The definitive guide to using text messages in HR communication, part 1

Any well-functioning human resource department will tell you that communication is the backbone of their organization. From recruiting and training new employees to managing open enrollment, being able to properly communicate with employees allows your business to run smoothly and efficiently. Text messages have been shown to improve HR department communication, with nearly 70 percent of employees supporting texting for interoffice communication, according to a survey done by text communication company Text Request.

Stay on top of the technological trends of our era by implementing the fastest and most widely used communication channel into your HR communication. Follow this complete guide to understand the ins and outs of SMS for HR department communication.

1. A primer on SMS and mobile keywords

SMS stands for short message service, which is a fancy term for text messaging. SMS messaging allows you to send messages with up to 160 characters to another device. Essentially, it’s a quick and convenient way of sending a short message to someone else via a mobile device.

What is a mobile keyword?

A mobile keyword is a single word selected by a business that customers text to a shortened phone number, referred to as a short code. By texting the keyword to a shortcode, customers volunteer to a join a text messaging distribution list and become a part of interactive SMS campaigns.

2. Benefits of using text messages for your HR department

Here are some of the tremendous benefits seen in recruitment, employee communication, and corporate benefits when SMS is implemented into a human resource department.

SMS for recruiting

  •   Speeds up the recruitment process.
  •   Enables personalized communication with prospects.
  •   Ensures all messages are seen through SMS, as nearly 75 percent of all email traffic is spam.
  •   Provides a discreet form of communication for those who are already employed but looking for a job.

SMS for employee communications

  •   Increases read and response rates.
  •   Most immediate form of communication for last-minute meetings and announcements.

SMS for corporate benefits

  •   Ensures everyone has essential information for informed decisions in a timely manner.
  •   Decreases confusion through reminders and simple messaging.

3. Mobile keywords to recruit qualified candidates

Why use mobile keywords to recruit employees? Well, 70 percent of job seekers use mobile devices to consider their next career move and 23 percent of all keyword searches from mobile devices contain the word “job.”

Here’s how to use mobile keywords to get qualified candidates:

  • Create mobile keywords for job openings: Attract qualified applicants to your job openings by sharing keywords that describe each position. Allow applicants to text in your mobile keywords to be added to your contact database and receive text notifications for future job openings. For example, use the mobile keyword “accountant” to segment your accounting prospects and match your job opening with experienced candidates.
  • Get the word out: Share SMS keywords across multiple channels, such as social media, your company website, company collateral, and job search sites to reach the most candidates possible.
  • Invite candidates to text in for more information: Increase the value of your keywords by letting prospects know they will receive additional information and enter the application process once they text in. Depending on which keyword they opt in to, individuals will receive specific information and application directions through convenient SMS text messages.
  • Ask questions and schedule interviews via text: Through a quick text conversation, you can ask questions to determine if a candidate has the required expertise, aptitude or interest to make scheduling an interview worthwhile. If a prospect meets the requirements, you can then coordinate an interview through text. If you have an advanced text messaging software, you can also send automatic text reminders to reduce interview no-shows.
  • Maintain contact through texting: Just because a candidate didn’t fit one position, that doesn’t mean you should cut ties. Their contact information could be a future opportunity. Give these candidates a second chance by scheduling monthly or quarterly texts with current open positions. These periodic reminders will ensure that your organization always stays fresh in their minds.

4. Text messaging for improved recruitment

An important aspect of any business is recruiting the most qualified candidates. Studies show that more than 70 percent of candidates would like to apply for open positions on their mobile devices. Give your candidates what they want by implementing SMS to take your recruitment process to the next level.

  • Save time with automated text messages: Time-consuming tasks, such as coordinating interview times, providing paperwork, and sending notifications of deadlines can all be streamlined through text.
  • Keep applicants informed by texting news and information: Sharing news and information with prospects will keep them eager to work with you. Send them relevant information based on the keyword they texted to keep applicants excited for everything your company has to offer.
  • Engage applicants through two-way SMS communication: The recruitment process often comes with questions, concerns and scheduling conflicts that need to be resolved. These issues are quickly managed through two-way text messaging, where you can use both landline texting and long codes.

5. SMS texting to boost employee training

Training and onboarding employees to the best of your ability will produce a workforce that is productive and efficient. To provide your employees with the ultimate training experience, share study materials, policy changes, and surveys via SMS to maximize the effectiveness of your training program.

Save time by sending study materials through SMS

A large portion of the training process involves learning about the company, competitors, and daily responsibilities. Save crucial time during that first training day by sending them study material to get them up to speed. By preparing your new employees with essential information, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the initial days of training.

Determine proficiency through SMS surveys and quizzes

It’s essential to provide your new hires with the most effective training possible. If a training program didn’t produce promising results, send an SMS survey to get employee feedback on ways to improve the training process.

One of the most crucial aspects of training is determining if new employees grasped their duties, the company culture, and information about your industry during training. Send them a quick text survey to determine their proficiency. Using reporting features, you can quickly analyze answers to identify which employees mastered the content and which ones need additional training.

Share essential policy changes via mobile links

Any thriving business will tell you that updating company policies is an essential part of maximizing employee productivity and satisfaction. Ensure your entire workforce has read your policy changes by sending text notifications with links to the new policies. The average click-through rate for links in SMS messages stands at 19 percent, which is much higher than the click through rate for traditional emails: 3.2 percent.

Written by Ken Rhie for CW Magazine.