If you and your HR team aren’t using SMS as a way to communicate with your workforce, you may be missing out on a valuable communication channel. As we explained in our recent article, 3 ways HR can send the perfect business SMS, you don’t want to overuse SMS as you risk your audience quickly turning off. But, an SMS, sent every now and again when HR wants an important message to be read, can be an effective way to get your workforce’s attention.

sms benefits

We’ve summarised 6 possible scenarios when HR might want to consider using SMS to communicate with the business. We hope this will help you to use SMS more as a business tool within your HR team.

Site closure

If for any reason you have to shut your site at short notice, and you need to make sure this message isn’t lost in inboxes, an SMS sent alongside an email (and of course face-to-face communication if people are on site at the time it’s being shut) is an effective way to get the message across. Tell people the basics in the SMS and ask them to check their emails/HR workspace etc. for more details.

Health and Safety issue

H&S concerns usually need to be communicated quickly. For example, if people on site were to come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, you’d want to let them know as soon as possible. Sending a quick SMS and directing people to look at longer documentation – perhaps then asking for acknowledgement that the information has been read – can be a good way for HR to reach the workforce in a timely manner.

Important processes

If you’re introducing a new process, or you need to remind staff about an existing one that it’s critical for them to follow, an SMS is a good way to lend weight to that process. Used sparingly, SMS will ensure those important processes stand out for your workforce. And again, the SMS could direct people to check for documents that they may need to e-sign to show they’ve read the new process.

Unexpected business changes

COVID-19 is a big disrupter for many businesses, and sadly some have and will fold at short notice. To avoid your staff hearing about bad news that directly affects their livelihood from the media, an SMS backed up with a longer communication can save your people from finding out this information third hand. The goal of the SMS isn’t to convey all the details, it’s to get your employees’ attention quickly and direct them on to a more detailed comms.

Celebration messages

On a more positive note, an SMS can be a nice way to mark a special occasion and it can feel more personal, than an email for example, as it’s delivered to the employee’s phone. Sending a happy holidays message out at the end of the year with a thank you for the year that was, will be well received. You could also send SMS to recognise days that are important to the company, such as the anniversary of the business being established or going public.

Showing appreciation

One of the best ways to show appreciation is to go above and beyond in how you say thank you. Sending an SMS shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence, and if it’s being used to acknowledge a staff member (with the SMS going to the staff member and the wider workforce), it should be reserved for very special circumstances – for example, an employee hitting a 20- or 30-year milestone with the company. Each organisation will be different in what’s considered ‘significant’, but, using an SMS to say a very special thank you will certainly make an impact – just remember to be mindful of privacy implications.

At the end of the day, as with any communication, there’s no guarantee an SMS will be read or the information retained – but this can be true even of face-to-face conversations. What an SMS from an employer can do is hopefully get people’s attention because it’s out of the ordinary and not how the organisation usually reaches people. Used wisely, in combination with other long-form comms, SMS can be just what you need when you have to be heard!

Read How to cut through the noise so HR messages are heard in a very loud world!

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.