As workplaces and their workforces have adjusted to the new normal of COVID-19 over the last couple months, we’ve seen some overarching challenges for teams to overcome: how to keep people informed and engaged with the ever-changing circumstances businesses have been faced with. Similarly, we’ve seen a theme in what can help organizations respond to these issues: employee mobility and the powerful top-down, peer-to-peer, two-way communication that this approach opens organizations up to.
On this topic, we wanted to share with you some learnings we took from a webinar on Leveraging Employee Mobility During the Pandemic hosted by Axsium President Bob Clements and their practice lead for Employee Mobility, Andrew Martel. They give incredible insight into how retailers are implementing and leveraging employee mobility solutions to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
First things first: what is employee mobility? Essentially, this means that team members are empowered to ‘use untethered devices in and out of the workplace, allowing them to do work and productivity tasks with flexibility’. Importantly, this extends beyond normal tasks you may think of and includes critical company communications, training and more. It allows for more flexibility and autonomy for employees, particularly in frontline workforces that must physically be present for their work, and as a result may not typically have as much flexibility.
Read on for our top webinar highlights on why communication is the central piece to implementing a successful employee mobility solution:
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, communication has been an obstacle for many organizations that depend on a largely deskless frontline workforce. The last couple months have shown that communication is not only a key player in smooth operations, but also an opportunity for employers to strengthen their relationship with the frontline and get real-time communication to their managers and employees. Never has it been more important for information about processes and procedures, especially as they relate to health and safety, to be quickly and efficiently communicated. Andrew Martel used the example of essential businesses who have new or bulk hires and the need to onboard them at a faster pace - and without in-person training the majority of the time. Having a solution that allows for real-time, distanced communication is critical to successfully keeping employees, existing and new, informed.
Enabling an employee mobility solution not only ensures that your organization has direct communication with your frontline, but that the right communication is getting through. As Bob Clements pointed out during the webinar, this can otherwise look all too much like a confusing game of telephone, with messages getting lost in translation. In an organization where many employees may not have access to a corporate email or intranet, allowing for employee mobility “breaks down the wall and allows them easier access to direct messaging.”
While Andrew and Bob broke down five components you need to think through while approaching employee mobility during a chaotic time, the first they mentioned was communication and two types they said to consider: top-down and peer-to-peer. Top-down, two-way communication allows for consistent messaging across employees, locations and circumstances. This also makes it easy for employees to ask questions and get clarification on crucial information that they need to do their job well. The reality is that peer-to-peer communication will happen in a workplace, whether employees have been given the tools to do so in a secure, safe way. Enabling employee mobility with a digital workplace tool keeps data security concerns at bay, while still allowing for knowledge sharing and relationship and culture building among team members.
The idea of implementing a new strategic initiative like an employee mobility solution sounds far more overwhelming than it may actually be. Daily change and being in a state of flux is our new normal right now, and people are far more adaptable to change now than they probably would have been pre-COVID-19. See this as an opportunity to transform your organization for the better - and to come out of this crisis even stronger.
For more insights on how to develop powerful and cohesive two-way communications during this crisis and any others that may arise in the future, download our new free eBook: Frontline Communications at Crisis Speed.
If you and your team are curious about or ready to start implementing fast, efficient and powerful communication with your frontline workforce - especially during COVID-19 - please don’t hesitate to let us know. We are waiving fees for businesses directly affected by COVID-19 and offering 24-hour deployment and would love to help!
Unsplash photography by Patrick Tomasso