Introduction

You’re in a war for talent. With increased competition, expectations for work-life balance and an influx of young workers seeking increased flexibility, retaining employees—especially disparate employees—is harder than ever.

Whatever your department—internal comms, human resources, PR, internal marketing—an increasing percentage of your employees are deskless and often feel disconnected from your corporate culture.

This is a major hurdle for retention, and so organizations are striving to unify the employee experience through an improved communications portal for both office and remote staffers. The goal for this platform is to foster a shared commitment to the organizational mission among employees through constant accessibility, be it at a kid’s soccer game or while waiting at one’s desk for a WebEx meeting to start.

In this guide, created in conjunction with the comms experts at Ragan, we’ve outlined nine practical steps to build robust lines of two-way communication with your deskless employees.

Topics covered include how to:

  • Alert employees with smartphone notifications. They might not be refreshing their inboxes throughout the day, but deskless workers will check their phones. So, reach them where they’re already looking.
  • Connect with remote colleagues via video. Establishing more genuine human connections with non-office employees can build rapport, trust and engagement.
  • Unite employees with success stories. Who doesn’t like praise? Highlight, honor and recognize superstar employees frequently to build an uplifting culture.
  • Make essential tasks easy to perform. If you make workers hunt and search for crucial content, you’ve already lost them. Make crucial tasks simple to find and complete.
  • Segment your audiences. If you blast everyone with the same message, you’ll be ignored. Create distinct user groups based on location, job type, communication preferences or demographics.

Here’s a Sneak Peek 🚨

1. Build culture through two-way communication.

When its parent firm spun off Versum Materials in 2016, the company was using SharePoint internally, says Tiffany Elle, head of external and internal communications. Communicators found it difficult to maintain SharePoint rooms and groups, and users kept losing track of vital information and processes.

After the spinoff, Versum reassessed its internal communication. “Now that we’re smaller and we have the opportunity to start over, what’s the best practice?” Elle asks.

A Staffbase app proved to be the best way to maintain “a single source of truth” internally, helping dispel rumors, Elle says. Rather than just hearing management “shouting at the employees,” the workforce was allowed to offer feedback. More informed and engaged employees build success because they feel they’re part of the story.

“A great employee ambassador is your best friend—someone that understands the reasons behind the decisions and understands the key messages and can articulate that to people,” Elle says.

2. Alert employees with smartphone notifications.

RJ Corman Railroad Group has 1,650 widely scattered employees, says Benny Gettinger, director of communication and branding. Only about 175 are office staff; the rest are equipment operators, locomotive engineers, general laborers and warehouse personnel.

Employees work in 22 primarily eastern states, though some clock in as far afield as Tucson, Arizona, and Billings, Montana. Many are embedded offsite, switching railcars at warehouses and industrial facilities. However, the company’s short-line railroads also interface with long-haul lines such as BNSF or Union Pacific, putting many employees within easy reach of larger companies looking to raid talent.

Seeking to reduce the resulting turnover rate of 60%, Gettinger realized that conventional methods such as printed newsletters, inserts in paycheck envelopes or the SharePoint intranet did little to ease the problem.

An employee app provided by Staffbase, however, made a difference. With 74% workforce adoption and increased engagement, Gettinger is seeing a difference. “If there’s a message that we really need to get out and want to make sure that people see, they can have a badge on their app icon,” Gettinger says.

Download the full guide to continue learning how your company can better engage non-desk workers and take the first steps towards unifying them with the rest of your company through improved internal communications.