How do you reach the hard to reach?

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Communicating with a dispersed workforce

Digital communication in the workplace has become second nature to many of us. Living on email, flicking off Slack updates and messaging colleagues through a range of platforms, we receive almost all our company updates, news and ‘need to know’ information online.

But how do you ensure the same level of communication can be extended to all employees in industries where most team members don’t even have a corporate email let alone computer access?

The issues for dispersed workforce communication

Any company with a large dispersed workforce faces the above issue on a daily basis. Across industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, hospitality and mining, simply ensuring all employees are up to date with what’s happening in the company is an immensely difficult task.

Employee engagement is already a major challenge in these industries and communication between management and employees is crucial to ensuring everyone feels valued and a part of the team.

Staff members in these environments are working sporadic shifts across multiple locations, often with no access to computers throughout their workday, making it near impossible to utilise traditional methods of workplace communication. As a result, many of these companies rely on noticeboards, break room posters and word of mouth to communicate key information to staff members, missing a great opportunity to engage directly with employees and have them feel recognised and included.

These employees are often at the front line of the brand, dealing with customers and representing the company so providing a way that they can engage with the company culture and stay in the loop is crucial.

Going digital to break down the barriers

To engage their workforces, companies in these industries need to take advantage of digital solutions and reach employees where they are most easily accessed – on their smartphones. By enabling head office management to interact directly and quickly with employees, companies will be able to drive productivity and engagement across their entire workforce and take control of how their team members receive news and updates.

This tactic also opens up the easy ways to avoid ‘one size fits all’ communications and allows for employees to receive more direct, personalised information where they only receive what they need to know. Team leaders and managers will have different communication needs than casual staff and a digital communication tool can ensure multiple levels of engagement are being catered for.

This style of communication is particularly useful for environments where large portions of the workforce are students and young people who are typically digitally savvy and quick to adopt new tools and platforms. We hear it all the time, millennials are the most connected and rarely don't have a device by their side so why not translate this into a work environment and cut directly through to where they are most comfortable communicating?

They are, after all, the future of our workforce and by not adapting to meet their needs, companies will constantly fall short when it comes to engaging and connecting with their younger team members.

Society has more or less become obsessed with new ways to communicate. Everyday we use multiple tools seamlessly to send messages and reach out to colleagues, friends and family depending on the type of message we want to send. There’s an app, channel or program for every form of communication and yet large industries and sectors have completely fallen behind in how they reach their staff.

As workforces become increasingly dispersed and reliant on younger generations, the need for new tools to connect with team members becomes increasingly important. Companies that are able to embrace digital communications will be better equipped to inform, engage and retain employees regardless of how they work.