Recently someone who is just beginning their career in employee communications asked me how they could reach manufacturing employees who don’t have computers or even a company email address. This is a challenge many manufacturing companies face because their employees don’t use computers in their jobs. Welders, for example, generally don’t have computers in their work area.
Employees who are not connected to the intranet, where company news is easily distributed, may be non-wired employees, but they are just as valuable as those with computers on their desks and they should be given company news and resources to help them stay engaged.
Employees don’t have to be connected to receive good messages that engage them on multiple levels. Various forms of employee communications were successful long before email and intranets. You just need to know your employees and how they are most likely to consume the messages you have to deliver. Tailor your tactics to your audience of employees, their location and their work schedules.
These tactics also work for employees who are connected but don’t regularly read your intranet news.
Regardless of which tactics you use, make sure your communications are properly branded, incorporate ways for employees to give feedback, and can be measured to track how well your efforts work. Then act on the feedback and modify your efforts to make them more successful.
Here are a few tactics to try:
- Bulletin boards. Print your intranet page content and put it where employees are likely to see it. Use a nice display. Your content is valuable. Treat it as something of value and don’t let it appear to be an afterthought.
- Manager communications. Give your managers the tools to communicate successfully with their teams. Make sure they have the right talking points and know how to deliver them. Creative handouts help. Add a manager toolkit to your intranet so that managers can get the reference materials they need to answer questions accurately.
- Intranet kiosks. Place a few computers or intranet-enabled kiosks in key locations to allow employees to log into the intranet to read company news, complete tasks online or access tools they might need to improve their skills.
- Digital signage. A monitor with a message can reach a lot of people, especially in a break room or high-traffic hallway. Just make sure you don’t put it where you might create a safety hazard.
- Employee app. An employee app makes it possible for employees to get company news and information from their personal internet enabled device. There are many employee app companies offering a range of apps and app services. Newsweaver, Modo Labs and Sitrion offer apps that most communications teams could get up and running in just a few months. The key to success is good content planning and coordination with the IT department.
- Newsletters and magazines. The printed form is always useful if well done and distributed to individuals. A magazine can also communicate to family members at home, including those who might make benefits decisions for your employees.
- Events. Hold fun events focused on key topics to drive the message home. Seek input and make sure you have something to give each employee.
- Town hall meetings. Town hall meetings provide messages and give employees an opportunity to interact with leaders. That’s valuable on many levels. You want your leaders to be credible and likable. Teaching them how to deliver messages to large groups during good times can pay big dividends when they have to deliver unpleasant news.
- Round table discussions. Gather small groups of employees for an informal discussion with their leaders, who can share insights and answer questions. Give the attendees information to share with their coworkers.
Of course, there are other ways to reach non-wired employees. Please share the tactics you use and how you measure their success. I learn from you and so many others.