A main consideration of a communications strategy is to offer consistent messaging to staff at all levels. Companies should avoid sending out one message that is tailored to management (there are exceptions of course), and another version to lower-tiered staff. Consistency among the messaging encourages team building and keeps every member apprised of the company’s overall brand mission. Jonathan Erwin, CEO of Red eApp offers these suggestions:
Enable managers to communicate easily to local staff. New mobile-based technology tools allow managers to quickly and effectively communicate with hospitality staff through mobile devices. For example, managers can easily stay in contact with housekeeping to let them know about late checkouts or special requests in real time.
Embrace BYOD. Combining a communication platform works well with a lenient bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy that allows staff to access company messaging through their own personal phone (some solutions feature remote wiping of company data). It’s rare for housekeeping and maintenance staff to have corporate email addresses, so a different distribution method is needed. Many younger staff members in the millennial generation are using their phones throughout the day, so capitalize on this usage by introducing company messaging.
Post training material electronically. Setup an intranet for simple dissemination of video and image content, instead of using printed flyers in the break room which will likely be ignored. Training content such as tips on proper room cleaning, or even how to use the reservations systems is ideally suited to video formats, and should be easily shared through mobile devices. The communications should be very clear, and include hard deadlines for when any new procedures are expected to be in place. Use “read receipts” to confirm the employee views the message in order to keep them accountable.
Be proactive. If your hospitality company will be impacted by either good or bad news, then be sure you let employees hear it from management instead of the news or social media. You want to guide the message with any counterpoints and also illustrate a commitment to transparency that starts at the top. Staff don’t want to hear about a possible merger or downsizing from the internet, they want fast and honest communications from corporate management.
Choose the right employee communications platform. New communication tools that integrate seamlessly with HRMS systems (such as Oracle Peoplesoft, Active Directory, and ADP) are crucial for the widespread dissemination of information. They also take the communications burden off of HR staff, who can instead focus on retention, hiring, and encouraging advancement.
Make informed data-driven decisions. Advanced communications solutions will include data that allows you to tailor messages for optimal results. Does your cleaning staff have a lighter day on Wednesdays? Then review the data to see if they have more time to read communications. If so, then make that your day to distribute the most important announcements.
Protect employee’s personal information. Allowing staff members to use their own devices to access information doesn’t mean you need to share their personal information to the group. Be sure you keep personal phone numbers and email addresses out of any communications to reduce any out-of-work harassment issues and the related liability.
Using a secure multi-faceted communications platform is a smart tool for hospitality businesses that want to efficiently inform and empower their employees. It’s ideal for a hospitality workforce that isn’t at a desktop checking email, but instead will utilize their own or company-provided mobile devices to stay in touch. Used effectively, such communication can improve training, improve internal branding, and produce better experiences for guests.