The definitive guide to using text messages in HR communication, part 2

Last week, we discussed some best practices for incorporating text messaging into your human resources communication. This week, we bring you the second part of the guide, with more tips on how to use text messaging to achieve different human resources goals.

Bulk text messaging to optimize open enrollment

Effective human resource communication tools will ultimately make your benefits open enrollment plans more successful. Avoid the staggeringly low read rate of 20 percent for emails by instead using text messages, which have a 90 percent read rate within three minutes of delivery.

Here are some specific tips for using text for benefits enrollment communication:

  • Increase awareness of benefits enrollment with mobile keywords: Quickly and cost-effectively share your open enrollment details by using mobile keywords, allowing employees to receive bulk text alerts that are read 98 percent of the time.
  • Minimize costs: Traditional methods of sharing open enrollment dates and deadlines are expensive and time-consuming compared to bulk messaging.
  • Use bulk texts to send periodic mass reminders of open enrollment: By alerting employees prior to enrollment season through a mass text message, you will give them substantial time to evaluate their current plans and ask any questions before the open enrollment deadline.
  • Share mobile links to open enrollment benefits in group texts: This will allow employees to examine each plan fully—while answering most of the questions your HR department would otherwise need to answer—and ensure they pick the optimal plan. Keep in mind that employees who are satisfied with their benefits are four times more likely to be satisfied with their work.
  • Automate open enrollment FAQs: Occasionally, employees will be left with additional questions, such as “When does enrollment start and end?” An SMS service can easily answer these questions by enabling you to create automated answers for each frequently asked question.
  • Personalize mass messages to motivate employees to enroll: Some employees may simply lack the motivation to sign off on a new plan. To help spark their interest in open enrollment, send personalized text messages to encourage them to fill out their paperwork. This personalization can range from something simple, like adding their name, to more complex content, like the types of plans they qualify for.
  • Streamline scheduling your HR meetings: Trying to schedule open enrollment meetings through email or over the phone can waste human resources departments’ valuable time. In fact, companies dedicate an average of 336 hours to open enrollment each year, but an employee only spends one hour actually selecting their benefits. Streamline communication and staff meeting scheduling by establishing personal two-way communication through bulk messaging.
  • Collect feedback to improve future open enrollment periods: Using bulk SMS surveys that employees can take on-the-go, you can collect more feedback than traditional surveys.

Streamline HR processes with texting

Human resources processes can be tedious and time-consuming. To shorten these processes and give your HR department a powerful aid, use SMS to enhance your human resources communication strategy. Here are some ways texting can help simplify HR processes:

  • Last-minute announcements: Save time informing employees of important updates or policy changes through SMS. You can be sure your messages are seen if you used an omnichannel solution that combines voice, text and email.
  • Payroll: Send text reminders for employees to fill out timesheets and notify them of direct deposits. Employees can then text any disputes or discrepancies into HR.
  • Motivation: Share motivational quotes, company mission goals, and recent company wins through text messages. Employees can also be recognized for their exceptional work, birthdays, or work anniversaries.
  • Interactive presentations: Transform your boring HR presentations into an exciting and interactive experience with Text-To-Screen. This allows employees to instantly display their text on a large screen for everyone to see. Employees can text questions, suggestions, and gain valuable feedback in real time.
  • Online portal security: Maximize security to your online portals by using a one-time code that’s either texted or emailed when suspicious activity occurs.
  • Important reminders: Send text reminders for important office events, meetings, and important deadlines to guarantee your workforce doesn’t miss a beat.
  • Company events: Boost attendance at events by sending invitations via text. You can track who has viewed the invitation and who has RSVPed. Links to directions, event agendas, pictures, or videos can be used to make the invitation more captivating. As the event gets closer, you can send friendly reminders to increase attendance.

SMS messages for effective employee communication

Having a clear and concise message will ensure that your message or call-to-action resonates with your audience. The great thing about text is that messages are short, making them easy to read and understand. Using text messaging to share information means that you don’t overload the message with unnecessary content.

Custom data collection for relevant messages
What good is sending information to employees if the information isn’t even useful to them? With custom data collection fields, you’ll be able to collect information from employees, such as current position or preferred benefits, to share specific materials that are useful to each employee, and ensure they receive the most relevant messages.

Effective delivery of essential information
When it comes to timing and emphasizing essential information, almost no other platform can compete with SMS. The simplicity of texting allows readers to absorb essential information faster than any other communication channel, as texts are read on average in five seconds.

SMS surveys to improve marketing and company culture

Marketers find text surveys exceptionally useful for collecting customer information and preferences. Lengthy online surveys often go unfinished. That’s why marketers are turning to text surveys for getting customers to volunteer their information, as text surveys garner up to a 50 percent response rate.

Streamline feedback communication
With an advanced mass texting service that has response-based automation, you’re able to take the grunt work out of surveys by giving employees automatic answers to their results. For instance, if an employee answers “No” to the question, “Do you like our current training process?” then the system could automatically ask, “What didn’t you like?”

Other ways to use text surveys to improve company culture:

  • Anonymous employee surveys: Companies can encourage their staff to anonymously share their ideas on conditions to be improved, new products to try, or ways to cut costs. Specific mobile keywords can be used to help automatically track results based on specific departments.
  • Employee recognition: Boost morale and drive productivity by allowing employees to acknowledge fellow co-workers for exceptional work. This is a great way to promote your “Employee of the Month” programs, as responses are collected, analyzed, and then broadcasted by the mass texting software to keep people motivated to win.
  • Event preparation and reminders: Unlike email surveys, text surveys will maximize registration and attendance for your work-related events because they are read far more. By getting an accurate head count, you can avoid wasting your budget on too much food or space.
  • Ensure that your employees are heard: Text surveys and polls give shy employees the opportunity to speak their minds. Text polls can ask which logo to use or what sales pitch they like most, allowing employees to discreetly vote for their favorite from the convenience of their phone. Employees aren’t influenced by seeing their colleagues’ answers, so you’ll collect the most valuable feedback during your meetings.
  • Determine relevant job postings: Proactive human resource departments can send regular text updates of certain positions or locations within the company. HR departments can use text surveys to determine an employee’s interests, skills, and experience to better match openings.
  • Rewards for survey participation: Leverage incentives to encourage employees to participate. Prizes, such as a companywide party or individual cash rewards, can be sent to employees who completed the survey through a mobile coupon.

Save time by text automating employee shift scheduling
Managing employee schedules, especially in larger organizations, can be a difficult task. An employee might cancel their shift last minute, and getting ahold of alternative employees can be extremely difficult. SMS is the ultimate human resource communication strategy that can help you coordinate and schedule employees on the go.

Most people would turn to phone calls for their last-minute scheduling because they believe they can get a faster response. But on the contrary, texting is actually 10 times faster than phone calls. This means SMS allows you to reach your entire staff almost instantly, which makes finding replacement staff during an emergency situation lightning fast and exceptionally easy.

Using SMS for emergency alerts and improved safety

Human resource departments play a pivotal role in the preparation and implementation of various organizational disaster plans. While HR may not focus on the actual creation of the disaster contingency plans, they are in charge of distributing these plans to all staff members.

Whether it’s sharing emergency information, notification of critical events, or providing consistent communication during emergencies, using SMS for emergency situations can maximize employee safety.

It’s clear that businesses should be using SMS as the future of HR communication. Help your human resources department to operate at its full potential by using SMS to streamline communication, maximize corporate benefits, and optimize the recruitment and training process.

Written by Ken Rhie for CW Magazine.