Since email’s quiet, inauspicious invention in the late 1970s, it has grown to become the gold standard for workplace communications. (Whether that’s a blessing or a curse is up for debate.)
And while email didn’t create the global economy, it has certainly enabled its growth. With mobile workers and remote workers now the norm—and often flung across all corners of the world—HR departments find themselves charged with providing vital information in ways they never dreamed of even ten years ago.
The trouble is most HR managers default to sharing information in the usual way—sending out email messages and expecting that staff will read them and respond when requested.
Some, however, have been exploring the use of mass notification software as an alternative.
Email works well in most cases. However, when messages are time-sensitive and employees are on the road (as is increasingly the case) there’s no way to know when they’ll check their email or how quickly they’ll respond.
This is a problem, because many workers—overwhelmed by the volume of email in their inbox—now file corporate communications to read later. And even if managers request a reply, a significant number of employees won’t give one until they’re asked several times… leaving HR professionals with the burden of tracking and logging responses, following up, and reminding those who don’t get in touch.
Mass notification software offers a better way. It works with most business communication methods—mobile phones, landlines, email, SMS and others—giving HR professionals the ability to quickly notify employees using the channel they’re most likely to check and respond to.
During the Icelandic volcanic eruptions in 2010, many HR departments used mass notification to notify affected employees about what to do in the event of travel interruptions.
Similarly, when the 2005 tsunami struck Indonesia, an American conglomerate lost contact with many of its Indonesian workers. Though cell towers and landlines were down, the company’s CEO was able to pull contact information from the corporate database and, using mass notification, provide a comprehensive list to the Red Cross. The information was crucial in finding his company’s people and expediting rescue efforts.
Mass notification isn’t only useful for HR teams in times of emergency, however.
In the case of a merger of two top U.S. airlines, each with thousands of employees at various locations around the world, mass notification software kept thousands of employees abreast of on-going developments—and ultimately contributed to a smooth and successful joining of the two companies.
In another case, the CEO of a large, multinational organization used notification to leave a thank-you message—in his own voice—for all 250,000 employees after a particularly successful quarter. Employees were impressed and motivated by the personal call.
And on a lighter note, many HR departments use mass notification to announce holiday parties, training sessions and other corporate events, automatically sending reminder notices and easily soliciting and tracking RSVPs and meal choices.
In summary, mass notification can’t replace email, but when there is a concise, important message to deliver—and a quick response is needed—nothing can beat notification.
Looking for the best emergency notification system? Download the Automated Notification System RFP Template.