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Why Businesses with Frontline Workers need Mobile-first Communication Tools

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Many times, when we talk about internal communications, we are thinking about employees who are typing away at their desks or sitting in a cubicle with their laptops. Or, given the current circumstances, you might as well be imagining them sitting on a couch at home, in their pajamas, checking emails and attending Zoom calls. But these employees only constitute 20% of the actual working population.

The remaining 2.7 billion people, according to a report by Emergence Capital, are “deskless” workers who have to step out of their homes almost every day to be physically present at work. Like the clerk at the downtown grocery store, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, the Amazon delivery executive, and the nurses at your local hospital, all of whom, in all likelihood, may not even have a corporate email address.

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Communicating with these folks at the frontline can be more challenging than with your desk workers, but this shouldn’t in any way stop you from reaching out to them. Just like your desk-bound workers, even your frontline workers need to be informed about company policies. They need to be updated about the company’s performance; receive organization-wide recognition for their efforts; share their opinions; and communicate with their managers and other team members. On top of it, since your frontline employees are also the face of the organization, their knowledge of the company and its offerings and their levels of satisfaction will have a direct impact on your customer experience and your company’s reputation.

Traditional communication modes fail frontline employees

Email is not a potential option to communicate with frontline workers. Therefore, most businesses resort to managers (verbal) and/or physical paper-based channels like bulletin boards, posters, and newsletters for communication. However, neither of these are the best choice for several reasons.

For one, you’ll never know if the information has trickled down to the very last employee. It is but natural that people may miss seeing an important poster or that the manager may forget to share information with the team.

Worse, as is human tendency, the manager may share their own filtered version of the news and by the time it reaches the last employee, the message is lost in translation. Forget having a positive influence, this kind of cascading of news can lead to misinformation and avoidable issues with frontline staff.

The situation only gets more aggravated with the absence of channels for employees to share feedback, ask queries, or raise concerns. The traditional verbal and paper-based communication is feasible only for top-down communication.

The last straw for these traditional channels of communication would be the absence of options for interaction with the organization’s leadership. Aon’s survey data reveals that employees, both desk and non-desk, seek to interact with the leadership. Lack of reach can be disappointing and demotivating for the frontline staff.

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So, what’s the solution?

Mobile-first communication.

With 67% of the world population using mobile phones and 85% of those phones being smartphones in the U.S, we cannot emphasize enough about how beneficial mobile-first communication will be for frontline industries. Additionally, by 2025, 75% of the workforce will comprise of millennials who are inseparable from their portable gadgets.

One thing that might be holding you back from adopting mobile-first communication is the potential for a security threat. There’s no denying that data fraud is on the rise and using personal devices for official work can seem like a huge risk to take. Even so, many companies are proactively adopting BYOD policies that let employees leverage mobile devices for work purposes. And the good news is that this number is on the rise.

Benefits of mobile-first communication

1. A single centralized platform

Mobile brings all communication with your frontline employees under one roof, so they don’t have to scramble between multiple sources for information. It always helps if the information comes to them than they go in search of it. Plus, the ease of access will only enhance employee satisfaction.

2. Two-way communication

From being able to express views to sharing feedback for system improvements and reacting to corporate content, mobile opens up the path for two-way communication. Be it a message from the CEO, an update from the HR, or an upcoming event, just having the option to be able to respond makes a world of difference to firstline workers. Engagement goes up a notch when feedback, views, and comments are acknowledged and responded to.

3. Instant communication

COVID has definitely opened our eyes to the need for instant communication. With the fast-paced changes we have been seeing, being able to send push notifications about safety and compliance gives brownie points to mobile-first communication. In Situations where employees need to collaborate with one or more team members, mobile-based instant messaging is a ready reckoner.

4. Org-wide recognition

“Praise in public, criticize in private” rule of thumb is crucial in engaging employees. And when it comes to the recognition of your frontline workers, it almost always happens in smaller circles. Mobile-first communication tools let you shine the spotlight on their contributions through company-wide digital recognition programs, mentions in company publications & more.

5. Leadership communication

Mobile-first communication lets everyone within your organization communicate with everyone else. That includes your leadership too. Instead of waiting for information to trickle down to the frontline employees, leaders can directly communicate with them. Such direct, barrier-free and consistent communication with senior leaders is something frontline workers crave for and will highly appreciate.

6. Interact with them anytime

Getting frontline staff together for town halls and webcasts can be a challenge. Now imagine being able to share the same information with them through a video shared via mobile. They can access it anytime, at their convenience.

In conclusion…

Traditional channels are failing frontline employees. Introducing new channels of communication and warming the employees up to adopting it can be a long-drawn process, often with no guarantee of success. Having separate channels for leadership, HR, manager communication, rewards & recognition, peer communication, etc. can be too overwhelming for those who are tending to their jobs at the frontlines. Instead, reaching out to deskless workers through their mobile phones means that you can connect with them anytime no matter where they are.

Want to explore the power of a single-channel, secure, mobile-first communication? Groupe.io can help. Write to us at info@groupe.io or schedule a demo today.

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