How are you communicating with your staff? Email? Slack? But are these the really most effective messaging services for your team. A recent study has shown that if you want to have meaningful and engaging communication with your staff, smartphones are the way forward.
The study revealed 85% of the population now owns a smartphone and a third of us admitted to being addicted to checking them. The reality is, your staff are checking their phones at work, but you can use this to your advantage. Done right, capitalising on smartphone communication can be a great way to show your staff that you understand them.
Should you be texting your staff?
Research shows that 92.2% of people still use their smartphones primarily for texting. In fact, 18 – 24-year-olds are sending and receiving – on average – 128 texts a day, and 25 – 34-year-olds send and receive around 75.
If you’ve got a relatively young staff, sending them a text might be the most efficient way to talk to them. The major benefit is that a text feels friendly. It offers you the chance to deliver feedback and critique in a way that doesn’t feel overly formal and allows you to connect with them on their level. And they want it. A study by VTLO founds that 70% of employees wish their bosses would communicate with them via SMS.
Another big benefit of texting your staff is that it is fast and reactive. Delayed messages and poor communication can cost your company money, especially if you have field staff or staff that work remotely or from home.
Texting also creates a quick and easy to follow log of all your communications with staff. So, if something goes wrong, it’s easy to establish the cause of the issue. Text logs can also be used by HR departments should a case of misconduct arise.
But, it is important to establish boundaries. You should only contact staff on their personal phones with their permission or alternatively, think about providing them with a work specific phone.
Is Email outdated?
In short, no. Email is still hugely popular – with 81% of 25 – 44-year-olds checking their email every week. The only difference is that people are more likely to check their emails on a smartphone than any other device. In fact, 92% of under 35’s would rather check their email on their smartphone than their laptop. Email, even through a shared inbox, is still a great way to connect with staff during the work day, but as with texting, set boundaries. Respect your staffs right to disconnect. Don’t send them emails at 11 pm or 6 am. This shows that you appreciate their personal life and trust that they are working efficiently during the workday.
Millennials in particular value a work-life balance. They will stay longer at a job that values their private life, personal time and mental health.
What about WhatsApp and Facebook messenger?
Both of these are hugely popular with all ages – Interestingly, 6% of users over 60 have migrated to WhatsApp and an impressive 43% have made the switch to Facebook Messenger. So it’s tempting to start capitalising on this to contact your staff members. But don’t. These are social messaging services – with the keyword being social. They aren’t meant for work and they blur the line between professional and private life – which your younger staff members could be particularly averse to.
In summary, ask your staff how they would best like to be contacted, respect their personal preferences and boundaries and you could significantly improve your internal communications – making your business run more seamlessly.
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