Communication is a key factor in the success of any business, yet it is often cited as a culprit in employee dissatisfaction and turnover. In some cases, there is a disconnect between how well a company feels it communicated with employees and what the employees perceive actually happened. Perhaps the problem isn’t always with the message itself, but in how it is being delivered.
In order to run efficiently, every facet of your organization needs to be synchronized, which requires a steady stream of clear and honest discourse. In today’s high-speed world, information travels fast, yet many organizations are slow to respond and relay that information to the rest of the company. Changes, problems, and major transitions can occur in a split-second, and your people need to have the information required to stay safe, know what to do next, and keep the business operating at some capacity.
How does your company currently communicate corporate information? How does it manage logistics, shift scheduling, and notifications impacting operations? What about in an emergency? Do you believe that in a crisis, you and your employees would have access to all the information necessary to follow proper safety procedures? Do you feel safe at work and know exactly what to do and where to go if there was an emergency?
Even if you do feel safe, secure, and well-informed, there is always room for improvement because not everything is predictable. Things happen and you likely don’t have a plan in place for everything that could happen. There are too many variables, too many unknowns. But with the right technology, you can at least have the tools in place to ensure no matter what may come your way, there is a way to instantly communicate with employees.
Is Mass Text Software the Answer?
Of course, when we think of corporate communications, we think of emails and voicemails, perhaps an intranet site we are directed to from an email. While they have their place, emails and voice messages are not quick or efficient enough for time-sensitive information delivery. In today’s day and age, if you aren’t using all of the technology available to you, then you are not only at a disadvantage, but you are abusing the trust your employees have given you in believing you will keep them safe in a critical event.
While texting isn’t anything new, it really hasn’t taken center stage in the work environment as it has in our personal lives. I bet we can all agree that texting has revolutionized how we communicate with each other. It’s time we bring the benefits of texting into the workplace. Mass text software allows your company to keep everyone informed and prepared when it matters most.
There are several different applications for this kind of technology, including information delivery for better business practices, engagement techniques to improve customer service and marketing, and managing logistics and operations; however, the primary application for mass text software is sending out alerts to keep all personnel safe during an emergency
The Value of Mass Texts in Emergency Situations
How quickly can your team react when emergencies occur? Whether you’re dealing with an earthquake, a robbery, or a terrorist attack, without any specialized system in place, it may take 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or more to send out an alert with appropriate instructions to your entire staff. Additional time may be needed to segment intended recipients from those not in harm’s way. This is particularly difficult for geographically dispersed companies with remote employees, satellite offices, or mobile employees, such as fleet drivers on varying shifts.In some emergency situations, you may not have time to spare. When time is of the essence and employees are depending on you, mass text software can serve as your personal watchman, keeping an eye on things and then notifying you and/or your team of danger or security risks. Combined with your employees’ keen eye on things happening in the workplace,you have everything you need to be able to quickly and effectively respond according to the proper protocol. Mass text software shouldn’t be a one-way notification system. It should enable employees at ground level to respond to administrators and business leaders in real time. It has other benefits as well. Within an employee’s company profile, they have the ability to provide their families contact information. Organizations can use mass texts to notify the families of employees, updating them and letting them know that their loved one is safe.
Here are some examples of emergency scenarios that would require immediate attention:
- Inclement weather or a natural disaster
- An IT or power outage
- A gas leak or fire
- An active shooter or bomb threat
- A robbery
- A hazardous materials spill
- A lockdown due to an external threat like riots , active shooters, or terrorist attacks
To ensure the safety of your team, you need to be prepared for the worst yet not everything is predictable. Having an emergency plan in place is critical, but even more important could be investing in a communication tool that will enable you to help those employees in harm’s way quickly with the right messaging. Even the best crafted messaging and the most rehearsed emergency plan are worthless if they fail to reach the people who need it most.
What’s So Great About Texting?
In today’s high-speed, always on world, text messaging has become second nature as possibly the most efficient form of interpersonal communication. Texts are immediate, engaging, and often require no more than a quick glance. In fact, studies show that, on average, text messages are read in less than five seconds. While some people don’t open their messages as soon as they receive them, 90 percent of all texts are opened and read within three minutes. Unlike a phone call, which requires a quiet space to answer, listen, and speak, they demand little effort to get your point across or obtain information. An entire conversation can happen without a word being uttered, enabling people to converse while watching TV, in a quiet waiting room, or any public space.
Texting also saves significant time, even more so than face-to-face dialogue. When you engage in a conversation with another person, you are required by the unwritten laws of social courtesy to cycle through the culturally acceptable (and expected) verbalisms: “How are you?”, “I’m fine, and you?”, “Have a good day,” “Talk to you soon,” etc.
Text messaging, however, is not bound to the same societal expectation of politeness. People presume texts will be short, concise, and without any social small talk. Texting is the ideal form of communication when something needs to be conveyed quickly.
Why Texting Is So Effective in the Workplace
In the business world, we often rely on email as the preferred method of communication and in many cases, it’s ideal. However, emails come in by the dozens, flooding our inboxes and getting buried with every subsequent incoming email. It’s hard to keep up or even notice if something important is sandwiched between spam. If we’re being honest, few among us open all of our emails and read them right away. Many end up in the junk or deleted items folders. In an emergency situation, only snail mail is less effective.
So what is a better method? How about leveraging the capabilities of the devices we carry with us everywhere we go? The majority of us treat our phones like an extra appendage; they never leave our sides. In 2013, it was reported that 91 percent of American adults owned a cell phone and it’s likely that number will increase with every passing year.
How are we using those devices? For many of us, it’s to work. Sure, we can check work emails from our phones, but that takes time we often don’t have at our disposal when we are racing from meeting to meeting. More than 80 percent of us use our devices regularly to send and/or receive texts. In other words, most people can be reached even when they are on the go and it’s a pretty good assumption it’s going to be via a text.
With a text message alert system, your team is always connected, which makes it the perfect platform for sending important alerts, updates, and other time-sensitive information. Since so many people already use text messaging for business purposes, (in fact, 15 percent say that more than half of their texts are related to work), using a mass text notification system isn’t all that far-fetched of an idea. If anything, it is the logical next step in mass communications
Is Mass Texting Easy?
We all appreciate the beauty of texting is that it is simple, quick, and convenient. Likewise, sending messages through mass text software is easy to learn and master. The best platforms require no training , thanks to an intuitive user experience and easy-to-use functionalities. Some platforms can be implemented and ready for use usable within minutes. In less time than it takes to create departmental email distribution lists, you can have your entire organization synchronized and unified.
A comprehensive mass texting solution will enable you to segment populations, use pre-written templates, or customize your own message. It will also provide the ability to have two-way communication and interact with employees. This dialogue can be critical when leaders and first responders are trying to gauge the situation and needs of the people impacted. Curious as to how many people received your texts? Built-in metrics should give you insight into the effectiveness of your message , the well-being of your people,and the texting channel so you can continually improve your strategy.
Of course, there are other methods of communication besides email, voice call, and texting that companies can employ during an emergency or when managing logistics and operations. There are app notifications (push messages), custom apps, and social media as well. These are all gaining in popularity but perhaps none so as simple and effective as texting.
No other method of communication provides faster information delivery than mass text software, and when time is of the essence, it’s your job to make sure your people are protected. Why waste precious seconds typing out an email, finding the right distribution list, waiting for the server to respond, and then realizing many of the intended recipients never bothered to open the email. Mass texting is the surefire way of getting your message to the right people when it matters most.
How to Roll Out Mass Texting
One of the reasons people rarely check their inboxes is because of the sheer number of emails they receive. Whether for personal use or work, we get blanketed with emails from other companies, co-workers, family, schools, parents, and a whole host of other well-meaning senders. The lesson we can learn and apply to mass texting is to keep the texts relevant, infrequent, and informative.
When sending texts, particularly in an emergency, you want to keep people calm. The last thing you should do is to work people into a frenzy who may not even be impacted by the situation. Mass texting solutions enable you to segment your audience so you can be sure only those who need the message actually get it.
Of course, the content of the text matters as well. Texts are meant to be short, so don’t think you have to write out every step of an instruction. Instead, briefly explain the situation in a few words and then direct them to a link with more detailed information. The points you want to get across is that they may be in harm’s way, they need to take action (or not), and that there is more information easily accessible.
The frequency in which you send the texts should also be considered. People tend to become de-sensitized if they see something too often. Have a plan as to what situations warrant a text or follow up and which ones are best served being communicated via alternate channels. Use mass texting for only those most critical events so as not to lose the impact.
Finally, communicate the mass texting capability in a grand launch so every employee is made aware of why it is being used, how it will be used, and what they need to do in order to receive the texts. It may be that they need to update a mobile number or ensure they are properly listed in the employee directory. In any case, you should send out a test text or two to make sure every intended employee received the text message in a timely manner.
Any time you can give your employees peace of mind, you’ve done a good thing. Introduce mass text software into your organization and help your employees rest easy they will be taken care of in case of an emergency.