For Mario Martinez, security is a big part of his professional life. As Director of IT Operations for American Advisors Group (AAG), he’s responsible for ensuring the digital security of the company’s technology platforms – which means the company can continue providing financial security for thousands of people across America.
For nearly 20 years, AAG has provided reverse mortgages to help seniors in America maintain their financial and physical wellbeing. The company’s 1,500 employees are based across the United States, and they take their mission seriously.
As AAG begin planning the expansion of services they offer, the role of communications has become more important. For Mario and others in AAG leadership, focus has turned toward how they can better communicate with their people.
Over time we discovered that a pop-up message was more effective than traditional email for internal communications that were urgent or critical.
AAG recognized that their employee communications needed improvement. The favoring of traditional communication channels, coupled with enforced changes to working environments due to COVID-19, were challenging the effectiveness of all internal messaging.
“Right now we have a large population of our workforce that's remote,” explains Mario. “That meant that we lost physical communications locations such as building signage to alert employees to critical messages.”
AAG was also mindful of updating the traditional way in which they communicate with employees. Mario explains, “Staff get so inundated with emails that they don’t give some messages the priority they need, because they don't know the level of importance that each email has.”
These issues presented a concern for Mario because staff unaware of important IT messages could put the company at risk. Overlooked communications around cyber security can introduce the potential for devastating data breaches, while missed messages around system outages would significantly impact business productivity.
For a forward-looking company like AAG, a more contemporary solution was required.
At the end of 2018, AAG turned to SnapComms to enhance the awareness and urgency of critical employee communications. Pop-up Alerts were selected to communicate important IT and security notifications. Different priority levels were set for communications, so high-importance messages could appear with greater prominence directly on screen.
The AAG team was quick to adapt the channel for their needs, using colors and imagery to signpost message importance.
“We added images into our messages to indicate what's going on,” relates Mario. “We have one with an exclamation mark that suggests, ‘This is a high-priority outage’. It gives us the flexibility to set the priority on messages. That way people know this is something they need to read and that they shouldn't ignore it.”
Initially the majority of communications were coming from Mario’s IT department, concerning system maintenance, outages, updates and coming technical releases. But word of the effectiveness of the SnapComms channels was quick to spread.
Before long, the Human Resources team had started to use SnapComms, sending out reminders to staff about paydays, holidays and things of that nature. And it seems other teams will also soon be following the lead of Mario and his IT team.
“We're getting more and more groups involved. As they're seeing the tool used by other departments, people are coming and asking, ‘How can I use SnapComms?’ So it's definitely growing within the company. That's how we know it's effective.”
We’ve seen a reduction in help desk tickets by having timely messages sent out through SnapComms.
Mario found that using SnapComms removed a lot of the pressure around communicating with staff, allowing him to focus on his core responsibilities of managing IT operations. “It gives me peace of mind that I've reached 90% of my target audience.”
As well as tracking the penetration of messages, Mario also monitors the volume of helpdesk tickets as a guide to the effectiveness of their IT communications. The better staff are kept informed, the less demand on busy IT workers.
“We’ve seen a reduction in help desk tickets regarding things that we've communicated by SnapComms,” says Mario. “So we know we're reducing some of the traffic to our help desk by having timely messages sent out through SnapComms.”
AAG prides themselves on the high levels of financial security and service they provide to their customers. Now as they look forward to a post-COVID future, they can be confident that everyone in the company is best informed and engaged for the journey. It’s a future they can bank on.