The way that we communicate in our personal lives has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Younger team members have grown up with social media messaging and instant interaction as part of their daily lives.
In a world where a smartphone can be purchased for as little as $20, the way that we engage with one another has changed forever. So why has so little evolution occurred in the workplace?
What is an internal communication tool?
Traditionally, corporate email and (in some cases) a staff intranet have been used for communication for most Leisure Operators. Everything from company news, announcements, reminders and policy changes are distributed to staff on a daily basis, and this really hasn’t changed for years. The only thing that has changed is the sheer volume of email that staff receive on a daily basis (the average worker is reported to receive 121 work related emails every single day).
However, both of these mediums have pitfalls. Due to the associated time and cost, corporate email is generally limited to management staff whilst implementation of an intranet generally only includes those staff who have already been allocated a corporate email address.
An internal communication tool allows management to simplify and centralise all communications within the company, providing relevant content to specific staff and including all team members. Not just the privileged few with corporate email accounts.
Why does your business need an internal communications tool?
Nobody will argue that Staff often need to communicate with one another on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. In a world where social media has created an expectation of fast and instant interaction, team members are often ignoring “official” and dated methods of communication, and implementing their own communication methods — completely out of company control.
No matter the size of the business, using an internal communication tool will improve efficiency, avoid communication issues and include all team members, not just the more senior staff with corporate email accounts.
Understanding the communication challenge
Leisure as a general rule has a typically high turn over of a (generally) young workforce. A good proportion of staff are casual, working perhaps just a few hours per week. Some staff carry our multiple roles across various Clubs / Centres. Communicating the right message to the right team members at the right time is challenging. When the majority of staff don’t have corporate email or access to a company computer, the task becomes almost impossible.
Understand what your employees want
Implementing a system your employees can’t access or do not want to access ends up being a complete waste of time and resource. No truer example has been set than with a company Intranet. Often dated and cumbersome, few team members have regular access within the Leisure Industry, so unlikely to boost engagement.
Interestingly though, there has been a huge surge in employees taking matters into their own hands and using consumer based apps such as Whatsapp for work based purposes. Whilst this may be insecure and out of the companies control, it does show that there is demand for instant and fast communication on the smartphone.
Understand that employees are not going to stop using their smartphone at work…
… especially now that messages arrive on their wrist via wearable technology. Businesses need to create a culture in the workplace, creating safe and welcoming environments for customers, whilst leveraging employee “smartphone addiction”.
Consider the benefits
Implementation of a team communication tool across the entire company (not just office workers) can bring huge rewards to your company. Getting the right message to the correct member of staff exactly when you need it can be the difference between covering a class and cancelling the class. As the team become more connected, they can respond to updates / events and developments faster, meaning that they can make faster business decisions and in turn provide your customers with better customer service.