By Jackson Lucas - March 20, 2018
Maintaining employee communication throughout a workplace emergency or even a last-minute change in operational needs is crucial. Many business leaders might employ several business continuity management methods to achieve this. Unfortunately, implementing multiple employee communication platforms is expensive - and employers might still not receive the data they need.
Employers are now searching for solutions that provide them the biggest bang for their buck and can provide both emergency and non-emergency communication. Business leaders want to be sure their communication platform will reach all of their employees during an emergency, even those who are traveling or working remotely. Are they safe? Do they need additional resources and assistance? While it’s important for business leaders to prepare for the worst, solutions that also support routine communication with employees day to day will provide a better investment by preventing minor business disruptions from affecting daily operations.
A new business continuity tool, geo-poll, is a unique poll-based alerting feature within a mass notification system that allows you to solicit information and location data from a select group of recipients through SMS text, voice, and email. This feature can be used to solicit important information on employee wellness during an emergency or to support business managers as they attempt to cover a missed work shift.
According to one CCH study, the rise in absenteeism in employees is of greatest concern to employers - almost two out of three employees who fail to show up for work aren’t physically ill. Personal illness only accounts for about 35% of unscheduled absences, while 65% of absences are due to other reasons such family issues or personal needs.
With unscheduled absences trending upwards, employers need to optimize shift management to continue daily business operations.
Geo-poll provides a solution to staffing shortages by allowing employers to solicit volunteers for understaffed or vacant work shifts. Managers can send quota polls to all team members or volunteers that automatically conclude after a certain number of required responses are reached.
For example, a warehouse manager receives a message from an employee who states they are unable to come into work for their shift later that evening. Unfortunately, the manager knows they need all hands on deck for a large shipment scheduled to go out early tomorrow morning. The manager decides to send the following message out to all team members:
“Are you available to work the third shift tonight (3/21/2017) from 11pm-7am?”
Knowing that additional assistance is needed for tonight’s shift, the team manager sets the quota poll to remain open until two team members have responded ‘Yes’. Once two team members have accepted the open shift, the poll will close and no other team members will be able to claim the open shift. In this example, the shift manager was able to quickly fill the open shift and simultaneously add an additional employee to help work the important shipment going out the next day. Furthermore, setting the poll to close after the response quota was fulfilled eliminated any confusion among team members who may have opened the poll after the shifts were filled.
While it’s important for business leaders to maintain business operations during an emergency, their main focus should be accounting for the safety of all their employees - including those who are traveling or working remote.
Employers need to determine where employees are located, if their employees are safe, and who requires additional resources and assistance. Geo-poll can be used to send a wellness check to employees following an emergency such as a natural disaster or active assailant incident.
For example, an employer wants to do a wellness check to all employees, even those who are traveling or working from home, following a recent tropical storm. The employer decides to send the following message out to all employees in the company database:
“Regarding recent weather events, are you safe?”
The employer then prompts each employee to choose one of three required answer fields: ‘No’, ‘Yes’, or ‘I don’t know’. Having pre-determined answer fields allows for easier data aggregation compared to free-form answer fields. The employer can also request or require location data with each poll response to view the recipient locations on a map.
If an employee responded either ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’ to the geo-poll, a follow-up question can be sent asking if additional assistance is required. From these reports, employers can determine the location of specific employees affected by a natural disaster and respond accordingly.
Another use case for employee check-ins involves traveling or lone workers. Several years back, a large earthquake hit China and global manufacturing firms struggled to identify not only what facilities may have been impacted but also what traveling employees may have been in the area and in need of assistance. Similarly, in the wake of the Paris nightclub attack and subsequent lockdown of the city, enterprises struggled to locate key resources.
Employees do not need to rely on apps or static location data for real-time location of their staff - an important feature when accounting for employees during an emergency. Geo-polling allows customers to use a mass notification system to solicit information for easy analysis and action which can prove useful for timely, non-emergency employee communication.
Jackson - an enthusiastic rock climber and storyteller - focuses his time on content creation, fixing the website, SEO strategy and working with current Rave customers to make sure they have the proper tools and knowledge to execute successful community marketing campaigns. In a previous life, he was an avid scientist and environmentalist. He spent his undergraduate career studying rocks and educating others on environmental sustainability and eco-justice. He also spent 4 years diligently researching the history of climate change in Antarctica to better understand today's changing world. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from Colgate University.
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