A checklist for keeping track of your internal communication tools

A checklist for keeping track of your internal communication tools

Do you have multiple internal communication tools? Do you have trouble keeping track of which one to use for a specific purpose? Look no further! Our Communication Tool Checklist can help you get started with keeping track of which tools are working best for your company, and find out if it’s time to bring something new to your employees. Click to download now.

The moment you walk into your office in the morning, you begin communicating with the people around you. Whether you are answering an email, sending an update through your company chat, or just having a face-to-face conversation with a coworker, you are interacting. It may be easy to keep track of your personal interactions, but what about the interactions happening throughout the rest of your organization? Do you know all of the tools currently being used to communicate with frontline managers and associates? When multiple channels are in use, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand how employees are connecting with one another (and head office), and which channels or tools are most effective for driving performance.

Today’s consumer is more knowledgeable than ever. Internal communication tools have become crucial for creating alignment between different levels of the organization and, ultimately, ensuring employees in the frontline are armed with the best and most current information about your products and brand. A study conducted by Towers Watson found that companies who are highly effective at internal communication are 2x more likely to outperform their peers. That could make a huge difference to your business. The key is to find the right mix of communication tools and channels best suited your culture, are proven to drive productivity, and help drive your performance goals forward.

 

The first step is to conduct an audit of your communication tools

The average employee spends an estimated 28% of the work week managing e-mail and nearly 20% looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. With all of the different forms of communication that happen between various levels of the organization, there is a lot that can get lost in translation. Time spent searching different channels for the right information is not a good use of the workday, and can leave employees feeling frustrated or misinformed.

By taking some time to audit your organization’s internal communication tools, you can better understand what is working well, what is not, and where the gaps exist.

Employees at a round table collaboration
 

Building out your organization’s checklist

We have created a Communication Tool Checklist to help you get started. Download a copy by clicking here, then follow the steps below:

1.  List your tools

First things first. Build out a list of all tools your organization is currently using to communicate internally. Start with channels the corporate head office is using to connect with frontline managers (for example, a learning management system (LMS), corporate e-mail and/or print memos). Next, find out what the frontline is using to connect with each other, for example, texting or messaging apps. You may be surprised about the number of ways information is cascading to the frontline.

2. Find out who is using each tool

You have your list. Now, dive deeper by figuring out who exactly is using them. Maybe everyone in the corporate office is connecting via enterprise chat, while frontline managers are receiving company updates through an LMS. By understanding who is engaging with each platform, you will start to build a bigger picture around what is effective for each level of the company.

3. How many people are using each tool? 

Once you know which areas of the organization are using each tool, the next step is to understand how many employees are engaging with it. Measuring the number of people using each tool will give insight into how widespread each channel is for communicating at work.

4. What is each tool used for? 

Next up, know the purpose of every tool on your list. How does your organization leverage the tool? Is the tool a platform used to train employees and provide product and service information? Or is there an app used for messaging and sharing ideas amongst store managers. Whatever the underlying purpose of the tool may be, make sure you take note of it.

5. Record the engagement levels 

The last, and probably one of the most important steps when completing your Communication Tool Checklist is to figure out the engagement of each tool. Find out how often the tool is used and the reasons are behind that frequency. Also, it is important to record if any feedback received from your employees on the effectiveness of the tool. If you haven’t yet received any feedback from managers or staff, then simply ask!

Using our Communications Tools Checklist will give you a quick start to forming a clear picture of which channels are effective in your company, and what needs to be improved. Once everything is organized and quantified in front of you, constructing your new and improved internal communications strategy will be a much more streamlined process.

To engage the next generation of employees, choose mobile

To engage the next generation of employees, choose mobile

Many industries rely on younger generations as their frontline employees, particularly retail and hospitality. In the past, that meant managers were tasked with the challenge of effectively reaching them. “We don’t even speak the same language, and they don’t care,” was a common lament, true or not.

But, we have the tools we need now. The emergence of mobile as a workplace tool has completely disrupted this generation gap. Employee apps, internal social networks, or mobile-first portals offer an effective bridge between management and frontline employees. Still, there’s always a how to the what; crafting a mobile use (BYOD) policy without compromising your organization’s need for security and compliance, will be key to success in this new reality.

 

Leveraging the new status quo

There’s no question that the digital generation is used to accessing everything and everyone in the palm of their hand: 92% of adults age 18-29 have a smartphone, according to recent Pew Research. In a research study conducted by Nudge Rewards, it was found that Millennials spend an average of 100 minutes of every workday on their smartphones. They’re not just checking Instagram during that time, they’re accessing information and engaging with their work. That kind of productive behavior needs to be encouraged and leveraged through transparent policies and guidelines.

Millennial employees want to be aware of what their brand is striving for and what headquarters expect of them. Yet, only 19% believe that customer service is key to company success, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial survey. For retail and hospitality industries, in which frontline employees often come from younger generations, there’s a huge problem with that statistic.

Your frontline employees need to be knowledgeable about your brand vision, organizational goals, and tactical items like in-market promotions or new product launches. If you were to take a quick poll across your frontline teams, you may soon discover that there’s a huge disconnectand that they may not be as well informed as they need to be. The quickest and easiest way to fix that? Communicating critical information to them through their own devices.

If you want to build trust and engagement in a workforce that’s used to functioning via mobile, it’s a smart strategy to craft a clear BYOD policy. Engagement and behavior are close cousins, and leveraging your employees’ attachment to their own device enables them to stay fast, stay connected, have easy access to information, and communicate the way they’re used to—which in your workplace, means they’ll be able to do a better job.

 

Getting started with BYOD

The specific processes and policies around BYOD need to match the needs and functions of your organization. Mobile has an immediacy that facilitates high-touch communication and responsive management as it engages, motivates, and unites frontline employees. To ensure your employees are using mobile to the best of their advantage while at work, you’ll want to include the following in your BYOD policy:

  • Acceptable use: Outline times and use cases that are acceptable for using personal devices while at work.
  • Devices and support: Provide details on accepted devices, and any support that will be given (e.g. connectivity and WiFi)
  • Reimbursement: Will you or will you not be providing reimbursement for usage, cost of the device, plan overages, etc.? This factor is completely dependent on your company culture, incentive programs, and the extent to which your frontline will be using mobile at work.
  • Security: Outline any extra security and privacy precautions that will need to be taken by employees who are using personal devices for work purposes.
  • Risk & liability: Explain any disclaimers or risks that employees will assume full responsibility for in using their own devices at work.

Craft a BYOD policy that’s based on risk, security, management, IT and legal all working together, and you’ve got a way to enable your younger employees to perform even better as well as supporting the myriad needs of your company.

 

BYOD, check. Now what?

Your BYOD policy is in place and now you have the channel to effectively reach the next generation of employees – but what about the strategies for communicating with them effectively? Here are three tips for building effective strategies to engage your younger workforce:

1. Make communications brief

 No matter whose device they’re using, frontline employees spend a mere 2 minutes a day on corporate communications—they’re busy. Be sure to fit communications within that short window and into that brief attention span. To do so, try to keep critical messages short, interactive, and actionable.

2. Make it personal

Communicating with your frontline employees should be a two-way dialogue. There’s incredible value in sourcing ideas and feedback from your frontline teams – going the extra mile and recognizing them for their contribution and hard work will pay off in the long run. By treating your teams as groups of individuals, and not a collective unit, you will be able to effectively engage your teams to act on behalf of the brand.

3. Tailor it to your brand

Frontline means front line: the employees who deal with your products and your customers are your brand ambassadors. Optimize that position, and make their job easier, by empowering them to easily convey company brand, values, and message. That way, they don’t have to adlib or improvise in a pinch, and can confidently represent the company culture. With a mobile workplace tool, they can quickly message a manager to find out the answer a customer’s question, or look it up themselves.

Next steps? Make sure you solicit feedback from your frontline employees on how both your BYOD policy and your communications are working from their perspective. Bringing them into the process is another way to drive their engagement. Don’t be surprised when they’ll translate that sense of alignment back to the floor and your customers.

5 reasons mobile is the best way to reach your employees

5 reasons mobile is the best way to reach your employees

Imagine, just for fun, that you work in the head office of an outdoors outfitter company. A new line of daypacks is set to ship to your 153 stores spread out across the U.S. and Canada. Many store employees are recent hires and hardly know each other, and few are familiar with this product line. Also, you’ve got a mix of generations on the floor: the sage older adventurers alongside the younger gear enthusiasts. But there’s a lot riding on each store’s frontline team to get these packs sold.

This isn’t reality television, it’s the reality of retail in 2017. Business cycles are tighter than ever, products roll out faster than ever before, and social media means products can go viral in a heartbeat. To compete, brick and mortar retail has to offer the access and information of online, but with the added benefit of personable, friendly customer service. It’s not a given that people walk in your doors. They need to feel welcome.

Your challenge in this scenario: get all of your frontline employees up to speed on the new packs, enable them to answer any question, give great customer service—and be motivated to sell. The solution is in your hand: the smartphone. For retail today, mobile is the best way to empower and motivate your frontline. Here are five reasons why:

 

1. Broad reach

People live and work on their smartphones — and not just the younger generations. Pew research discovered that not only do 92% of American adults age 18–29 own a smartphone, but 74% of adults age 50–64 do too.

2. Clear message

The mobile platform is designed for simple, effective, consistent messaging. With the message right in the palm of their hand, no one on your frontline team has to improvise or worse, get it wrong. And everyone is on board.

3. Flexible communication 

Mobile means you can reach people all at once, in teams, in groups, individually. You can check in discretely with a new hire to make sure they’re on board, make sure the team is ready, or make announcements to the whole sales crew. No one feels out of the loop: everyone is invited to be a part of the effort.

4. Instant support

Instant support and mobile tools work both ways. When a customer asks your employee how long it would take to ship to her daughter in Dubai, the answer needs to be fast, not a shrug or an “I’ll get back to you.” When frontline employees know all they have to do is text to get an informed answer, they can project confidence, and ease, when dealing with customers.

5. Powerful incentives

A study discussed in the Harvard Business review found that even the smallest rewards motivate people to go the extra mile. In retail, going that extra mile is critical. You can craft all the strategy you want, but without employee execution, you won’t reach your goals. From pulses to shout-outs to gamification, mobile gives you creative and effective ways to catalyze employee performance where and when it counts the most.

No matter how amazing a product may be, your success rests on your frontline employees — and the bottom line is that you need their hearts as well as their minds. Mobile gives you the tools to convey knowledge, spark enthusiasm, and deepen engagement and motivation, and use innovative, meaningful ways to spur performance that fit into the way we communicate, live, and work. What’s especially compelling here is that digital technology is what’s giving brick and mortar its power back — by celebrating its most important asset, people.

Golf Town launches Nudge to empower store employees

Golf Town launches Nudge to empower store employees

Golf Town, Canada’s golf superstore has partnered with Nudge Rewards to reinvent the way they drive team performance across their Canadian retail operations. Watch the customer story here:

With a vision of delivering an exceptional customer experience, Golf Town recognized the importance of ensuring their frontline associates are well trained, knowledgeable and passionate about delivering on their brand promise. In order to facilitate the delivery of such an experience, Golf Town placed priority on the role of communication to empower the team with the right information to drive the right outcomes.

In June, Golf Town launched Nudge Rewards to engage, educate and reward frontline managers and team members. Their results to date are unprecedented. Within five days of launch, Golf Town achieved 78% adoption across their entire frontline workforce, and more impressive, have achieved a 75% response rate using the Nudge app.

“Nudge has achieved positive traction for our associates Canada-wide, and we’re happy to see our teams engaging and sharing ideas. We want to be ahead of the curve, and Nudge will help us achieve that and be recognized as a retailer who’s looking at mobile device technology as a means for accomplishing more as a company,” says Sue Gilpin, Director of HR at Golf Town Ltd. 

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with our partners at Golf Town to help improve the way they support their frontline staff in delivering an exceptional experience. We now live in a world of the ‘knowledgeable consumer,’ and brands that are able to empower their staff to meet the expectations of their customers are going to be category leaders” says Jordan Ekers, Chief Customer Officer at Nudge Rewards.

Why employees are frustrated with your communications

Why employees are frustrated with your communications

There is a fundamental problem in today’s workplace communication methods. It has become such a problem, in fact, that 87% of employees think their leaders communicate ineffectively. Many organizations make use of email or team huddles to relay information to frontline employees, but in an age where mobile has taken over, these methods are rapidly becoming less and less effective. The result? Employees are becoming increasingly frustrated and left feeling both unmotivated and disconnected from headquarters.

How can organizations improve internal communication and motivate performance? We asked frontline employees working in retail and food service. Here’s what they had to say:

The next generation of employees has made it clear – there is a lack of communication in these environments. For employees working on the frontline, the biggest frustrations are the use of outdated communication channels and a growing information gap. Essentially, these employees are not getting the information they need, when they need it.

When organizations continue to use traditional ways to communicate with frontline employees, such as email and team huddles, information gets lost. The resulting information gap creates barriers to productivity, teamwork, and providing a great customer experience. Organizations can address employee frustrations by choosing an effective communication channel and creating more engaging content. We have two easy steps you can take to improve your workplace communications and deliver content that will excite your employees:

 

1. Choose an effective communication channel

Two of the most common communication channels in retail and foodservice environments are email and team huddles. However, 83% of frontline employees don’t have a corporate email address. For those that do have email, there is a small likelihood of that they open, read through and absorb all necessary information in a timely manner.

While huddles are a good way to get the team together, you are relying on managers to summarize communications from headquarters and prioritize what information needs to be passed on to associates. That can be a gamble.

83% of Millennials open texts within 90 seconds of receiving them, while email is only opened 17% of the time. To better engage frontline employees, organizations need to adapt and make use of communication channels that are most actively used today. Long email updates, bulletin board posts, and huddles no longer have the ability to drive outcomes.

 

2. Create engaging content

The employees we interviewed expressed frustration with the content they typically receive from head office. Today’s employees feel they’re either suffering from information overload and are stuck sifting through unengaging content, or they are missing key pieces of information. In addition, shorter attention spans make it more and more and more difficult to deliver information in a way employees can effectively consume it.

Organizations need to create content that is bite-sized and attention-grabbing. On average, Millennials read 60 words before they lose attention. It’s becoming increasingly important to craft thoughtful, meaningful, and engaging updates for employees – similarly to how you would when communicating with consumers.

 

Our solution to solving these workplace frustrations? Go mobile

Going mobile (think: mobile-first portals, internal social networks, mobile enterprise apps) can help you to better reach and engage frontline employees. Leveraging apps for engaging, educating, and rewarding non-desk employees can help lead to better knowledge rates, brand awareness, and execution on the frontline. After all, 60% of employees say mobile technology makes them more productive. Shifting your communication strategy to bring frontline employees from ‘last-to-know’ to ‘in-the-know’ will boost team engagement, collaboration, and performance across the business.

How to engage and motivate your frontline employees

How to engage and motivate your frontline employees

In North America, frontline retail and food service jobs are among the largest occupational groups, with more than 27 million workers. By 2025, Millennials will make up the vast majority (75%) of this workforce, with a majority working in retail, foodservice, and hospitality. Today, organizations are struggling to effectively engage and motivate their frontline teams, let alone communicate with them. On a mission to solve this problem and help brands excel at engaging with their frontline teams to drive performance, we went straight to the source, the next generation of employees, to find out what they value in the workplace. Here’s what they had to say:

After interviewing frontline Millennials and Gen Z, we discovered the next generation of employees are starving for more effective workplace communication. The needs were clear: Organizations must adapt their communication methods and strategies to better align with the modern workplace. Employees top three motivators at work? Establishing a clear team vision, providing recognition and rewards, and building a culture of transparency. Here are three steps you can take to start better engagement, drive team performance and satisfy the needs of your frontline workforce.

1. Establish a clear team vision

Frontline employees are your direct connection to customers and play a big role in providing an exceptional customer experience. Despite that, they can often feel disconnected from headquarters, reducing their capability to deliver on the brand promise with confidence and to feel that they’re effectively contributing to the team. Ensuring frontline workers are passionate about your brand vision and empowered to engage with customers is essential.

Our tip: Ask your employees what your brand means to them. Gather feedback and ideas on how you can make your vision come to life – empowering employees to take part and contribute to the bigger picture.

2. Provide feedback and recognition

Frontline employees have extremely valuable insights on customer experience, consumer preferences, and have a lot of great ideas to share with the team. 51% of Millennials want their managers to better listen to and value their ideas, so why are there not more effective feedback systems in place? Today, employees want feedback frequently so they can quickly and continuously improve. They don’t want to wait until quarterly, or even monthly meetings to hear what they can do better.

Our tip: Today’s employees are looking for guidance in their failures, but are also looking to be recognized and rewarded for their successes. Nothing motivates or engages an employee more than being recognized in the workplace – whether it be a compliment at the end of a shift, or providing an extra vacation day.

3. Build a culture of transparency

In many cases, store associates or restaurant staff are given a task or a snippet of information, without understanding where it is coming from or its underlying purpose. The next generation of employees are looking to see the full picture – they want to be kept in the loop with company news, sales objectives, targets, and performance data. They want to understand what the team is working towards – and how letting a customer know about the latest promotion fits into that.

Our tip: Create team-based challenges to provide context around your current promotions and customer initiatives. Ensure transparency by sharing progress and results with employees along the way, helping everyone feel a part of the team and motivated to achieve business results.

Knowing what your frontline employees value is a critical step in your journey towards building high performing teams. Recognizing that your workforce is increasingly becoming made up of Millennials and Gen Z, and adapting your communication strategy to meet their needs is the first step in getting there.

Interested in learning more? Check out our report, ‘How Mobile Technology is Transforming Workplace Performance’ here.