Best Practices for Texting Employees

Josh Taylor
9/29/2022

TxtSquad on Laptop

Texting is one of the most effective communication methods there is, making it an excellent tool for engaging employees. The potential reach of texting is impressive, and organizations can target their desired audience accurately and quickly, potentially making for some remarkable results.

Why should organizations text?

Recent data shows that text messages are 5 times as likely to be read than emails, 8 times more likely to be replied to than email and responses occur as stunning 60 times as fast over text than email. That’s far better engagement with added urgency!

Texting can be effective for all organizations, from fast food restaurants, logistics, resource and energy companies and health care related businesses. Texting can be a valuable tool in engaging your employees to notify them, coordinate their movements, reschedule their shifts or to have a quick conversation.  

For more reasons why you should use texting in your organization visit: Why your business should use texting

Your employees are already texting!

If you were to talk with your managers today you would likely find they are already texting employees. Managers texting employees on their phones (work or personal) creates a significant liability for companies that can’t see these conversations. You wouldn’t let your managers communicate with your employees using their personal emails would you? So why are you allowing them to text without clear rules?

Of course, professional texting needs to be done right for it to be effective, and here are a few ways you can use texting with your employees.

Man Texting

Best practices for texting employees

1. Text during appropriate hours

Make it clear to managers when they can text employees. Employees should only expect to receive texts during certain predefined hours. This is a process known as Time Boxing. There are exceptions to this rule for on-call employees or filling shifts but even in those cases the employee should understand that texts arriving at this time are possible. 

Many employers are worried about the consequences of texting employees off the clock and many jurisdictions are even introducing legislation to prevent workers from being obligated to engage with work outside of work hours. An example of this legislation was introduced in Ontario, Canada and is often referred to as “The Right to Disconnect” legislation (for more information visit: Ontario's Written policy on disconnecting from work tips). 

This legislation is aimed at email and customer information systems. Notifications over text that are related to filling a shift or work related safety appear to be welcomed as long as they are clearly specified in the related texting policy.

texting at night

2. Be Professional

Texting is a medium that adds urgency to work communications but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a professional medium. Encourage managers to be direct and clear in their text engagements. Discourage the use of emoji’s or smiley faces that can be misinterpreted. Avoid late night personal conversations which could be misconstrued.

Make sure that the employee understands they are in a formal work conversation that could be audited. If anything inappropriate is texted please notify the employee that the text is inappropriate and consider engaging human resources if necessary. But most importantly, stick to the less is more concept - make sure it’s a medium that is only used for professional discussions as needed. Make sure it’s not used as an informal back channel for office gossip.

Emojis

3. Develop a Texting Policy

Your organization should have clear rules for managers and employees when texting. Ideally you have a texting policy which governs rules for texting including what you can text about, who can text who, when you can text and in what medium.

Formalize the professional nature of texting mentioned in the previous section in a clearly defined policy that’s included in your company's internal communication policy. Clear rules will remove any ambiguity while encouraging managers to embrace texting as a medium of communication.

4. Be Transparent 

If Managers are texting employees or if employees are texting each other without the organization having transparency, like they do with a work email system, then problems can occur. Transparency is only gained by voluntary audits of work phones or the use of a professional texting system.

Contrary to popular belief, texts that happen on a work phone are not available for export to a human resources information system like email can be centralized and reviewed by an IT department. For that very purpose we recommend you get a professional texting system for managers to use.

TxtSquad

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5. Use a Professional Texting System

With a professional system, like TxtSquad, you can achieve all these practices above and enforce your rules in the system. Professional texting systems give you transparency so that all engagements can be audited and texting policy can be enforced. This will give your organization a window into all manager to employee text conversations just like they have visibility into email conversations. 

In addition to transparency there are a myriad of features that can help a company using texting to drive employee engagement including:

  • Mass broadcast texting - send a message to a group of people within a company to notify them of something urgent

  • Automated texting - allow employees to engage with automated texts to agree to take on extra shifts or respond if on call

  • Contact list management - manage all employees into a list that can be segmented by department and role

For a better understanding of TxtSquad’s features please visit: TxtSquad's Features Page

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