How Connected is Your Company?
When we talk about teamwork, collaboration, and office culture, we’d like to think we all work well together. Truth is, today’s workforce is highly mobile and often dispersed. Having everyone together under one roof is nearly impossible. How do you keep the small company feel, with the ideal flow of communication and sharing of knowledge, while still growing? You need software to bring people onto the same page.
We often pigeonhole mass notification software under a single umbrella of emergencies. Sure, it is the ideal solution to reach a segment of the entire population of employees in your organization before, during, and after an emergency, but what else can this software do to bring people together when it matters most?
If we break down mass notification software, it really does one thing really well – connect people. It doesn’t matter if it’s an emergency or a company announcement, no matter what is going on in your organization, the software is perfect for reaching the most people on the most channels they most use. No other single solution, such as email, is as effective. Why? Because your employees are on multiple devices in various geographical locations throughout the day. Believing one mode of communication is still the most effective way of reaching them, particularly in an emergency, is near-sighted.
If you want to be sure you can keep your employees informed, safe, and connected, you have to think bigger than email or phone. You have to think beyond emergencies. You don’t have to look any further than mass notification software.
Email and Phone Don’t Cut it Anymore
In the past, sending a corporate email or filling employee voicemail boxes with a recorded message was all a company could do to inform its employees of an emergency or relay corporate-wide information. Two-way radios may have reached some, but not all. Intranet sites were effective but few people bothered to read them.
While email and phone worked well when our employees were once bound to their desks, the more mobile they became, the less likely they were to sort through emails and voicemails. One thing was certain, however. With time, everyone had a mobile device with them. Whether company-issued or BYOD, mobile devices like smartphones have completely replaced much of the technology on which we were once so dependent.
Millennials and those even younger, for instance, have much less affinity for email than say a Gen Xer. Why? Because they’ve been raised on cutting-edge technology that brings instant communication in the form of texts, push notifications, social media, instant messaging, and communication apps, such as Snapchat. The thought of logging into email, downloading messages, sorting through the junk and what’s important, opening the message and reading it, filing it away or acting upon it, and then remembering where the email is simply takes too long for most people.
What About Collaboration Tools?
What has begun to replace email are collaboration tools, such as Basecamp, Asana, Projectplace, and Slack. While these are a giant leap forward from email when it comes to consolidating conversations and documents and managing projects, they still have one inherent flaw: they require each employee to either opt in, be part of a team or project, or download an app. They are exclusive and we’re looking for inclusive.
Basecamp, for instance, is great for communication and archiving – if you happen to be on a particular project. For organizations who have multiple divisions and roles, however, a significant portion of its employee population will not be included in a Basecamp conversation stream or project. Think, for instance, about a field technician. These workers may have a two-way radio and a cell phone. They aren’t going to be pulled into a marketing project using Slack. They aren’t going to be part of the dialogue with finance.
How does an organization ensure real-time communications with both finance and field technicians? It’s not going to be through email and it’s not going to be using a collaboration tool. Instead, companies need a specifically-built solution that can reach every employee on multiple communication channels simultaneously. This is where a mass notification system shines.
Mass Notification Systems are the Easiest Way to Bring People Together
When a company invests in mass notification software, it can be integrated with internal business systems, such as HR. The entire employee base and contact information is automatically uploaded and the device preference established. The employee does not need to log in, download an app, opt in, or sign up. It’s automatically populated and they’re all included.
If there is an emergency, an administrator can trigger the system to send out an alert or a specific message, either custom developed or one using a prebuilt template. The admin can segment the employee population in several ways to ensure only the people impacted will receive the message. They can segment by geographical location based on where the employee works, such as a facility. They can segment the workers by geo-fencing, meaning any employee in a defined area will receive the message, such as field workers who may be near a chemical spill. They can also segment based on job function, participation in an event, or virtually any way they want to splice and dice the population.
This flexibility makes a mass notification system ideal for more than just emergencies. Say, for instance, your organization is part of a charity event. You want your employees who are involved to know the first guests are arriving. You can communicate with them instantly to give them warning to be ready. The system can also be used to coordinate employee volunteers, survey employees and guests, and even efficiently schedule shifts.
The point is, the system can be used to unify communications amongst a group of people. No one needs to check emails or voicemails for a message. Instead, they will receive all messages on the channel they prefer, or all channels simultaneously. Field workers can simply look at their mobile phone to see a push notification of their next job assignment. Event employees can get a text about guests arriving. You get the point. Communication is simple, streamlined, fast, and always in real time.
The mass communication system also enables administrators to provide a feedback loop to encourage audience participation. Oftentimes, internal emails are sent from a corporate email address without the ability for readers to reply. Voicemails don’t always provide a call-back number. The mass communication system can allow recipients to respond in many ways, such as yes/no buttons on the push notification, community boards on social media sites, dedicated emergency phone numbers for reporting of events, voting buttons, surveys, and read receipts.
This employee engagement aspect is critical in establishing the collaboration and rapport companies desire. When employees feel they are properly informed and are given the ability to respond to be part of the conversation, they are more likely to engage. They are empowered. They are valued.
These are the attributes people cite when they rate their company and their loyalty to their company. It’s what helps employees feel part of a cohesive team, no matter where they are physically located. The mass communication system does more than relay information – it ensures the right message is sent at the right time to the right people on the right channels. Email and phone can’t say the same, either can collaboration tools.
Every organization needs a way to quickly and effectively communicate with its employees during an emergency, but also during regular day-to-day operations. If you’re depending on email, voice calls, and collaboration tools, it’s time to see what mass communication software can do to ensure no employee is missed and every employee is valued. It is remarkably easy to implement and it will give you and your employees peace of mind that communication is taken seriously.