specialist and has extensive experience in human resources. Given his passion for culture, he was the host of the television show ‘La nueva ruta del empleo. His greatest hobby is writing, being the author of 4 books: ‘Otto, (Editorial Hades 2019)’, ‘El baile de las ortigas (Editorial Haces 2017)’ and ‘Deconstrucción de una lágrima (Editorial Hades 2014)’ and the non-fiction book ‘Películas, buenos consejos y cómo encontré trabajo.