When texting first became mainstream, I’m almost sure none of us expected that 20 years later, we would widely accept it in the workplace. What do I mean by that? I am talking about the increase in companies that use texting as a means of formal communication. When I first started working, I wouldn’t have dared text my boss, but it became more acceptable for specific positions over the years and remained unacceptable for others. Now, after years of conditioning our minds to accept that texting a boss on a sick day is no longer taboo, I want to suggest taking this even further.
We often use emails and phone calls for communication with colleagues and clients, and despite still being semi-functional, these methods do not have the response rate they used to have. We either have overloaded inboxes with important emails getting lost or playing phone tag, resulting in unanswered time-sensitive questions. What would you do in your personal life if you needed a quick response? You would text the person. So why not use the more intrusive communication in our work routines. Or, as I said earlier, we can take this approach even further and accept the concept of texting prospective clients – or in my case, texting recruitment candidates.
Most of us, if not all of us, have a good understanding of how to text. Suppose we decide to bring this concept into the office. In that case, we should probably go over some vital etiquette that will differentiate between texting in your personal life and texting for work.
Consider whom you are texting.
As with any other type of communication in the workplace, you need to consider your intended audience. You wouldn’t text the CEO of your company asking where they store the extra toilet paper or coffee filters. Never! And why wouldn’t you do this? Because you understand your organization and the respect that you need to demonstrate to specific positions. Besides, do you really want to lose your job over toilet paper? My point is, the same consideration you currently use with other forms of communication needs to remain the same. Consider you are texting your manager, the text message would contain a more formal and respectful tone. Now consider texting your friend and colleague from the advertising department; your message would come through as more relaxed and casual.
When communicating through text, it is easy to become too casual. That’s because, when looking for a quick response, we often draft a short-formed, un-thought-through question– using slang or emojis – and there is one thing for sure, short forms are not professional. In other words, maybe it’s best to leave emojis, gifs, and acronyms for your personal messages. In the same way, asking the CEO about toilet paper through text wasn’t appropriate, neither is casually asking if they were going to respond to your email from last week *insert emoji face*. Instead, you would be better off drafting a short but professional follow-up regarding those questions.
Inform candidates of Communication Methods.
In recruitment, you represent the company that hired you to recruit. If a candidate has a bad experience with you, it can ultimately turn good candidates away from working for that company. For this reason, it’s essential to make sure candidates know what to expect, and that’s right down to communication. If you are upfront about your techniques, especially those that can be considered taboo, like texting, then candidates will be more open to you reaching out to them in those manners. But if you catch someone off guard by texting them without forewarning, it may leave a bad taste in their mouth, or they may think your job ad was a scam. To prevent all of this from happening, you have to let people know what methods of communication you will use – and this can all be explained in a post-application letter.
The other thing we have to consider is that there are still many amazing people out there working who weren’t raised on texting. Further yet, some of these people still don’t text. It would be unfair to assume everyone texts, and we need to provide a type of accommodation through other communication methods.
If your organization has begun using text as a form of communication, I hope this advice will help you feel confident texting with your colleagues and managers. Texting can become a great asset for any business if used correctly, and most of all, if used professionally. Remember to speak as though you are sending a shortened email, and you will do just fine – Happy Texting!