Best Practices

Hourly Employees

5 communications mistakes

Many companies do a poor job of communicating to hourly employees, whether they’re on the manufacturing line or the retail floor, behind the cash register or the steering wheel of a truck. That’s because it’s not easy to reach all those frontline employees who aren’t sitting in front of computers all day.

But not communicating with this frontline audience means missing important opportunities to engage and inspire the people who are the face of the brand. Here are five communications mistakes we often see: 

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Forgetting who the customer sees

The employees working the front line are the ones who deliver on your brand promise — or not. Your brand can spend zillions on advertising to attract customers, but the customer experience comes down to that person working the front desk, delivering the meal, or handling the luggage. If your frontline people don’t understand what the company stands for, then there’s likely to be a major disconnect between what your company advertises and the reality of the customer experience.

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Ignoring your largest employee audience

If most of your communications go only to corporate employees, you may be ignoring the majority of your workforce. As part of Tribe’s discovery process with a new client, we generally create a graphic depiction of the employee audience segments. Although most clients with frontline employees know that this group is large, they are o!en stunned when they see it represented visually. That sometimes helps them realize that they’re communicating directly with only a very small portion of the company.

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Not asking about the issues they see

Employees on the front line understand things about your customers that it’s impossible for people in corporate to know. They see firsthand when something about your product or service creates an issue for customers, and they can sometimes o”er brilliant solutions to those problems. They might have ideas for cost savings or new products. Providing a channel for frontline employees to share their customer intelligence with corporate can improve the business in significant ways.

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Communicating only through your managers

Having at least one channel direct from corporate to frontline people is important — and demonstrates respect for the roles they play in the company’s success. Not all managers will do a great job of cascading information to their frontline employees. Some will do it better than others, and some may not do it at all. And if managers don’t feel confident that they can handle the follow-up questions, they may sidestep communicating at all.

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Not understanding their physical realities

There’s no substitute for getting out to the plants, retail stores, hotels, restaurants or wherever your hourly people work. Take note of where they enter the building, where they take breaks, whether they’re standing or sitting. Without doing that, you won’t be able to see the potential touchpoints that make creative use of their physical environment — things like a giant magnet on the walk-in freezer, mirror clings in the employee restroom or an iPad stand in the breakroom.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]