Internal Communications

Slack vs Email: Choosing Internal Communication Channels


By Ali Rodriguez


Do you know what the Slack alternatives are for communications? Have you ever thought who would win in Slack vs Email battle? 

For the uninitiated, Slack is a workplace messaging software that promises to facilitate communication and collaboration across organizations.

Instead of your traditional inbox, Slack has “channels,” giving employees the opportunity to avoid irrelevant emails by only participating in the discussions they want to participate in.

Although Slack is common in many workplaces, the jury is still out about Slack’s place in the communication ecosystem: is it a nice-to-have chatting tool or the place where all internal comms should take place? We will run through how email could be your Slack alternative for 2019.

Below we compare how Slack compares to traditional email, going over the pros and cons of both. We also add email powered by ContactMonkey, since we believe this combination to be the ultimate internal communications approach.

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Slack Alternatives: Slack vs Email

We will be judging these two internal comms tools with set criteria. Both these criteria directly apply to Slack and email as internal communications channels:

  • Employee Engagement: are employees engaged with this channel of communication?
  • Efficiency of Communication: how efficient is this channel in getting important information across?

Slack vs Email Criteria: Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is crucial for every single business in the world. If your employees care about their work and their workplace, they’re more likely to be more productive and provide good ideas for increasing your business’ success.

How well your internal communications tool nurtures employee engagement will have a huge impact on the success of your employee communications. If your employees aren’t reading your emails, then they don’t know what is happening at your business.

With Slack, employees are more distracted than engaged

Slack allows teams to organize different topics to different channels, upload information for team use, and enable them to search for past conversations. Slack utilizes threads, enabling users to respond directly to a message in a channel without interrupting the flow of conversation.

By supporting memes, animated GIFs, videos, emojis, and more, Slack makes employee communication much like social media.  But what makes Slack stand out—the funny memes, the GIFs, the jokes‚—are also its biggest flaw. Instead of making employees more engaged with their work, Slack can distract and exhaust employees.

With email, employees are engaged but bored

On the other side of the coin, traditional email is regarded as the more formal, corporate source of the truth. This is an advantage when it comes to employee engagement because employees won’t mute emails or ignore them as they do with Slack notifications.

For valuable information coming from corporate, email’s perceived importance works because employees know they have to open them. This obligation can decrease engagement, and employees can begin to feel worn-down.

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On top of that, it has been historically very difficult to make responsive HTML emails from Outlook or Gmail. Even after spending lots of time and effort on your designs, there is no certainty they will be free of email rendering issues Outlook and Gmail.

As a result, most communicators will opt for safer, all text, not visually appealing designs. This can be problematic since visuals can aid cognitive engagement.

How ContactMonkey improves email engagement

Long gone are the days where internal communicators were stuck between being fun and distracting on Slack, or formal and boring with traditional email.

With ContactMonkey, you can now create beautiful, responsive emails from the comfort of your inbox:

Screenshot of employee survey options within ContactMonkey's email template builder.

Here’s how ContactMonkey can help you improve employee engagement:

  • Create stunning emails that entertain your employees with our email template builder.
  • Personalize the subject line and body copy of your employee emails using merge fields. Personalization has been proven to generate more open rates!
  • Add pulse surveys and emoji reactions to your newsletters to collect employee feedback.
  • Track and measure email open rate, click-through rate, opens by location and device, read time, and more.

You can also improve email engagement by using custom email lists, so you can target employees with information relevant for them. With ContactMonkey’s List Management feature, you can create your own email lists without needing approval from IT. This is an easy and effective way to drive engagement and reduce the amount of irrelevant emails your employees receive.

ContactMonkey integrates with your Human Resources Information System (HRIS) like Workday and ADP, as well as Azure Active Directory, so your custom email lists will automatically update as employees join and leave your organization.

Create email lists without needing IT.

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Slack vs Email Criteria: Efficiency of Communication

In addition to employee engagement, how easy your internal communications software is to use is just as important. After all, you don’t want to spend hours perfecting your employee newsletter ideas; the right tool boosts engagement and is fast and easy to use.

Communication on Slack is easy…but it isn’t efficient 

The biggest benefit of Slack is how easy it makes sending a message to anyone in the organization. It’s basically a big group chat with all of your coworkers, which can lower communicational friction and eliminate silos.

Slack enables efficient communication in these situations:

  • Quick answers for simple questions.
  • Sharing and collaborating on a project in real time.
  • Getting an immediate response.
  • Sharing something random, funny, or off-topic.

However, with Slack there is no way to give more authority to certain authority figures in HR or the executive team. This can be a problem when trying to communicate important information.

For example, a Head of Internal Communications can make a very important announcement, but it will quickly vanish as soon as other people start posting on that channel, leading to uncertainty and unwanted repetition on the side of the internal comms department.

As a result, finding a true and trusted source of official information is time-consuming at best and impossible at worst.

Traditional email is efficient…but not a conversation

Traditional email, on the other hand, is really good at getting your message across. If you have big announcements about a merger or change in leadership, a well-crafted email will get the job done.

However, this one-sided and broadcast-like communication isn’t always efficient because it prevents employees from meaningfully engaging with your information.

Email is better for a multi-generational workforce

Many professionals from older generations are simply not open to embracing the latest technological tools, even if it simplifies workplace communication. For this reason, email often remains many peoples’ communication channel of choice.

If you’re managing a multigenerational workforce, email is reliable and accessible for everyone.

But remember that email isn’t just a tool, but almost its own language. It’s the way we’ve communicated with one another at the workplace for decades. 

How ContactMonkey helps with efficient communication

Since ContactMonkey integrates with your existing Outlook or Gmail inbox, you won’t have to open extra third-party tools.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how we can help you and your team be more efficient:

  • Send your internal emails to any of your existing distribution lists, instead of spending time manually uploading a list to a third party tool. It’s easy to learn how to create a distribution list in Outlook.
  • Share and access your team’s best performing templates and grow your responsive email template library.
  • Use emoji reactions to turn your newsletters into a two-way communications channel.
  • Using metrics gather with ContactMonkey, you can pinpoint where you need to focus your internal communication efforts.
  • Generate content in seconds using ContactMonkey’s OpenAI ChatGPT integration.
  • Optimize your internal communication design using click maps and in-depth email metrics.

Save time creating internal email content.

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Slack vs Email: The Verdict

Slack is a magnificent tool for team communication and should be used as a supplement to email for the modern workplace. It may be more effective than email when it comes to managing remote workers and teams dispersed across different continents for project work.

It’s also a great way for instantaneous file sharing and for initiating small talk amongst colleagues. However, email being a more formal platform, will ensure that your messages are taken more seriously and don’t get ignored.

For company wide announcements, send email newsletters for any other critical information that requires serious attention and engagement.

Coupled with ContactMonkey, email is the most effective way to track, measure, and show the effectiveness of your internal communications. So email is definitely not going anywhere. In fact, it’s thriving.

Let us show you the power of ContactMonkey.

See how much better your internal comms can be.

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Convinced of the power of email in the Slack vs Email battle? Want to learn how to track your internal emails using ContactMonkey?  Set up a personalized demo for you and your team.

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