Many enterprises are embracing digital transformation. But all that change will fall flat unless organizations improve their basic communication skills.

That's the conclusion of a survey released today, which found nearly half of the 250 communications professionals who responded think their companies should rethink their digital workplace communications program. The Employee Communications Section of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and APPrise Mobile conducted the survey.

Jeff Corbin, CEO and founder of APPrise Mobile, a native app platform for mobile communications, said the importance of communicating and engaging with employees has never been more important as companies shift from "old school and legacy communications solutions like email and corporate intranets" to newer, more mobile friendly tools.

Email Remains a Power Tool

Naturally, Corbin would tout mobile because his company offers that. But even he admitted — and his survey found — there's no denying the power of email in the workplace. The latest evidence: 97 percent of communications professionals indicated they are using email. By far, it was the highest percentage among survey respondents.

2016 digital workplace study infographic

No matter how much of a time suck it is, email rules. (Heck, it's the first mobile app this reporter checks every day).

Here's what else employees reported using in the workplace:

  • Intranets: 78 percent
  • Social collaboration tools: 45 percent
  • Social media: 38 percent
  • SMS/messaging solutions: 35 percent
  • Mobile apps: 14 percent

"Email is not going away," Corbin told CMSWire. 

"There are companies who would like to make it go away, i.e. Slack, but it's not going anywhere. It's pretty much engrained in everything we're doing and everything our companies are doing. I get hundreds of emails every day, many from my own company. There's an email overload. If something is really important, maybe it's not the way to get something across."

Peer-to-Peer, Content Repository

How are employees using these tools?

Email

In various ways both company-to-employee and peer-to-peer.

Intranet

Used as content repository, for workplace tools and solutions and for collaboration. 

Social Collaboration Tool

Peer-to-peer communications.

Mobile App

Corporate communications (company-to-employee messaging).

Social Media

Branding, company news and events.

SMS/Messaging Solutions

Emergency messaging.

“Notwithstanding 21st Century technologies now available that allow us as communicators to be more efficient in our work, email and intranets are not going away anytime soon — nor should they," Corbin added. "As our survey found, one size does not necessarily fit all and depends on a particular use case or situation."

Title image "workplace" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by n_e_a_l