Mobile Technology: Bringing CEOs Closer to Their Workforce
9 May 2008 Martin Loat
Voice broadcasting technology has made the communication between CEOS and their staff as easy as picking up a phone. Martin Loat, managing director at Grasswhispers, explains how.
Voice broadcasting technology lets individuals record and broadcast messages to thousands of mobile phones instantly and simultaneously through a PC or office phone.
The technology is an invaluable tool in building and maintaining staff engagement by establishing a direct line of personal communication between an organisation’s leaders and its workforce. Whether it is to update staff on the latest company news, to provide quick feedback on a particular issue, or to issue information in a crisis, you don’t have to ‘cascade’ anymore.
Exploiting a vocal message to quickly deliver important messages has proven more effective than other traditional methods of internal communications, such as email, intranet or memos pinned to notice boards.
The service is capable of making 10,000 phone calls in an hour and calls can be received live or listened to later like normal voicemails.
BROADCASTING AT WORK
There are a number of options available to implement voice broadcasting. Messages can be pre-recorded through a secure web portal, which also contains a database of numbers. These messages can be scheduled for broadcast at a specific time or sent immediately and simultaneously to thousands of phones. No special equipment is necessary.
The ability to schedule a broadcast for a specific time means, for example, a CEO of a listed company can deliver a recorded message on the company’s financial results to the entire workforce at the same time as the announcement is made to financial institutions. All the staff could get a call from the CEO at 8.30am one morning even if he/she was in a city presentation at that time.
Alternatively, the broadcasting system can be accessed directly through a mobile phone. Messages can be recorded through the phone and broadcast instantly to the workforce. This means that CEOs can get important news to all of their staff within minutes, whatever the circumstances.
At Grasswhispers, we researched the impact these voice broadcasts had on staff engagement. We found 90% of staff who received voice broadcasts were aware of the messages, with 95% knowing who delivered them.
The overwhelming response of staff to receiving the messages was positive, with 67% saying that they were welcome or useful and 80% saying they would like to receive more.
Helen Wylde, marketing director at ADT Fire & Security, used voice broadcasting to contact more than 4,000 mobile staff in the UK. She says: "Voice broadcasting has added another element to ADT’s internal communications, sitting alongside other channels like intranet, email and face to face briefings. The Grasswhispers service helps us to ensure our staff who are not office-based hear of company developments quickly. It has also helped us to improve employee engagement."
Organisations such a global courier TNT have used the system to improve management efficiency, letting the CEO broadcast simultaneous messages to the group’s global management team.
Similarly, other industrial companies have taken on voice broadcasting as part of their crisis management arsenal. The system is in place to allow management to contact production sites anywhere in the world instantly.
Voice broadcasting also allows companies to survey staff opinion through a system called TouchBack. Any broadcast message can include a series of options for staff to choose from plus instructions on which number on the phone keypad to press to vote for a particular choice. The results can be viewed in real time by the client through the web portal that handles the broadcast.
Staff feedback obtained from various broadcasts has been positive, with respondents saying it is an improvement over email, a good method for prompting debate and a valuable information tool.
Any large membership organisation that needs to contact its people quickly can benefit from using voice broadcasting. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) is using Grasswhispers’ simultaneous voice broadcasting and SMS services to talk to its 75,000 members, who in many cases are not office based and/or do not have easy access to email.
Peter Waters, RMT membership manager, said: "Our decision to include voice and text broadcasting in our range of communication options is based on the fact our members almost exclusively work in transport jobs making them difficult to reach quickly."
For direct communication in the workplace, voice broadcasting is making itself heard.