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How to better engage frontline workers with your communications

Communication professionals agree that better supporting dissatisfied frontline workers is one of the top eight issues they’ll face this year.

  • Why it matters: Deskless workers are the least trusting and the least engaged — making them one of the hardest groups to effectively target and get realigned around organization goals.

Leaders need to pull folks together — no matter where or how they work — and create a sense of community and belonging amongst all employees. To do this, they must readjust how they are taking action to strategically target this unique audience. 

Engaging frontline workers with better comms

Frontline employee communications are hard. Deskless workers and those on the front lines are "such a tough audience to crack for a variety of reasons," Blair Aires, Vice President of Internal Comms at Centric Brands, shared at a recent event because those workers often don't have access to computers during their day.

Nurses. Factory workers. Bank tellers. Sales professionals. There are countless professions across industries that don’t always have access to intranets or mobile apps — or the time to check them. Not to mention they’re often wary of updates from unseen off-site personnel who may seem out of touch to their needs. 

These employees need targeted corporate communications on channels where they can easily and quickly access them to feel more a part of the team.

  • Support and train managers. Site-level managers play a crucial part in reaching deskless employees. They know their employees and what info each team member needs to be successful. If managers aren’t informed, they cannot pass key updates along. Enable managers to seek out information and distill it down for teams and individuals to ensure each employee gets the direct insights they need to do their job. 
  • Use unique channels. Utilize digital signage, flyers, and announcements to reach traders, EMTs, line workers, loan officers, and others who aren’t sitting at a desk all day. Look for desired outcomes, like acting on your CTA, to see if these efforts connect. 
  • Find your right mix. A combination of touchpoints — even email, meetings, intranets, and more — may help you reinforce important information when needed.
  • Combine sends. Don’t clog up inboxes with lots of one-off updates. Audit what you’re sending and streamline communication to stay respectful of readers’ time.
  • Be consistent. Deliver company-wide and site-level communications on consistent days and times each week so deskless workers know exactly when and where they can find the information they need.
  • Be brief. Busy workers need a way to get the information they value and get back to work. Keep messages focused by using formatting techniques to keep updates short and straightforward. 
  • Be fun. Don’t lose sight of the engagement aspect when deciding on content. Give audiences a reason to open your messages by including colleague milestones, upcoming company events, and other fun updates. 
  • Gather feedback. If you aren’t seeing the engagement you want, ask your audience what they need. They are the best ones to tell you when and how they want to be reached. 

The bottom line: Reaching your frontline workers and getting them reengaged leads to them feeling like part of your culture and community — making it less likely they’ll jump ship — while also increasing their alignment with company goals. 

Go deeper: Ineffective internal comms create a massive retention risk

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