How can internal communications be improved within an organisation?
We live in a digital age – where the need for information is instant. This has been spearheaded by smart phones which have become a key driver in instant information consumption and on-the-go productivity. While Africa is at the forefront of the mobile generation, as an emerging market, the continent presents unique and specific needs when compared to other more established markets. Research shows that the overall mobile market was up 8,4%, mainly due to feature phone shipments growing from 26,6m units in the first quarter of 2016 to 33,3m units in the same quarter a year later.
As we seek greater engagement, omni-channel strategies are commonplace in consumer outreach strategies. Given this, however, we still seem to ignore the immense opportunities that a multi-channel device strategy can deliver for internal employee communications. Companies need to consider what this means for businesses that have a mass workforce – the majority of which still use feature phones or have limited access to free wifi?
For far too long we have ignored employees, relying on quite archaic tier-down communications processes to communicate with our productive force. However, mobile phones are the ideal platform to reach employees directly - whether they’ve been previously disconnected or even connected via email or company networks. Yes, not all knowledge workers sit in front of a PC all day, some work remotely or are mobile, but in our experience connected doesn’t mean engaged. We believe that mobile phones are the best way to reach employees that have largely been ignored, but it’s also becoming the best way for companies to cut through the clutter of unread emails, over published intranets and newsletters etc.
Building an all-encompassing internal communications strategy is such an important consideration to achieving the financial results set out by companies, And traditional communication channels just aren’t that effective any longer. The way we consume media is affecting all parts of our lives, and internal communications needs to move with the times.
Why mobile communications?
It’s direct, but not only that, it’s bi-directional so we can get direct, unfiltered, always-on feedback. Issues can be raised immediately as they happen, employees can suggest business improvement ideas, setup culture surveys, get people to check leave balances, apply for leave, receive pays lip info and get recognised and rewarded for performance and participation. Airtime, vouchers, mobile wallets – the technology is here and available to us, we just need to think differently about how we connect and engage with our productive forces or workforces. When you don’t communicate or don’t communicate effectively you create a vacuum that is filled, either with dissent, assumptions or someone else fills that role and often brings disintermediation with it.
What technology is required to make this a reality?
Wyzetalk has patented mobile, USSD and app technology that creates this communications ecosystem - which enables businesses to communicate effectively and efficiently with their people - whether that be fast food companies, at the factory floors, or even at the coalface in mines – no matter what mobile device they use and which demographic they are. An easy admin console for set up and gathering real-time analytics, any communication and feedback to and from employees is instantaneous and can be tracked and measured.
How does this cater for the business operating in the digital economy?
All businesses need to respond in some way to digital transformation, whether it’s the competitor we didn’t see coming, the efficiencies that technology can enable or the new prospects that digital connectivity brings. Internal communication and having the right channels to communicate effectively are becoming so much more important. Creating an environment where management can effectively communicate directly with workers, with immediacy and transparency that is refreshing, is beneficial to all involved. In fact, platforms like Wyzetalk for example, interfaces with any technology device including basic feature phones via SMS to broadcast information, get feedback from the workforce and enable them to access business critical and social content via interactive menus. All at no cost to the worker, if it’s USSD-based and accessed by the worker on an opt-in basis.
It’s immediate, measurable, and feeds data into a dashboard while also integrating with enterprise systems including SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. This allows the decision makers to quickly pick up on things happening in the organisation and to put interventions in place to deal with the issues, improve working conditions and use the organisation’s collective brainpower to put strategies in place.
Driving innovation and the role that mobile technology is playing in African businesses
Advances in mobile technology has had the most profound impact on our lives - from healthcare and banking to shopping and connecting with people and communities. Africans are resourceful, innovative solutions are key drivers for the successful existence of business in today’s economy, and we’ve responded to a need we believe has been ignored for far too long. In fact, in delivering our solution we’ve found applicability for it in overseas markets too. Connected and engaged staff are invaluable. If you want to know how to achieve growth, bottom line results, look to your people.