This Is Not Communication
An article in Inc (not available online) extols the virtues of new app which helps directs and managers create weekly reports about their work. So far, so good. A founder and CEO of a web-design company is a user of the app and he says, "I have my first-level employees send the reports to their managers on Friday, and the managers send me the reports on Monday". He continues, "My favorite thing .. is that it lets managers easily escalate an idea or concern from an employees report and include it on their own... then we can have a conversation right on the report, and the manager or employee gets an email every time I comment".
When I got to this part, I was practically screaming - this is not communication. This is not the way to deal with employee's concerns, or even their ideas. Would you learn to trust someone who only deals with your work via an automated system? Would you feel valued if your ideas were praised that way? To be fair, the article doesn't say that this is the only way with which this CEO communicates with his employees, but it is implied.
There's a reason that One on Ones happen weekly between two people speaking to one another. Because that's the way human beings develop relationships. Even though we have all this technology, we still want to 'put faces to names' before relationships become really real. Automated systems which capture our thoughts via our words just aren't the same. Yes, I realise the irony as I write - but my point is almost made here. I write often, and yet we don't have a real relationship. Automated systems are a convenience, a time-saver, but they're no substitute. No one gave their all for a man they only knew by email.