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Communication Solutions for Deskless Workers to Drive Engagement

By: Carrie McFarland on July 27, 2020

why-communication-is-key-for-deskless-workers

Deskless workers, such as those out on the floor or on the front lines in retail and restaurant industries, have unique challenges. And they are generally being ignored. 84 percent of non-desk workers say they don't get enough information from top management, even though 72 percent say corporate communication is important to them.

Since only a fifth of workers does their job from a desk, solving this challenge requires a mobile solution to keep your entire company in sync and in touch. Deskless workers are 80 percent of the global workforce, and yet they often feel uninformed and disengaged in their work. Job satisfaction is low and turnover is high. Communication is key to turning this around. Here are five communication solutions for deskless workers that can help.

Getting information directly to your deskless workforce

One of the biggest challenges is to inform and reach employees that work alternate schedules and, even when on the same shift, are scattered around the store. Skip the staff board posters, signs at the time clock and mass emails. These on-the-go workers are too mobile for communication that sits and waits to be noticed.

Successful retail companies need a plan and communication solutions that includes deskless workers. This allows messages and information to be delivered directly to employees, wherever they are and whenever they need it.

The old method of cascading information down through managers is obsolete and inefficient. Messages can be more timely and consistent when delivered to the whole team at once. Or to a specific individual.

A mobile workforce enablement platform can allow in-app messaging or SMS texting to be delivered directly to a mobile device, such as a personal phone or tablet, or to the device that employees are already using to do their job. So you can securely send content to the company, the team, or an individual. And the message won't get lost when you drop the old game of telephone. Mobile content software allows corporate messages to reach frontline employees directly, so the content aligns consistently with your company values.

the state of internal communications for frontline employees

Extend communication with employee collaboration to align mobile teams

Feeling included and informed is a big part of feeling valued as a worker. But communication shouldn't be all top-down. To fully engage your team, your workforce management system needs to allow communication from workers up to managers, and side-to-side among front line workers.

Non-desk workers view a lack of communication as a lack of respect. They want the ability to share issues and contribute ideas and solutions. The ability to communicate with managers and each other makes non-desk workers feel like valued members of the team, instead of like cogs in the machine.

Creating an interconnected dialogue encourages workers to become problem-solvers. They will share challenges and ideas with coworkers as well as managers. Communication between employees avoids duplicate efforts, helps employees be aware of the challenges others face, and helps them understand how to help. Collaboration motivates teams to work together and support each other.

Collaboration drives employee engagement

But non-desk employees are missing more than the need-to-know information. Having accurate and timely information at your fingertips is invaluable to getting your job done well. But it's the want-to-know information that enhances employees' connection to their team and their company. Workplaces that go beyond basic work messages to create a social tool help their employees create an emotional connection to their team and their company. That emotional connection is what builds job satisfaction and company loyalty.

According to a Forbes Council Technology post by Chris Turlica, companies need to do more than create a digitized version of walkie-talkies and clipboards. They should "also be using video tools, interactive photo sharing, chat services, and even bells and whistles such as social tools and gamification to create a feature-rich, empowering and engaging experience for deskless workers."

Happy workers become frontline brand ambassadors

Creating an environment of informed, engaged and happy employees transforms your frontline workers into an extension of your marketing team. They are your direct link to customers, so when they feel good about their job and the company, they become ambassadors for your brand. When you include them directly in mobile content that aligns with company values, you give them the vision and the talking points for their everyday, face-to-face contact with customers.

Communication creates happy employees, and successful companies

Corporate communication should be a top priority, because it sets the tone for everything else you do. And it should include all your employees. With today's technology, there's no reason to leave your deskless workers feeling uninformed and undervalued. Mobile workforce enablement software that facilitates communication, collaboration, engagement and job satisfaction can be right at your fingertips. And in bringing your workforce together, it can be the key to your company's success.

Need help? Download this e-book to assess the communications needs of your frontline employees and research systems to meet them.

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