Alex Vaccaro, senior vice president of marketing at AlertMedia, says HR leaders are increasingly being challenged to select and manage emergency communication technologies. And more than any other recent emergency scenario, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought intense attention to how organizations communicate before, during and after such emergencies.
“When a disaster strikes, phone trees and email aren’t sufficient to keep people safe, informed and connected,” Vaccaro says, adding that AlertMedia software lets employers set up a specific “Event Page” where employees can seek updated information, share photos, etc. Administrators can send a message out to hundreds of people via multiple channels (email, text, phone, Slack, etc.) in seconds.
Vaccaro says businesses like Kawasaki, DHL, Volkswagen, the Salvation Army and numerous professional sports teams are using the AlertMedia critical communications platform to communicate during emergencies.
“Numerous mass-notification companies were born after Sept. 11, but our technology was built for a mobile workforce,” she says. “HR often has a large role in the company’s emergency communications strategy–and the technology will be equally valuable post-pandemic.”
In fact, Vaccaro says, since the COVID-19 danger accelerated, hundreds of new customers sign up for AlertMedia technology to be able to keep their people safe, informed and connected. It now has customers across 100 countries, and they are communicating everything from workplace closures to changing business operations.
“Most of all, when employees see their safety and wellbeing is prioritized by the organization, employee morale, retention and productivity increase,” she adds.
Vaccaro explains that AlertMedia customers are using the technology in a variety of ways to support their employees. For instance, healthcare companies have tapped it to fill shifts, organizations are checking in on employees working from home to assess their needs, manufacturing companies have surveyed employees prior to their shift start time to assess symptoms and automate a response based on survey answers.
Virtually all companies are communicating around government updates such as changes to shelter-in-place orders,” she says.
One AlertMedia customer, Marquette Management, a Napierville, Ill., real estate property management company, is an essential business with most employees still working. Mindy Helms, the firm’s director of HR, is using AlertMedia to stay engaged with the company’s workforce.
“We have been using AlertMedia to send weekly inspirational messages, video messages from our partners, fun videos and surveys to keep employees engaged,” Helms says. “We want our people to feel supported and are using AlertMedia as an engagement tool to stay in touch with employees who are working from home.”
Helms explains that not all of the company’s employees have computers, so they are using their mobile device to stay connected.
“AlertMedia is important for us because we can connect with our team members via any channel,” she says.
Another customer, Metro Diner, one of 2,000 companies using AlertMedia to manage emergency communications in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, is communicating with furloughed employees. The Florida-based restaurant franchise is sending daily messages to their team of nearly 5,000 who have been furloughed due to locally mandated closures. They have provided their people direction on how to file for unemployment, how to apply for grants, and how to take advantage of the many benefits still available to them including free meals.
“AlertMedia has allowed us to stay in touch with our people — people who mean a lot to us,” says Hugh Connerty, co-chairman of Metro Diner.
“To create a great place to work, you need to create a safe place to work,” Vaccaro says. “Employee safety has to be at the top of HR’s agenda in order for any other HR initiative or program to achieve its full potential.”