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The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

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Tips for Reaching Non-Wired Employees

  
  
  
  
  
  

offlineWe know that supervisors are critical to communication, but nowhere are they more pivotal than in reaching non-wired employees.

Drivers, manufacturing workers, transportation personnel—anyone whose job has limited need for communication technology—present a particular challenge. In many cases, these people are on the move. They may be on wheels or in the air, traveling from point A to point B, with a job that demands utmost concentration and little connectivity. They may be hourly workers who literally lose money for the organization if they take shift time to stop and “receive” communication. Or, they may have some access—maybe to a computer kiosk or remote log-in from home—but often it is limited.

Here are some tried and true methods to reach these special groups:

  • Shift meetings—Many facilities, from manufacturers to hotels, have a daily stand-up meeting where supervisors share key information and motivational messages and invite employee input. These 5-to-10-minute gatherings must be focused (ideally scripted) to deliver the main talking points. The meetings should follow standards set by the group and take extra time for critical discussions when needed.
  • Posters and signage—Simple and functional signage in manufacturing areas, break rooms, and in locker areas can be effective for non-wired audiences. Use clear language and graphics that reflect the urgency and importance of the information. If material has a short lifespan, note a “remove” date on each item so postings can be kept current.
  • Technology kiosks and home access—Even when offered access to technology, some workers may be challenged to use it for any length of time. For people less familiar with technology, placing instruction cards for using certain programs can be helpful. Even for those who are comfortable with technology and access it away from work, less communication is preferable unless they can take work time to read and answer it.
  • Audio messages—Opportunities to play audio in the workplace, hear it on the intranet, or receive voicemail messages allow for a different communication approach. Brief scripts for key information can include an introduction, call to action, and conclusion.
  • Text messages—For workers who are highly mobile, group text messaging could be an answer to deliver urgent or critical communication. If it is used across the company, be aware of employee costs involved with receiving text messages and if this becomes a consistent way of communicating, consider covering their work-related expense. 
  • Employee input—Every organization needs multiple ways to gather employees’ input so they know their voices are heard. This could include employee surveys, a suggestion box or website form, or even occasional focus groups.
  • Supervisor support—Employees hear the message when it is repeated often, and educating supervisors in communication can pay big dividends. Be sure to provide them with talking points and tips for major initiatives to help supervisors internalize and share the key information with their employees.
What strategy works best for you to reach your hard-to-reach employees?

--David Grossman 

Comments

Thanks for sharing these great ideas. It's easy to forget that not everyone is online and as a result important information eludes many employees. 
 
Your last suggestion is especially helpful. Research indicates that employees want to hear important organizational messages from their direct supervisors. So finding ways to engage supervisors in such messaging may be among the most powerful ways to reach the hard to reach employee! 
 
Thanks for raising awareness around this!
Posted @ Tuesday, July 03, 2012 10:40 AM by Julie Winkle Giulioni
I’m glad you found the article of value, Julie. Thanks for sharing your key takeaways.
Posted @ Thursday, July 05, 2012 5:02 PM by David Grossman
Recenty in China an employee communications manager mentioned that bathroom stall posters/ signs are their most effective communications tools for wired and non-wired employees.
Posted @ Monday, July 09, 2012 4:01 PM by Jeff Smith
Jeff - thanks for sharing. It's always great to hear folks are honing in on the right vehicles for their audience.
Posted @ Friday, July 13, 2012 5:38 PM by David Grossman
So we're not crazy! Thank you for this. We do use most of these methods so it's reassuring to read that it aligns with best/common practices. Shift meetings are especially important as well as employee input. By having a feedback box you can really eliminate 'housekeeping' questions that take up time in bigger meetings like a town hall.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1:13 PM by Tiffany
Thanks for sharing, Tiffany. Happy to hear you’re finding value in these resources
Posted @ Monday, July 23, 2012 4:23 PM by David Grossman
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