March 3, 2022

How to facilitate communication with the field?



5 min reading

Restoring smooth communication between headquarters and the field is a priority. Read our advice.

The coronavirus pandemic has shed new light on field teams. Now rightly referred to as"essential workers",operational staff worked on the front line to maintaineconomic activity.

Despite being at the centre of action, frontline workers have felt marginalized. According to a study conducted by Yoobic, almost one iFront Line Worker out of two(46%) even feels disconnected from their organization. The result is reduced productivity, accelerated turnover and a deteriorated social climate.

Faced with this situation, it is urgent to re-establish fluid communication between the head office and the employees present on site. But, with remote working on the one hand and poor access to IT tools on the other, how can exchanges between operational teams and support servicesbe facilitated?

Mozzaik365 takes a look at the issue and gives you its advice on how to solve this thorny problem.

Head office and field communication: a strategic challenge

Many companies are experiencing a lack of communication between field and office staff. The barrier that too often exists between support functions and operational staff is deleterious in more ways than one and should be broken down.

And for good reason, re-establishing contact between the various stakeholders in the organisation contributes to improved productivity. Top-down communication is a major factor in employee recognition. More than 60% of employees say they are more motivated and productive when they feel valued by their managers (source: Protime 2021 study).

Bottom-up and horizontal interactions also contribute to the company's performance. These feedbacks allow the temperature to be taken as closely as possible to the business experts and customers. This enables us to identify and quickly correct any malfunctions, but also to co-construct solutions that are fully in line with the constraints in the field.  

Mobile technology at the heart of headquarters/field communication

Although essential, communication between field and headquarters employees is too often hampered by a practical problem. Unlike their home office colleagues, First Line Workers do not always have access to a computer.

Immersed in the action, cashiers, sales assistants, delivery staff, home helpers, waiters or even construction workers have neither the tools nor the time to consult the usual internal communication media. Intranets, newsletters and team meetings seem foreign to them.

The solution to this headache? A Digital Workplace accessible on computer and smartphone, adapted to the uses of both head office departments and operational employees. In fact, 58% of frontline workers surveyed said they would feel more connected to their company if it communicated via mobile. Simple and effective.

💡 Already have an intranet? Turn it into a Digital Workplace by following our guide
Facilitating communication with frontline workers

First, rely on reinforced internal communication

The improvement of communication between the different stakeholders of the company must be the subject of a real strategy with milestones and objectives. A dedicated manager should be appointed to lead the project. Teams should also be surveyed in order to map the existing situation. Ad hoc survey tools, integrated with the Digital Workplace, can be used for this purpose.

The implementation of a digitized internal communication system is a first area of focus. Digital solutions make it possible to recreate a link despite the distance. Microsoft Teams should be observed with particular interest. The collaborative communication application centralizes exchanges and facilitates contact between employees. This makes it possible to introduce more horizontality into interactions.

📢 To go further, discover 7 tips to boost internal communication within a Digital Workplace

The discourse must also be refined in order to be more engaging and to generate support. The adoption of a lexicon that everyone can understand, the use of "soft" vocabulary, the avoidance of directive turns of phrase and the use ofEmojis are all levers that can help to make the dialogue between employees in the field and those working in the office or remotely, and also between employees and their superiors, more fluid.

In order to strengthen cohesion between employees working on site and those at head office, it is also necessary to promote better knowledge of each other. From a distance, it is difficult to keep track of job changes or to identify the role of each person and any associated constraints ("Why doesn't the head office reply to my email within 24 hours?").

Although it is necessary, keepinga company directory, a trombinoscope or a wall of arrivals is not enough to make an impression. Therefore, think about implementing memorable communication actions (articles and interviews with employees, reports at the head office or on site), immersive experiences (visit to workshops, invitation to follow a colleague on a mission, etc.) and a fun training offer (with a micro-learning application such as Sparted for example).

How to facilitate communication with the field ?

Going further with knowledge sharing

The circulation of information, ideas, know-how and good practices within the company is beneficial in many ways. It improves productivity (no need to "reinvent the wheel"), strengthens cohesion between stakeholders and encourages the emergence of a form of collective intelligence. Knowledge sharing should therefore be encouraged through the adoption of genuine Knowledge Management.

To be actionable, knowledge must first be documented and organized so that all employees can benefit from it. Some knowledge from the field will enrich the thinking of head office teams(customerinsights , technical constraints, etc.). Other knowledge, generated by the support functions, will enlighten the business experts and guide their actions (administrative constraints, changes in current legislation, etc.).

By centralising knowledge and facilitating its expression, the Digital Workplace is the pillar of effective and sustainable knowledge management. To take full advantage of this, encourage your employees to regularly update their skills and projects in their personal Dashboard . In this way, they can easily be called upon by their colleagues when they need their expertise. The example to follow? The Freyssinet Group, a global specialist in civil engineering, which has succeeded in getting its headquarters to communicate with its teams on construction sites by (co)creating a real knowledge management "Wiki".

Training and workshops involving head office employees and business experts are also a great way to stimulate mutual support and experience sharing within the organisation. These can be face-to-face or via a collaborative communication application such as Microsoft Teams.

Discover the 11 Teams applications you need to integrate urgently

💡 Microsoft is betting that the employee experience will be a major concern for companies in the years to come. The American firm is therefore launching Viva, the employee experience platform.

Creating a corporate culture and team spirit

Finally, to facilitate communication between business and office-based departments, ensure that you create a strong corporate culture and encourage team spirit.

To do this, first make sure that you maintain an equal level of information and transparency among all your staff. Explain the decisions taken by the head office, respond to the frustrations and questions expressed by the various stakeholders, and ensure that important information is properly disseminated within your organisation. Here again, the use of a Digital Workplace accessible on mobile and computer will be of great help.

In addition, create opportunities for field and head office employees to interact informally. Celebrating work anniversaries, organising success parties or planning team building activities are all good opportunities to get together 'in person', get to know each other and develop synergies between employees. Once again, the use of a Digital Workplace will be a great help. It will allow you to manage your events easily, but also to make them visible to all your employees.

Things to remember

📌 Communicating with field teams is a real challenge.

📌 To reach them effectively, it is therefore necessary to adapt both the ways of interacting and the channels of communication.

📌 Adopting a mobile application that allows for smooth authentication and navigation, on smartphone as well as on PC, is a must. While Sparted already meets this specification, Microsoft Teams is also moving in this direction with the Viva platform, dedicated to the employee experience.

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