Written by Chris Russell
21st April, 2020
How HR Is Using Text Messaging
Text messaging software for HR is the missing link in effective employee engagement. It gives HR the power to text large groups of employees instantly with the assurance that 95% of text messages get read in the first 3 minutes.
With most employees still on lockdown and working from home I asked my HR network to chime in on how they are using texting to communicate with their teams.
Nikki Blanche, an HR Consultant had an interesting take. She commented, “I will occasionally text confirmations but only after I have already spoken to the candidate on the phone and if we had a nice rapport. For coworkers (inside and outside of HR), I will text quick notes but only during work hours or if it’s very urgent outside of work hours. I feel it’s less intrusive than a phone call on a Sunday night if I need them to address something first thing Monday morning. I always confirm with the employee far ahead of time to ensure they are okay with this type of communication.”
For the most part, HR executives seem to leverage texting for certain situations and/or as a compliment to existing communication tools. Some use it more than others. Here’s what else they’re saying;
- “I use texting all the time – I work in shipping HR and deal with crew training / certification. I find a lot more people are more receptive to a quick text reminder than an email especially if the changes are last minute. Occasionally we can’t reach our crew by email / call service and have to text to make sure they receive the information and WhatsApp is also something we’ve utilized for this – free and most people have it already installed on their phones also allows for crew to send pictures of medical certificates and doctors notes if necessary.” (Jenna Woodward)
- “We’ve used a texting service before. It is more infrequent for when we know last minute information would need to go through. For example inclement weather and COVID updates on our office being open vs closed.” (Natalie Peabody)
- “We text a lot because we feel it’s most convenient for our small business workforce which is made up of many younger workers.” (Crystal Elaine)
- “I’ve used it informally, meaning there were no expectations, but was a convenience when we were looking for someone in the building. However, as a non-exempt member of HR, I’ve had to ask managers not to text me work stuff on the weekends or after hours.” (Emily Stasiak)
- “Only if the employee texts me first. I follow their lead as to how they prefer to communicate.” (Dawn Pelej)
- “We use a mass notification system that includes text, email, and an alert set to everyone’s desk phones. But up until now, it is only used in emergencies or when we’ve wanted to push COVID19 info out. My cell phone number is easily discoverable in our Outlook directory and in my signature line, but really no one texts me except my coworkers.” (Rebecca Vaughan)
- “I have used text to follow up with employees who are away from work AWOL (often likely FMLA related) where they are not responding to a email or call first or one or two prior outreaches. If it is FMLA, we just need to get supporting docs in place. People need to understand that.
I use it sparingly. I always identify myself in the text – not everyone knows my number. I don’t want be perceived to be bordering on harassment, so definitely limit the number and space between texts.” (Danielle Nicoledemou)
- “The new generation appreciated it. It’s great for transactional or truly urgent communication. Never use it for marketing.” (Eric Freguson)
Clearly there are lines drawn when it comes to the use of texting in HR. But the advantages for better workforce communications are there. A SHRM survey of companies with 100,000+ employees indicated that each one lost an average of $62 million due to inadequate communication with their workforce. That’s a huge problem!
If you still rely on inefficient, over-saturated communication channels like email, your important messages are not going to get the attention they deserve. For situations like onboarding, sick notifications, announcements, open enrollment and surveys, text messaging is primed to be HR’s favorite new tool.