The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the ability of organisations to communicate effectively. The work environment and ability to collaborate have been turned upside down, with remote work and frequent sick leave becoming the new reality. Some businesses were forced into redundancies, others have been faced with an enormous workload – particularly workers in the healthcare sector. In fact, the need for effective communication to lower stress, promote productivity, cooperation and continued employee engagement has never been greater.
The pandemic has proven that staff are hungry for information and employers need access to open communication channels to keep their employees in the loop. Many businesses have been forced to undertake an overnight digital transformation to move towards a digital workplace.
Effective internal communication relies on a variety of communication channels – including mobile phones
Effective internal communication relies on the use of different communication channels, so you can reach employees in the devices they use when it suits them. More often than not, your Internal Communication/HR team are responsible for keeping track of all available communication channels, what devices different employee groups have access to, and their communication preferences – intranet, e-mail, Slack, Teams, Yammer, the company’s mobile app, SMS to name a few. If you don’t already have this information in your organisation, this is the perfect time to create an overview so that you are better equipped to handle any unforeseen events.
How do you ensure that all employees have received the information?
Intranet is not the best choice for information that needs to be disseminated quickly. It is better used as a tool to post information, so that employees can access it when it suits them. Many companies use their intranet as a place to collect documents as well as policies and guidelines. This is often mixed with other information and, occasionally, crisis communication. The intranet is a mixed bag of varied information with different purposes.
A report from McKinsey found that the average employee spends 1.8 hours each day searching for and collecting information. In light of that fact, the intranet may not be the best channel to get important information out quickly.
A better choice may be a mobile messaging service. In our era of information overload, both the sender and the recipient have a responsibility. The recipient is responsible for deciding when to opt out and how they react to what they choose to receive. Similarly, the message the sender sends to the recipient’s mobile phone must be well thought out and relevant. When you use a mobile messaging service, as the sender and information owner, you can ensure that the recipient has received the message and then customise the message for the next step, such as two-way dialogue or ready-made response options for an immediate response.
Use your mobile phone as a news channel for effective communication
E-mail and intranet have historically been the main information channels in the workplace, but the mobile phone is being used more and more as a news channel. Today, we are accustomed to receiving information via our mobile phones the very second news breaks. Information that affects your daily work or the company you work for should not be treated any different.
A good guideline for successful internal communication is to communicate with your staff where they are, in the devices they use. If you want to reach a salesperson or a service technician out in the field who is part of your mobile workforce, mobile messaging is ideal. The visibility and attention you get through mobile communication can also differ compared to the time an employee might spend reading a news item on their computer at their desk, especially if the person is on the go or is often busy with meetings.
The biggest challenge for businesses today is breaking through the noise and ensuring that important information actually gets to the recipient
In order to increase employee engagement, it is important to provide features your employees like to use. A mobile employee communication strategy is ideal for all organisations, no matter the size. When you use a mobile communication platform or messaging service, you can easily share important information quickly via mobile devices and keep your employees in the loop without compromising security.
Mobile devices are increasingly being used as work tools, and today, the words mobile phone and smartphone are more or less synonymous. The mobile phone is a primary channel for receiving and consuming news, so make sure your communication strategy supports mobile communication and allows you to send notifications and messages directly to your employees’ mobile phones. This might include important news, policy updates, information in the event of serious incidents, changes, disruptions or personal reminders, or adhoc work requests outside normal working hours.
Why is mobile employee communication especially suited for unusual times, such as the current pandemic?
1. Reach your employees quickly on your mobile – make important information available in all channels
Email and intranet simply cannot provide the same immediacy and reach. SMS or voice messaging are crucial tools in the event of a serious incident or crisis. The ability to send and receive information quickly can make the difference between a minor incident and a full-blown catastrophe. If your business does not already have a mobile messaging service, it may be time to look at your options to send SMS to employees.
2. Get immediate responses through effective communication in real time
Keep track of which messages have been read and by which department, team or individual in real time. Not only can you send information to your employees’ mobile phones, you can also take advantage of the delivery confirmation feature. Easily set up ready-made response options for rapid job requests or quick surveys, for example, if you need to do a health check or a quick opinion survey and get answers immediately.
3. Send precisely targeted messages
The address book feature allows you to sort employees into special distribution lists based on the criteria you choose to collect as an information owner, i.e. not just according to names and telephone numbers but geographical location, position, special competencies, language skills, etc. Then you as a sender can quickly filter employees depending on who (or which team) needs to receive information or to call in, for example:
- Crisis management
- PR department/Media relations
- IT and security team
- Incident response team
-All employees in a specific building on a specific floor
Ensure that the right information gets to the right employees
In the event of a cyber attack or IT crisis, technical problems can limit the ability to use e-mail or intranet. The mobile phone is simply the most reliable way to get a recipient’s attention in seconds and the most important communication channel for important messages – no matter what sector you work in. People today take their mobile phones with them wherever they go, and 90% of all SMS messages are read within 90 seconds. So if you are fine-tuning your communication strategy for 2021, we recommend that you include your mobile phone in your communication channels – easy access to important information is just as important as the message itself.
Employee communication plays an important role in determining whether you are an attractive employer and improves the employee experience. Here at LEKAB, we are committed to helping all organisations big and small communicate with their employees and customers in a reliable and secure manner – right in their mobile phones – so they can improve productivity and efficiency as well as employee engagement. Would you like more information? Please contact us!