Do you hear those whispers in the hallway as you walk around surveying your office staff? They aren’t talking about your new suit, but instead saying how much they wish you’d use SMS messaging to communicate with them. Really.
Well, I don’t know if they’re whispering about it but they certainly believe it. A poll by Vitiello Communications Group showed that 70% of employees want their employers to use SMS messaging. Of course many companies already do, but 86% of employees say companies should use it for more than just customer communication. They want to be in on it too.
Most companies have different kinds of workers. Some remain in the office to do their jobs, and others are out and about on service calls, deliveries, travel or working remotely. But SMS messaging can help you keep in touch with every employee.
In-processing – New employees usually have quite a bit of work they need to do before they can, well, get to work. They have paperwork to do, trainings to attend, office equipment or devices to acquire. SMS messaging can help alleviate a lot of stress for a new employee. If you want to know more, read my blog on the subject here.
Notifications – Sometimes employees just need to know if their leave has been approved, if their paycheck was deposited, or to confirm schedule changes they requested. In most cases there is a manager or supervisor who needs to approve these types of requests, and they aren’t always easy to get in touch with. In one of my previous jobs I literally had to sit outside my boss’s office and ambush him when he returned. He was impossible to get a hold of in any other way. So if I needed to take a day off, I’d send the request and then patiently wait for him to show up. But if we had SMS back then it would have been so much easier to just get a notification letting me know the status of my request.
Timekeeping/payroll – Ensuring every employee works the hours they are supposed to, and gets paid for those hours is a huge job. But letting employees enter their work hours using SMS can make it so much easier for everyone. I wrote a detailed blog on how to implement SMS for payroll, so if you’re interested check it out.
Project or task lists – SMS is a great way to provide employees with very specific activities that need to be done during their shift. For example, I used to work in retail at a software store. When I’d clock in, I usually would get a hand written note with tasks to do that day. But the note was sometimes on the desk and sometimes posted on the bulletin board. There were times I wouldn’t see it or it would get lost. A list sent via SMS to my mobile with instructions on what inventory to move, marketing to place, or stock to reorder would have made sure I knew what to do.
For employees that aren’t located in the office, it can be difficult to keep up with everything they need to know. Working independently is great, but it can also make people feel detached from their company or colleagues. And often their jobs depend on clear, timely instructions from the home office.
Field workers and remote workers (such as work-at-home employees) benefit from regular communication with their manager or primary office. Using SMS to keep them up to date on service calls, changes in schedule, supplies needed, or even policy changes means they’ll have the information they need, without interfering in their work routines. It’s more efficient than phone calls or email. And it can help them feel more connected because SMS messages are “real time.”
It’s becoming more common for companies to use freelancers to take on extra work, or to supplement their existing workforce. Freelancers though, can be difficult to get a hold of because they often have more than one client and their exact work schedules aren’t well defined. And oftentimes the freelancer may literally be a world away in a completely opposite timezone. SMS messaging is one way to communicate with them that won’t interrupt their individual work patterns but allows you to follow up on deadlines, request revisions, or changes in a timely fashion. Emails may sit for days without being read, but SMS messages are almost always read within minutes of receipt.
These are just a few examples of how SMS can help you communicate with your employees better. So why not start today? After all, they’re probably already talking about it. At least 70% of them anyway.