Today, almost every corporation is searching for solutions to engage employees to improve retention, productivity, and profitability. This search has led to a discussion about how crucial is the order of communication in engaging your workforce, especially hard-to-reach non-desk employees without access to company email.
Do traditional orders of communication apply when trying to reach an employee who works with their hands, tools, machines, customers, and patients? What are the secrets to gaining adoption, regular use, and reliance on a communication platform with these highly mobile employees? How is communication with this workforce different from desk-bound workers with ready access to communication? Does the order need to be adjusted to be effective?
After ten years of building a mobile communication process tool solely focused on reaching and connecting non-desk employees, we have years of data, millions of messages, and hundreds of thousands of workers to provide answers to these critical questions.
The traditional order of communication consists of six steps:
- Developing the Message. Deciding what I need to say.
- Encoding the Message. Turning thoughts into communication.
- Selecting the Channel. Choose a medium, phone call, text, face-to-face, etc.
- Message Transmission. A linear one-way model that doesn’t say if the message is received.
- Decoding the Message. The receiver interprets the message.
- Feedback. The receiver may provide feedback or a response.
When communicating with non-desk employees, you have additional hurdles to overcome. These include: they are not a captive audience sitting in front of a computer, they are using their hands, you are trying to reach them when they are busy doing other things, from working on a factory line, caring for patients, working at a construction site, or servicing customers. They cannot drop what they are doing to respond to or even read a message.
Plus, add to this that you are trying to reach them on their personal mobile phone and that you will distract them from the job at hand; your message had better be relevant, free of noise, and be essential to the work they are doing.
Reply all messages, endless threads, and useless information will get all of your messages ignored and result in employees not using this vital tool to create communication and engagement.
Let’s look now at how the order of communication needs to evolve to be effective with non-desk workforces. The traditional order of six steps doesn’t apply to these employees:
- Developing the Message. First, you must decide if it is essential that I even send this message, knowing that it will cause distraction from work at hand. If it is critical, I need to decide who to limit this communication. Is it to go to a single individual, a team, a group, a single location, or company-wide. Important messaging like COVID updates, or communications that are key to delivering the company mission, should be used for mass communication.
- Encoding the Message. People receiving this message on their mobile devices should be busy working or waiting for information to do their job; they require short, concise, and relevant messaging. Keep it short and straightforward when turning thoughts into communication to these frontline workers.
- Selecting the Channel. When choosing a channel with these workers, you have options like instant messaging, company-controlled secure real-time private channels, and social networking apps. Issues with some of these solutions include a lack of corporate control, not secure, privacy and compliance issues, and lack of reporting and archiving. I would highly recommend the company-controlled, secure real-time private channel solution to avoid these issues. A solution like Red e App will allow you to be in compliance, monitor the dialogue, see when messages are read, measure the communication effectiveness of your employees, be secure, access the data, and archive the messaging.
- Message Transmission. Two-way communication is key to creating engagement, adoption, and regular use with non-desk employees. This workforce often feels disconnected from the company, and by engaging them, you will see employee retention increase and higher productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
- Decoding the Message. We cannot strive enough for the need for messaging to be relevant to these employees. Every message to these people is an interruption of their work. To get your message read, ensure it is something this individual needs to know to make their job easier, safer, or more efficient.
- Feedback. With two-way communication, the employee may provide feedback or a response. Two-way communication is key to allowing them to have a voice and feel that their opinion matters to the company’s leadership.
- Measure. Your success in communicating with your entire workforce requires analysis and measurement of the delivered messaging. Is your order of communication effective? Is it being read, shared, or commented on? Is it having a positive effect on the organization, is morale improving, and is everyone operating towards the same company goals? These are all things that you should be able to see in your communication reporting and measurements.
- Improve. Based on the reports, read rates, and responses, you can refine your communications; every step above can be adjusted to fit your unique workforce needs and your employee habits. You can use tools like Shelbe.AI to refine delivery and automate permissions and access and align with your dynamic workforce; this will also save you thousands of manual hours in administrative burden managing those permissions.
With time you will find adjusting your order of communication requires minor tweaks and adjustments. Still, your overall efforts should significantly increase employee engagement, retention, morale, efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
To find out more about how we can help you improve your communications and employee engagement, feel free to visit us online at redeapp.com.
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