How to optimize your employee communication for your deskless workforce

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Employee Communication Blog Post

Deskless workers make up approximately 80% of the total global workforce. And yet, it seems they are often treated as an afterthought. In many cases, they are simply disregarded when it comes to company messages, updates, and other forms of employee communication. 

Below, we’ve highlighted how to ensure your employee communication strategy is optimized for all your employees – whether they sit behind a desk or not.

Table of Contents

What is employee communication?

Employee communication is the sharing of information, updates, and ideas between management and employees. This communication can be two-way, with both parties able to take part in a continuously evolving dialogue

Employee communication can take place via various channels, depending on the industry or job role. As well as in-person dialogue, employee communication can take place via video conferencing tools, email, (social) intranets, and mobile apps.

Why is employee communication important?

The role of employee communication goes beyond simply sharing information. Effective employee communication is also crucial to engagement, boosting productivity and morale by allowing workers to feel fully invested in the broader organization. We’ve highlighted some of the reasons why employee communication is so important below:

1. Clarity

One of the significant negative impacts of poor employee communication is a rise in miscommunication. Effective employee communication is important for ensuring that messages are conveyed clearly. It ensures the meaning of a particular message is clear to its recipient. 

2. Productivity

For deskless workers, a lack of connection with colleagues and managers can be a real drain on productivity. Research indicates that effective communication can boost workplace productivity by as much as 25%. It can be challenging to reach frontline workers, who may not have access to a desk or even a company email address, but that doesn’t mean good communication (and the productivity benefits it delivers) is impossible.

3. Morale

It can be easy for deskless workers, in particular, to feel disconnected from their peers. Effective communication can prevent this, encouraging staff to share congratulations for a job well done or schedule team get-togethers.

Example of Internal Communication
Examples of internal communication via Oneteam's employee app

4. Relationships

In a similar vein, employee communication can lead to the formation of stronger workplace relationships among deskless employees. Deskless workers may not see the same colleagues or managers for long periods due to their irregular shift patterns – communication tools can mean that this doesn’t prevent the formation of workplace relationships.

5. Conflict resolution

Employee communication can play a significant role in terms of mitigating and resolving workplace conflict. Clear and open channels of communication can ensure that misunderstandings aren’t allowed to fester and escalate. 

6. Leadership 

Whether your deskless worker is on the shop floor or in the restaurant kitchen, do you have a process in place if they want to communicate with their team leader or manager? If not, how is there going to be any sort of leadership communication around vision, strategy or goals? Employee communication allows your leaders to support, coach and, well, lead.

7. Retention

Surveys indicate that some of the main reasons why deskless workers leave their jobs are inflexible schedules, an absence of opportunities to learn new skills, and a lack of acknowledgment. All of these issues can be resolved with better communication. In fact, with effective communication, any concern can be raised by your deskless employees. And when they feel listened to, retention improves – perhaps by as much as 4.5 times compared with businesses that lack effective workplace communication.

8. Engagement

Without the consistency provided by an office and a desk, frontline workers can quickly become disengaged. Communicating with honesty and authenticity can foster a sense of purpose and passion in your workers. They understand the broader goals that their role is helping to meet (for the individual and company) and, as a result, they are more engaged in their work!

Internal Communication Infographic

What do you need to include in your employee communication plan?

As with any workplace initiative, employee communication works best when organizations have a plan or strategy in place first. For any company looking to implement an employee communication plan, clear goals must be established. Revisiting these regularly will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your approach too.

Another important consideration for businesses forming an employee communication plan is the tone they adopt. Make your internal communications open and inclusive. Make your deskless workers feel as though they can contribute to a discussion where their opinions are taken seriously. . Plus, don’t rely exclusively on the written word. Use video where appropriate to engage with your employees. And show clearly how internal communication leads to impact. If a previously raised point led to concrete change, shout about it!

The 5 best employee communication tools

Even the best internal communication plans will benefit from the right platform. With as many as 60% of deskless workers dissatisfied with the technology at their disposal, the right internal communication tool can make a huge difference in workers’ lives. We’ve outlined five of the best below:

1. Email

An old favorite but still widely used, email can form an effective part of any internal communication strategy. However, emailing can present issues. Messages can be lost in long email chains or overloaded inboxes and are not always the most engaging. Plus, some workers, especially deskless ones, may not have a company email address.

2. Instant messaging

Instant messaging apps are incredibly common in many individuals’ personal lives, and increasingly, businesses are using tools like WhatsApp for internal communication. They may be quick and easy to use, but most employees do not like the use of personal apps for work purposes. They may also have privacy concerns.

3. In-person meetings

Perhaps the best way of avoiding miscommunication. In-person meetings can also be great for engagement but may not always be practical. If you have many deskless workers, for example, a single team may include individuals all working at different times and different locations, making it difficult to organize team updates. Plus, there is still a risk of employees misremembering what is said during in-person meetings.

4. Social networks

Similar to instant messaging apps, social networks have also crossed over from the personal world to the workplace. Social media can generate a lot of traction and engagement for your communication, but again, workers may not necessarily appreciate the mix of personal and work tools.

5. Employee experience app

The best tool for employee communication is an all-in-one employee experience app like Oneteam. It covers onboarding, training, forms, surveys, and more, all in one bespoke mobile-first app. It grants workers all the information they need in the palm of their hands.

App screens Oneteam
An example of Oneteam's al-in-one employee experience app

How to measure the success of your employee communication

Employee communication can be measured in several ways depending on an organization’s goals. Employee turnover rates,  feedback, email open rates, and bespoke analytics can all help businesses to assess their employee communication. 

What’s more, don’t forget actually to ask your employees if your communication plan is working via employee surveys. They might be able to inform you of some easy, quick adjustments that will significantly improve your communication – and improve the employee experience as a result.

Improve your employee communication today

Deskless workers may present different challenges for businesses looking to implement an effective communication plan, but these challenges are not insurmountable. 

An employee experience app like Oneteam can help employees share ideas, learn new skills, and feel genuinely valued – without even needing a company email address. The right tool can optimize employee communication for all your workers.

Learn more about Oneteam via the explainer video below, and request a guided product demo.  

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman is the founder of Oneteam. He mainly writes about the future of deskless employee experience and key frontline HR trends. Fun fact about Ruben: He started his professional career as a deskless employee at supermarkets and a pizza delivery guy. The frustrations he encountered lead him to build an employee experience app focused on making the deskless workforce successful and engaged.

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