A series of natural disasters and terrorist acts around the globe prompted this large global accounting, consulting and technology firm to implement an emergency alerts system to better communicate information to their increasingly mobile workforce.
With employee welfare being the number one priority, the leadership team recognized traditional communication channels would be inadequate during a time of crisis. Emails and intranet – both satisfactory when it’s business-as-usual - lacked the urgency and guaranteed message readership required in an emergency.
The company also identified the need for more effective communication channels for important but less severe scenarios - such as events impacting employees' commute to work, or network or power outages.
As it later turned out, the foresight of this organization paid off when one of the biggest storms in American history made landfall, and the need to communicate quickly and urgently with all staff ensued.
In addition to the hundreds of office-based personnel, the company has a large mobile workforce. Its team of accountants, technologists and consultants are frequently working from client locations.
“With many staff working off-site - either at client sites or home offices - our solution had to be fluid and have mobile capability,” said the spokesperson.
Other key requirements in addition to the messages being easily visible, was the ease and convenience of creating content to quickly publish, that multiple administrators could have access to send alerts, and that reports could be exported and interpreted for meaningful insights.
SnapComms Alerts were selected by the company’s IT team after a trial and evaluation period. Chosen for their high visibility, Alerts appear directly onto end-users’ screens (mobile and desktop) as a pop-up style notification. These messages are completely separate to email; therefore do not run the risk of being missed in an overloaded inbox.
Depending on the importance of an Alert message (urgent vs. emergency), its size can be set to full-screen or smaller. Images, text and hyperlinks can be added, along with options such as ‘Read Now’ or ‘Read Later’. The popular Quick Publishing feature allows pre-configured messages to be cascaded literally within seconds.
This tool met the company’s need for urgent mass communications. However, when a real-life emergency was unfolding in the form of Hurricane Irma, the company identified another communication need – the ability to reach out to staff and check on their safety. Unlike Alerts, this required two-way communication.
“Without notice, we asked SnapComms for help. Within an hour, the SnapComms Survey channel was switched on for us.
“We will always be grateful to SnapComms for their swift response,” said the spokesperson.
The SnapComms Survey Tool is known for its high response rates. It’s designed to gather staff feedback and opinions in a quick, user-friendly way. Similar to an Alert, this pop-up message to the desktop or mobile app immediately grabs attention, especially if sent in a full screen format. Employees can submit their responses in just a few clicks, the results of which can be easily seen and compiled via SnapComms reports.
SNAPCOMMS TOOLS IMPLEMENTED
In normal circumstances, the Alerts are used for important internal messages. These range from network to power outages, general HR reminders and important company news.
But in exceptional circumstances - such as the recent grade 5 Hurricane Irma – SnapComms was used as the primary communication source.
“During this time, SnapComms was our primary communication channel for liaising with hundreds of personnel,” explains the spokesperson.
“We sent many Irma-related Alerts, updating staff as events unfolded. These covered the latest weather reports, office closures, and other key information.
“Using the Survey tool, we sent multiple quick-response safety checks and wellness-related surveys. These entailed a multi-choice version asking, “Are you safe?” and a free-form survey for comments regarding colleagues’ status i.e. if they knew of an employee needed help.”
The reporting capability allowed the internal response team to filter survey responses, and identify if anyone needed assistance.
“The urgent nature of these channels prompted immediate response from employees. We quickly ascertained the safety of all our employees, and maintained contact during a stressful period.”
“Staff were overwhelmingly appreciative about our outreach. They were grateful for our check in and subsequent follow up, and that we directly connected with them in a way that was quick to view and easy for staff to reply,” explains the spokesperson.
Thankfully, all employees remained safe during the storm. The internal response team now has a set of pre-configured messages in place ready to send to staff in the event of an emergency or to give updates and/or confirm safety.
Company name withheld for confidentiality purposes.