External communications and customer engagement are a top priority for all successful businesses. However, to really excel in these areas, the same amount of focus should be placed on internal communications. Doing so can boost employee satisfaction and engagement, and bring the workforce together, eliminating silos.
One way to do this is through internal SMS communications - an effective way to deliver critical and time-sensitive information straight into the hands of employees.
Why SMS is ideal for internal communications
Internal communications isn’t a strategy that rests purely with HR. In fact, all departments should shoulder the responsibility to ensure cohesive communication between different teams and individual employees.
Some common methods for internal communications include email, newsletters, an intranet or staff presentations. These are all useful in one way or another, but they also have downsides. Emails and newsletters can often go ignored, while an intranet relies on employees logging onto a website to read the necessary information. And presentations need to be organised in advance, rendering them ineffective for urgent announcements.
If you need to deliver an urgent message quickly, SMS is the most effective channel to use. It’s fast, reliable, and most importantly, accessible by just about everyone. In 2014, a study by Gallup reported that texting was the most frequently used communication method for Americans aged under 50. Nowadays, mobile phones are still the number one communication channel globally.
Text messages don’t require internet connectivity to reach their destination. They’re also highly noticeable, usually arriving with a sound or a vibration. And because text messages have to be short (160 characters), they’re also much more memorable than an email or other longer form of communication. SMS is also useful for reaching people off-site who don’t need to work via a computer, for example, a security guard or a utility engineer.
Use cases for internal SMS
SMS can be used to send out a range of communications from HR, or from one team to another. Here are some use cases and examples:
SMS is perfect for sending out quick reminders about company meetings, conference calls, new business processes, project deadlines or training and certification renewal dates. These can be read quickly by the relevant employees, even when they’re moving around the workplace.
Hi [name]. The quarterly update webinar starts at 10 am prompt. See your email for login details.
Hello [name]. Your Driver CPC training is due for renewal in April. Contact HR for training details.
Shift scheduling and updates
If employees operate via a shift pattern, as they might in a factory, internal SMS can be used to send out notifications of shift schedules. The instantaneous nature of text messages means that changes to shift schedules (e.g. due to staff absences) can be communicated as soon as issues arise.
Overtime opportunity: due to staff absences, we need cover for Friday, 6 am to 2 pm. Contact your line manager if interested.
Hi [name]. Due to a breakdown on the production line, all-night shifts are cancelled for the next week. More info to follow.
Government buildings or businesses that need to protect high-value assets could use internal SMS to inform staff about security breaches, or if there’s a need for the building to be evacuated.
POSSIBLE BOMB THREAT: suspicious object in main lobby. Investigation in progress. Evacuate via the nearest exit until further notice.
Security alert: Door 351c on level 3 has been breached. Lockdown procedures initiated. Stay at your desk and wait for instructions.
Internal SMS can be used to inform staff about new job vacancies, redundancies or changes to working contracts. This is best used as a supplement to more detailed information sent out via email, the intranet or company newsletter.
The intranet has just been updated with the latest internal job vacancies. Log on to view and apply. [URL].
ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to unanticipated losses this year, we are unfortunately looking to make redundancies. Please check your email for details.
Many businesses realise the importance of employee engagement, but not all have a plan to develop the right conditions to make the workplace better. According to the company Gallagher, 60% of North American internal communicators say their organisation has no long-term strategy or vision for employee engagement.
A good starting point is to gather opinions on employee morale and new ways of working, Internal SMS can help you get more responses than what you can achieve with an email survey. Interestingly, three out of five employees ignore emails while at work!
With SMS, you can easily add a link to an online questionnaire. Be sure to make it mobile friendly so that employees have a smooth experience when completing it.
Employee satisfaction survey now live. Your voice matters! Take 5 mins to answer these multiple-choice questions: [URL]
Hi [name]. Help us improve our company culture. Tell us what you like and don’t like about working for [company name]. [URL]
When it comes to a crisis, SMS is the best tool for getting the word out right away. Imagine a scenario where your employees need to work from home - a power outage, a flood, a fire - or an unexpected COVID-19 lockdown. You could quickly send out a text to notify all staff not to travel into work.
Weather warnings are another type of alert that you can send by internal SMS. One example where this might be useful is if you run a vehicle fleet and need to notify drivers about hazardous road conditions.
URGENT: Problem with water supply at head office. Please work from home - team meeting will be held virtually at 10am as planned.
Severe weather warning: Storm Harlow set to hit southern UK in a few hours. Expect flooding and road closures. Find alternative route.
Getting started with internal SMS
Internal SMS can help you keep employees informed, educated and engaged, and in turn, improve company culture, boost productivity and increase morale.
The first step to getting started is to choose a reputable SMS platform that lets you upload employee phone numbers (or can integrate with your business database). After that, you could set up groups within the platform for different teams. This would enable you to send internal communications to different departments, as well as the entire company or just to specific individuals.
Messente makes sending out internal SMS messages simple. Learn more.