How mobile-first communication benefits frontline workers

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During the current uncertainty of coronavirus it’s more important than ever for employers to effectively communicate with their frontline workers about health and safety concerns and compliance issues.

Since frontline workers typically do not work behind a desk and on a computer, communicating via email and intranet are not as effective in getting the information across to them, says Cristian Grossmann, CEO of Beekeeper, a communication and operations platform for frontline workers. The company sends out communications through 1:1 messaging, group chats and voice messages.

“It’s important to not overwhelm frontline workers with too many tools. You can’t ask them to download 12 or 15 apps like you would an office worker,” he says. “That's why having a single point of contact for everything that revolves around communication processes and systems is the best way because they're already mobile-first.”

Beekeeper, whose clients include Hilton and Domino’s, helps companies communicate with their non-desk workforce, which includes workers in manufacturing, distribution centers, retail locations and the hospitality industry. Through the platform, employees can see their shifts and schedules, access important documents, communicate with their immediate team and frontline manager, access HR systems and other workforce management systems.

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Because of COVID-19, federal and state regulations and restrictions impacting businesses can change from one day to another, says Grossmann. It’s crucial employers and employees can communicate, enforce changes and have access to health and safety data.

“One of our customers used to have a huge cost point in terms of releasing these health and safety notices; they had to do posters, put them in the factories, and make sure that everybody saw them when they entered,” he says. “Technology can definitely be very helpful in not having to do that every single week.”

Frontline workers have also been impacted by layoffs and furloughs throughout the pandemic. Mobile-first communications can be an essential tool for recruiting and interviewing, since many frontline employees tend to communicate through text, SMS or WhatsApp, instead of email. These hurdles can significantly reduce access to new job opportunities, as email communication is often a requirement throughout a candidate's job application process.

Employers are turning to a variety of options like app-less interviewing and SMS scheduling to eliminate barriers that still exist for candidates. HireVue, a software company that provides pre-employment assessment and video interview tools, recently launched new software that allows candidates to apply and interview for jobs via text.

“We believe that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not,” says Kevin Parker, chairman and CEO at HireVue. “So it’s about how to reach the talent in the places where they are, with the methods of communication that are most convenient for them.”

See also: Strategies for communicating with all five generations in the workforce

Mobile communication can foster better connections between employers and their workers, and help frontline employees access critical information, Grossman says.

“Due to the pandemic, it has become even more evident that in very uncertain times, having fast access to information and feedback from the company and employees has become more important than ever,” he says. “It's a matter of trust, engagement and reliability if you can get everything you need in a simple manner where you probably spend most of your time when you're not at work, which is your mobile phone.”

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Employee communications Workplace safety and security