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.
SnapComms Desktop 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 independent of email, and therefore do not run the risk of being missed in an overloaded inbox.
Depending on the importance of an Alert message, 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’. Quick Publishing allows pre-configured messages to be sent literally within seconds.
The SnapComms Staff Survey is renowned for its high response rates. It’s designed to gather staff feedback and opinions in a quick, user-friendly way. Employees can submit their responses in just a few clicks, the results of which can be easily seen and compiled via reports.
In normal circumstances, the Alerts are used for important internal messages. These include network or power outages, general HR reminders and important company news.
But in exceptional circumstances, such as the 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.”
The desktop alert tool met the company’s need for urgent mass communications, however, when Hurricane Irma unfolded, 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.
“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. That is, if they knew of an employee needing 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.”