Frontline Employeee Communication is Transformed by the Use of Digital Technology
Effective communication is one of the pillars of good business performance and is especially important when engaging with frontline workers.
While most companies readily acknowledge the importance of communication, it is often hampered by a wide array of factors. These include varying levels of worker experience, generational differences, cultural nuances, languages differences, remote work locations, a lack of access to information and simply but most importantly varying levels of engagement, the importance placed on Internal Communication within the business (and budget) and the team responsible for doing it.
Driven by Technology
Fortunately, one of the things that is completely taken care of is how the use of digital technology has revolutionised communication practices and is enabling companies to improve employee engagement with all their employees, which is especially relevant to the largely-forgotten frontline workforce. Such digital technologies enable real-time information flow between different organisational stakeholders and with real-time delivery you can expect real-time feedback in the form of analytics and views from these workers. This flow of information allows for quick decision making based on data that would otherwise not be available.
Digitisation also provides improved access to resources for frontline workers covering any topic, especially those of strategic value like learning and development, vacancies and others – empowering workers to take charge of their development.
Effective Communication is a Gamechanger
The benefits of enhanced communication through digitisation extend beyond just convenience; they lead directly into tangible improvements in employee engagement levels, translating into increased productivity and an important cornerstone for business transformation.
Companies with frontline workforces must therefore prioritise effective communication if they want to maximise employee engagement and organisational performance. Digital tools that have capabilities ranging from simple instant messaging to business process improvement, HR self-service, and production features, are very powerful when deployed correctly.
Digital channels used for improved communication can also be leveraged to obtain employee feedback, opening up a communication loop and potentially allowing challenges that impede productivity to be more easily identified. This allows business leaders to obtain insights into business challenges, directly and unfiltered.
While there are many benefits associated with digitisation, companies need to carefully craft their approach to digitisation to extract meaningful value.
Clear Thinking Needed
If digitisation of business communication is a way for companies to personalise communication, give rapid individualised performance feedback and provide guidance on skills development need, then why do digitisation projects often fail to live up to expectations?
Close to a decade ago it was predicted that social communication technologies, when deployed by companies in the workplace, would lead to between a 20 to 25% improvement in productivity. While it is true that some companies have seen bottom line improvements, much of the promise that digitisation of communication holds and its ability to power business transformation, is often viewed as unfilled.
Some of the key challenges that have crystallised in recent years with respect to digitisation are:
- Use case errors – Understanding when to use the various modes of communication is critical to the success of a company’s digital communication drive. Email is best for sending non-sensitive information. Video calls (or recordings) are the most effective way of dealing with a complex situation that has already resulted in the spread of misinformation. While blended approaches (in person, with readily accessible online resources) work well in training and human development scenarios.
- Communication fatigue – People in general are by and large fully immersed in the ‘always on’ world of social media chatter. So it is imperative that business communication cuts through the clutter and helps workers understand how adopting certain behaviours will help drive the organisation towards its business goals. Anything less, and your communications will simply be diluted by the ongoing sound wall of messaging that surrounds workers.
- Analytic shortcomings – Polls, surveys and other feedback tools are useful to assess the perceptions of workers on a range of issues. However, they need to be used judiciously, as frequent use will lead to a sense of disinterest amongst workers, and not referencing or acting on user-driven feedback is anathema. It’s vital that any digital communication tools are underpinned by robust and quantitatively driven dashboards, which allow executives to assess the impact of their communication initiatives.
- Absence of psychological safety – The reality is no digital communication tools will organically grow into flourishing communication mediums without human intervention. For peer-to-peer and peer-to-senior communication to unlock innovation, personal growth and promote transformation, communication ecosystems need to be constantly nurtured. Providing training to workers will provide important guidance on how to communicate effectively, but there is no substitute for ongoing human supervision and moderation in this space.
In many instances companies are either utilising poor quality digital solutions or are leveraging digital tools incorrectly. As a result, they are missing the opportunity to create more meaningful connections within their teams while also failing to gain insights into the true engagement levels of their teams.
Communication is the Key to Real Benefits
Imagine dealing with a workforce spread across the globe operating in tough conditions and remote settings. How do you communicate with them? How do you ensure that they have direct access to senior leaders in the business and are able to share their experiences with a view to influencing important decisions
By utilising our solution, a leading global shipping company was able to establish ongoing communications with their seafarers scattered across the globe. Historically, communication with sea-faring vessels was done via satellite, which was not only very costly but intermittent, and only accommodated one-way communication. Using the Wyzetalk platform, they were able to establish a two-way communication channel. Employees felt heard and valued, and productivity levels increased. Using Wyzetalk’s mobile platform, the business was able to save significant costs and assure that information transfer was safe and secure.
In a similar fashion, a leading South African food manufacturing company with an extensive national footprint uses our system to deploy targeted communications to its frontline employees. In one specific of contamination, they were able to act immediately to remove product lines from a supplier of theirs to ensure consumer safety. They then educated all staff on what the issues were and how to address them with customers. The speed and flexibility of our digital communications systems has kept them at the forefront of a competitive industry – helping them to embed agility and innovation in their business operations.
In our experience, digitisation of communications is always beneficial in helping organisations improve their employee engagement levels and in so doing ensure frontline workers become ambassadors for the business and invest in its success. Anything less, and a company is not extracting business or strategic value from its investment in people nor digitisation.
At Wyzetalk we know that the way businesses communicate with their frontline workers is evolving. Digital technologies are transforming how organisations engage and interact with their employees and we’re focused on providing companies the ability to easily connect with their frontline workforce in real-time for improved communication and collaboration.
Not only does our platform provide quick and flexible ways to improve employee engagement, but it also has the potential to improve employee productivity. Resulting in a win-win situation for the company and its employees.
To learn more talk to an expert.