There is plenty of talk about improving corporate communications, but too often field workers are ignored or get the short end of the stick. Whether it’s the retail, hospitality, or transportation industries, it is essential to have effective communication with your field workers to keep morale up, reduce training costs, and decrease employee turnover. In this post we’ll show you how you can make sure you’re field employees never feel out of the loop.
1. Increase Transparency
The main problem with field worker communication is the communication gap between workers and white collar management. Field workers want to be keep informed just like white collar workers, not just ply their trade out in the field. By keeping your field workers up to date with the latest company developments, policy changes, and visions for the future, they’ll feel more involved and buy-in to the projects and services you are trying to carry out in your company.
2. Gather feedback
Just like it’s hard for field workers to know what’s going on at headquarters, how can management improve the lives of their field workers if they don’t know what’s happening in the field? Quarterly town hall meetings, webinars, and enterprise messaging apps give field workers the opportunity to make their voice heard and give management valuable insights into how to engage their field employees. If you are concerned with getting honest feedback consider using anonymous qualitative surveys to get responses you otherwise wouldn’t get from you field workers.
3. Regularly meet with your people
Maybe the biggest mistake management makes is not meeting face to face with their field workers often enough. For example, Leighton Contractors, a major Australian construction company, was able to turn their dismally rated internal communications around in part by having management frequently meet with their field workers. For example, they started having Safety Roadshows, where executive management would go out to work sites and discuss safety issues with workers. By engaging their workers they were able to improve communications to the point that over 72 percent of workers now rate their internal communications as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
The value of improving communications doesn’t only improve the lives of your most important kind of capital — your employees — but it also has second order effects on your bottom line. For companies like Leighton Contractors, higher levels of employee engagement can result in a 50 percent decrease in accidents. What’s more, companies with high levels of employee engagement can see an average of 19.2 percent improvement in operating costs.
As Nitin Thakur, the head of communications at Max India Ltd., a Indian conglomerate that focuses on service businesses, says:
“If you use event and engagement based tools, then the blue-collar workers are more responsive. From my experience, creating a sense of involvement amongst the blue-collar employees can help register the message far better. They feel valued and wanted, which helps break the class-divide that invariably develops amongst the white collar and field work force.”