How to Stay Connected with Field and Frontline Workers

New technologies have become essential for companies looking to communicate with their disconnected workers, whether they’re white collar, blue collar or technicians. Workers of all types have the same need to stay informed and connected inside their organization. In an unusual situation, how can we facilitate and respect each employee’s work time?

Stay Connected with Field and Frontline Workers

When the disconnect becomes critical during a crisis

Because each individual’s health is a priority, when a crisis happens it’s best to communicate effectively the right courses of action. This is easy to set in place for office workers. A few news articles or targeted alerts on the intranet, some official emails, there are many fast and easy ways to organize an emergency communication plan.

What about disconnected employees? Without a company identity, without a company email address and without a professional phone, efficient solutions become more scarce. “Should we come to work tomorrow? Our company isn’t saying anything but some of the people close to me are already taking precautions.”

Short-term unemployment and isolation

Employees on the field are by far the most affected by crisis situations. Contrary to office employees, they can not always work remotely. Those who can must adapt their activities temporarily and quickly. But for most of them, it usually leads to short-term unemployment and isolation from the enterprise. Official information for them is then no longer company news but rather what is communicated by the government and public institutions, or by the close social circle.

And yet, the company has a key role to play for disconnected workers, by reassuring and relaying official information, sharing security measures and anticipating the return to normal activity, etc. Isolation is not inevitable, solutions do exist and are more than justified in times of crisis.

 

“Should we come to work tomorrow? Our company isn’t saying anything but some of the people close to me are already taking precautions.”

The key role of field managers

Acting as a relay between operational management and blue collar workers, field managers are indispensable to good communication, ensuring a continuous information flow between headquarters (often well-equipped) and the field (often disconnected). The field manager has a key role to play in case of a crisis and will be a crucial ally to implement the right solutions and ensure that the right tools are available.

 

1. Official information through personal email addresses

As long as people agree to share their personal address, this is the most efficient way to keep an official tether to the organization. This solution limits isolation from the company in a crisis situation, by communicating the right course of action as well as any daily operational changes for all employees. It befalls managers to collect the addresses and to forward them to support and communication teams who will then take care of messaging eve

 

2. Sharing best practices in discussion groups

These groups already exist! Frontline workers are in reality connected, for the most part, thanks to WhatsApp, Facebook and other well-known widespread platforms. It is completely possible to promote an official solution, whether it’s free, paying, open access or not, while following the appropriate user rules. The problem is less about finding the right solution but more about setting it up and launching it in practice. Managers must take ownership of these channels of communication.

 

3. A targeted access to the company intranet

This solution’s highlight is that it represents a more official and legitimate channel of communication for the company. Since the communication team has better control over information, the company can adapt more easily.

In case it isn’t possible to give full access to each employee, a few more solutions can be considered:

  • Access for each employee, limited to certain critical uses for crisis management,
  • Access for multiple employees, by business unit or team, with certain restrictions as appropriate for shared accounts,
  • An access for each employee during a limited time.

 

LumApps, The Employee Communication Platform

LumApps Social Intranet

4. Match the right channels to the right use cases

Using these different channels separately can lead to gaps in the communication process, but using them together efficiently will enable leaders to answer any of their teams’ communication needs.

Email, while offering clear lines of communication for top-down information, leaves little room for horizontal communication. Discussion groups make it possible to share information in a more conversational way, but can also lead to information loss in the constant flow, and can create confidentiality problems when sending secured data.

A company intranet lets leaders publish and organize the right knowledge, while sharing the most important information to the right people. However it is not an ideal platform for instant messaging – which is often necessary in a crisis situation.

Managers must then use all three channels to obtain the best possible results. Emails can be used to share HR information and official company news, or “top-down” information. Chat groups are a way to stay in contact with the entire team and to share instant information and quick advice. And finally the company intranet can be used as the central knowledge base and for organized discussion by the entire team.

 

LumApps Intranet Mobile Notifications

 

5. Using a corporate intranet in a crisis situation

Using the corporate intranet has many specific advantages compared to most other methods of communication, especially to reach frontline workers who are even more isolated in this situation.

  • It offers horizontal communication for dialog between employees and lets them post and share more information among themselves, which is also more personalized compared to email and other communication channels.
  • The usage of mobile intranet applications lets leaders immediately send notifications and information in real time to employees. Applications are best to share sensible and more accurate information directly, rather than through non official channels like email.
  • The intranet can host a database for important documents so that employees access the best possible information, as long as it’s maintained and up-to-date.
  • The intranet is a great platform to identify experts and give them access to specific spaces, so the right people share the right information.
  • Communities can be created in a multi-team approach – letting departments and business or geographical units, etc. communicate on issues that concern them directly, thus avoiding confusion and information loss in the email feed.
  • The intranet lets leaders easily highlight news, as well as surface the most relevant and crucial information to the foreground – ready for consumption.
  • The platform can also provide a space for experience and knowledge sharing, in order to combat isolation in these uncertain times.

 

What about security data in this context?

These solutions must be dedicated to crisis communication. Their access must be limited to the right uses and each user is personally responsible for respecting guidelines.

 

Discover how the LumApps platform can streamline your internal communication and help you create a unified experience, for all employee groups and in all circumstances.

Author

Asya Stamenova
Brand Content Writer

Category

Frontline Workers

Published on

April 2, 2020