Is Communication Technology the Secret to Understanding Our People?

Since the beginning of time, communication practices have been used to understand who we are as people. Think back to ancient cave paintings or stone etchings and even modern-day activities like Internet browsing and text messaging. All of these practices, no matter how primitive, speak volumes about who we are, what we want and what motivates us.

In a recent article on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website, contributor Ross Smith explored how today’s technology-driven communication helps gain an even better understanding of our fellow people. Popular consumer technologies like YouTube and Netflix are prime examples. Someone’s YouTube or Netflix feed says a lot about their interests and can even help us predict what show they might watch next or which video they’ll suggest to a friend.

The value of this technology-driven insight extends into the workplace as well — most notably through the technologies we use to communicate with each other like cloud phones, unified communications platforms and team collaboration applications. The more we can gain an understanding of how our employees use these tools to perform their job roles, the better able we are to make smarter, more constructive technology and leadership investments — especially in the areas of…

Hiring and Training

What if we knew our high-performing employees used the Office 365 suite in specific ways? Or only held meetings at certain times of day? Or are more productive on days when they spin up Skype calls? Cold, hard data that suggests how our teams should and shouldn’t use the technologies at their disposal can help us make valuable adjustments to the way we onboard new hires and support their development.


It may seem like a no-brainer, but the more we know about how our teams prefer to communicate with each other, the more we can tailor our workplace environment and collaboration stack to meet their preferences and requirements.


Similarly, if we know the tools, technologies and processes our staff needs to be most productive — and have the data to back that knowledge up — we can better support their productivity. Maybe one employee is more productive at home, or maybe another isn’t using the full capabilities of their cloud phone. This knowledge helps us identify opportunities to get the most out of our talent.

Taking a closer look at how our people use the technologies at their disposal is only half the battle. The second crucial part is leveraging the right tools and solutions. For tips, insights and considerations for using technology to capture a deeper understanding of your people and your workplace, check out these two articles from the Select blog: