How to keep connected to a workforce on the move?

The workforce is changing.


Post global financial crisis, companies are moving from a recession mindset to a growth mindset according to Jeff Schwartz, principal of Deloitte Consulting. Employers can’t expect performance, loyalty or engagement from staff using old methods of management and communication.


New approaches and new tools need to be developed.


The Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2014 report indicates that the workforce is not only younger, and older, it is also more mobile, with people seeking better work-life balance. The trend to work away from the office and for people to seek more flexibility in the way they work is growing.


Communication has always been key to engaging staff. Yet, getting communications right in any business is tricky. There is no one single solution. There are a number of factors that companies need to get right.


Email, face-to-face and the phone continue to be standard mechanisms for communicating both within a business and to clients and customers, with social media and content marketing trends leading the push to getting the message into the public arena.


Leadership management methods like business coach Verne Harnish’s Mastering the Rockefeller Habits are being adopted by many business leaders to improve internal communications. It encourages daily ‘huddles’ as a tool for communicating key goals and maintaining motivation around a business’ objectives.


Yet, when it comes to a mobile workforce, the standard communications channels don’t always work. How you communicate and when, becomes so important when your staff work offsite.


Texting is commonplace, but expensive for businesses. And evidence points to group emails being overlooked, or offsite staff not even accessing emails. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter are being used, but there are drawbacks in the public nature of the platform when private messages need to be shared. More and more businesses are looking to new technology to fill the gaps and improve internal communications.


With my business partner, Brad Kazazes, we have spent two years working on a technological solution that capitalises on the high use of smartphones. Companies in mining, healthcare, and industries with high numbers of staff offsite are adopting mobile-based applications to share operation-critical information with staff. New technology is also providing a solution to the high-cost of using telecommunications services like phone calls or SMS for employers.


With mobile-based technology it’s possible to have an application that is secure, cost effective and gets the message into the hands of staff. What’s important is that people don’t feel out of the loop, or outside of the decision-making, whether they are in the office or working remotely.


It also avoids two classes of workers in the same organisation. Head office being dubbed the enemy is not uncommon where staff work away from the office.


Using smart technology to easily broadcast important messages is the newest and most effective way for businesses to let staff know what is going on. They feel more connected and are more likely to report being happy at work.


According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2014 report, retention and engagement is the second biggest human capital challenge businesses face.


Communicating critical messages that reach staff just might be one of the answers businesses are looking for in their mission to inspire loyalty and engagement. New technology has an important role to play in unlocking one of the biggest human capital challenges in business today – happy, productive and loyal staff.


The latest in mobile-based technology is critical to communicating with the growing mobile workforce.


Julie Bray is the managing director of Konnective and a former Deloitte Client Director. Konnective is a new technology that provides secure messaging for big business.


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