When we think of SMS, especially in a business context, it’s usually as a tool for sending alerts or marketing messages. But what about using SMS to support business functions we don’t usually associate it with, such as human resources.
From recruiting to internal communications to workforce management, SMS can be a powerful communications tool for HR managers if deployed in the right way.
Here are a few tips on how to make SMS work for your HR department:
- Advertising a job. Publishing a shortcode along with an email address in a job advert in the print media widens the net to people you might not otherwise reach. This is especially true of a country such as South Africa, where internet access is relatively low, while almost everyone has access to a mobile phone with texting abilities. That sterling candidate who might not have internet access or be able to get to an internet café in time can now apply via SMS for the role.
- Recruitment. An automated SMS questionnaire can help you screen candidates faster, cheaper and more effectively. This is especially useful if you are recruiting for a large number of entry-level candidates. Whittling down the numbers based on standardised information automatically collated can be hugely effective. Note, it is good practice for the business to pick up the cost of this, so use a standard rated shortcode and not an expensive premium rate shortcode.
- Workforce management. SMS can be used to manage a mobile, semi-permanent workforce at short notice. Perhaps you have a rush job to complete and need extra hands on deck or your personnel is not typically online all day, or you have staff absent who need to be replaced for the day. For example, using SMS to manage a pool of part-time or shift workers or using SMS to alert models and actors when they have a casting or call back while they may be away from their computers.
- Staff notifications. Especially if your workforce is mobile and doesn’t always have access to email, SMS can be used as an effective notification channel for events such as salary payments, time-critical alerts, or even social and good news at the company.
- Every day business communications. SMS can be vital for everyday communications between staff members. Perhaps a PA needs to send an exec flight details or team members are running late for meetings. Perhaps a last-minute company meeting has been called, or management want to poll their employees on an issue. SMS is a good way to ensure the message gets through in time and a response can be sent immediately.
Sometimes, however, SMS is not the best channel to use for HR-related communications. This is especially true of sensitive or potentially emotional information, for instance if an employee is being retrenched or fired. Likewise employees should bear this in mind as well, and not resign, for instance, via SMS.
Used well, though, SMS can be a vital tool for your HR function, saving your company time and money, and communicating more effectively with your workforce.