“Can you cover tomorrow’s shift for so-and-so?”
Read 7:12 PM.
Many working Americans report experiencing a negative emotional response to the end of the weekend and personal freetime as the “Sunday Scaries”–an anxious feeling about the work week ahead that cuts into the final hours of off-the-clock bliss. But, perhaps the only thing worse to interrupt an employee’s time off work is receiving unexpected or poorly timed messages from their employer.
While some employees may not look forward to receiving work-related texts during time off, text messaging solutions for frontline employees can be extremely effective if coordinated in a way that respects their personal time.
Ultimately, employees want to feel like they are connected to the purposeful and necessary work they do to keep the companies they work for running smoothly and provide for themselves and their families.
Employees who feel connected to their work and work family will be more engaged at work. It really is that simple, sometimes.
Workforce engagement is a slippery yet vital performance metric all company leaders and managers of frontline, hourly-paid employees should be striving to improve – if they ultimately want to remain viable in the post-pandemic economy.
Employee Burnout Lowers Productivity and Morale
A lack of work-life balance is already leading some U.S. employees to burnout and eventual turnover. Employee burnout is unnecessary and can often be traced back to a lack of healthy boundaries.
That's why cultivating a healthy workplace for frontline employees is imperative for work leadership and company owners. A good place to start is by:
- Cultivating a workplace culture of respect and dignity
- Developing healthy protocols for communicating internally, and
- Procuring an efficient frontline employee messaging system that is compliant and respects workers’ personal time
There is often a disconnect between management and frontline employees because management and the C-suite create the policies that affect all workers.
A survey by Future Forum and sponsored by Slack found that more than 40% of American workers are experiencing burnout.
“The percentage of employees who say they are burned out rose 8% among the global workforce (from 37% to 40%) between May and August. The rise was even more pronounced among U.S. workers, rising 16% between May and August from 37% to 43%. U.S. workers now show the highest incidence of burnout globally with more than two out of every five U.S. workers saying they are burned out.”
Ignoring healthy boundaries between work and life and between the workplace and home can lead to higher stress levels, lower morale, and decreased productivity on the job. On the other hand, employee managers need to have an effective line of communication with all employees - even those that may have a day or shift off when the message needs to be sent.
On average, text messages have a 98% open rate and are typically read within 3 minutes of being received. So, there’s a likely chance your message will be viewed almost immediately. Because of this, it is essential to have an effective plan behind every communication. We’ve compiled a few tips for better frontline employee engagement off-the-clock when the best choice is an after-work text.
Managers of frontline workers in nearly all industries should strategize with corporate leaders and HR experts to develop consistent worker communication policies that align with nationally recognized best practices for communicating efficiently with their skilled workforce.
A Tight Labor Market, Low Worker Participation Rates, and Employee Churn
Communication practices in the workplace will become increasingly important in the digital-first workplace ecosystem within the larger framework of society, home life, and the micro communities that form the fabric of frontline employment.
Having trouble keeping your best talent? Get goHappy Hub’s free engagement checklist with actionable tips to improve employee engagement and overall retention.
The labor shortage is challenging many sectors of the economy. Combined with the more complex issue of low worker participation rates, businesses are facing a Tsunami of challenges to attract, train, manage, and retain skilled workers.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Congress, a private, non-profit business league that sits in an enormous building across from the U.S. White House, the U.S. has ”3 million fewer Americans working today compared to February of 2020.”
“Right now, the latest data shows that we have over 10 million job openings in the U.S.—but only 5.7 million unemployed workers,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated in an exhaustive report on the labor shortage and dwindling labor force participation.
The report explores how the pandemic led to what has been termed The Great Resignation – a phenomenon credited with millions of Americans walking away from jobs. Burnout, low pay, health concerns, lack of affordable childcare, toxic workplaces, and poor workplace conditions have all been cited as reasons for this great exodus of workers.
Along with other incentives, corporate leaders and HR managers must find better, healthier ways to communicate with employees through mobile text messages and other methods in a way that honors both the rights and dignity of the workers but doesn’t diminish their industriousness – and the sometimes elusive bottom line.
Tips for Off-the-Clock Employee Communications
Display all working hours: Make sure that you and your employees know when someone's available to work and when someone’s off-the-clock. Keep the up-to-date schedule posted in a common area for effective employee communication. You can also use an employee engagement communications calendar for any announcements, changes to the schedule, holidays, or celebrations.
Encourage employees to turn off notifications: For work-related apps and emails, employees can use the snooze or silence notifications until they’re back on the clock. If you use a texting tool like goHappy to send messages, provide an option for every employee to “opt-out” and “opt-in” at any time. This ensures your staff’s ability to choose how and when they’d like to be contacted outside of work.
Set clear, realistic expectations: Identify who can send texts on behalf of the company and train them on what is and isn’t permissible. Remind employees that they are not required to respond to any communications off-the-clock– just make sure that anything your employees are required to read is posted in multiple formats (like print-outs, posters, and emails). This will also help employers avoid claims for paid time while having a frontline communication strategy in place.
Prioritize urgent messages: It’s important to differentiate between urgent and non-urgent messages. Encourage employees to only send urgent messages after hours and use their discretion when doing so. Establish a protocol for handling urgent messages, such as a designated phone number, to ensure that they are received and addressed promptly. If a message isn’t considered urgent, avoid communicating it with any off-the-clock staff.
Lead by example: Encourage managers and leadership staff to practice healthy boundaries too. Employees may feel pressured if they are receiving texts and seeing others respond to them off-the-clock. Consider texting after working hours as a last resort for everyone to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and recognize the healthy behavior when it’s demonstrated among your staff. Regularly checking in with employees on a more personal level will also help build trust and foster better relationships among team members.
Ensuring Communications are Received
Frontline workers are vital to your company's success. Although texting can be the most direct way to relay important info, it’s necessary to have a clear plan in place. When leadership has a frontline communication strategy, employers can successfully get their message out to keep the business running smoothly while respecting their employees’ boundaries.
If employees are regularly receiving urgent texts after hours, it may indicate a staffing issue or a lack of clear processes and procedures. In which case, addressing any underlying issues can create better protocol around employee communications and strengthen the business. This reduces the need for after-hours communication and helps employees achieve a better work-life balance, which in-turn helps with retention of essential frontline workers.
Cultivating a Culture of Respect for Personal Time
An employee's personal time is valuable, and sending work-related texts can be intrusive and disruptive to their off-the-clock hours. It’s imperative to send the message that employees’ time off is respected, and this can be achieved through an explicit plan from the employer, with customizable options that best suit all staff members.
Technology has made it possible to communicate with employees at any time, from anywhere. However, while this technology has made it easier to stay in touch with employees, it has also made it difficult to set boundaries between work and personal time.
goHappy is a simple and easy-to-use employee communication tool to streamline frontline employee engagement and help empower HR and organizational leadership to have their workers feel more valued and connected. Book a demo and discover how goHappy can help your staff stay connected, engaged, and happy!