How the New York Times reaches deskless plant workers without email access

Seven executive communicators in Ragan’s newest research report shared how they reach employees in the post-pandemic landscape.

The New York Times got creative in communicating with its deskless plant workers.

As communicators seek to engage dispersed workforces and help culture thrive, they must figure out a strategic mix of content, channels and cadence to consider how they ensure messages reach all employees.

In the Ragan Communications Leadership Council’s newest report, “Evolving Executive Comms to Engage Employees Everywhere,” seven executive communicators shared their experiences using traditional and innovative channels to reach employees in the post-pandemic landscape.

For the New York Times, that required the storied media brand to innovate and get creative.

Reaching deskless workers without access to traditional mass communications methods like email remains a challenge for communicators. Those seeking for creative solutions might want to look at how the employee communications team at The New York Times worked not to reach its journalists who report in far-flung places across the globe, but the deskless workers who print its paper every day.

Only a quarter of the publisher’s 650 printing plant employees had access to computers while at work, and even that access was limited. This caused plant workers to miss many messages meant for all employees, including surveys, which left them without a vital mechanism for feedback.

“We were thinking about meeting people where they’re at, especially given what we do,” says Tori Turner, vice president of HR and employee communications.

Other organizations with this same comms challenge have opted to supply employees with business-only cellphones, digital billboards on plant floors, or even stuffing napkin holders in the break room with printed materials.

In this case, the Times purchased four kiosks that allowed plant employees to not only engage with employee surveys but also to access other mass communications via the company intranet. Messaging pertaining to upcoming events, company or plant news, training opportunities, and even the organization’s diversity newsletter are accessed via QR codes at each kiosk.

These insights are just a sampling of one case study from “Evolving Executive Comms to Engage Employees Everywhere,” an exclusive report for Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, that reveals a range of employee engagement solutions during a very dynamic time.

To read the rest of the New York Times’ case study, download a copy of Ragan’s “Evolving Executive Comms to Engage Employees Everywhere” executive summary here. To obtain a full copy of the report, become a member of the Communications Leadership Council. Click here for more details.

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