Poor communication and employee engagement is often the Achilles’ heel of any company that has desktop and non-desk employees. Its costs and productivity losses are often hidden, which makes it hard to ferret out issues. But given that poor communication between employees can add up to over $26,000 per worker alone, it’s worth figuring out.
For example, Best Buy found that for every percentage point it boosted employee engagement, individual stores saw a $100,000 increase in operating income annually. Bridging the gap between field and office workers will ultimately be extremely beneficial to your organization.
Here are three ways to align knowledge workers with frontline employees.
1. Mobile Platform Communication
Enterprise mobile messaging platforms provide an impress return on employee engagement for all aspects of your business. Having an application that can be integrated into your business’s infrastructure can change key functions of your business for the better.
Chris Dermody, the CIO of Denver Water, recently pointed out how they were able to use mobile communication to bridge the gap between field and office workers: “The beauty of our mobile platform is that it integrates communication, information and process flows between field works and head-office workers/managers.
Not only is the work at a high level of efficiency and less cost, it’s done with higher quality and higher levels of accountability, all of which drive better customer service.”
2. Increased Communication with Management
In a study performed by Tribe Inc., they found: “Direct communication between top management and frontline employees could dramatically improve the customer experience.
These are the people making the products, delivering the service and interacting with customers. By bringing these employees into the loop, top management not only demonstrates that they respect and value frontline workers’ roles in the company’s success, they also better prepare these employees to deliver on the brand promise, thus providing a better customer experience.”
Use the opportunity to review the communication flows that occur between your employees and management. Guage feedback from employees and make adjustments as necessary, this will increase employee engagement and create a better atmosphere for communication between workers.
For example, Holcim launched their Beekeeper-based mobile communication tool when the company was on the cusp of a merger with Lafarge. The main challenge was to find ways to communicate with employees in different types of locations when particularly as about 1,000 of them don’t use email.
Although not mandatory, Holcim was obviously keen to encourage people to get involved. One of the ways it did this was to get the new chief executive to post, according to Susanne Sugimoto, head of communications and public affairs at Holcim:
At the beginning we didn’t have so many people, but when they heard the CEO was giving answers and that everybody had the possibility to ask him something, it slowly started. Now, people are brave enough to ask a question and he is answering within an hour. This is really engaging people.
3. Work Towards a Common Goal
Companies with poor communication usually just send tasks down the ladder and tell employees to make sure it gets done, without much more explanation. Creating an atmosphere of positive communication with big picture goals for all your employees can make a big difference.
Greg Schoppman, a consultant for the construction industry, advises that leaders need to communicate the direction of the company with field workers. “Firm leaders should set direction, but — channeling the spirit of Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City — they must ask, ‘How are we doing?’” Schoppman concluded, “It would be a disappointment to chart a vision for a firm but fail to gain commitment from those who ensure the ship gets to its final destination.”
Bridging the gap between your field and office workers will provide a productive means to solving interpersonal conflict and increase the level of communication.
Teamwork and employee engagement between office and field workers can be difficult to achieve, but by making it a priority, your employees will begin to view it with the same zeal and diligence they take to their work tasks.