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What tools can be used to inform unconnected employees?

The health crisis has highlighted the disparities in the flow of information internally. So how do you better inform disconnected employees?

With the lockdowns, companies had to adapt their internal comunication within a few days. Their employees were no longer working in the same old ways, or at the same desks. Situations could be very different from one to another, impacted by different factors:
  • home office
  • part-time work
  • short-time work
  • working in half-shifts

The classic tools used to communicate internally, such as the intranet or news boards were no longer sufficient. 

However, the need to inform employees was still present… And even more than before. New health policies, changes in the organization, daily news and business updates had to reach every single employee.

Identify and inform the disconnected employees

Several trends have emerged. For the connected employees, there was a reinforcement of the digital channels. Some discussion areas/forums have appeared on some intranets. Tools like Teams were adopted or reinforced.

In order to inform the disconnected staff, other strategies were put in place. 
First of all, we can list three levels of disconnected employees:

  • those who have an email address, and can therefore access the online communication channels, even if they do not work on a computer.
  • those who can access the company network at certain times in the day
  • those who do not have a work email, and do not have any access to a computer

Several types of tools had to be used, in different contexts. This is even more true during the health crisis as it increased the number of disconnected employees due to short-time work. Those employees needed to keep a link with their companies, and be updated with the evolution of the situation.

4 tools to inform the disconnected staff

Several solutions exist to reach the employees who do not have a computer access. We have chosen to name four below.

1) Billboards to inform disconnected employees in the field

Posters are the most classic tools to reach the employees working in a plant, on a construction or mining site. This channel relates both to posters and screens. They can be used to communicate about:

  • health and safety policies 
  • occasional communication campaigns 
  • a summary of the company’s news

With the use of screens, display becomes more dynamic. It can also broadcast more information, and highlight the most important ones.

2) The internal app, in a BYOD model (Bring Your Own Device)

The internal app can complement the display very efficiently. It makes it possible to reach directly the employees whether they are on site, travelling or in home office.

It is also a tool that can be adapted to the company’s needs. Employees can choose to activate notifications to be informed in real time of major news. This solution avoids the more intrusive method of sending text messages.

The internal application is adapted to inform disconnected employees. If they wish, they can install it on their personal phone. This is BYOD, or “Bring Your Own Device”. The difference between “connected” and “disconnected” employees in terms of the information they receive can thus become blurred.

3) Inform disconnected employees through their managers

Managers can prove to be essential to inform the employees who are not connected. They can pass on the information, answer their colleagues questions… And bring up to the top management the questions and comments of the employees.

This role only represents a small part of their mission as a manager. It is therefore important to give them dedicated communication kits, in order to support them as much as possible.

4) Paper documentation

Physical tools are also relevant to inform disconnected employees. The distribution (or mere presence) of flyers allows for the rapid spread of urgent information.

In parallel, the internal magazine in its paper format is a good complement. It is the ideal channel for substantive information, particularly regarding the company’s projects.

The combination of these four tools allows to maintain a regular contact between the company and the non-connected employees. Urgent information, as well as substantive elements can therefore find their place.

The health crisis has also shown the importance of valuing employees in the field. Facilitating their access to internal content is a sign of recognition from the company.