Begin with Texting
When should you begin to use text to communicate with your employees? The answer is: before they begin working with you. Use text to help new employees during the onboarding process, as reminders to fill out paperwork, bring important documents, and even to schedule interviews during the hiring phase. From the beginning of the employee's introduction to the company, set the tone that your company uses texting to communicate with them.
Once the use of text is set as a standard mode of communication, texting can then be used to achieve the five practices mentioned under the Rules for Engagement for achieving full employee engagement. For example: 1. Focusing on the Individual
—Text the employee to let them know how important they are to the organization. Leadership expert, John C. Maxwell, in his book, Developing the Leader Within You
, states that six of the most important words an employee can hear is, "What you do makes a difference." When an employee doesn't believe that what they are doing has a positive impact on the success of the company, they lose interest and become unengaged in their work. Their attitude toward their work becomes negative, and therefore their performance suffers.
Using text to motivate an employee is extremely powerful. For most hourly workers, their smart phone is their lifeline to the world, or at least their world. When they receive an encouraging text from their immediate supervisor, it has an immediate impact. The text is cherished. The employee walks taller and views the business as something that they are genuinely a significant part of. 2. Applying the Pareto Principle
—By using text to communicate to the top 20 percent of your hourly employees, you are generating a two-prong benefit. First, you have a group of individuals who are begin to feel the motivation and encouragement from your texts. A tribe of sorts is developing of an elite group of loyal workers. If done right, the texts will be seen as a vehicle for them to get noticed. They realize their performance is being watched and appreciated.
The second benefit is that the remaining 80 percent of employees will typically begin to follow the "elite" 20 percent and want what they have. The employees who were performing below par may begin to show signs of improvement, (or they may leave, which may be a good thing), and eventually enter the top 20 percent club. Either way, the texting works to increase employee engagement. 3. Making Special Days Special
—Keep a calendar or have someone remind you when an employee has a special day such as a birthday, a work anniversary, the birth of a child, etc. Address the employee by name, texting a congratulations or Happy Birthday along with a special note. Everyone wants to be remembered on special days. By texting on these dates, you are showing the employee that you are a human being and that you care about them and that they are more than a company asset. 4. Give Recognition Frequently
—When an employee performs a task well or completes a project, do more than tell them so. Text them directly that you appreciate what they've done. In addition, send a company-wide text letting everyone know what a great job this employee did. Text an employee when they aren't even expecting it. For example, let's say you learn that an employee worked late to complete a deadline or went above and beyond to please a customer. Text them about what you've discovered and thank them for working so diligently to provide a great service. 5. Make it Easy for Employees to Give Feedback
—When you open up the use of company-wide texting as a two-way communication tool, you increase the chances of full employee engagement tremendously. Make it known via the employee handbook, company policies, intranet messages, and especially through texting, that any and all feedback is accepted using text. Let the employees know that they are empowered to send creative ideas, suggestions, critique of a policy, customer service comments, and anything else directly to you.
Empowering your employees to even have some say in their schedule and other areas of work will help to increase employee engagement as well offer helpful suggestions that may help to reduce your company's administration time and effort. Incorporating some shift planner apps along with your texting efforts are a great way of giving some control back to your hourly employees. As mentioned before, DailyPay
is a good one as well as WhenIWork
. These all provide platforms for employees to view schedules, make shift requests, and send and receive texts.
The use of text for giving feedback should never be discouraged and just as important, acted upon. It is a good thing to provide this vehicle for employees to give their input, but it is useless if it stops there. The ideas, suggestions and comments need to be addressed and in a timely manner. A personal, not automated, return text should be sent at least within the first 24 hours after receiving it. This prompt response sends the message that your employees are being taken seriously and they are valued. A valued employee is an engaged employee. Eventually word spreads and others soon get involved with coming up with helpful, creative ideas.