Why Your Company Address Book Probably Sucks
Ah, the address book. It’s humble beginnings likely started with papyrus and ink, then evolved to the “little black book” and Rolodex. I’m betting few people under the age of 30 even know what a Rolodex is, much less would ever dream of using one. I’ve included a picture in case you’re curious. I bet most Millennials can’t remember any phone numbers, either. Why bother when everything auto-populates?
Thanks to technology, the company address book is all grown up. The environmentally-safe, digital versions enable us to find people with the click or swipe of the finger. Sadly, however, many organizations are still using outdated company address books.
If you Google the phrase “outdated address books,” you’d see pages and pages of people asking forums and help desks how to move address books between profiles, how to view an old address book archive, and how to transfer address books from an old device to a new one. If these seemingly mundane tasks were simple, you’d just see a picture of a Rolodex instead of reading about how frustrated people are with the technology that was supposed to be such an improvement over a Rolodex. The only thing you had to worry about with a Rolodex or a little black book was if you lost it, dropped it in a toilet, or it burned in a fire.
A Responsive Address Book
A much simpler way to manage contacts is through a virtual company address book. With every contact safely resting in the cloud and accessible anytime from any device with an internet connection, why would you bother with any other solution? A device-specific address book? No thanks. Water damage threat? Nope. Fire? Nope. Armageddon? Who will care?
Today’s address books can be segmented by the type of contact, separating work contacts from personal contacts from health care contacts from children’s school contacts…you get the picture. The flexibility is limitless, helping you organize your life and saving you precious time.
Companies are using the modern address book to help employees find coworkers quickly, but also to learn more about each other in a fun way. Company address books now enable employees to upload their own photos, often revealing interesting or humorous attributes. They can include personal details, such as T-shirt size so when that next product launches, marketing doesn’t have to send out a company-wide email asking for such prized intel.
Each employee has the ability to share information about themselves that the company and coworkers need to know (such as skill set and job functions) as well as things employees might like to share (such as “don’t ask me for anything before I’ve had my coffee.”) Good to know, Mike. Thanks for the heads up.
Can A Company Address Book Help You Manage Better?
The virtual software is handy for managers, too. Many provide reports that can be accessed through the address book. Need a list of employee birthdays? How about how much time off each employee on your team has taken so far. Sick days? How much vacation is still remaining? These types of reports can help managers really manage, without being a pain in the ass asking so many questions.
One of the biggest benefits for these types of interactive address books is that all of the contact information is found in one place, accessible at any time, from any enabled device. That matters when you’re racing to a meeting and can’t remember the name of one of the attendees or have never met the HR director and need to see a picture of her so you can introduce yourself. Of course, if she’s using the same directory, she would already know exactly who you are, that you single-handedly recruited the most highly-sought after marketing guru this side of the Mississippi, and that you have a golden retriever named “Daisy.” Seems irrelevant? What if the CFO happens to be on the board of the golden retriever rescue organization in your state? She’s going to instantly connect with you on a personal level that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
These types of directories can also be linked to the company organization chart. Now you can view each contact within the context of their role in the company. See who they report to, who they team up with, who depends on them. When you can see it laid out and can then click on a name or picture to find their direct contact information, you’ve just saved yourself quite a bit of time.
If you were at first offended that I dare belittle your address book, you’re probably now seeing my point. Take a look at the cool ways technology has beefed up the old contact management programs of the past. Not only are these modern address books full of functionality, but they’re actually fun to use. When was the last time you said that about Outlook?