Most experts on companies, management and leadership assert that internal communications is key to any organisation.
The increasing need for companies to have effective internal communications with their employees at any time has prompted a move to the Short Message System (SMS) to mobile devices.
Paper based communications are slow and expensive; emails are spam blocked, filed as junk mail or, sometimes, ignored. But more than 90 percent of texted messages are opened and read within four minutes of receipt.
A SMS communications strategy has two types of messaging:
- Push messaging: Information sent to the mobile devise (MT Mobile Terminated).
- Pull messaging: Information requested by the mobile devise (MO Mobile Originated).
Company Push Messaging
Messages sent by the company to employees; 160 characters per text message.
The character limitation of a text message forces one to look at embellishing the conversation without the expense of a second text message. This can be done using a link in the text message which opens a mobi-site on the employee’s phone containing the additional information.
The merits of having a company mobi-site are growing as ‘smart phones’ are becoming ubiquitous in the work force
A mobi-site has a completely different focus and logic to that of a company website which seeks to tell the world what it wants them to know about the company.
A mobi-site is designed to allow people to quickly find what they want to know about the company. Employees will use the mobi site to keep up to date with all that is going on in the company.
A company mobi-site for internal communication should be specific and focused on topics like:
- A newsletter
- Remote training
- Terms and Conditions of Employment
- You Tube links
Mobi-forms can be used within a mobi-site to:
- Gather specific information
- Register for courses, events or a newsletter
- Conduct a staff survey (with automatically collated results)
- Training testing (marked electronically and results communicated to participant and HR)
- Provide application forms – for leave, vacant positions etc.
Mobi-sites can also host pictures and videos.
- Pictures of events, building progress or staff ‘special moments’ – all designed to build comradery.
- Videos can be used for training or ‘newsletter’ clips to keep remote staff involved in the company.
Mobi-sites can be in different languages ensuring that all your staff receive and understand the messages.
Some messages may only be meaningful to a portion of the workforce, which gives rise to database management.
Segmented database control allows messaging to selected employees or groups of employees; to a particular department, business unit, site, team or gender. These messages can be general or personalised (‘Hi Mary, did you know.’).
This controlled messaging is invaluable in a crisis situation to keep relevant people informed.
Employee Push Messaging (Reporting)
Text messages can also be used as a reporting facility. This could be ‘trigger point reports’ to update management from a remote location or for concerned employees to anonymously report on anything from safety to graft (think of the Crime Line anonymous SMS tip offs run by ‘Lead SA’).
The employee will send an identifying keyword to a SMS short code number followed by the report dialog. The keyword will identify what action is to be taken on receipt of the message, who should be informed and the escalation procedures.
Employee Pull information
Employees can send a text message to a SMS short code number to request something from the company. These messages contain a keyword which will trigger the execution of a predetermined action.
For example if an employee wanted to know how many leave-days they had due to them they could SMS the keyword LEAVE to a 5 digit SMS short code number.
The programme receiving the message will interact with the payroll system and look-up the number of leave days due to the employee and return a reply SMS with the answer.
The reply SMS should carry a link to a leave application mobi-form which, on submission, could be emailed to various people and departments in the organisation and automatically lodged as ‘pending approval’ in the employee’s HR file.
This procedure can be applied to anything that can be referenced on a computer system.
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