line manager and line worker meeting

by theEMPLOYEEapp | June 2, 2020

Connecting with Frontline Employees through Mobile Communications

There’s never been a more critical time for organizations to engage and communicate with
their frontline employees. Changes in scheduling, policies, and safe working procedures have increased and a greater level of support and connection is required during times of crisis. Although the current state of the workplace presents greater challenges for communications and HR professionals that didn’t exist years ago, it also offers an opportunity for companies to incorporate new modernized digital workplace strategies.

As HR and communications executives update their internal communications processes to adapt to these changes, they should also re-evaluate the tools they use to deliver and receive critical information.

The Challenges of Frontline Employee Communication

While most people driving the operations of an organization have information at their fingertips ––access to the corporate internet, benefits portals, and other workplace systems––frontline staff aren’t sitting at a desk. Professionals like nurses are on their feet caring for patients in hospitals, technicians on manufacturing lines build the machines we rely on, and factory or warehouse workers ensure that our Amazon packages arrive on time. They aren’t able to easily access company communications, benefits, and tools.

How Does Mobile Communication Benefit Frontline Employees?

What is the best way to communicate with and empower those who aren’t “in the office”? Mobile apps have risen to the top of preferred communication channels for frontline and deskless employees. Going mobile provides many benefits, including:

  • The ability to deploy rapidly to your entire workforce 
  • Reaching all employees regardless of where they work through their smartphones, so everyone has equal access to information and resources
  • Targeting content and information to the right audience, increasing relevancy and saving employees time
  • The ability to deploy high-visibility push notifications to avoid communication overload and cut through the noise with the most critical messages

Here are a few examples of companies who have implemented a mobile employee communication app:

  • Waupaca: With a primarily deskless workforce, 50% of Waupaca’s employees had no computer or email access during working hours. This meant urgent information wasn’t reaching their frontline teams. They needed a strategy that would allow them to reach employees where they were and to be able to track the success of their communications. 
  • UHS: With more than 60 locations serving a population of over 600,000 people, the ability for UHS to get the most updated information to their clinical teams is critical. But when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the U.S., the app became a core source of truth as policies and procedures were rapidly updated. Communications manager for UHS Steven Perlin said, “the app became one of the most important ways we were able to communicate with all of our 6,000 plus employees to keep them up to date, whether they were at home in quarantine, on the frontlines, or in an office.”
  • NFI: A huge benefit of a mobile strategy means that you can localize content, which is exactly what NFI, a leading logistics company with over 300 facilities across North America did. After launching the app in 2016, NFI quickly saw high adoption rates and began to partner with local leaders to deliver content at the local level. This not only boosted relevancy of content but also employee engagement and allowed the corporate internal comms team to focus on high-level, top-down messaging.

Companies that invest in company-wide mobile communications will reap the benefits of a more engaged and motivated frontline staff. Furthermore, the increased connection these workers experience will cascade to how they interact with customers and fellow employees in the future.


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