Companies around the world have become increasingly aware of the importance of keeping their frontline employees engaged and informed – a phenomenon that can increase business profitability by 21%. The global COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuing social shifts, have only heightened this awareness, driving organisations to find technological solutions that can connect their workers more efficiently.

This is according to Sinazo Sibisi, Wyzetalk’s newly-appointed Managing Director for Africa, Canada and Australia, who says that proof of this is the rapid increase in client acquisitions that Wyzetalk, a leading digital employee engagement platform, has witnessed over the past few months during the national lockdown.

“We have closed a number of deals in quick succession since the nationwide lockdown, such as Glencore, Sibanye Stillwater (in partnership with Deloitte) and Pioneer Foods. Most of these are companies that have been in dialogue with Wyzetalk for over a year, but it seems that the crisis has intensified the need for critical crisis communications and the ability to connect with every employee, anywhere, catalysing the finalisation of these partnerships.”

Sibisi further explains the need for an effective employee engagement strategy in the current COVID-19 environment: “Around 80% of the world’s active workforce consists of workers who are not tethered to a desk. However, research reveals that over half of these ‘deskless’ employees feel that they do not have a voice within their organisations. This is problematic because it plays a significant role in employee retention, collaboration and teamwork, with an employee who feels their voice is heard being 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work. This worsened during lockdown, as many employers had no direct line of communication with their workforce.”

In South Africa alone, we now reach 70% of mine workers. Anglo American and De Beers have been driving the adoption of Wyzetalk’s technology on a global scale expanding our reach to 18 countries on five continents.

She adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the existing communication challenges between businesses and their frontline employees even more difficult to navigate. “Workers are differentially impacted by the pandemic, including their psychological and emotional well-being, and cannot just be expected to go back to normal without clear communication, support and engagement.”

Wyzetalk’s growth is also testament to the rising value that is being placed on employee communication and engagement – even in a pre-COVID-19 environment. In the last two years the Wyzetalk team has grown by 400%, with offices in Stellenbosch, Johannesburg, and more recently, Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Today, 650 000 employees make use of the Wyzetalk platform through their more than 30 clients worldwide, and recently, Dutch investment company, CNBB Venture Partners, made a multi-million Euro investment into the company to grow its European footprint.

Sibisi explains that a significant part of Wyzetalk’s growth is as a result of its involvement in the mining industry. “In South Africa alone, we now reach 70% of mine workers. Anglo American and De Beers have been driving the adoption of Wyzetalk’s technology on a global scale as well, expanding our reach to include their 75 000 employees worldwide between the two groups, and taking our footprint to 13 countries on five continents.”

Wyzetalk has also dominated in the retail market, and is the chosen employee engagement partner for Shoprite, Woolworths and Pick n Pay on the African continent.

As Sibisi points out, the global pandemic has only enhanced the adoption of employee engagement. “Companies are experiencing increasing difficulty in keeping their employees informed, and even getting them back to work. Especially in industries that employ workers from other provinces and countries, the existing travel restrictions and distancing protocols are making their operations increasingly difficult to manage. Many of these businesses are now accelerating their communication strategies by bringing partners on board who can provide the right solutions,” she concludes.

Talk to an expert to see how we can improve your frontline internal communication strategy and watch employee engagement soar.