The hidden risks of BYO communication
by Sean Oliver, on September 24, 2019
In today’s digital age, any business that employs millennials (or pretty much any other generation, for that matter) knows the value of empowering teams through free-flowing digital conversations and social collaboration. The benefits of connecting organizations all the way from hourly front-line workers, to store managers, district managers, and central operations are immeasurable.
Unfortunately, too many leaders look for a quick fix for team communications and end up over-relying on tools from their personal lives—like SMS, WhatsApp, GroupMe, Facebook, or SnapChat. But the bigger your company is, the greater the downsides to this approach.
Do the perks of group chats outweigh compliance vulnerabilities?
While it might seem easiest to turn to free apps that people already use day-to-day (a.k.a. bring-your-own, or BYO communications), many issues arise when employees rely on these tools for business operations, such as:
Out-of-date contact lists. Especially in high-turnover industries where employees are frequently joining or leaving your team, it can become a huge time suck for busy managers just to make sure the right phone numbers are included in the appropriate chats. When team members start their own threads, co-workers are often left out simply because they work different hours or haven’t swapped contact info yet. Worse, delays in adding or removing people might result in someone missing an important shift change, or a terminated employee receiving information they shouldn’t have.
Privacy concerns. Even when people do work the same shifts, they might not want to share their personal info with each other. Ignoring employees’ privacy preferences in exchange for quick-fix communications can create big headaches later on.
Lack of oversight. In large businesses with multiple locations, if each store uses a different channel to communicate, it’s challenging for area or district leaders to keep their fingers on the pulse of discussions, sentiment, and policy compliance across teams.
HR violations. By allowing teams to host work conversations in unmonitored apps, you potentially expose your organization to harassment risks or other policy violations. And with varying schedules, it can be hard to keep these chats both productive and constrained to the times when people are ‘on the clock.’
Mitigating risk with a dedicated mobile solution
Thankfully, workplace solutions for part-time and seasonal staff have evolved dramatically in recent years, and there are great options that address each of the issues above. Many companies have replaced group texting with platforms like Crew to improve communications, engage directly with individual people, teams, or locations, and share organization-wide information effortlessly.
For example, at DMD Restaurant Group, a Twin Peaks franchise in Florida, managers used to keep in touch informally by texting employees’ personal phones. These side SMS exchanges couldn’t be tracked or referenced when complaints arose, and front-line staff often said they didn’t even know how to contact the support center if necessary. Now that DMD requires managers and employees to put all work communications in Crew, leaders can proactively address policy violations before they become problems for the business. “Our employees thoroughly appreciate that if they ever need to reach out to HR, we are but a Crew message away,” shared Karena Korokous, HR manager at DMD Restaurant Group.
At the largest Planet Fitness franchisee, United PF, managers previously communicated primarily via word-of-mouth, individual calls, or text-based discussions, which were inconsistent and created potential compliance issues. The central support team sent a weekly operations bulletin to regional directors, district managers, and club managers, but open rates were low, and they didn’t know whether the information was getting to everyone in the field. That’s all changed with Crew, says Tracy Toomer, vice president of operations at United PF: “Crew helps us deliver a clear and concise message from leadership on down, so everybody’s hearing about goals and expectations first-hand.”
Safe, secure, compliant team communications
All of these benefits are possible because Crew was created with dynamically changing, deskless teams in mind. This purpose-built approach to mobile team communications makes it easy for managers and above-store leaders to handle top-down communications and drive employee connections and engagement while monitoring for HR violations across 1:1 messages and smaller team chats.
Our platform offers payroll and HR system integrations to make user management a breeze and automatically blocks profane or inappropriate content. Managers can flag, document, and escalate offensive posts, and even optimize which messages are sent to which staff at certain times, in order to avoid unnecessary communications during off-hours.
Have you run into roadblocks with BYO communications tools? If you want to mitigate the hassles and compliance risks of consumer-focused apps and are looking for an enterprise-grade solution for team conversations, we encourage you to give Crew a try!