Communicating with non-desk workers

In the upcoming tenth issue of the Tribe Report, we’ll be discussing how some of the top companies in the world communicate with non-desk workers. This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts, and something we deal with every day. Non-desk employees are a key part of companies, often they’re on the frontline and interacting with consumers. They need to be believers and carriers of your company’s vision and values. But because they’re in a factory or behind the wheel of a truck they’re one of the hardest demographics to target in terms of communication.

Letting employees choose how they receive company information is key to creating effective communications. And non-desk workers are no different. At Tribe, we believe there are three pillars of communication, and using them all effectively truly helps companies reach the entire employee population, especially non-desk. This is how some of the top companies are using to keep their non-desk workers informed and engaged.

1) Technology
Just because employees aren’t sitting at a desk in front of a computer doesn’t mean the intranet is out of the question. Many companies set up computer kiosks in break areas or in some other public area where employees can access the intranet and other online sources. Others use closed circuit TV or large monitors for videos that communicate cultural messages or company news. But perhaps the most direct way to reach field employees is by mobile. You can send short updates via text, provide call-in numbers to hear a recorded message from leadership or even create a smart phone app to keep these employees up to speed.

Who’s doing what:

• UPS has added a Twitter account for employees to their communications mix

• The Home Depot recently launched an opt-in texting program for associates

• IBM offers over 400 apps for employees in their internal mobile store

• McDonald’s has created their own employee radio station to play in their kitchens

2) Print
In many global companies, traditional print is making a comeback. Sometimes that means mailing a monthly or quarterly magazine to each employee’s home, but it also can be more economical solutions like printed newsletters or posters in employee break rooms. People like to have something they can hold in their hands, especially when they’re not connected by computer. Print can also serve as a support piece to online initiatives.

Who’s doing what:

• UPS, The Home Depot and Disney all mail their magazine to employees’ homes

• Embassy Suites recently published a book to communicate the finer points of their culture

• Porsche printed a how-to guide for the new intranet they recently launched

3) Face to Face
When it comes to human communication, there’s no substitute for face time. At Tribe, we’re seeing more companies shifting their focus back to in person meetings with employees. Top leadership is being charged with going out to meet with employees in the field and more communication from corporate is being distributed through conversations between people managers and their staff.

Who’s doing what:

• Zappos holds weekly zuddles for call center managers to discuss hot topics with team members

• Duke Energy executives visit plants and operation centers for informal conversations and Q&As with field employees

• LexisNexis had top management greet employees with hot coffee when they arrived at work

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