How To Text Your New Employees

Sending a text message to a construction employee

When it comes to skilled labor, employees are always on the move. This deskless workforce is either at different job sites, shopping for materials, or just in their trucks on the way to the next job. When a new frontline employee starts, they don’t have the same contact with human resources like they did during the interview process. In some cases, the interview might be the last time that the employee is ever in the main office again! 

To ensure your new deskless employees have all the information they need from day one, particularly around onboarding requirements and training, it’s essential to establish regular communication even if they aren’t in the main office.

You want to make sure that they are easing into their new role, and that they aren’t having any issues adjusting. You want to make sure everyone feels like they’re part of the family, that they feel connected to the work they are doing, and feel supported in their role. But since your workforce is mostly on the fly, you aren’t likely to get them into your office, so messaging them is the next best thing. However, most blue-collar workers don’t have work-based emails, so how else are you supposed to send them important information?

The simplest way to build a strong two-way communication link with new deskless hires could be as simple as texting.

Start Off on the Right Foot with a Welcome Text Message

The first point of contact you want to make is welcoming your new hire to their first day. Let them know that this is the number they can reach you at, what to use the line for, and wish them a great first day! 

Imagine this: it’s your first day on the job as a foreman, and you’re heading to your new site. You don’t know anyone at the site, and you’re nervous. Before you get in your car, you receive a text that looks like this:

“Hi, John! It’s Dara at Dara’s Construction. I wanted to wish you a great first day and let you know that this is the HR line in case you have any questions about payroll, benefits, or anything else.”

What a surprise! And what a breath of fresh air that a company cares so much about your experience. Now you can head to the job site focused on the work to be done knowing that if something comes up, you know exactly who to go to and how to reach them. 

Companies that have great new employee onboarding experiences see higher job satisfaction and higher retention rates past the first 45 days. If it’s obvious right from the start the company cares, employees are more likely to stick around, knowing that their issues will be heard and addressed.

Example Text-based Welcome Messages

Many companies using The Hiring Engine have started using our employee messaging platform to streamline their onboarding processes. The following are some best-in-class examples you could easily implement for new hires today.

  • Hi {first name}! This is {your name} from {company name}. I wanted to wish you a great first day and let you know you can text this number any time if you have questions for HR like benefits, payroll, or call-outs. 
  • We’re excited to welcome you to the {company name} team tomorrow! We’ll provide everything you need for training and get you sized for the company uniform on your first day, so for tomorrow, dark slacks and a light-colored dress shirt will be just fine. This is our dedicated HR number, so please don’t hesitate to text or call if you have any questions. - {your name}
  • Hi {first name}! For your first day tomorrow, {supervisor name} will meet you at {location} at {time} to get you all set up for training, uniform ordering, and a little paperwork. If you have any questions now or in the future, feel free to text this dedicated HR number. Thank you for choosing to become a part of the {company name} family!

Keep Great Employees Longer with Surveys

Studies have shown that companies that have channels in place for soliciting ongoing feedback have higher employee engagement, greater customer satisfaction, less attrition, and higher overall profit and business performance. But many employees don’t feel comfortable sharing feedback or believe “it’s not their job.” How do you fix the gap? With text messages. Texting takes advantage of the in-the-moment opportunity, it’s a tool everyone already has in their pocket, and it’s informal enough to encourage more candid feedback. 

By setting up a regular cadence such as one question per month, your distributed workforce will get accustomed to a new system and feel more comfortable providing you with the candid feedback you need.

Example Text Message Surveys for Deskless Teams

These are some questions you might want to be asking your employees: 

  • Do you feel empowered to solve a customer problem? Why/why not?
  • What is one thing we could do to make your job more enjoyable/easier/rewarding?
  • Do you have the resources you need to perform your job well?
  • Do you believe that there is an opportunity for individual career growth and development within the company?
  • Does your team provide you support at work whenever needed?
  • If something unusual comes up, do you know who to go for a solution?
  • Do you feel recognized or rewarded for your dedication and commitment to great work?

It’s not always easy for people to ask for changes at work, so consider allowing anonymous survey responses for your questions.

Keep Everyone Up to Date with Regular Communication

Keeping everyone updated goes for both new employees and old. You have to share good news and bad news with everyone, which is particularly difficult when employees primarily work off-site. Holding morning staff meetings is a huge time suck, and people are just naturally terrible listeners. Texting important information and announcements out to every employee benefits most people’s short attention spans, but you also have the record of who received the information and when.

Our customers have found some great ways to share different news with their employees, and we believe these are a great guide for how you can start incorporating texting with your employees into your regular schedule.

Ken Smithson of Santa Maria Area Transit uses text messages to introduce a new hire to his distributed teams:

Ken's announcement for a new hire

Tom at A&A Safety makes sure his employees monitor their health and stay safe during the pandemic:

A text message from Tom about A&A COVID-19 diagram
COVID-19 Self Assessment map

Another great way to keep your employees engaged and employed is to remind them of the great benefits you offer:

HR text message about health insurance open enrollment

Using texting may seem informal, but it is the quickest way to keep everyone in the loop at work and guarantees everyone sees your message. No one is checking those whiteboard messages anymore, and flyers are just another piece of paper on the wall. 

Workforce communication is so important, especially when your workers are deskless and on the move. Texting will change your company for the better, and make your job in human resources much more manageable. See for yourself how efficient workforce communication has helped Ken at Santa Maria Area Transit.

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