In a recent webinar, Linda DiFiore, Manager of Plant Human Resources at Silgan Closures, shared her experiences using Engage by Cell's mobile web app and text message platform to support their 130 plant employees.
Why a Mobile Solution?
"A couple of years ago, we were trying to get information out about benefits, job postings, and anything you would typically put on a bulletin board. We wanted it in the hands of our employees. At least 100 of our employees are on a schedule where they may be out of the plant for two or three days in a row. So sometimes communication goes out to employees who may not be here for two or three days to even get the message. So the thought was, instead of trying to train them on all of the different apps for medical benefits, life insurance, and 401k, let’s get something in their hand where they can access it from home or whether they're sitting in the break room. "
Notifying Employees About the Mobile App
"We announced a couple of months in advance that we were going to be having
this mobile app available to them. We put some instructions out on how to do it. Then we just uploaded all of the employees’ information and sent out an introduction text message where they were able to link directly to it. We told them they could opt out if they wanted. I think I had two or three people opt out of 130 and since then they're back in."
"The feedback has been very positive. The people that wanted the information had it when they wanted it instead of waiting for us to call them back or be available in the office. So our feedback about the mobile technology was really good. We really didn't have anyone concerned about security."
How Silgan Uses Text Messaging
"Two or three years ago, when we got started with this, we didn't send very many text messages. We expected employees to go look for the information. But over the last two years, we send out at least one text message a week with some sort of information — like open enrollment, or if we have a food truck that’s going to be here tomorrow."
"Early on in the pandemic, when we had our very first positive case within the facility, we shut down the plant. We immediately sent out a group text message to the oncoming shift and said do not report to work until notified. We were able to keep everybody informed about when they were to come back to work. We used to have a call-in line, but the text messaging was immediate and we knew everybody got it. We also divide these messages up so that we send them to certain shifts, certain departments, certain positions. It has created very organized communication."
Severe Weather Alerts
"We recently used text messaging for severe weather alerts. We had a snow storm and shut the plant down about four hours early. We called off the night shift, and started back up at 6:00 am the next day."
Increases Employee Participation
"One of the ways that I saw a pretty significant difference was in a survey. We used to survey employees the old-fashioned way: send out a piece of paper, have them fill it out, and return the paper by a certain date. With Engage by Cell, we can actually send a survey out and get employee responses in real time. We can put a report together immediately. Plus, instead of getting a 30% participation rate, I saw a 76% participation rate. "
Can a Small HR Team Manage the Platform?
"It is extremely easy. I can manage it from my own phone. I can do it from the computer. I can do it from home. I've done it in the middle of the night. So it is very, very easy to do. There’s a little bit of setup upfront, and then you've got everything organized for you."
Any Employee Pushback?
"We consulted our company attorney about it. As long as employees can opt out, they're not to receive any more messages. But the bigger concern is around labor, like if employees are getting a message when they’re not on the clock. We haven't found that it’s been an issue whatsoever. Nothing we ever send employees takes more than a second to read. Again, employees are choosing whether they want to receive texts or not. They don't have to receive texts if they do not want them."
ROI on Text Messaging
"It is a very inexpensive way to get communication out. It's extremely time consuming to do it the old fashioned way. This just really presented some new ways to get the attention of the employees that you want to reach. I would definitely recommend checking it out."