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6 Reasons Digital Signage Is Key To Communicating With Deskless Workers, Proven by Behavioral Science

Digital signage is a reliable and convenient way for deskless workers to receive information due to the nature of their job environment, the types of messages displayed and how quickly they must act. ScreenCloud teamed up with Durham University to explore how digital signage effectively communicates with deskless workers.

Two employees in a warehouse are speaking to each other with a digital sign in the background displaying information.

Digital signage is a crucial means of communication to deskless workers since they do not attend or have access to an office environment. Industries such as healthcare, W2, logistics, construction, retail and transport are the most common examples of workplaces with digitally detached workers. 

For deskless workers whose jobs are dependent upon time-sensitive information, such as real-time updates or safety and compliance announcements, digital signage has been proven to be the most effective communication tool. 

Why Should Communication Matter?

Digital signage has also been linked to employee well-being, employee retention, customer satisfaction, safety culture and performance. Employee engagement, especially among deskless workers, is pivotal in these uncertain times. Some 33% of deskless workers don’t feel valued by their employer and 48% considered quitting their jobs within the past year. 

ScreenCloud commissioned the Behavioral Science Team at Durham University to find out how to utilize digital science to influence employee attitude and behavior. By engaging employees more, they can feel heard by their employer and satisfied in their workplace. Engagement doesn’t only help workers: companies with higher engagement scores reported 21% higher profits and 70% fewer safety incidents than their low engagement counterparts.

How Does It Work?

There are six behavioral messaging practices that enhance engagement among workers: streamlining processing fluency, framing, avoiding abstraction, understanding consequences, utilizing strength in norms and bridging the divide of “us versus them”. Each strategy is detailed below.

Processing fluency

Digital signage has the advantage of being a passive information flow for deskless workers. Information on digital signage is also usually easy to process and consistent. 

Since workers don’t have to put in cognitive effort to receive the message and they can “get” it right away, they will have a higher processing fluency and will be able to understand information on digital signage effectively. 

Another advantage of digital signage is that since its information is easily processed, it is viewed more positively and trustworthy. There is also no need for endless repetition with digital signage since the information is meant to remain consistent, so workers are also less likely to have information fatigue.

Framing

With digital signage, the most important information is able to be shared first, usually at the top of the screen. A worker is most likely to be influenced by the first information they see, a phenomenon called the primacy effect

When deciding what information to display and how, an organization has to consider if the goal is promotion or prevention. A positive gain frame is used when increasing engagement and commitment; a loss frame is used when the message is focused on safety and compliance.

Avoiding abstraction

The clear script within digital signage also draws in workers. Our brains use schemas – otherwise known as mental scripts – to help us figure out any given situation quickly. Therefore, whenever an employee cannot utilize these scripts, such as when they encounter an unclear, ambiguous message, they have to take more time to understand the message. 

Luckily, digital signage depends on concise and straightforward messaging. Breaking information down by steps that are easy to visualize, remember and achieve makes employees more likely to implement it into their workplace routines.

Strength in norms

In a general sense, social norms consist of the acts, values or expectations that have been created by individuals, groups and societies. Within the context of a workplace, a norm would be behavior that is overall accepted and expected of the workplace ecosystem. Most importantly, following a social norm is about fitting in with others, which can guide and influence employee behavior. 

By providing a role model, describing the number of other people carrying out the behavior, highlighting dynamic trends and emphasizing the relevance, immediacy and context of high value statistics, employees will be more likely to exhibit behaviors like their peers and colleagues. The stronger a norm is emphasized, the higher number of employees willing to follow it.

Norms in digital signage enable personalization, like wishing someone a happy birthday, work anniversary or congratulating them for an achievement. This small degree of personalization is still able to influence employee behavior.

Understanding consequences

When employees hold a “just-world” attitude, they are most likely categorizing themselves as “good” and less likely to feel that any consequences for breaking rules will affect them, since consequences would only happen to “bad” people. This “just-world” mindset turns out to be toxic when employees do not believe that they deserve punishment, even when they commit infractions that objectively lead to negative consequences.

Similar to having strong norms, digital signage can combat the “just-world” cognitive dissonance and signal a message that all employees will be treated equally when committing infractions. With personalization, digital signage can also increase empathy between colleagues instead of labeling people as “good” or “bad”.

Bridging the divide

Deskless workers are currently feeling separated from their deskbound colleagues since they are less likely to have direct contact with their supervisors or senior leaders due to a lack of communication technology. This is a major reason why company messaging to create a shared identity is so important.

Digital signage, especially when displaying user-generated content, can strengthen the psychological contract between the employee and employer. Digital signage should use language such as “us” and “we”, show consciousness of cultural differences to avoid alienating groups of employees and avoid language barriers, and enable workers to take on the perspectives of their colleagues.

Conclusion

With deskless employees comprising 80% of the global workforce, it is important to help streamline their work and engage them within their organization. Digital signage has the benefit of reaching both of these objectives for the deskless workforce. 

For full insider knowledge on how to increase employee engagement and overall productivity through digital signage, be sure to read the full Applying Behavioral Science to Enhance Messaging Through Digital Signage: Insights for the Deskless Workforce eBook, produced in partnership with Durham University. 

 SC Gradient

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