We are inundated with information every day, but our phones are never far from us. At work, phones are often on desks right next to computers. At home, phones are often at the dinner table during family time. No matter how busy our lives can get, our phones are a staple. So when you need to communicate an important update about your company to your employees, how should you get the word out? Texting! It’s more likely to be read – and read quickly – than email or other communication methods traditional to the business world. There are many different ways to use SMS for internal business communication.
4 Reasons to Text for Internal Communication
Human Resources Announcements
There are many reasons why human resources may need to communicate with employees. Payday reminders, tax information, and benefits information are all common reasons HR sends out mass emails. But a lot of those emails go unopened and unread. Many go straight to the trash. For important HR alerts, like benefits enrollment periods or deadlines to submit changes to your tax information, a quick text is more likely to be read by employees. This is more likely to spur the needed action by the employee, too, so HR isn’t having to track down individuals who miss the initial deadlines.
It happens – sometimes people call out sick or no show for work. In those scenarios, you may need to quickly find some coverage. What do you do? You can start calling employees to see who answers the phone, or you can send a text asking who can pick up an additional shift. Texting is more likely to get a response, or at least to get read. You can even use texting for schedule changes that aren’t so last minute. With holiday weeks or employee vacations, you may know in advance the schedules you need to shift around – and texting gives you the opportunity to remind employees if they may be working on a day or time that they don’t usually work. This will help reduce the chance that they forget their alternate schedule.
Office Closures or Delayed Openings
Occasionally an emergency situation will necessitate an office closure or delayed opening. This happens when there’s a power outage, water shutoff, or Internet outage. It can also happen with severe weather conditions. Not all employees will check their emails before heading out for the day to commute to work, and calling every single employee scheduled that day is time consuming. You can send a mass text to all employees instead, quickly getting the word out about any closures.
Event or Meeting Reminders
If you have large events like a sales conference or training, all company meetings, or important dates, you can send out reminder texts to your employees. When you need all employees to be on board and in attendance, reminders are the best way to make sure the event doesn’t slip through the cracks. Alerts can be pre-scheduled so you can send a one week and one day reminder with just a quick click of a button.
Other Ways to Use Texting at Work
Employees aren’t the only people who could benefit from a text from your organization. You can even use texting with potential employees, throughout the recruiting process. You can give updates to applications (even if that update is a “we went in another direction”). You can send messages to customers as well, when your company has promotions or upcoming events. Once you invest in SMS services, there are endless ways to use texting for your company.
Best Practices for Texting Employees
If you are going to start using texting for internal communication, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. You want to be respectful of your employees, especially if retaining talent is important to your company. So following a few best practices for texting employees will help keep employees happy and reading your messages.
Time of texts: Depending on where you live, there may be laws in place to protect employee work life balance. These right to disconnect laws (in Canada, France, Germany, and other places) mean that during certain hours, employees have the right to disconnect from work and focus on other parts of their life. If the message is not urgent in nature (like if it’s a reminder about an upcoming event) instead of something like a closure, you may want to refrain from texting during off the clock hours. You may be able to schedule the text to send during (or closer to) work hours the next workday.
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Consent: When an employee starts with your company or you begin to use SMS services, you can get employee consent to receive messages. This can be done automatically from the service, most of the time, much in the same way you have to reply Y or YES to receive messages from your favorite store. You can also get employees to sign a consent form to have on file with HR. These will ensure that employees know they may receive occasional messages from work to their personal phone, and can even explain what types of messages they will receive (HR, scheduling, emergencies, etc.).
Company policy: Make sure you have a company policy for texting that your employees can refer to if they have concerns. This can be available in the employee handbook and by request from the HR department. You can outline what types of messages your company uses SMS for, and suggested times that messages are sent (during work hours, outside of work hours, one hour before shift, or any other guidance you have). This policy can also explain to managers how they can request a text be sent to their team, if you have HR or the communication team handling this.
Use SMS for Internal Communication with TxtSquad
While there are many SMS services available today, TxtSquad brings all of the features that allow you to better communicate with your employees about closures, HR updates, scheduling changes, and more. Book a demo or start a free trial to see how TxtSquad can keep your employees informed of all the updates that impact their work life.