When it comes to internal communication, frontline workers aren’t getting what they need. And, unfortunately, head office might not even know it. That’s one of this year’s biggest takeaways from The Deskless Report: while 86% of frontline leaders say they’re sending meaningful communications to their workers, 59% of workers say the communications they receive aren’t useful.
And that’s a problem. Because, done right, internal communication can have a huge impact on employee engagement, retention, and productivity. On the other hand, poor communication can cost you and alienate your employees, leading to churn. 36% of frontline and deskless workers polled for The Deskless Report said they currently want to quit their jobs, and when asked what would make them quit, one of the popular answers was “poor communication.”
Which begs the question: what types of internal communication do frontline and deskless workers want? What would make the communications they receive more useful? We turned to more findings from The Deskless Report to learn more…
Here are 5 types of internal communication that frontline workers desperately want (and how to share it with them):
1. Company updates
What is it?: Company updates usually refers to larger announcements shared across all company levels on things related to company values, vision, and mission. Think big picture.
Example: A video message from a CEO announcing that the organization has just met its corporate sustainability goal for the year.
Why your frontline wants it: According to The Deskless Report, 63% of workers want to know more about their company’s core vision/mandate, and 55% of workers state a sense of purpose makes them feel engaged at work. They want to truly understand how the company works and feel like they can make a meaningful impact. Embedding this information into company updates is a great way to show-not-tell your frontline what’s driving the organization.
How to share this information: Keep it short and sweet – we recommend bite-sized announcements that your frontline can quickly read in real time (ideally, right from their phones!). And be sure to bake your mandate and vision into as many communication channels as possible, from your digital communication and feedback platform to your pre-shift huddles. One word of warning: Don’t just rely on your floor managers to share information verbally. This can result in bottlenecks, inconsistencies, and retention issues.
2. Product/service updates
What is it?: A critical type of internal communication for retail and foodservice frontlines, this includes information on new or changing product lines, or changes to your services. Keeping this information standardized plays a major role in creating a consistent (and memorable!) customer or guest experience.
Example: Details on a new return policy being implemented.
Why your frontline wants it: According to The Deskless Report, 36% of frontline workers are currently getting this type of internal communication from their company – and, still, 32% want more. With good reason: as we’ve said before, better customer experiences start with a better employee experience. Your frontline employees need to understand how your offerings work to be effective in their work when helping customers.
How to share this information: For this type of internal communication, your best bet is to combine a short update with larger information on the product or service changes in a central knowledge hub for easy reference. With that in mind, consider opening up your device policy at work. According to The Deskless Report, 60% of employees read employee communications during their work shifts, whether or not there’s a BYOD policy in place. Sharing crucial updates in real-time, and then corralling information into a central hub they can access during their shift when needed is a recipe for quality, memorable customer experiences.
3. Safety or protocol updates
What is it?: Details and documentation on any company safety or protocol updates.
Example: An update on new food handling procedures.
Why your frontline wants it: Easy access to health and safety updates is vital for every industry (especially during the pandemic), but especially for foodservice, facilities management, and manufacturing. The Deskless Report found that 30% of frontline workers want more safety/protocol updates – and that number jumps to 34% for foodservice workers. Think about it: if there is a food safety emergency, such as food poisoning or a product recall in a restaurant, you’ll want your employees ready and trained on how to respond. Having documentation and step-by-step guidance helps minimize any potential risk.
How to share this information: For health and safety information, internal communications can work alongside compliance training to reiterate policies and update protocols as needed. Use announcements and your knowledge hub to share information, and then knowledge testing questions and quizzes to help identify any gaps or retention issues that arise. As things change and evolve, bake in pulse surveys with your staff to check in on safety and health concerns – you might uncover issues much sooner, avoiding turnover or hits to productivity.
4. HR news
What is it?: Sharing employee and organizational information related to employee experience, compensation, and benefits.
Example: Announcing a new wellness program has been rolled out for your frontline staff.
Why your frontline wants it: The Deskless Report found that compensation was the number one thing that makes frontline workers feel engaged and motivated at work – but other employee benefits, like wellness programs, wasn’t far behind. Frontline workers want information on these programs in a clear, accessible, and timely way.
How to share this information: According to HR Dive, HR communications resonate more with frontline employees when they are targeted, personalized, and interactive. Find ways to go beyond the simple update by pairing it with other channels – maybe a forum on how workers are prioritizing mental health, or a skill testing quiz on details of your latest initiative. This type of internal communication has the added benefit of boosting employee community, another important driver of employee engagement (The Deskless Report found that 60% of workers would like a stronger community with employees outside their location).
5. Updates on promotions or product launches
What is it?: Information around product promotions, launches, or other new campaigns coming up in your organization.
Example: Details on a Black Friday promotion.
Why your frontline wants it: According to The Deskless Report, 30% of frontline workers are getting this type of internal communication, but 29% want more. Why? For your frontline staff to effectively mobilize on a new product, program, or promotion, they should be well equipped with every single detail. Customers are savvier than ever, armed with so much information and online research before coming in-store. Giving your staff access to the information they need to match and exceed customer knowledge is instrumental to the success of any promotion.
How to share this information: We suggest a multi-tiered approach for this one. Start well in advance, sharing details on the upcoming key event and directing staff to learn more at your knowledge hub. Then use interactive, engaging quizzes to see if your retail staff understands all aspects of the promotion or launch. These can help uncover any knowledge gaps so you can iterate on your internal communication strategy and reallocate resources to address them accordingly.
Nudge makes it easy to track campaign effectiveness before, during, and after your key events. Our readiness indicators analyze how knowledgeable and confident teams are, so you can course-correct before it’s too late!
We all know internal communication is a crucial part of any organization’s success, yet many companies fall short. Giving your frontline and deskless workers the types of information they’re looking for can drive some serious business outcomes. Want to learn more? Check out more of our findings in The Deskless Report.