How to Stay Connected with Field and Frontline Workers
New technologies have become essential for companies looking to communicate with distributed teams, whether they’re in the home, office or field. Workers of all types have the same need to stay informed and connected inside their organization. In a crisis situation, how can enterprises facilitate effective communication without diminishing productivity?
When the disconnect becomes critical during a crisis
Because each individual’s health and safety is a priority, when a crisis happens it’s critical to share actionable, accurate information in a timely manner. This is often easy to set in place for office workers. A few news articles or targeted alerts on the intranet, some official emails, and more give structure to an organized emergency communication plan.
What about disparately or disconnected employees? Without a company digital identity, a company email address or professional phone, efficient solutions become more scarce. Workers may wonder: “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 shocks and isolation
Employees in the field are often the most impacted by crisis situations. In contrast to office employees, they are unable to work remotely. Those who can must adapt their activities temporarily and quickly.
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. Isolation is not inevitable, solutions do exist and are worth exploring urgently in times of crisis.
The key role of field managers
Acting as a relay between operational management and essential 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 often the fastest 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 pass them up the chain of command as appropriate to support, HR and other relevant teams.
3. Targeted access to the company intranet
This solution’s strength is that it represents a more official and legitimate channel of communication for the company, with company controls and governance in place. 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 a business unit or team, with certain restrictions as appropriate for shared accounts,
- Access for field managers.
4. Match the right channels to the right use cases
Company email, while offering clear lines of communication for top-down information, can be less effective for horizontal communication among certain employees. A company intranet lets leaders publish and organize the right knowledge, while sharing the most important information to the right people.
Managers and leaders must navigate every channel available in a crisis effectively.
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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, especially for workers that lack corporate 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 uncertain times.
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.