Today’s business world is fast-paced. Customers increasingly expect service around-the-clock, 7 days a week. Employees can work any time of the day, any day of the week.
Whether you need to communicate about IT system outages, critical incidents, emergency situations or reminders about important business information that all staff need to know about, a mass notification system is a brilliant solution for your organization.
How Mass Notification Systems Can Improve Your Crisis Communications
Notifying your departments about such crises can be challenging, time consuming and cost intensive, especially if some of your teams are dispersed in different locations. Come to think of it, even communicating on a day-to-day basis with workers on the move is a difficult task. The ability to quickly touch base with your workforce regarding urgent issues plays a big role in improving not just business outcomes but worker safety as well.
Businesses use different ways of communicating with the staff; there are emails, newsletters, the company website and other similar channels. However, these channels do not work for urgent situations like outages or terrorist attacks. Some businesses have PA announcements, sirens and text alerts for emergency situations, but most of these are expensive standalone systems that are not very effective in reaching employees in different locations.
Companies must then look for mass notification systems that function not just tools for alerting during times of crises, but also double as solutions for improving internal communication. They must invest in mass notification systems that use many channels like SMS messaging, digital signage, corporate screensavers, and the like.
Benefits of Mass Notification Systems
More than ever before, you need solutions in place to communicate with all employees quickly and effectively at any time of the day or night when they may be working for you.
There are several good reasons why companies should invest in an emergency mass notification system:
1. Improve response times. A mass notification system can increase the effectiveness of your incident response team. Whether the issue at hand is a terrorist attack or a data security breach, the speed at which the incident response solutions are communicated can spell the difference between life and death, or the safety and misuse of your company information. Either way, mass notification solutions make the dissemination of information faster, so response teams can quickly act on the issue at hand.
2. Boost efficiency levels. How does your company cascade information to your staff? Are you still stuck in the era of the email? While email still has its merits, it has now been relegated to the background, because of information overload. Plus, employees have lost the sense of urgency when it comes to emails since not all of them are on their desks all the time. On the other hand, mobile alerts that are a part of an omni-channel notification system are instantly sent and read by the targeted audience. Quick dissemination of information allows departments and individual workers to quickly act upon the information to bring about positive outcomes.
3. Engage and align employees. In order for a business to achieve success, its employees must have their values and vision aligned with that of the organization. But how can this be possible if the workers are not aware of the company’s values and goals? This is especially pronounced in employees who work outside of the office, those out in the field who might be operating without knowledge of new policies or product updates. In fairness to businesses, they do try to communicate news and information, but their ways of doing so – meetings, email blasts, office bulletins – but these channels rarely communicate strategies in a timely manner that is easily understood by everyone. Mass notification systems allow sharing of information, goals and strategies in a timely and straight to the point manner through custom alerts.
4. Tighten up communication. Today’s workers use many different tools for communication – email, voice calls, instant messaging, SMS and what have you – which is why they spend a considerable amount of time sorting through these tools and looking for information. This can be very confusing, especially if the information needed is urgent. With mass notification systems, communication is better streamlined as employees refer to updates sent through the system.
Businesses do not need to go through the proverbial eye of the needle as they use different means of communication with the staff. Through effective mass communication systems, they can operate quicker and more efficiently.
5. Saving lives
Natural disasters can strike anytime and anywhere, although there are certain areas that are more prone to emergencies. For instance, the west coast of the United States particularly the state of California is naturally predisposed to earthquakes. The east coast, on the other hand, is prone to blizzards. Businesses in the south and Midwest, meanwhile, can be hit hard by tornadoes.
Companies that are located in these areas should have mass notification systems in place to warn their employees about upcoming weather disturbances like blizzards or tornadoes. Through the said system, a warning can be delivered to all employees at work, advising them that work has been cut short. Or a message can be sent to all members of the company’s disaster response unit about the said turbulence, instructing them to be on standby.
6. It allows management to communicate with the staff in the shortest time possible, something that other communication tools like email won’t afford them. With an emergency mass notification system in place, companies will be able to reach out to its workers as quickly as possible and warn them about an ongoing crisis.
For instance, a construction firm can immediately notify its workers in the field about a brewing storm headed in its area. Workers, then, can evacuate the site and head to a safer place. This is something that is hard to achieve through other communication channels like email, because workers in the field don’t check their computers regularly.
Through a mass notification system, management can send out alerts to handheld devices of their workers in the field. This way, employees will be informed right away of an impending crisis and they can take the necessary steps to ensure their safety.
7. It facilitates delivery of the message through multiple platforms. A good mass emergency notification program can deliver alerts through a wide range of channels. Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and Blackberry are ideal for field-based employees. Office workers, on the other hand, can be reached through email, push notifications, mobile phones, VoIP, and fax machines.
8. An emergency mass notification system can also eliminate guess work and human error during an ongoing crisis as members of an emergency response committee can customize templates accordingly. They can pre-define the message, or select recipients for any scenario. They can record voice alerts or prepare text messages that can be sent through multiple channels.
These messages or alerts can then be sent by authorized personnel during an ongoing crisis. This spares the emergency response team from having to think of a message alert during a tense situation, so they can focus on other more important things like coordinating the evacuation of workers.
9. An emergency mass notification program also allows its users to track message delivery, receipt and responses. This is another feature that other traditional communication tools like email and phones don’t have.
Many of the emergency mass notification software sold in the market today can display charts and visual meters to show progress at a glance. Thus, the emergency response team would immediately know how many employees have received the message about evacuating the building, or seeking shelter from a storm.
Moreover, emergency response team members can send follow up alerts based on the current responses. For example, the emergency response committee can send a message to a particular worker who indicated that he needs assistance.
10. Continuance of Business Operations
Company properties like vehicles, computers and other equipment can be properly sheltered and secured once employees in charge of taking them are promptly warned of an impending disaster like torrential rains, or floods.
Businesses can also announce minor inconveniences like power and water outages to their personnel, who can make the necessary adjustments to ensure that business operations continue.
Emergency notification systems can also create a centralized command center that can bring back order to a distressed workplace. This is very important because panic can quickly lead to chaos in the building during an emergency scenario, like an armed man intruding company premises.
But with a message delivered through the emergency notification system, every individual in the company can be briefed on the crisis. Messages like instructions on where to evacuate should enable leaders of the company’s crisis control team to take back control of a tensed situation.
Tips in Shopping for an Emergency Notification System
Procurement units shopping for an emergency notification system should not only look at the cost of the product, but also on other factors like monthly and maintenance fees that the vendor may charge. They should also look at the features of the notification system, as well as the forms of notifications that it can support. Moreover, the program or system should automatically be linked to local police for immediate response during emergencies.
Mass notification systems have become very important in today’s corporate world, as companies need to be prepared all the time to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. These programs can also minimize damage to property and lessen the impact of crisis on business operations.
With these benefits that a company can gain from an emergency mass notification system, it can be concluded that this type of software is a very practical investment that any firm should consider getting.