How do you communicate with your kids or significant other when you’re away from each other during the day? You probably text with them, right?
That’s not to say that texting replaces face-to-face communication in the morning while you’re getting ready, or at night over the dinner table. That face time (real face time, not the iPhone kind) is where you can bring up issues, show kindness and empathy, and strengthen your household relationships.
But when you’re apart—and wrapped up in the details of your work—texting is a great way to remain available to those who need you most, while also not being disruptive to your own daily grind.
In other words, text messages are used to exchange information (e.g. who is picking the kids up from school; if Tammy can come over for dinner; who is grabbing a gallon of milk on the way home) while face-to-face communication is used for deeper, more complex exchanges.
In our upcoming session at Win The Spring, we’ll show you how your professional relationships can benefit from this same dynamic and explain why texting with your frontline employees is key to retaining them in 2023. To get that ball rolling, here are three scenarios where texting with employees can not only solve problems, but strengthen relationships.
Scenario #1: Time-Sensitive Information
You’ve got six crews scheduled to head out to job sites tomorrow morning, but there’s a nasty storm coming in late tonight that’s supposed to last until mid-morning tomorrow.
The problem: It’s 8:30 PM, so everyone has gone home for the night, but you need to let them all know about a delayed start before they wake up early tomorrow morning and drive to the shop.
The solution: Send one text message to all field staff letting them know about the delayed start for the next day, as well as the time and location they should expect to meet.
Why it works: When it comes to last-minute schedule changes, you can’t rely on email to get the job done for frontline workers; there’s just no guarantee they’ll see it in time, if they even have an email address to begin with. You also can’t rely on yourself or your crew leaders to have the time to call everyone individually to get the message out. But with one text message—sent to all field labor and managers at the same time—you can have it taken care of in less than 60 seconds.
Scenario #2: The Language Barrier
Despite not speaking Spanish yourself, you’ve hired many Spanish-speaking employees for your crews. You appreciate their hard work and dedication to your company, but you have a hard time showing your appreciation due to the language barrier.
The problem: Your face-to-face communication with these employees is limited to very basic English or Spanish vocabulary, making it difficult to express complex emotions like thankfulness and gratitude for their loyalty.
The solution: Text-based communication makes it easy to use a digital translator to get your message into their language, and then to send it directly to the recipient.
Why it works: This simple workaround for communicating with employees in a different language is so effective because it allows the message to come directly from you. In finding a way to communicate in their language—instead of requiring them to learn yours—your actions are speaking louder than your words, and they’re saying “You are welcome here.”
Scenario #3: Employee Recognition & Appreciation
Manuel, one of your landscaping crew members, just passed his exam to become a certified horticultural technician. Manuel has been studying for this exam for over six months—ever since he told his crew leader he was interested in advancing his career at your company. This is the first of a three-part plan to prepare Manuel for a promotion.
The problem: Outside of his own crew, most of your employees don’t know Manuel that well—and even those that do know him aren’t aware that he’s been preparing for this exam, or that it’s part of his advancement plan.
The solution: Sending a text message to all staff informing them of Manuel’s achievement gives Manuel public recognition of a job well done, but also lets other employees know that they, too, can walk that same path to internal advancement.
Why it works: Field staff won’t see or read a congratulatory email message. Making the announcement at an all-staff meeting means anyone who isn’t there for that meeting won’t hear the message. But a text message? Who doesn’t want to open a text brimming over with good news? And then how many of them are likely to congratulate Manuel next time they see him around the shop?
These are only a few scenarios when using text messages to communicate with field staff just makes sense. But the possibilities are endless, and so are the ways that technology has advanced to support different needs and use cases.
If you’re interested in learning more about using technology to enhance the employee experience through better communication and recognition, make sure you’re registered for Win The Spring on March 9th.
Danielle is the Content Marketing Manager for Team Engine where she creates tools and resources to recruit, engage and retain deskless workers. In her spare time, she writes about immersive entertainment and manages marketing operations for a seasonal haunted house. Danielle lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two dogs where she enjoys year-round outdoor recreation including camping, hiking and snowshoeing.