Beyond cascading: 4 strategies for non-desk communications

by | May 29, 2018

When employees don’t have computers at work, the default method of reaching them is typically to give the information to their managers and have them share it with their teams. But some managers do a better job of this than others, and the communications team never really knows if the information was actually delivered.

Relying on the cascading method alone is also a missed opportunity for building engagement. Non-desk employees want to hear from their corporate leadership. In Tribe’s national study with employees in jobs ranging from manufacturing to retail, 84 percent of respondents said they receive “not enough” communication from the top.

But how do you reach employees who are in stores, distribution centers, restaurants and out driving trucks all day? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so we have to consider the physical realities of their days and think creatively to identify potential touch points. Generally, Tribe recommends a combination of high-tech and low-tech solutions to build channels from corporate to the front lines.

For starters, Tribe also recommends the following four approaches:

1.    LOOP THEM IN: Commit to at least one channel through which non-desk employees will hear from management. This could be a printed magazine, a mobile app, a town-hall meeting via video, a recorded message accessed through an 800 number, or even a quarterly letter from the CEO mailed to employees’ homes.

2.    ASK THEM WHAT THEY THINK: Having corporate management talk to this audience is a good step, but you also need to create opportunities for these employees to share their comments and views. Two-way communication methods — from the ability to comment on changes in the company, to soliciting ideas for improving systems and processes — demonstrate management’s respect and the desire to understand the realities of these employees’ jobs.

3.    MAKE THEM HEROES: Spotlight frontline and field workers and celebrate their contributions, through regular bio pieces in a company publication, recognition programs or contests that highlight employee performance.

4.    TAKE THE CEO TO THE PEOPLE: Again, there’s no substitute for giving employees a chance to meet face-to-face with top management, and it’s particularly meaningful to non-desk employees. Look for opportunities to have members of your leadership team visit stores, plants and other facilities so they can rub elbows with the people doing the most important work of your company.

Interested in improving your leadership communications to the non-desk audience? Tribe can help.

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