How to engage employees that work “offline”
This is a challenging but common topic that many employers struggle with. Certain industries, from Construction and Manufacturing to Transport and Travel, have employees who work offline.
An offline colleague is someone who works away from a central workplace without direct access to a computer, or who doesn’t have email contact with their employees and employers. Think of lorry drivers, food delivery vans, construction sites workers and warehouse employees, for example. This vocation of working often sees a lack of connection and engagement with their organisation.
We discussed this in our recent webinar, “Engaging offline colleagues in your listening strategy and surveys”. Our Head of Customer Success and Engagement, Alex Williams, and Insights Consultant, Jodie Harrison, covered topics such as how to enhance communication to engage and inform offline colleagues, and how to ensure processes, technology and language are accessible to all. In an everchanging world, with an increased focus on inclusion and accessibility, organisations must focus on catering for these employees, as well as creating opportunities where they can provide feedback and contribute to their team.
If you missed Alex and Jodie’s webinar on the subject, we touch on a few of the topics covered, here.
Where to start with engaging offline colleagues?
In order to reach offline colleagues, it is important to introduce updated processes that has the ability to keep up with fast and unpredictable change. Unlike with internal staff, communication via digital channels can not be reached as quickly, if at all, to offline colleagues.
If you are expecting your company to go through any change, communication with offline colleagues is essential in order to combat anxiety and address any potential stress. Just like as with any internal, remote/hybrid, or centrally based employee, building a connection within the team is also necessary for entirely “offline” workers. A collaborative space to openly discuss issues, or arranging weekday or weekend drinks to include all team members will help.
If you are a larger company you likely will find that line managers manage a larger quantity of employees at one time – often with one line-manager looking after 50+ team members! This can risk losing the personal touch. Does the line manager know everyone in their teams name, or even know who is in their team if they walked past them? Introducing a champions network can assist with this. Dedicate a champion to ensure that all team members are checked in regularly. The champion can also assist with distributing company news across their team and suggest feedback to the line-manager on what’s occurring inside the team.
By helping to keep your offline colleagues connected and engaged with the rest of the team, you are helping them feel valued, and like an essential part of the team.
Ways to ensure accessibility for all work members
Be as ‘human’ as possible. Avoiding corporate terminology will improve genuineness in a conversation.
How does the offline colleague currently interact with the company? If it is currently primarily written rather than face to face, this will cause their connection with the organisation to suffer. They may also feel that they are not important enough to have any of their managers time and this can have a knock of effect with how appreciated and valued they feel.
As with any communication with any member of your team or organisation, it is important to make them feel worthy of your time. Contact them how you would like to be contacted and speak to them how you would appreciate being spoken to. The effort you put into including them as a part of the company rather than just an offline worker will improve how they perceive you as an employer- and can ultimately prevent them looking to work elsewhere.
If you’re interested in chatting to us about your employee engagement, chat to Lucie. She’s very friendly and would love to hear from you! You can book a chat in with her, here.