My husband and I went on a beautiful 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise on our honeymoon. One of the best decisions we made was opting out of the cruise’s Wi-Fi package. Since we’re Millennials, this may seem crazy. But we knew that being disconnected from social media and emails would help us relax while we were miles out to sea.

But we didn’t need Wi-Fi to know what was happening on board. The crew of our ship, The Caribbean Princess, used a number of methods to keep us informed.

Now think about your unplugged employees—those in manufacturing, retail, transportation, maintenance or food service, for example. Non-wired employees may not be miles out to sea, but may not have access to their phones or a computer during the work day. These employees need effective and timely communication that’s not an email or text message.

To reach unplugged employees, use the same effective channels that I encountered on my travels:  

​1. Print newsletter

On board:
I always knew where to be and when on our cruise because of the Princess Patter. Conveniently delivered to our room each evening, the cruise’s newsletter detailed the next day’s events.

To reach employees:
Create a print newsletter for employees who aren’t always near a computer. First, determine what information employees need by holding focus groups. Your newsletter should be timely and concise—providing just enough relevant information to help employees do their jobs.

 

2. Workplace communication

On board:
No matter where we were on the ship, there was signage keeping us informed and up to date. Whether it was a digital sign telling us when we were scheduled to arrive at our next port or a printed menu propped on an easel by the pool, signs were plentiful and effective.

To reach employees:
Make sure you have ample signage around the workplace that reinforces your communications. Consider placing posters or in areas with the most foot traffic, such as the cafeteria or near conference rooms. Keep in mind that signage can be simple but needs to be managed to ensure communication is up to date.

 

3. Face to face

On board:
The cruise ship director used popular gathering spots as a platform to communicate announcements and reminders. After each show or event, the director would come on stage and provide highlights of the next island or let passengers know about big sales. 

To reach employees:
Face-to-face communication is still one of the most preferred channels by employees. Try setting up weekly team check-in meetings that are face to face instead of over the phone. Or a quick 15-minute morning huddle to provide updates and answer employees’ questions in person.

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