It’s every communication leader’s nightmare: you put so much time and effort into writing and disseminating effective internal communications expertly crafted to drive sales, operational efficiency, and employee engagement…but they don’t make it to your full workforce.
We’ve already gone through the signs that you might not be reaching every single employee with your internal communications. Now let’s talk about what to do about it.
Here are 5 ways to reach every single employee with your frontline communications:
1. Ditch legacy tools for something more trackable
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the traditional communication cascade doesn’t work for frontline workforces. Josh Bersin’s Big Reset Playbook puts it bluntly: “Deskless workers are often left behind with no access to communication, tools, or resources.” There are many reasons why communication tools like email, paper memos, manager announcements, and bulletin boards can cost deskless organizations, but a big one is the lack of analytics.
Think about it: you have thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands! – of workers you’re trying to reach. You need robust analytics to track that at scale. A digital communication platform allows communication leaders to see exactly who is receiving, reading, and engaging with their updates – and adjust as needed.
Using a platform with built-in analytics also allows you to track what might be the most important workforce metric a communications leader has in their arsenal: reachability. A reachability rate refers to the number of employees you can communicate with, as compared to your full workforce (ideally, your reachability is 100%). Reachability became much more critical to frontline organizations when the pandemic hit, and they suddenly needed to get in touch with every employee, at every location, in real time to share updates about closures, lockdowns, changing protocols, and more.
2. Corral all your frontline communications into one central channel
A common issue at frontline organizations is a cluttered tech stack. Over time, a complex combination of communication channels can emerge: ad-hoc messaging systems, resource hubs, in-the-moment training resources… the list goes on. But too many tools means you’re not going to get everyone in one place – which makes it hard to know where to reach them.
Creating a central employee hub is a critical step in ensuring you can reach every worker in one place. Make a one-stop-shop for all of your communication, feedback channels, employee recognition, and then use the same channel to link out to other tools your staff might need to use, like shift scheduling, an LMS, you name it.
3. Use communication channels that everyone can access
We talk a lot about the importance of finding the right tech stack to effectively reach your frontline workforce – and that doesn’t just mean shedding the legacy tools outlined above. It also means using purpose-built communication channels that make sense for your unique workforce.
First, that means embracing a BYOD policy. For frontline workers in, say, a foodservice or retail setting, access to computers or company devices is limited. Even if there is information accessible on one of these devices, staff needs to leave the floor to go access it, or wait until after their shift. On the other hand, a frontline communications platform accessible from their smartphones via app ensures the channel is readily available at all times (The Deskless Report found that 91% of workers are using their phones at work whether or not it’s permitted).
But that’s just the beginning. If you’re really wanting to create a 100% accessible communication channel, you need to take into account employees that might be part of the 3% of Americans that don’t own a smartphone. Or they might be hesitant to download an app, or might not, for safety reasons, be able to access their personal device at work. That’s where you can layer on additional ways to access your hub. For example, Nudge is a mobile-first digital communication platform, but also has a web app accessible from any device or computer, which allows for additional access points in a variety of situations.
4. Encourage tool adoption through workplace “influencers”
You’ve corralled your communications into one central tool that your staff can access from anywhere – great! But tool adoption is another major hurdle that frontline organizations often face, especially when the scale of their workforce can be in the hundreds of thousands.
The solution? Influencers. MIT Sloan Management Review’s groundbreaking study, Embracing Digital Technology, highlighted the importance of getting workplace influencers onboard when implementing new tools. It’s what author Didier Bonnet calls “a network of champions” that are fully invested in the tool and will encourage others to adopt by showing them how the tool can benefit them. “You want people who are able to work horizontally across the organization and who have good communication and networking skills,” says Bonnet.
5. Translate 👏 Your 👏 Comms!
A major 2015 report by the U.S. Census Bureau found that at least 350 languages are spoken in American homes. Avoiding language barriers in your internal communication is a critical part of ensuring you’re reaching every single employee.
And it’s not just about translating your updates and communications – auto-translating your team chats, feedback forums, and other community-building channels within your frontline communications platform ensures that every team member can access the same content. This will make them far more likely to return to the platform again and again, and ensure you can reach them when needed.
You want to be able to reach every single employee in their organization, no matter how big. And with the right processes and tools in place, it’s possible! Follow these steps to ensure that no worker gets left out of the loop.