It’s important to find ways for all those non-desk employees in manufacturing, retail, hospitality, healthcare and other industries to access your intranet, whether that’s mobile-friendly intranets they can access on their own phones or tablets in the break room. But at Tribe we also stress the need for identifying low-tech touch points in their work environment. There are tons of possibilities out there besides the standard break room poster.
But to find those low-tech touch points, we have to get up out of our chairs and go visit the places these unplugged employees work. By walking a day in their shoes, literally, we can see the physical realities of their workplace.
While we’re on site, we’re looking for the answers to questions like these: Are they sitting or standing? Are they driving? Where do they enter and exit the workplace? If they drive to work, where do they park? Where do they spend their breaks? Are they moving around from one floor to another, or across a large warehouse or plant? Do they take the stairs or the elevator? If they’re in a hospital, what areas are not patient facing? If they’re in a retail store, what do they see when they’re standing at the register that customers don’t?
You might also need to visit more than one type of workplace in your company, or think about many different roles or positions. If you have both manufacturing plants and warehouse facilities, for instance, the physical realities will be different for unplugged employees in those two types of workplaces. If you have non-desk employees working in labs and others in distribution centers, their workplaces will also have dramatically different environments.
These low-tech touch points don’t have to convey complex messaging to be effective. We often use them for short targeted messages, like keeping the values top of mind or reminding them of the open enrollment deadline.
Over the years at Tribe, we’ve come up with some interesting touch points that occurred to us when we explored the workplaces where unplugged employees spend their days. Most of them are not rocket science, but places you might not immediately consider for potential messaging. Here’s a starter list of thought starters for your unplugged population:
• Kiosk of branded art postcards in the break room
• Sticky note cubes with messaging printed on the side
• Floor mats in company vehicles
• Doorknob hangers on storage closets or other rooms in the back of house
• Hanging mobiles in the back of house
• Printed coffee cups or sleeves in the break room
• Wall calendars with messaging for each week or month
• Messages or graphics on the vertical faces of stairways
• Wall murals in hallways or tunnels from parking decks or between buildings
• Mirror clings in the restrooms
• Placemats in the cafeteria
• Pencils or pens with printed messages
• Oversized floor decals in employee-only areas
• Table tents on the tables where employees eat lunch
• Beverage coasters
• Giant magnets on walk-in freezers or industrial sinks
It takes some field research and a little imagination to come up with creative ideas for reaching unplugged employees, but they’re an important audience. In many companies, they’re the ones who deliver the brand promise to customers. Even if they have access to the intranet — and you count on their managers to cascade information — you can find opportunities to build communications into their workplaces. For more thoughts on communicating with this hard-to-reach audience, you might like 4 Ways to Communicate with Those Essential Frontline Employees on Ragan.com. Or this Best Practices one pager on Common Mistakes with Frontline Employees.
Interested in finding new ways to connect with your unplugged audience? Tribe can help.