Interdepartmental communication is an important aspect of both business and official communication. Every organization, be it a huge conglomerate or a small company has various departments to it and hence any form of internal communication becomes mandatory.
These means of communications are segregated into various types and range extensively from memorandums to official circulars to office suggestion boxes.
If memorandums are a record for future use and also include the aspect of taking disciplinary actions and reprimands, the circular letters are also for the same use as the disciplinary and ethical aspect but also serve as a brief formal note common for all the persons in an office.
Right from asking the opinions to informing about any dress code/ ethical considerations, these letters play a vital role. Here, in this article, we are going to look in detail about the various dimensions of office circulars and the advantages and disadvantages of this aspect.
Office Circulars Meaning:
The advantage of a business letter is to complete the deal within the two parties without knowing others. But office circulars are generally those letters which are circulated to a huge number of employees in an office in a simultaneous manner, conveying a special message or an instruction that needs to be followed in the future.
It is user-friendly and a cost effective method of circulating information by ensuring that the particular message reaches many persons at the same time. These types of letters primarily focus on the business issues and hold a certain degree of importance amongst the employers in an office.
Why is it Being Prepared?
Basically, the use of an office circular always has a business aspect to it as it is mainly utilized to convey information amidst an organization, like an intra-office convention.
The information may vary anywhere from an invitation to a meeting to the important issues like impending meetings, new rules that are going to crop up in the immediate future.
This method is seen as an effective method of communication as it disseminates an issue to a huge number of people.
Other than this, occasionally these circular letters are even sent to some of the loyal customers or torchbearers of an office.
For instance, those customers who have some considerable shares in a company may be invited to attend their general body meetings and will also be sent an invitation for any functions held in their premises.
These expressions must be done through official circulars only. It is an indispensable tool which is both cost effective and formal and which reduces the effort of a management considerably.
Advantages of Using Circular Letters:
Unlike advantages of business letters, circular letters also have multiple advantages and it acts as an inevitable tool of communication within the premises.
1. It is both time-effective and cost-effective:
This is true since these fliers are a fast way to hand out and express information. You can type any information in a computer with a watermark and get as many numbers of copies as you may desire. These circulars can be extended to any amount of pages if the amount of information that is to be conveyed is voluminous.
Suppose, if you want to inform about an impending seminar, then about four to five lines will suffice. On the other hand, if you want to express any rule or dress code, then sufficient grounds for the implementation should also be expressed along with the desire to change. So, this method saves you time and the cost involved by personally meeting each and every person and conveying the decision.
Thus, this enables the staffs to be abreast of those happenings in an office and will aid them to provide a rapid feedback about any situation. If the company is a customer-oriented company, say, for instance, those companies dealing with beauty and any other household products, may utilize these circulars to inform about the new varieties that the company is going to introduce in the market.
2. It identifies the right audience:
Imagine you get a circular about a program or a crash course dealing with marketing strategy. You will ignore it if you are not in the marketing department. Though it is sent to the whole office, those who are connected with the specific department only will be asked to provide their replies and the others can very well ignore it. Hence, this is a cost-effective method that identifies the target audience.
3. It provides a permanency of records:
As these fliers are circulated throughout the office for a specific purpose, they will be filed for any future purposes, thereby providing a permanent stature and allowing us to verify its contents at any time in the future. Therefore, it becomes impossible to impersonate or duplicate the contents of a circular according to one’s needs and the biggest advantage is that these contents along with the specific date of happening can always be verified at any time and at any day.
4. A form of legal document with the designation of authority:
Basically, any form of written communication is considered as a form of legal authority and clearly these fliers are also no exemption. As these circulars always bear the official signature and stamp of a higher managerial authority to enhance the validity of the information, the veracity of the claims ought to be accepted. Also, these circulars have the right to discuss about the allocation of responsibilities to a specific number of persons by informing about their duration of activities and the extent of their responsibilities.
5. Has a wider dimension and wider reach:
These circulars have a vital role in expressing and pitching some ideas. Suppose, if a management has to question its employees their views about an organizational aspect, they can very well utilize this method and ask their suggestions to be submitted in the ballot box.
On the other hand, if some of the company’s policies and objectives need to be reiterated in a strict manner, then this method can be applied very well there also to perform the same. These fliers can also be used if the company undergoes the process of recruiting new people and wants the old employees to understand and also to invite some of their friends and relatives to apply.
6. A source of goodwill:
Apart from sending instructions and future happenings, these circulars are also used as a source of goodwill which is extended towards its employees and customers.
If a company performs extremely well, then it is not possible for the management to wish each and everyone personally about the achievement and their contribution.
In that case, an official circular expressing the heartfelt gratitude from the management will enact the part by describing the words of the management to its employees.
Disadvantages of Office Circular Letters:
If an aspect has certain advantages to it, then there will also be disadvantages. Though these disadvantages do not possess the same degree of intensity as the advantages do, nevertheless these are worthy of our consideration. Let us now look into detail, the disadvantages of these circular letters.
1. Oral communication can pitch more:
One of the main disadvantages of this form of written communication is the preference of oral communication over these circulars.
Many of the higher echelons think that an oral communication can be done in a matter of seconds through a group Skype/Whatsapp call or through a normal telephonic conversation.
These people think that office resources like paper, printer ink, etc., are being wasted when it comes to delivering the same information through circulars.
2. An old form of communication:
This method is perceived as an old method as it has more susceptibility towards the aspect of red-tapism and it lacks flexibility. There are chances of some important information getting leaked about an organization. These circulars after the intervention of fax and emails have their fame getting deteriorated considerably.
Stressing any important aspect via these circulars may or may not have the desired effect among the employees’ as these fliers will look like an object of subjugation rather than a messenger bearing information. In these cases, more gentle handling and coaxing is needed from the management’s side.
3. Has a rigid and formal structure:
Always, the official circulars have a certain format or aspect to it and it cannot get deviated. These structures are generally in the form of Attention, Interst, Desire and Action and is pitched directly towards the employees state to follow the guidelines, rather than addressing to their minds. Therefore, these types of letters lack personal emotions and appreciations that can only be conveyed through personal calls and one to one meetings.
These circulars even when distributed to appreciate someone cannot express the true feelings due to the pattern of it and even if it does so, will appear as though it is an attempt to flatter the specific employee.
4. Has the possibility of leaving some persons behind:
Suppose, if a group of persons or a specific team is absent from the company for some purpose and if an important circular is distributed throughout the company, then these persons may not know about it completely and hence, has the possibility of being ignorant about the instructions provided in the circular.
Hence, adequate care must be taken to see whether all the employees are present in order to provide the circular.
5. Illiterate persons cannot utilise:
Not all the employees of a particular company are literate. Many of the lower strata workers are those who cannot read and write and hence, if a circular reaches them they can neither assimilate the information provided nor can act according to those instructions provided there. Hence, the basic tenet of providing the circular itself gets scored off. In these cases, oral communication becomes the only possibility.
6. Usage of complex jargons:
Due to the complex pattern these types of letters follow, it becomes imminent to use complex jargons and terminologies which may not go well with all the kinds of employees in an office. As most of these terms are too difficult to decode, comprehend and understand, the true specific purpose of sending these circulars gets faltered.
Thus, this aspect leads to lack of communication and a delayed response from the employees’ side leaving doubts amidst the higher management. Hence, if using circulars it becomes important to use simple English that can be understood by all the people.
7. Can get distorted:
If the person who types these circulars originally forgets some important aspect that needs to be included in the fliers, then also the objective of sending circulars throughout becomes an epic failure, whereas in oral communication, even if the conveyer forgets something or any other vital note that is to be said, he/she can do so later. But, it is impossible to type another circular to convey the forgotten information alone, which is ultimately a waste of both money and time.
Thus, we have seen in detail the advantages and the demerits of using circular letters in an organization. Though every aspect has its shares of merits and demerits, each of these is an important business tool and contributes either directly or indirectly to the growth of an organization.
Therefore, these tools should not be taken at their face value and should be utilized to the maximum in order to reap its benefits as ultimately its usage only depends on the company’s comfortability.