“No nonsense. Just the straight sh*t about the harsh realities and the wonderful opportunities that inspired employee communications can bring you and your organization.” That’s how hosts of “The Swear Jar” podcast from the Academy of Business Communications describe their show. We couldn’t agree more, as Red e App CEO, Jonathan Erwin, recently sat down with hosts Elizabeth Williams and Andrew Brown to talk about the undesked or ‘deskless’ workforce.
The “Great Undesked” is a segment of the workforce that often gets forgotten, neglected, under-serviced, and sometimes even scapegoated by employers. This employee segment includes bartenders, drivers, miners, grocery store workers, caretakers, and construction workers — just to name a few. These employees, who are critical to the success of so many organizations and communities, are often overlooked in strategic internal communications. Since our inception, Red e App has been passionate about courageously connecting this non-desk workforce.
In this episode of The Swear Jar, Jonathan and the hosts explore what makes “the great undesked” unique, reveal myths about these hard-working and committed employees, and talk about how to effectively build trust with them.
Topics covered include…
Origins of Red e App:
Jonathan: “I felt like communication was misfiring between businesses and consumers, and businesses and their employees.”
Characteristics of the non-desk employee:
Jonathan: “They are balanced, they leave their job at the door. It’s not because they don’t care, they just don’t have the same need for data as we do. They do hard work that is often physically and emotionally draining.”
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
Jonathan: “I really believe if I were to share anything with your audience about the deskless workforce, it would be to lead with transparency and humanity.”
Elizabeth: “I love the humanity message because we trust people, we don’t trust institutions, organizations, or lately even data, but we can trust people… we need to have a type of work diversity view that looks at the workplace or work-type diversity… a lot of these (deskless) jobs are taken by people who are new to the country or new to the workforce. Should we be including the workforce that is diverse, in the way that they work with their hands or outside of the ‘workplace’ a lot of the time, to our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs?”
Jonathan: “Absolutely, yes! Diversity, equity, and inclusion are such a huge part of what we do because we believe that if you include people in the communication of what’s happening, that becomes work trust. You don’t have to engage employees with balloons and confetti every day. In jobs where meals are provided on-site, a simple act like giving them access to a menu every day to give them an idea of whether or not they should pack a lunch, guess what? It goes a long way. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are big pieces of the puzzle, and to know that deskless workers do not consume or need the same things you need, is critical.”
Elizabeth wrapped up the conversation with this summary of insights:
Elizabeth: “Let me just highlight the insights we surfaced today: our deskless people are a diverse lot, they want to be communicated to, they want us to be reaching out through the tools they are using in their hand (so, mobile phones), we need to be careful that we don’t come across as tone-deaf and create divides between head office and the deskless workforce, we need to help our frontline and team managers capitalize on the trust they have with the deskless workforce to the human side of the organization, and we need to start including the deskless workforce in our diversity, equity and inclusion programs.”
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen to The Swear Jar Podcast: (Unlearning) About the Great Undesked.