Nudge is at IFMA’s World Workplace!

Nudge is at IFMA’s World Workplace!

Facility management’s must-attend event of the year is just a couple weeks away, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Need a reason to attend? We have three!

First, IFMA’s World Workplace is the 👏 biggest 👏 conference for FM leaders looking to network, hear from thought leaders, and see the latest FM trends and tech hitting the market.

Second, we’re giving away a $300 Airbnb gift card! All you need to do is swing by booth #1536 to meet the team and pick up some of that sweeeet Nudge swag (and our latest research!)

Third – and this is a big one, folks! – we’ve got a not-to-be-missed discussion planned with ESFM, a leader in facilities management for the hospitality sector! On September 28, Nudge’s own Kyle Arnold will be joined by ESFM leaders David Hogland and Andrea Rossitter for Inverting the traditional employee communication model: How ESFM reached an unreachable workforce. The trio will discuss how ineffective communication is costing FM companies – and what ESFM did to solve the problem.

See you at booth #1536!

6 employee metrics every frontline organization should be tracking

6 employee metrics every frontline organization should be tracking

Tracking employee metrics helps organizations to make fact-based, data-driven decisions to improve performance, engagement, and more. Whether you have a formal employee communication strategy in place or not, these are the numbers you want to keep an eye on. 

Why? Workforce analytics allow organizations to tap into workforce insights, i.e., the stories your data tells. How engaged is your workforce? How reachable are your teams? How confident are your employees in executing current or future programs and strategies? These aren’t questions to answer with your gut. These are questions that can – and should – be answered with data. 

Here are 6 employee metrics every frontline organization should be tracking: 

1. Adoption and reachability 

This is a crucial metric for any communication strategy. It answers the question, “Who can I reach?” Ideally, the answer would be 100% of your workforce. At Nudge, we consider employees reachable if they’ve used our app in the past 90 days, but this metric might differ depending on your platform or communication tool. 

2. Open/read rates

Again, this will depend on your communication tools and channels, but ideally you have a metric to track how your workforce is consuming content. What percentage of your staff opened your latest announcement? How many read to the end? How many clicked the CTA at the bottom? How often are SOPs accessed and read? These numbers, where available, will help you see whether your content is actually being read by your employees. 

3. Feedback metrics

We’ve already touched on the importance of a channel for two-way feedback. Employee metrics are a great way to get an at-a-glance understanding of whether you’re fostering a culture of feedback across the organization. These might be participation metrics or even word clouds highlighting what key sentiments are coming from your teams. 

4. Execution/employee performance metrics

Depending on your industry and organization, you might be leveraging standardized task lists within your internal communication strategy to reiterate standard protocols and processes. Employee performance metrics on your most frequently assigned tasks and their completion rates will indicate the effectiveness and consistency of your execution.

5. Knowledge rates 

Generated through knowledge testing and quizzes, knowledge rates will show whether the information that has been shared has been properly retained. This will ensure you’re identifying knowledge gaps as quickly as possible. 

6. Employee engagement metrics

The final step in measuring success in your teams is to see whether all the above employee metrics have done their job in fostering engaged, empowered teams. Employee engagement metrics can be measured in a variety of ways. They can be an aggregate metric based on how your employees engage with your communication and feedback channels, or it can be based on dedicated surveys and pulse checks.  

 

Data-driven decisions guide cover | Nudge
Want to learn what to do with these crucial metrics? Read our Guide to Making Data-Driven Decisions to help you understand what data-driven decisions are and why they’re important. You’ll learn what data to collect, how to harvest the metrics, and learn what to do with data.

 

Reviewing workforce insights provides a comprehensive overview of your workforce’s engagement, confidence, and satisfaction – all of which lead to better business outcomes. These employee metrics can also be used to identify warning signs, like disengagement, that can be addressed before they lead to productivity issues or turnover. 

Not sure how to harvest these metrics? Depending on what types of communication technology and tools you already have set up, these numbers can come from multiple areas, like email/newsletter readership, test results, survey completion rates, and more. But this is really where a frontline enablement solution becomes especially useful. Built-in workforce analytics make it easy to measure (and analyze!) all the crucial numbers you should be tracking. 

How to reach every single employee with your frontline communications

How to reach every single employee with your frontline communications

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. 

The ROI of effective frontline employee communication

The ROI of effective frontline employee communication

The benefits of deskless employee communication run deep. Really deep. 

Keeping your deskless and frontline workers well-informed and well-trained goes way beyond safety and execution – it impacts your bottom line in many more ways than you’d think. So, without further ado, let’s talk ROI. 

Here are 7 benefits of communicating with your deskless employees.

1. Lower employee turnover

One of the most common challenges facing deskless and frontline organizations is employee turnover. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the retail and hospitality industries consistently have the highest “quit rate.” Depending on the industry, turnover rates can be as high as 300%. Yikes.  

And it goes without saying that high turnover can take a huge chunk out of your profits. One estimate puts the cost of losing a single retail employee at over $3000, while this research found the cost of losing a hospitality worker is between $3,000 and $13,000. 

There are several reasons frontline turnover is such an issue – and salary isn’t always at top of the list. Frontline workers want a sense of purpose, clear information, and a company that listens – all of which has traditionally been lacking at frontline organizations, where communication can be somewhat of a broken telephone.

That lack of investment in the frontline employee experience is a mistake. In Harvard Business Review, Achyuta Adhvaryu, Teresa Molina, and Anant Nyshadham outlined their research on frontline worker turnover, where they found that being heard matters way more than wage hikes: “In a context where turnover is high and workers do not typically have many opportunities to communicate their concerns to management, providing workers with voice can be a simple yet powerful way to keep workers from quitting.”

In fact, according to Nudge’s recently-commissioned Total Economic Impact™ study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, deskless workers on Nudge’s digital communication platform had a 10% higher retention rate. “Over three years, the composite organization avoids hiring 346 frontline workers, saving $1,200 per avoided hire, or more than $307,000,” explains Forrester Consulting.

2. Less workplace accidents

Financially – and this is really a no-brainer – there are a number of reasons why you want to avoid workplace accidents among your frontline workers. There’s the medical and administrative expenses, and loss of labor, of course, but according to the National Safety Council, there’s also time lost by workers indirectly involved; cost of time to investigate and report on injuries; damage to work property and vehicles; and overall productivity loss. The council estimates the cost of workplace injuries in the U.S. to be over $170 billion a year. 

To put it another way, this study found that for every dollar an organization needs to spend on direct costs around workplace incidents (like the worker’s compensation claim), there’s another $2.12 spent on indirect costs (like work stoppages, fines, legal council, additional hires, and increased worker’s compensation premiums). However, the same study found that every dollar spent on improving workplace safety had an ROI of $4.41.

Enter employee communication. With a proper strategy in place (like bite-sized communications and quizzes sent straight to employees’ phones), safety training becomes an ongoing process that keeps deskless and frontline workers engaged and well-informed on protocols and daily tasks. 

3. Higher profitability 

Yes, deskless employee communication boosts engagement, but employee engagement isn’t just about happiness. Deskless workers armed with the right information are more engaged about their job – and more productive and profitable as a result. Gallup explains it best in their State of the American Worker report

“Organizations falter in creating a culture of engagement when they solely approach engagement as an exercise in making their employees feel happy . . . Organizations have more success with engagement and improve business performance when they treat employees as stakeholders of their future and the company’s future. They put the focus on concrete performance management activities, such as clarifying work expectations, getting people what they need to do their work, providing development, and promoting positive coworker relationships.”

In other words? To make more money, you need to give your frontline workers the information they need to make you more money. Take Golf Town: when the Canadian golf retailer started using our communications platform to share critical corporate messaging directly with its associates, and keep them up-to-date on product information and employee training, they saw an 8% boost in conversion across stores. 

And it’s not just Golf Town. Nudge’s Total Economic Impact™ study found that using Nudge led to a 3-5% increase in same-store sales. “Targeted Nudge campaigns focused on education and campaign readiness improved associate confidence and ability to recommend, cross-sell, and upsell,” explains Forrester Consulting. “Two-way communication crowdsourced best practices and fostered friendly competition. After applying a 50% attribution and 10% income margin, the additional income from improved deskless worker engagement is worth nearly $1.8 million to the organization over three years.”

4. Better CX and customer loyalty

Want happier customers and loyal guests? Of course you do. New customers are expensive, and repeat customers are more valuable. Back in 1990, Bain & Company startled executives by reporting that increasing customer retention rates by 5% could increase profits by 25% to 95% (HBR compared the numbers against e-commerce trends 10 years later with similar results). Today, the value of customer retention still can’t be overstated – and the cost of losing customers is a serious concern.

If there’s one thing Nudge COO Jordan Ekers wants to share with the world (he’s done it here and here, for starters), it’s this: better customer experience starts with better employee experience. 

“Brands that take care of their people will retain top performers, which will retain customers,” explains Ekers. “The most important relationship that exists for profitability is how brands treat their employees. Customers are not desiring a transaction, they are desiring a human interaction.”

While some industries (we’re looking at you, retail) have moved into an omnichannel approach, where brick-and-mortar and e-commerce sites work in tandem to provide the best possible customer experience, it’s crucial the organizations ensure that their deskless and frontline workers are keeping up – and a proper communication strategy is the solution. 

“Customers have access to so much information that they’re often walking into a location with more knowledge than an associate,” he says. “We as consumers have all experienced this. That is completely broken and causing a fundamental shift where brands are investing more in their people.”

5. Fewer costly mistakes… 

Yes, mistakes can be learning experiences. But especially in industries like retail, food service, and hospitality, mistakes can have a huge impact on customer loyalty and revenue – not to mention workplace safety. 

What makes it even more frustrating is how many mistakes are easily avoidable by standardizing tasks, and – you guessed it! – clearly communicating with your deskless workforce. That means sharing easily-digestible information and then finding ways to test retention and identify knowledge gaps on an ongoing basis. It also means leveraging upward feedback to hear directly from your frontline on what’s working – and what’s not – so you can keep processes as regulated as possible. 

6. …and more valuable ideas

Speaking of upward feedback, one of the most profitable benefits of deskless employee communication is that amazing ideas find their way from your workforce back up to head office – and to other locations. After all, if one location discovers an easy way to improve the customer or guest experience through a tweak in a display, or boosts sales through a simple upsell, wouldn’t you want the rest of the company to leverage that learning? 

There’s another benefit to sharing great ideas – and that’s employee engagement. We’ve already established that employees want to be heard, and that line of communication can be particularly fragmented in deskless industries, where there’s often no way for employees to communicate with head office. But when you find ways to connect your frontline with head office, and offer ways for your various locations to communicate, share ideas, and voice concerns, you’re opening the door to way more great ideas and best practices. 

7. Increased operational agility to change quickly 

Never before has operational agility been so important to organizations; the ability to respond quickly to changing local, national, and global conditions means something a lot different than it did a couple years ago. And the role of employee communications has been a huge differentiator for companies looking to accelerate change to stay relevant (or even just open) during a crisis. 

A perfect example of this is Mastermind Toys, a Canadian toy brand that entered the pandemic with an outdated ecommerce platform and no contactless curbside option. In five months, the company launched a brand-new digital platform, complete with one-hour curbside pickup, just in time for the Christmas rush. And a big component of accelerating that change was bringing the company’s frontline associates into the conversation using Nudge. Mastermind CEO Sarah Jordan explains:

“We wanted everyone to co-create with us. The biggest change is how empowered our front line feels to provide ideas and best practices, and it’s been game-changer for us. Like, there’s no new currency on recess, since recesses aren’t happening. And no one’s really doing extracurricular. And how are you trading Pokemon cards? All of these insights are coming from the stores, because the way we live has completely changed. It has been really impactful – that change of encouraging others to participate at all levels of the organization and really co-creating together.”

As we move into a post-pandemic reality, operational agility will remain just as crucial to organizations – because nothing will be the same again. Consumer behavior, travel boons…nothing can be predicted like before. So companies will need to stay nimble and adaptive to the changing world. And a well-informed workforce will be an integral piece of that puzzle. 

The benefits of deskless employee communication go far beyond these numbers and advantages. Giving your frontline workers the information and training they need to truly thrive will boost your business in more ways than we can count. 

Not measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications? You’re missing out.

Not measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications? You’re missing out.

Quick: how are your internal communications doing? 

Are they effective? Does your frontline read them? Are they driving your organization’s core business outcomes? 

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you’ve got a problem. Internal communication can drive employee productivity, operational efficiency, even boost retention rates – if it’s effective. And that’s a big if. 

In other words: if you’re not able to measure the effectiveness of your internal communications, you might be missing out. 

And, unfortunately, a lot of frontline organizations are missing out. According to The Deskless Report, 59% of frontline workers say the communications they receive aren’t useful, even though 86% of leaders said they’re sending meaningful communications. 

This kind of disconnect arises when organizations don’t measure the effectiveness of their internal communications. Without any way to track what’s resonating (and who is reading what) communications leaders aren’t armed with the insight they need to tweak and improve. As Peter Drucker put it, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Here are 5 reasons why every communications leader needs to measure the effectiveness of their internal communications: 

1. You might not be reaching your entire workforce

There are a number of reasons why a frontline organization’s internal communication strategy can inadvertently exclude some of its workforce. Sometimes it’s a channel issue: if an organization uses email to share information with its frontline, they might not have an up-to-date email list. Or, it might be an accessibility issue, with some workers not able to use certain tools or channels – or requiring translations to read the information. 

How tracking your internal communications can help: There’s a workforce metric that every deskless and frontline organization should be intimately familiar with: reachability. Your reachability rate is the number of employees that you can communicate with compared to your full workforce. If you have low reachability, you don’t have access to a large portion of your workforce. Low reachability can also be a warning sign that your communication channels are ineffective, hard to access, or confusing to use. 

Tracking your reachability rate can be simple or complex, depending on the communication tools you have in place. For example, getting a reachability rate from your email list might be difficult because you’d need to take into account not just how many email addresses you have, but if any are outdated – and even then, you can’t be sure that your staff is actually accessing the email address on file. On the other hand, a digital communication platform makes calculating reachability simple (at Nudge, for example, we consider users reachable if they’ve used our app in the past 90 days).  

2. You might have too many channels

Quick: what’s your SOP for disinfecting high-traffic areas? Where are your store opening guidelines? Where do you keep your brand values and mission statement? If you have more than one answer to where these pieces of information are kept, there might be a channel issue happening.  We’ve said it before: information shouldn’t be a treasure hunt. Frontline staff need to access info in real time to address customer needs and execute on operational tasks quickly. 

How tracking your internal communications can help: A big part of measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications is keeping a close eye on your channels. With the right tracking in place, you’ll be able to easily see who is going where for what – and slim down your tech stack accordingly. 

Build a central employee hub for your frontline workers with Nudge! Our Quick Links feature allows you to corral your tools into one central place – LMS, shift scheduling, HRIS, you name it – right within the Nudge app!

3. You might be sharing the wrong information…

Even the best-laid campaigns can go awry. When you’re building out a communication strategy to prepare your staff for, say, an upcoming promotion or menu changes, you might miss the mark – even if you’ve got the right tools in place. 

And without any way to track the effectiveness of your communications, you’re at risk for bigger problems around workforce preparedness. When your staff isn’t fully prepared for a key event, it can lead to inconsistent CX, inefficiencies, and poor launch performance – even lost revenue. 

How tracking your internal communications can help: Having the ability to monitor and track preparedness ensures that you can adjust or re-launch communications, and make sure every employee is getting what they need. With the right analytics in place, you can stay agile in your communications, and make changes as you go. They also allow communications teams to apply learnings from past campaigns to future ones. For example: maybe sharing details about a new product a month out was too far in advance, and your staff forgot about it. Or maybe the information you thought was most relevant wasn’t tactical enough. 

Keep in mind that workforces are always changing, with some generations leaving and new ones joining. The best way for communication teams to stay on top of what information resonates – and empowers – employees at scale is to take a data-driven approach

4. …Or not enough information…

Sometimes, the problem isn’t about sharing the wrong information – it’s about the information being hidden, or missing altogether. When you’re not sending out enough information, knowledge gaps can occur. A knowledge gap is a disconnect between what you need your employees to know and what they actually know. 

Unfortunately, these knowledge gaps are far too common. According to Gartner, 70% of employees don’t have mastery of the skills needed to succeed in their role. Another study found that sales employees at a company didn’t know about or understand 22% of the product’s features. 

And these gaps can lead to some serious concerns. Safety gaps on the factory floor, for example, can lead to workplace accidents. Product knowledge gaps can lead to poor customer experiences, and menu knowledge gaps can even lead to health emergencies. 

How tracking your internal communications can help: Using a digital communication platform with robust analytics baked into the tool ensures you can track everything from read rates to task execution – but more importantly, you can use knowledge testing quizzes to quickly identify the information you need to send out, pronto. 

5. …Or too much information

Ah, information overload. The bane of every communication leader’s existence. Information overload takes place when an employee receives more information than they can process. It can occur in frontline organizations when there are too many communication channels, too many updates, or the information being shared is too long. It can cause mental health issues, productivity hits, morale issues, knowledge gaps and even safety concerns

How tracking your internal communications can help: With the right communication tools in place, you can track red flags like low read rates and channel drop-off to identify information overload. But you can also leverage feedback loops through pulse surveys, employee forums, and even focus groups to learn more about how your frontline feels about the volume of information you’re sending out. 

Tracking the effectiveness of employee communications can provide communications teams with valuable insights around not just the success of the updates they’re sharing, but also the timing and volume of their communications, and the tools they’re using to share them.