The Communication Challenge Faced by Major Organisations 

 

And How You Can Overcome it

 

 

To achieve success in health and safety management, there needs to be effective communication up, down and across the organisation.

The Health and Safety Executive

Effective communication across your entire workforce can make or break your health and safety programme. Yet, communication poses a challenge for organisations in hazardous industries with workers spread across many sites and a bottomless supply chain. 

On the one hand, the heightened risk makes communication critical. On the other hand, communication is made more difficult - if not almost impossible - by extraordinary levels of workforce complexity. These two conflicting factors mean that communication is most arduous for the very organisations that depend on it most. 

Why Communication Matters

As many as 82% of project owners feel they need better communication with contractors. There are three primary reasons communication matters to project owners and your organisation's overall safety endeavour:

1: To keep workers safe

2: To improve efficiency 

3: To respond to crises more effectively

60% of general contractors see poor communication as the key contributor to decreased productivity.

Autodesk

What Effective Communication Looks Like

 

Rapid
The faster you can respond to a crisis, the better your response will be. The quicker you can instruct your workers, the fewer delays you'll have. Therefore, saving your organisation money.

Targeted
The average person sees over 6,000 messages and adverts each day, giving people a low tolerance for irrelevant information. Send them unnecessary messages, and they'll quickly learn to ignore you. 

Centralised
Communication is part of your compliance, which is why you need digital tools to help you record it. 

Clear
All messages must be clear, easy to understand and as brief as possible. This clarity maximises your chances of recipients acting on the messages you send them.

Two-Way
To be truly effective, you need information back from your audience. Without any reporting or feedback, it's impossible to know if your communication strategy is working or whether a critical message has been received and understood.

Purposeful 
Your audience should immediately understand why you sent them a message. If workers receive a barrage of non-essential messages, they'll stop reading them altogether. 

The Challenge of Communicating with a Distributed Workforce

Directly communicating with a workforce distributed across tens, if not hundreds of field-based sites is a logistical puzzle in its own right. This puzzle has four pieces you need to manage to communicate effectively.

 

Supply Chains 
Supply chain workers aren't your organisation's employees, so you probably don't have the contact information needed to reach them individually. If messaging your employed workforce is hard, getting a message to your supply chain workforce is near-impossible. 

Multiple Sites
Each site introduces more people, making communication exponentially harder to coordinate.   

Access to Technology
With field workers on railways, construction sites, oil rigs, quarries and other remote locations, you can't depend on desktop communications. Whilst 96% of workers have a smartphone; you're unlikely to hold the contact details for your supply chain workers. 

Complexity
With hundreds of sites, thousands of contractors, and many different job roles and competencies, sending a specific alert to the right people is almost impossible.   

Current Communication Strategies

Communication with your workforce might be overwhelming, and targeted messages sent directly to workers impossible, but it's too important not to try. 

The most common communication strategy employed by major organisations is a communication cascade. They tend to look something like this: 

 

The message starts with the primary client and then makes its way down many layers of contractors and sub-contractors. 

Eventually, this message will reach site managers. They'll add it to their list of alerts and news to share with the team. Depending on the contents, they might hold a toolbox talk or include it in a weekly debrief.

The Problem 

Messages cascading down a complex business hierarchy holds significant limitations: 

  • It's a slow and cumbersome strategy
  • The cumulative time of everyone involved makes it expensive 
  • There is no way to share resources alongside a message
  • There's no easy way for responses to make their way back to the top.

These shortcomings leave organisations with a contradiction:

Communication is non-optional for the safety and efficiency of your workforce, but even the very best communication strategies aren't good enough. 

Not only are they slow and cumbersome, but they are low on information and troublesome to track; they're expensive to your business and sometimes sending a message is simply more work than it's worth. 

However, technology is forever advancing, and innovative software has the solution.

SkillGuard is the industry-leading mobile workforce management solution. 

It is the most feature-rich system available and allows your organisation and supply chain to build a health and safety passport so that workers can travel friction-free between sites with a physical or virtual smartcard that holds all their relevant data. 

SkillGuard now includes a revolutionary messaging module that helps you create and manage instant, direct messages to your entire workforce - including your supply chain. 

 

SkillGuard Messaging

 

SkillGuard Messaging is an all-in-one solution that allows you to message your entire SkillGuard workforce directly. It enables you to:

  • Easily send messages to your entire 
  • Target your audience by site, competencies or job roles
  • Add attachments, links and buttons to messages
  • Report on who has received, read and acted on your message.

This feature set allows your organisation to instantly message their contingent workforce with a centralised tool that will enable responses from workers and the tracking of sent messages along with their response. 

These advantages lead to enormous cost savings for your organisation and give a massive boost to efficiency. 

 

 

"SkillGuard messaging... a revelation!

Getting safety information out quickly to targeted groups of people is great, but add to this the fact that we will KNOW that they've read it and it is transformative.

The reporting and analysis available in Messaging will give us a centralised view, allowing us to prove what has been read with no need for a paper log and no doubt about who received it. "

Gareth Mullen, Thames Water

How Does SkillGuard Messaging Work?

The system makes the creation of one-off messages quick and simple. Creating and sending a message will take you minutes and can be completed in five steps

 

Step 1: Compose Your Message

Include a heading, notification text, the message body and any images.

Step 2: Add Interactive Elements

Such as weblinks, response buttons and downloadable attachments. 

Step 3: Select Your Audience

Send a blanket message or filter by site and competency. 

Step 4: Review Your Message

Ensure everything is correct.

Step 5: Send or Schedule 

 

From start to finish, this process takes minutes. Once completed, you can report on open rates, engagement and responses. You can also keep the information on record for audit purposes. 

From the worker's perspective, SkillGuard messaging is even easier. They receive a notification on their phone, which will take them straight to their message inbox. 

 

Want to Overcome The Communication Challenge?

SkillGuard's world-leading mobile workforce management system is the perfect solution to keep your mobile workforce safe using best-in-class technology.

Our brand new messaging suite combines with SkillGuard's existing features to provide your organisation with the tools it needs to keep your workers safe and effective, including: 

• State of the art encrypted technology
• Mobile competency management
• Your own health and safety passport
• Fatigue management tools and reports
• A comprehensive reporting suite
• Service availability 24/7
• And peace of mind

 

If you want to find out how the most trusted worker safety technology can help keep your workforce safe and effective, click here to get in touch.