5 Tips for Engaging and Retaining Your Deskless Workforce

builder receiving sms internal communications

Keeping a deskless workforce engaged, motivated, and up-to-date with the latest news, updates, and company changes is a challenge. You can’t simply send a company-wide email and expect all employees to be aware of it by noon. Deskless workers, such as waiters, drivers, construction workers and healthcare workers, consist of nearly 80% of the workforce and these employees have many different needs than those who sit behind a desk all day. Here are several ideas for engaging and retaining your deskless employees.

1. Find the Right Communication Tool

The communication tools you utilize may be different than those of a traditional office job. Not only are deskless employees not going to be in front of a computer all day, but many might not even have a corporate email address. You must utilize tools that allow you to reach employees immediately, communicate with a large group, and are simple to use. For instance, 77% of American adults own a smartphone and this percentage is even higher — 92% — in employees between the ages of 18 to 29-year-old. Use this information to your advantage. Consider text messaging your deskless workforce, use an app like Skype for Business, or other mobile internal communication tools to communicate with employees directly and in a way they are likely to see it.

2. Be Transparent

If you have important information to pass along to your employees, hold regular meetings. This gives individuals the opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns, and receive feedback. This also allows your company to be more transparent, which improves trust and credibility in the workforce. In fact, studies show that trust in the workplace is vital to increase employee engagement. In the SHRM Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, 64% of those surveyed said trust between employees and management was essential to their happiness in the company.

3. Let Your Team Be Social

Deskless employees and remote workers are typically on the move and may not be working one-on-one with their co-workers. Encourage activities that allow employees to get to know one another and build up team morale. This can be simple activities such as team lunches, get-to-know-you activities during meetings, etc. This also helps individuals feel like they are a part of the team and valued, making them feel more engaged and reducing your turnover rates.

4. Invest in Training

One challenge that many deskless workers face is feeling frustrated and stressed with their employment. Hold regular training sessions to help these employees become better and more confident in their work. These trainings also tell the employee that you are invested in helping them become better and you want them to be successful. When the trainings are effective and provide useful information, they can help employees enjoy their job and keep their performance levels high.

5. Don’t Forget the Praise and Feedback

In most situations, deskless workers do not have a superior looking over their shoulder and observing their performance. They may receive very little feedback and praise from managers. However, studies show that they want this feedback.  According to a poll of 500 deskless workers, 25% of these workers receive no feedback at all and many expect it. As a manager, acknowledge your employees and congratulate them on a job well done. Be available at all times for employees to discuss their performance with you, ask questions, and receive guidance on how to handle certain situations.

Keeping deskless employees happy, motivated, and excited to come to work every day will require a different approach than a traditional office setting but when you do it correctly and be intentional in your efforts, you’ll see a difference.


Interested in learning more about communicating to deskless employees with SMS?

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