Effective Branch Employee Communications in Disruptive Times
To support outstanding customer experiences during the fast-evolving COVID-19 crisis, banks need to enable secure and reliable communications with their branch associates. This is key to providing frontline staff the resources to effectively adapt branch execution.
In an ideal world, you might already have implemented robust, secure, centralized, modern communications platforms and processes. However, the current communications situation is less than ideal for many banks, for multiple reasons, such as delayed technology upgrades and so on.
So, managers are leveraging their existing technologies and best practices.
Branch Banking Challenges
As we look to more long-term solutions for recovery and beyond, it’s worth recognizing this crisis has brought pre-existing branch banking issues to the forefront. These challenges include:
- Branch colleagues are both remote from corporate teams and widely distributed. This can result in gaps in traditional corporate communications strategies.
- Banks are unused to maintaining close communications with their branch employees. They lack fixed processes for regular interactions and updates.
- Branch teams often use their own communication platforms and channels—such as texting—to compensate for the lack of an enterprise-wide system. These solutions may not have been approved by your IT department.
- Branch teams aren’t always equipped to thrive in an omnichannel world that requires a variety of interaction types. (These can run from in-person appointments to phone calls to virtual meetings and more.)
So, given these gaps and inconsistencies in branch communication infrastructure platforms, it’s nearly impossible to react quickly and reliably to customer demand. It also prevents aligning employees with opportunities, on the fly.
New Approach for Branch Collaboration
Today, branch associates are often caregivers with limited availability—so now, more than ever, their limited availability requires nimble and intelligent scheduling. To solve these problems from the present into the future, banks should look for tools and strategies to communicate with frontline employees in real-time and that offer a single source of truth.
This means rolling out a robust but nimble mobile-first communications platform. It could embed—or act as—a hub that funnels both branch and corporate comms to employees.
These communications would run from official corporate announcements to day-to-day updates between individuals and teams, at every level.
The system would also be useful for enabling branch staff to manage their availability and current status. This would ensure branch managers can quickly accommodate staffing changes, and keep branches open.
Streamlined, accessible communication reduces frustration and confusion for branch employees and managers. And using a single comprehensive platform allows you to ensure that employees have received, read, and executed the latest bank directives, according to established guidelines. This is particularly important right now, given branch social distancing and drive-up policies, and the need to administer small business relief programs.
Solutions for Communications
Most banks already have a mix of approved communications channels and platforms, such as smartphone apps, email, text, call trees, secure intranet pages, and more. A bank should build off these technologies, and work towards consolidating them into a single, mobile-first communications platform.
A long-term comprehensive solution should also offer corporate and branch teams a communications hub. This way, employees can benefit from a consistent place to receive and send communications, and get questions answered, with real-time visibility into updates.
Additionally, mobile-native, role-based communications ensure you can reach employees who aren’t physically in the bank, or lack work-issued laptops or devices.
This solution would be easily accessed by employees, via devices of their choice. It would also support secure chat and automated AI responses to routine questions. Associates could also manage their scheduling processes, call-ins and time and attendance functions.
Ready to discuss communications policies? Watch this informative webinar, “Driving Agility in Your Branch Workforce and Communications during a Crisis.” Or download our new white paper: “Driving Agile Branch Execution in a Crisis & Beyond.”
For Further Reading
Want to learn more? We’ve compiled some communications resources from Reflexis and other organizations for ideas on how best to approach communications:
- Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis
- How Should Leaders Communicate With Employees During Times Of Crisis?
- Communicating with Employees During a Crisis
- 5 Ways to Manage a Crisis, According to McKinsey
- Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic – Broadcast Messaging
- Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic – Instant Messaging