Non-Desk Employees Blog

Five Tips: How to Engage Non-Desk Employees in Your Organization

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Eighty percent of all employees in the world are non-desk employees. Not only do they not have a desk, they usually don’t even have a dedicated workspace or a laptop. These employees are at a higher risk of feeling disconnected from the rest of the organization – mostly, technologies are often optimized for office workers, research by Emergence shows. However, out of sight doesn’t have to mean out of mind necessarily: proper internal communication creates a culture of unity and involves everyone in your organization. It also ensures your non-desk employees are well-informed. To help you communicate with your non-desk employees, we’ve listed five tips for you. They will ensure that every employee is well-informed and feels part of the organization, regardless of where he or she works every day!

1. Take working conditions into account

A big challenge in managing non-desk employees is communication. It’s relatively easy to communicate appropriately with people who are physically present in the same office for 40 hours a week. But non-desk employees often work geographically dispersed over multiple locations, perhaps across the country, which complicates organizing weekly team meetings. Additionally, non-desk employees commonly don’t work behind a computer – sometimes, they don’t have a company email address. This can further complicate communicating with these workers. They may even be overlooked. Information that’s important for their daily tasks is sometimes published in an e-mail sent to ‘everyone’ (except to the employees with no company email address …).

But that’s not where the difficulties end. Non-desk employees are often physically active at work, which means they don’t always have time to spare to check internal communication channels. All of this requires a communication channel that actively pushes information and news towards employees; at times when it’s essential for them to see it. That can be done by sending push-notifications (a growing number of employees have a smartphone) or text messages. In addition to bringing news to employees, it must be quickly and easily accessible, so employees are informed rapidly. A corporate app or a digital signage screen that show important news are ideal platforms to do so. As employees pass by, they can briefly check what’s going on. The advantages: no one is overlooked, and employees are still kept in the know, without having to stop performing their duties.

2. Engage workers using two-way communication

Non-desk employees tend to work far away from the head office or the department that’s responsible for internal communication. For these employees, it’s more difficult to get in touch with other colleagues, departments, or the head office. Communication with non-desk workers is often mainly top-down and one-way as a result.

Non-desk employees need a communication channel that doesn’t only provide them with information but also allows them to give feedback or to respond or react to the messages. First of all, better-informed employees are often more engaged in their organization. Secondly, well-informed and engaged employees ensure greater success and higher productivity, because they genuinely feel part of the organization and want to achieve the best for their employer. A communication channel that enables employees to give feedback and reactions, also contributes to a greater sense of belonging and unity: it allows direct contact with their colleagues, whom they can’t always see, but can reach more easily this way.

3. Transparency in business processes

Many employees don’t have a clear picture of how their organization is doing, which is strange. After all, employees who know how their daily tasks increase the success of their organization can optimize that impact. This way, they contribute to a more successful organization – and in turn, that increases employee engagement. After all, who doesn’t like to contribute to the success of his or her organization?

Several of our customers actively bring insights into their business processes and KPIs to their employees. They do this, for example, by connecting Power BI to communication channels such as digital signage screens or a corporate app. This way, they make Power BI data transparent to their employees, giving them more insight into business processes. Employees are enthusiastic about these dashboards: they offer insights into business data, employees no longer have to look for the data and they allow employees to align their activities with the outcomes of the KPIs. Employees can use these data to optimize their impact on the performance of their organization more easily, and, thus, contribute to the success of their organization.

4. Balanced mix: need-to-now and nice-to-know

Non-desk employees aren’t always in contact with their colleagues. That’s a shame, because the people we work with can hugely influence how much we enjoy our jobs. A lack of contact with colleagues complicates building a sense of unity and belonging. Research by Tinypulse shows it’s these connections between colleagues that are the glue keeping organizations together. Therefore, stimulating positive relationships between colleagues is very important. However, building positive relationships with colleagues is difficult if you don’t know what your colleagues are doing daily, or what they might be going through.

Uniting employees takes more than just providing them only with information that’s relevant for their tasks. On the contrary, displaying nice-to-know messages also ensures that employees feel connected to their colleagues. For example, share milestones such as work anniversaries, birthdays, or important achievements through communication channels that allow reactions, such as an employee app. Non-desk employees can get in touch more often through a platform like this, so they’re aware of each other’s ups and downs. They can support and encourage each other, which, in turn, will result in more positive relationships between co-workers.

5. Segment your audience

Sharing is caring, right? Not always, because too much information can be demotivating. If you share too much information with your employees, there may come a time when employees stop looking at your messaging. As a result, they run the risk of missing crucial information.

Let’s look at, for example, an organization with factory locations around the world and thousands of employees. We’ll zoom in on the employees of this organization that are working in the factories. They don’t need to be informed about the lunch served that day in the head office restaurant. This information doesn’t affect their daily tasks: it doesn’t make them more efficient or productive. It will probably just make them feel hungry; maybe they will even feel jealous or excluded. So, if they see messages like these over and over, they’re more likely just to feel distracted from their work than feel informed. It can be frustrating reading about things that aren’t important to you. If this keeps happening, these employees will start looking less and less at the messages that are published internally. After all, these messages are often irrelevant. Eventually, these employees could feel less engaged and could get less productive.

To prevent this from happening, you can divide your employees into different public groups by location, department, or team. You’ll be able to show them only relevant content, so they will continue to view the information and will always be informed on important news. On top of that, they will feel more involved and part of the organization someone is making sure they only get to see the information that is relevant to them, to allow them to do their job well. That’s an excellent way to do your job!

Would you like to know what positive contribution digital signage has in companies all over the world? Download our infographic ‘Does digital signage actually work?’ below!

does digital signage work
Youri Cortenraad

Youri is a connector at heart and soul. He deeply understands why organizations are eager to connect with their employees and knows the best ways to do so. He enjoys using his knowledge to help organizations strengthen their relationships with employees through effective internal communication.