As a leader of a construction or mining team, your message is only as good as it is perceived.
Are you inspiring action? Is your message reflective of the company’s vision? Do your employees understand what you really mean? If not, it may be time to consider new methods.
Five-years-young and committed to innovation, Turner Mining Group is taking alternative approaches to employee communication to ensure its messages are received, trusted and transformative. The full-service metal and minerals mining contractor based in Bloomington, Indiana has more than 200 employees.
Here are three internal communication strategies that are helping Turner connect field and office staff, and ultimately, unite the company.
1. Give employees a pat on the back
An ‘atta boy goes a long way. To help inspire the team to live the company’s values, Turner implemented a values nomination program.
Team members can nominate fellow employees for demonstrating positive behaviors, being proactive about safety and bringing new ideas to the table.
2. Meet people where they are
People don’t want to read long emails. So, why not use a communication platform that your staff already have and use regularly?
Turner implemented a company-wide texting program, Turner Texts, which can be segmented into groups for all staff, field teams and leadership teams.
In the short time since the program’s launch, field staff have already benefitted from a more personal, convenient connection to office resources such as HR and payroll.
“We have to meet our field teams where they’re at,” says Sarah D’Amico, marketing manager, Turner Mining Group. “They’re not going to be in front of a computer all day. Everyone has their phone; we’re glued to it. We’re constantly looking for new ways that we can reach our people to get them information.”
And tech platforms don’t have to be scary, says D’Amico. Basic texting programs are easy to use and much cheaper than investing a ton of money into Microsoft Teams or Slack licenses.
The company also uses the texting platform to distribute employee surveys. The feedback loop gives employees a voice and a path to share information. Taking it one step further, Turner dishes out a $500 bonus for any idea submitted via the survey that is implemented by management.
“All of our guys talk,” says D’Amico. “They have a lot of common pain points. If we’re picking one of their ideas, we’re probably solving a problem for the masses.”
3. Diversify the message and the messenger
Finally, empower trusted messengers to help communicate important information. Because not only does the message matter, but who delivers it can have a profound impact on how employees absorb the information.
Turner started Leader Letters after Director of Operations Blaine Larson shot out a message one day about safety and equipment best practices. “It was in his tone of voice. It was encouraging. It was helpful,” says D’Amico. “And we’re like, ‘Wait, why aren’t we doing this for all of our leaders?’”
The personal messages became a way for members of the executive team and others to communicate directly with the field team about what is important to them, what they need to learn or what they need to be reminded of, in their tone of voice.
“What I love about it is that it's unscripted,” says D’Amico. “It’s not the Turner professional way that I try to write. It’s one way that employees realize there is a person behind this that I can learn from. It’s been really fun to roll out.”
Haun and D'Amico presented the education session "Building a Dynamic Team" at AGG1 Expo 2022.