4 ways to reach employees without computer access

Disconnected workers shouldn’t be ignored, but engaged. Here are some ways to accomplish just that.

Numerous studies (Gallup, Hay Group, Modern Survey) have looked at the importance of employee engagement. Employee engagement boosts company performance, innovation, job satisfaction and more. It is important to ensure you effectively communicate with your entire workforce—not just the employees in the office.

Employees connected to the company’s server and infrastructure are obviously easy to reach, and can provide great insight into your communications strategy’s effectiveness. But you may also need to reach employees with varying degrees of connectivity for your strategy to be successful.

Additionally, even connected employees may at times be disconnected from your corporate infrastructure. You need to ensure you can reach them during those times.

Here are a few strategies to engage disconnected workers:

1. Develop a mobile strategy.

Most people own a mobile device—even those not connected to your corporate infrastructure. Enabling disconnected employees to access your news and other communications on their mobile devices helps ensure that these workers remain up to date, are aligned with what the company is trying to accomplish and are more interested in doing their part. Some key elements of a successful mobile strategy include:

  • Consider bandwidth constraints and deliver mobile solutions that will run smoothly.
  • Ensure that social features are available so disconnected employees can communicate and collaborate with others. Engaged employees not only receive top down communications, but also have channels to voice their opinions. The ability to rate and comment on news and share information from a mobile device will increase engagement.
  • Ensure the solution can support whitelisted email domains beyond your corporate domain. This allows workers to access company information with their personal accounts while you maintain control over who can access your systems.

2. Empower local leaders.

Even in remote or disconnected locations there will likely be a manager you can ask to communicate information to his team. Make sure you work with these individuals to get them excited about company initiatives, and help them understand the capabilities they will have as a result.

Get input early and often. Understanding what the “boots on the ground” think will be the best ways to communicate information locally.

3. Ensure leaders hear disconnected employees.

Disconnected employees may have great ideas and input. Provide ways for these workers to share their knowledge, insight and concerns. For example, ensuring these employees have easy access to an online ideation tool will allow them to share ideas and receive feedback. This can go a long way to giving these users the voice they deserve and leaders need to hear.

4. Consider cloud-based solutions.

Many disconnected employees can access the Internet every now and then (at home or at a coffee shop, for example). Cloud-based solutions that require a simple login can open up key communication and engagement channels without the business complexities of providing access to solutions behind the corporate firewall.

Cloud-based applications continue to become more advanced, and can provide significant value at a reasonable cost. As with mobile solutions, consider bandwidth constraints and ensure the solution can support users without corporate email addresses if necessary.

An effective engagement strategy should reach all of your employees, and align them with your corporate strategy or initiative. Companies can reverse a range of engagement challenges by focusing on this often under-served group. Listen to this story of a factory worker in Ohio.

Demetrius Austin is the vice president of product management at Coldwater Software—makers of ElevatePoint products. A version of this article first appeared on the ElevatePoint blog.

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