SMS messaging is not a new communication channel. You’ve probably been using it for years to text with your friends and family members. With today’s flexible work culture and increasing demand for deskless and frontline workers, it’s never been more important to communicate effectively with your employees. Thanks to behavioral intelligence and artificial intelligence, it’s become easier than ever for human resources teams to use SMS text messaging to improve employee engagement at scale.  

Traditionally, businesses have relied on email for the majority of their employee communication. Email is no longer effective, though. Many employees have inboxes that are so saturated with noise it’s almost impossible to get your HR emails reliably opened and read. And frontline employees may not even access their email for days at a time. 

HR professionals need a direct line to provide employees with timely information, answer their questions, and keep them engaged throughout their time with the company. Furthermore, HR needs ways to get feedback quickly on onboarding, retention programs, and employee disposition. No channel does that better than SMS text messaging — especially when it’s powered by a world-class Employee Engagement Platform.

Here are some of the reasons human resources teams are using to SMS to support employees:

1. SMS texting can be implemented at scale in a personalized way — or targeted to an individual or team

Should employee messaging be used for one-to-one conversations, or one-to-many? The answer is both. A major benefit of using SMS text messaging for employee communication is its flexibility. Need to create a one-off blast to all employees? No problem. Want to create a logic-based, automated SMS survey that triggers based on actions completed by only new employees on their third day of work? Easy. If you’re using a behaviorally intelligent Employee Engagement Platform, it will be able to quickly and automatically deliver the best response for any situation.  

2. SMS text messages reach and support employees before their first day on the job

In order to set employees up for success, employers need to begin engaging new hires before the employee even starts working (known as the “preboarding” phase). During the preboarding phase, you can help new hires get up to speed faster by:

  • Sharing benefits and company information
  • Ensuring the employee has the right tech setup
  • Answering any and all questions they may have
  • Creating a sense of belonging and connection to company culture — even for remote employees

The right Employee Engagement Platform can make it easy for you to do all of this even before an employee is set up with IT and behind the firewall. And using conversational text messaging will make the employee more likely to engage and feel comfortable responding.

3. SMS texts nudge employees in effective ways

No one wants to spend time nagging their employees, but some tasks just need to get done right now. SMS text messaging makes it easy to send nudges to employees that encourage them to fill out paperwork, complete onboarding tasks, and meet their daily goals.

Recently, one of Mainstay partners sent out reminders via text to assess the risk of new hires failing to complete a background check before their first day. With an approximately 70% response rate, this partner was able to support those who needed it in a much more scalable way and better forecast no-shows.

4. SMS surveys and check-ins solicit feedback quickly and easily

Waiting until the end of the quarter to gauge employee satisfaction isn’t efficient. With SMS, you can quickly measure employee engagement at any time with either short surveys or automated check-in messages asking how they’re doing. SMS gets faster response times and much higher rates of completion than email — and, with the right Employee Engagement Platform, you can easily switch to a one-to-one conversation to respond to anything that requires personal HR attention.

5. SMS text conversations get people to enroll and complete training opportunities

Offering training is a great way to spark employees’ professional growth and make sure your company is staffed by skilled workers. Unfortunately, completion rates of training programs can be extremely low in some industries. Take advantage of SMS’s high open rates and powerful nudges to actually get employees to sign up and complete their training.

6. SMS texting is cost-effective

While many HR technology solutions tools carry massive recurring price tags, an SMS-based, Employee Engagement Platform offers a more affordable alternative. Mainstay offers an ROI that exceeds other, less-effective tools. It’s also easy to set up with ready-to-go playbooks — including pre-written text conversation scripts and answers to commonly asked questions for your industry.

7. SMS integrates well into other communication channels

Through SMS automation and integrations, you can easily trigger text messages from Slack, email, or other communication platforms. These connections work the other way around, as well — so the SMS messages you send will be automatically copied in the employee’s email inbox. 

Integrations like these are great for consolidating communication. Rather than having to keep track of a dozen different apps and channels, you can use SMS to funnel all the messaging to a single output.

8. SMS powered by Behavioral Intelligence provides the best response — around the clock

With remote and off-hour work becoming more common, there are likely times when your employees will need their questions answered, but won’t be able to ask you or a supervisor in person. Using SMS automation to communicate with employees is perfect for these times. 

With Behavioral Intelligence, you can build out answers to common employee questions, or even anticipate employees’ needs and automatically send a proactive text. Whether employees text their questions or not, they’ll receive the best response for the situation.

9. SMS text conversations encourage honest, informal communication

Communication styles vary depending on the channel you use to engage with employees. Email is most often used for transactional information and more official communication. SMS, on the other hand, is widely accepted as less formal and more open. This makes SMS text messaging the perfect medium to get honest feedback from employees

Employees are more likely to tell you their actual feelings and concerns on a platform that feels more conversational. While feedback may sometimes be hard to hear, it is essential to improving your business and creating a great work environment.

10. SMS text messages get read and responded to more than email

It doesn’t matter what a message says if your employees don’t read it — and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get employees to read emails. That’s because there’s a lot of noise out there that ends up in the email inbox. 

SMS text messages, on the other hand, get opened 99% of the time. That’s the highest open rate of any communication channel. That makes sense if you think about it. When was the last time you got a text that you didn’t look at? Response rates are sky-high for SMS, as well — sometimes surpassing 75%. This makes a huge difference when sending information that employees need to see and take action. 

How SMS text messaging can improve your employee engagement

SMS communication is proven to be one of the best ways to get someone’s attention when you need to tell them something, get a response, or just check in. As part of an Employee Engagement Platform, texting can measurably improve employee satisfaction and job performance. 

Request a personalized demo today to find out how Mainstay can partner with you to reach your employees where they are and support them at scale with behaviorally intelligent SMS conversations.