Is Texting an Effective Internal Communications Tool?

Paul Barton internal communications

It seems more and more organizations are turning to text messaging as a broad-based internal communications tool. But are they effective?

I have read several posts using text messaging to reach employees. Most of these posts tout statistics that show how much more text messages are opened and read than other internal communications channels. But what they are not saying is how employees feel about receiving company news in this manner. I’ve always thought of my text messages as being more personal than my email messages and I suspect employees feel the same way, particularly if it is their own phone. They expect to receive business messages from individuals via text but not necessarily broad-based messages on non-urgent subjects.

If a company invades the personal space of an employee, I suspect they are not happy about it. They may feel they had been tricked into reading a message. Resentment isn’t a good way to engage employees who are already overwhelmed.

Back in the day when I was a Senior Director of Internal Communications, I remember advising senior management teams against overusing blast companywide voicemails for the same reason. I reasoned that employees would see the blinking light on their phone and expect it to be a message from an individual they knew. Instead, they would find a companywide message and not be happy, at least not if it happened too often.

I do believe blast text messaging and blast voicemails are entirely appropriate if the message is important to all employees and has a high degree of urgency. But I have my doubts about using this technology for day-to-day, run-of-the-mill companywide information.

What do you think?

Are you using text messaging on a regular basis to reach employees? Do you find it effective? Have employees reacted favorably to using text messaging this way? Is my assertion that text messages are thought of as personal by employees correct or am I full of hooey? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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