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49+ great ways to use SMS to communicate with employees (and what to say!)

John Rost

If you’re considering implementing or updating an employee text messaging system, you might be looking for employee text templates. Maybe you’re looking for employee texting use cases to support getting a new tool! Employee SMS is part of a complete internal communications strategy, and one of the best ways to make sure you’re reaching 100% of your employees.

But before you start writing your first mass text to your team, be sure to consider when SMS is the right channel.

When to use employee SMS

Text messaging carries huge advantages in reaching employees wherever they are, at the right time. It can also be seen as intrusive or over-reaching if you use it too much! These are some of the best scenarios for using an employee text message system:

  • Text to reach employees quickly. If your message is urgent or even an emergency, SMS is probably fastest channel to alert your employees with a wide reach. (Make it part of your crisis comms plan.)
  • Text to get a short reply or fast answer. That might be a quick RSVP to an event, a headcount, or a call for sign-ups for a tough-to-fill shift.
  • Text to make sure everyone gets the message at the same time. Since everyone can get texts – whether they’re on the frontline, in the office, or remote – employee SMS is a good solution for major news that would feel unfair if some groups got it before others.
  • Text a remote or distributed workforce. Using text messages to reach your more far-flung employees can help them feel included in company culture in real-time.

Tips for employee text success

Internal communicators and company leaders generally love mass texting employees, because of the high engagement and immediacy. That’s exactly why they need to be careful and follow employee text messaging best practices… if used wrong, employees will opt-out of your text messages and it’ll become a less-effective part of your internal comms channel mix.

Here’s how to think about employee texting in a way that both communicators and team members will find helpful!

Get employee consent and inform them they’re getting messages

The rules around employee consent to receive SMS messages aren’t always black and white, but it’s generally OK to text employees using implied consent via their employment agreement. But don’t start just texting them out of the blue!

The best practice is to use one (or more) of your established channels, like email or intranet, to let employees know in advance that you’ll be texting. It’s up to you whether you do a full opt-in program, but you do have to give everyone the option to opt out of text messages.

Try a message like this, and make sure to sound positive!

Starting on [date], [company name] employees will be opted in to receive occasional company text messages! You’ll only get important updates and need-to-know information from our employee text message system, and you can always opt out. Watch for the first welcome text, and feel free to reply with your favorite emoji!

Don’t text too much! Be smart about your channel mix.

The number-one way to turn your employee base off of company text messages is to overuse it. You’ve been given a great power! Before you send a text to everyone, consider your entire channel matrix (here’s a free channel matrix template if you don’t have one), and ask yourself some questions to determine if it’s the right tool for the job.

  • Is this message urgent or time-sensitive enough to warrant a text?
  • Could these employees be reached via a different channel?
  • Do all of these groups need to get the message via text?
  • What are the reasons someone might react to this text negatively?

Be relatable and encourage replies where appropriate

We always encourage thinking about internal comms with the mantra, “meet employees where they are.” It’s a great reason to use text messages (everyone has and uses a phone), but it also speaks to the importance of using text in a way that feels natural. Make your company text message “voice” the most relatable and personable version of your brand voice.

  • Keep text messages short and to the point – don’t use flowery language or jargon
  • Be positive and upbeat! No one wants texts to feel like a burden.
  • Make any calls to action super-clear
  • Use emojis where possible (and appropriate)

Examples of when to use an employee text message system (and what to say!)

Operational updates
Text is a great channel for operational changes and in-the-moment alerts. Keep your employees informed with exactly what they need to know about what’s happening today.

Send a text for weather-related operational changes

  • Office closure! The Omaha office will be closed today (xx.xx) due to the weather. Please stay safe and work from home today – all meetings will be held on Zoom. 
  • Due to the storms, the Houston store will open at 12pm (instead of 8am today). Please report to your shift at the usual time + 4 hours. (if you usually work at 7am, your shift starts at 11am today. Details → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Parking update! The spots out front are now enforced by the city – don’t get a ticket! 👮 Free employee parking is available in the lot on the east side of the office. Parking map → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

Texts for IT outages or tech interruptions

  • Internet Outage: Service is down at the office until further notice! IT has been notified, and teams are working to restore internet to the area. If you can’t work without service, please work from home for the rest of the day.
  • Server unavailable: Please be aware that all files on the server will be unavailable this Friday (xx.xx) from 8am to 2pm. If you need documents, please download them and be ready to work offline during this time. Instructions → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Attn Omaha Staff! The west doors aren’t working correctly this morning. Please enter and exit on the north side of the building until further notice.

 

Event related
Emails and texts about events get some of the highest engagement rates of any employee communications! Keeping people up-to-date about plans, expectations, and changes is one of the most important parts of successful event planning, and SMS is a powerful tool to make it happen in real time.

Event RSVPs

  • Coming to the party? 🎉RSVP today to save your spot at the biggest [company] event of the year → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • It’s almost time for the big bash! Get all the details about [company event] and RSVP on the intranet → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Event sign-up from [company name]. Please reply to this text with YES or NO to confirm your attendance.
    • All-Company Off-Site Meeting
    • Date: this Friday, [date]
    • Time: 12pm – 3pm
    • Location: [event location]
    • Parking: [details]

Event reminder

  • Don’t forget! You’re signed up to help at the Volunteer Booth this Saturday, [date]. Please take a look at the full shift schedule and parking information on the intranet → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k Thanks for volunteering!

Change to events

  • Event Update! The venue for next week’s all-hands meeting has changed. New details are posted on the intranet → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k 

Texted event feedback forms

  • That’s a wrap on Spring Retreat! As you rest up, please take 5 minutes to fill out our feedback survey → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k We’ll use your insights to make the Summer edition even better ☀ 

Check-ins during events or retreats

  • Welcome to Company All-Hands 2024! Grab a coffee ☕and donuts 🍩at the breakfast station (on the East side of the hall) and plan to take a seat in the main conference room by 9am. 
  • [Event] starts now! Please check in by replying with what you’re most excited about at today’s event.

In-event happenings and reminders via text

  • Day 1 is coming to a close! Please join us at the rooftop bar for an all-company 🍸happy hour! Take the elevators behind the lobby – the bar is open from 5-6:30pm!
  • We hope you’re having a super-productive hackathon… presentation are due no later than 4pm today! Drop all final assets in this folder on our main drive → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

Use text to coordinate staff or volunteers during events

  • All Event Volunteers: Meet at our company booth tomorrow morning at 8am sharp. The Fun Run begins at 9am. See where our booth is located and where to park at the main event page: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Austin Office Volunteers: Thank you for signup up to help at today’s open house! Meet us at the front desk at 9am sharp for assignments, schedules, water, and snacks.

 

Benefits-related employee text messages
The immediacy of text messages is perfect for timely messages about benefits and open enrollment. Employees need to know, they don’t want to miss it, and there is usually a hard deadline involved. Try announcements, reminders, and links to intranet hubs and forms to make sure that everyone has multiple easy opportunities to sign up.

Open enrollment announcements

  • Don’t forget to view your updated 2024 Benefits Summary and make the selections. All employees must re-enroll in benefits this year. All details are on this page → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k Sign your enrollment docs by Feb. 1 
  • Open enrollment meetings are happening now! If you need to update your health insurance coverage, please attend one of these sessions to see what’s changed. Enrollment is open until 2.1.24. Meeting times and locations: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Last chance to start or change your health insurance selections! Open enrollment closes this Friday, Feb. 1. Details and forms → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k If you aren’t making any changes, you don’t have to take any action this year. 

Benefits changes or new benefits added

  • Smile! 👄Our dental plan has changed… we’re happy to announce that orthodontia is now covered up to 50%. Check out the details on our benefits homepage: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Health Insurance Reminder: [company]’s provider has changed to [provider]. There is no change to your out-of-pocket cost. Please review the details of your new plan on our health insurance portal: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Exciting new benefit announcement! We have added Happiness EAP to your benefits package. All employees now have access to anonymous mental health and wellness services through this provider. Details here: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k 

Text Reminder to use annual benefits or stipends

  • Can you believe the year’s almost over!?🎇 Don’t forget to use your Wellness Stipend before 12/31… these benefits don’t roll over to the next year! Check out our blog for self-care ideas you can use with this benefit: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

 

Company announcements
Big announcements are the perfect place to leverage the “send to everyone” feature of your employee texting service. Make a big splash with a company-wide message, ask for feedback on something major, or encourage everyone to post on social media about a major update. On a smaller scale, you can segment to certain departments to deliver important-to-them news that might not affect others.

Launch or new product

  • 🚀LAUNCH DAY! Our new product is live! Be sure to share pictures from today’s celebration on social media with the hashtag #LaunchDay. Thank you to everyone who has made this exciting new chapter for our business possible.
  • Have you 👀seen our website today? The new brand is LIVE on [website]. Congratulations to Marketing on this huge milestone!
  • [new feature] is live! All of our clients now have access to this incredible feature, and it was YOUR hard word that made it possible. Click here for the official announcement and to see it in action → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k 

Hitting milestones or reaching goals

  • 🥂We made it! Congratulations to the ENTIRE team on reaching our Q3 goal! All of your contributions made this major milestone possible… and we know it wasn’t easy. Watch for a special celebration announcement coming soon!
  • Q2 Sprint Update: 75% there! Check on progress here → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k 
  • We’re almost there! Holiday 2024 has been crazy already, and there are 6 business days left! Keep up the great work and let’s finish the year strong!

 

Employee recognition
Texting employees about other employees is a very personal and noticeable way to tackle recognition. You can virtually guarantee that an individual’s peers will see their award or feature. It’s a great idea for company-wide text for major awards or one-off recognitions, and for smaller teams who have monthly sales contests or project sprints.

Employee features or employee of the month messages

  • Don’t miss our latest Employee Feature, Jamie 🥳 [picture] Check out the article on our blog to see what she loves most about her job, what flavor ice cream she loves, and what her department is working on next 

Sales contest or leaders (or encouragement)

  • Devin is this month’s Sales Winner! [picture] Devin was 120% to goal for meetings booked, and brought in our biggest potential client EVER! As always, they’ll get a 💵bonus for such great work. Make to say congrats!
  • The Sales Team Race is On! 5 business days left in the month, and Austin is in the lead! Check the scorecard here: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k 

CEO Special Award

  • Team – I’m proud to announce this year’s Pinnacle Award Winner… John! [picture of CEO with John]. His hard work, dedication, and attitude (plus over 10 years of service) are just some of the reasons he deserves this award. Read the announcement here: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k        – Rick, CEO 

Promotions/Employee Moves

  • Team Announcement! Congratulations to [employee name] on their promotion to [title]! Get the scoop on the big news in our latest newsletter → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • Don’t miss this week’s employee updates! Lots of exciting team news and moves, make sure you’re in the know. Updates → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

 

From leadership
In Workshop, you can give your leadership direct access to text employees – or you can ghostwrite for them and send the messages yourself. A direct reach-out from a senior executive is a great way to leverage your biggest employee influencers! 

  • Team, this is [executive name]. I want to personally thank you for your hard work this year, and for your dedication to making [company] a place that I’m proud to call home.   – [executive name]
  • There is so much exciting news in this week’s [CEO update newsletter name]!

 

New hire onboarding
The first day, first week, and first 30-60-90 days of your new employees are so important for building a great relationship! Internal communications strategy plays a huge role in making sure that every new hire is set up to succeed in their role. Send text messages throughout their initial experience at your company.

  • Congratulations! This is [supervisor] at [company]. We’re getting ready for your first day on [date]. Here’s everything you’ll need to start Day 1.
    Location: [address]
    Time: [time]
    Parking: [instructions or link to map]
    What to do: [short instructions for entering building]
    See you on [date]!
  • Your future starts today! We’re looking forward to seeing you at [time]. Just in case you missed it, here’s the parking map for our office! http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • 👋 We hope you’re having a great first day! As you go through orientation, you can always refer back to your itinerary here → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k. Please reply to this text if you have any questions and don’t know who to ask!
  • New Hire Survey! We would love to hear how your onboarding experience has been so far. If you can, please take 10 minutes to answer some easy questions about your first 30 days at [company] http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k Thanks!
  • ATTN: Please complete your new hire benefits enrollment by this Friday, [date]. All forms are available here → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

Feedback and surveys
Use text messages to take quick surveys of employee groups! It’s best to use text for quick YES or NO responses, and save more detailed questions for full surveys or emailed pulse surveys. We love text message surveys during events or drives, to get a real-life pulse on attendance right before something starts, or to get live feedback directly after something everyone’s done together.

  • It’s almost time for lunch! 🍔🥗🥤 Please reply YES to this text if you’ll be coming to the courtyard for the cookout at 12pm today.
  • Volunteer Check-In: Please reply to this text message with the time you plan on arriving for today’s Fun Run!

    Parking information: http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k
  • That’s a wrap! Before you head home, please take our 5 minute survey on this year’s workshop → http://www.wrkmsg.com/34g9dj5k

 

How to implement your employee texting system

If you’re ready to add an additional channel to your internal communications strategy and reach 100% of your employees in real time… take a look at Workshop! We would love to demonstrate for you how we can simplify texting employees, sync to your HR source of truth, help you manage replies, and dive into text messaging analytics. Schedule a demo >>

workshop employee texting service

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