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By James Scott, founder and chief executive of Thrive.App.
 
If there’s been any industry hit particularly hard by the circumstances of 2020, it’s been the logistics, storage, and distribution industry. But it’s not for the same reasons that a lot of businesses have struggled — in fact, quite the opposite.

This sector has seen explosive growth in the past several years, and with it, consolidation, global expansion, and shocks to operating processes and the supply chain. These things have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. One telling stat: Year-on-year online retail ordering volumes have grown 52.9% in the UK. If you’re in this industry, you’re likely seeing the effects of this consumer behaviour on your business — some of those orders might be delivered by your very company.
 
And you’re not the only one dealing with growing pains: So are your workers. They, like you, are feeling the pinch brought on by staff shortages and no shortage of work to be done. They work long hours, cut off from management and colleagues. 

Your workforce: Disconnected and disengaged

If any worker has cause to feel disconnected, it’s these workers, who perform essential services from warehouses, lorries, and the road. It’s an issue echoed across industries right now: Recent research shows that one third of workers in the UK feel less connected to their company culture and colleagues than they did pre-pandemic.
 
A recent report looked at the state of the deskless workforce in 2020 through a survey of 12 000 workers in the UK, US, and some European countries. It found that a full 50% of workers in logistics and 41% in transportation don’t “feel loved” by their employers. 

Those feelings of underappreciation and isolation don’t just have an impact on the psyches of your employees. This perspective impacts their engagement and work and their productivity — left unchecked, this can do damage all the way to your bottom line. 

Your workforce: Connected, engaged and productive

You realise that happy, healthy and safe workers lead to thriving companies, but how can you take a workforce from that overwhelming sentiment of being undervalued and detached, to one that is energised, motivated and in-the-know? 
 
The answer lies in the right kind of communication. But not communication stuck in the past, i.e. printed company newsletters, notice boards or other forms of one-sided, corporate updates or recycling the same type of content. 
 
Rather, it takes communication that is designed specifically to increase engagement and boost productivity amongst your workforce. Communication that can be tailored to the exact needs of your teams. Communication that is dynamic and relevant for every single team member; that recognises employees for jobs done well; that puts critical, up-to-the-minute safety information at their fingertips; that solicits their opinions in ways to which they’ll respond; and that integrates into every step of the employee lifecycle, reducing the friction that in many cases prevents productivity. 
 
When it comes to reaching new levels of organisational engagement and productivity, the people within your organisation — not just the business objectives or latest company news — are the ‘why’. The method or tool you select for content distribution is the ‘how’.  Put together, you can deliver the relevant ‘what’ where and when your employees need it most.
 
A mobile-first communication should be on your priority list for increasing employee engagement for your business. Investing in technologies that better the employee experience and improve employee communication is important. Digital tools, such as employee communications apps, can be used for everything from integrated payroll to rota scheduling, sharing important health and safety information, to empowering employee-generated feedback and content as well as encouraging peer-to-peer recognition.