Focus on Employee Communications

Savvy Communications Plans Can Optimize the Employee Experience

By Patrick Van Der Mijl

May. 1, 2019

People are the single most important asset in every business.employee communication

But to ensure the employee experience is optimal and to minimize turnover, HR data and people analytics are critical.

Without it, HR teams and C-level executives will be left guessing about their employees’ engagement preferences, needs and frustrations. By understanding employees’ communications styles and behaviors, organizations can adjust and optimize their HR and employee experience programs accordingly.

Based on analysis of usage data from our own internal communications platform, private messages ranked as the most common type of content shared by employees. This points to a pattern whereby employees want and need more direct, personalized and relevant communications with their colleagues, teams and managers, and rightfully so. Rather than mass spamming messages to all staff, it’s far more effective to send messages to the most relevant people at the right times and in the right places.

If messages are too vague or are not filtered to target and reach the most relevant users, it can lead to clutter, confusion, less productivity and even poor results and performance. This is where having the ability to group messages according to the organizational structure of your organization is tremendously valuable.

By doing so, you can ensure there is far less spamming of irrelevant messages (i.e. “Who left their keys in the staff kitchen?” or “Whose car is blocking me in the parking lot?”) to all employees. Instead, the most relevant messages are delivered to the right employees at the right times and in the right places.

Study the Data to Post on Effective Days and Times

Additionally, the report found that news was posted most often at the start and end of the workweek. To be exact, Mondays had the highest rate of news being posted (24 percent), followed closely by Thursdays (18 percent) and Fridays (18 percent). Mondays, in particular, ranked highest when it came to the frequency of certain types of enterprise social posts, such as private messages (19 percent) and updates (18 percent).

There are several reasons this could be occurring. For one, the HR department may be keen to kick start the week with as much information as possible and provide a recap on key HR initiatives and programs. Additionally, the HR department could also use Mondays as a day for inspiring posts for all employees.

Regional managers and the head office could be posting news on the platform at both the start and end of the week to alert onsite front-line workers about technical difficulties that could impact their ability to deliver a positive customer experience to customers and guests.

Upon looking closer at the frequency of news consumption, we found that the late afternoon/early evening hours were the most popular time of day when employees read news items on the enterprise social platform. More specifically, 43 percent of the news items posted daily were read between noon and 6 p.m., while 39 percent were read between 6 a.m. and noon.

This could be occurring for several reasons. For one, front-line workers may be less inclined to check the enterprise social network during the morning hours because they are focused on clocking in, getting direction from their supervisors and setting out to perform their daily tasks. Another reason could be that they are waiting until the afternoon hours when there is a lull in customers or guests coming in, or when they have a schedule break for lunch, to read news items on the enterprise social network.

Tech a Vital Tool to Stem Digital and Device Overload

The struggle to overcome device and digital overload is very real. Just look at data from App Annie to see what I mean. The average British smartphone owner installs more than 80 apps on their device, but uses just over 30 of them on a monthly basis. Thirty apps is still a lot of apps and can lead to clutter and confusion.

If employees are using 30 apps regularly and in all likelihood using a combination of these apps to communicate with colleagues, teams and even managers about work-related communications, it can result in a few problems. For one, the messages being sent and received will start to feel like spam and become overwhelming. Second, it could even have a negative impact on employees’ productivity levels and job performance, which in turn, could lead to fractured relationships with their managers and less employee satisfaction. Third, it can make it difficult for companies to protect their data (and comply with important regulations, such as ISO 27001 and EU GDPR).

Take, for example, what could happen if an employee has left an organization but is still using WhatsApp or other social media and messaging apps to communicate with former employees about work. Sensitive information could be exposed or leaked.

To avoid these problems, companies need to conduct an internal audit of the communications methods, preferences and tools being used by their employees. You’ve heard the saying: What you don’t know can hurt you.

That’s especially true for workplace communications. Companies cannot afford to live in ignorant bliss and need to make sure they know this information first and foremost. This is the only way to know if a problem exists before determining the best solution.

Patrick Van Der Mijl is the co-founder and chief product officer for Netherlands-based Speakap, an internal communications platform that enables organizations to reach, involve and connect all employees, regardless of their physical location, within the business.

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