How Much Communication is Sufficient?

By Aniisu K Verghese Ph.D.|21-02-2022 | 1 Min Read
Source: Image by Stephen Phillips on Unsplash
Please, No More Mail!

Recently, a message on Linkedin on information sufficiency piqued my interest and made me probe how much we value the most used channel in employee communications – email. The question of communications sufficiency plagues communicators and leaders. Overcommunicating can lead to information overload and communicating less can result in lack of clarity and probably the spread of rumors.

An average employee gets over 120 mails a day.The threshold is about 50 per day, after which productivity drops and so does health indicators. The art and science of getting it right is by having a pulse of your communication environment and climate. Knowing when to up the game and when to turn it down matters, while staying consistent and relevant to your audiences. The question is not how much but how relevant is the information employees are receiving. Not getting the information they need, when they need it, results in a lack of connection to the purpose as worse can be perceived as disrespectful. What’s worse, a majority of mails staff get are worthless in terms of information they need.

Read More: How to Prevent Emails From Taking Over Your Life


According to a McKinsey study, ‘the average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. But when companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35 percent, the time employees spend searching for company information.” Not all the information received is useful. Some distract and can reduce productivity when not written well. Studies have indicated that organizations stand to lose millions due to poor communication. Also, some companies have outright banned mails to reduce this epidemic from taking over the lives of their staff. Others have turned to social networks although e-mail still continues to be preferred mode of communication.

As per a study by Slack, key work expectations to perform a majority of roles jobs will evolve by as much as 42% over the next few years, dramatically changing work and organization priorities. So, it isn’t about the number of mails that are sent. It is about the quality of the communication and the ownership rests with leaders and communicators to create systems and processes that empower managers and other ‘power’ users of communication to get right.

Read More: Workplace Communication Strategies


When it comes to communication efficiency, it is vital to explore the subject from different perspectives. Does the communication lead to better clarity? Can it result in better acceptance? Has it improved satisfaction among audiences? Did it improve the overall experience and sense of belongingness? A study conducted by IULM recommends dialogue with managers and staff as more valuable to help provide clarity and direction.

Infographic By Leaderonomics: Factors of Effective Communication at the Workplace

The progression is from communication sufficiency to clarity to acceptance to satisfaction to engagement and then to experience can broaden the expectations of measurement and drive a meaningful dialogue with stakeholders.

Rather than getting caught in the nuances of e-mail and channel outtakes, it is important to shift the focus to tackling stakeholder perceptions, understanding and business outcomes.

This article was originally published on Aniisu Verghese's LinkedIn


If you're interested in understanding more about your employee culture, do check out Happily (or Budaya for those from Indonesia). It has amazing analytics and also provides activities for employees to be fully immersed in the organisation's culture.


To find out more about Happily, click here or email info@leaderonomics.com

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Aniisu K Verghese Ph.D. is an award-winning communications leader, personal branding coach, author, speaker and academician with over 22 years of experience. His mission is to organizations and individuals discover and develop their 'sweet-spot' through effective communications. Aniisu has spoken at international conferences on 4 continents and authored two books - Internal Communications - Insights, Practices and Models (2012) and Get Intentional (2021). More about his work can be read at www.intraskope.com and www.aniisu.com

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