As much as we are living in an increasingly connected world, we’re still faced with the challenge of effectively communicating with employees, especially as remote workforces become more prevalent. Companies can no longer rely on in-office meetings, email blasts, and lunchroom posters to reach a geographically dispersed workforce. Today’s employees expect timely, relevant, and customized communications in easily digestible pieces.
Under these conditions, enterprise mobile apps are quickly becoming the go-to communication tool for organizations looking to cut through the clutter of internal emails and the noise of underutilized intranet sites.
While some companies have started using mobile technology to communicate more effectively with their customers, best-in-class organizations are also adopting an enterprise mobile app strategy to communicate business critical and time-sensitive information to their staff.
Early adopters are beginning to see impressive returns on their investment in the form of improved message penetration, increased employee participation in programs, instantaneous 360 feedback, and valuable analytics that drive better decision making and business outcomes.
Email is out, mobile is in
Email is out for employee communications. A recent survey determined that employees typically receive an average of 121 emails a day, while another suggests that the average employee spends 28 percent of the work week managing emails with little benefit to the business. Savvy employers have taken note.
With the explosive growth of smartphone adoption globally, enterprise mobile apps provide a convenient communication channel that’s familiar to individuals and can reach a much broader section of employees than email, including those without constant access to a work computer. In fact, 90% of people will read a text message within three minutes of delivery. Mobile is a direct and proactive way to ensure and verify employees consume critical and time-sensitive communications immediately. So mobile can act as a direct way for employees to communicate feedback and opinions to management easily and in real time.
Companies who are not actively using mobile strategies to communicate with employees are missing out.
Hit them with your best shot (when they want you to)
Mobile communication allows employers to gain the attention of their staff in ways that traditional communication channels cannot.
- Push notification: Mobile platforms allow employers to send content to employees at a specific time. For example, when a group of shift workers start their work day at 9 am every day, companies can send critical information through a mobile app during the first 5 minutes of their shift, exponentially increasing knowledge rates.
- Short and sweet: Mobile generates responses at the push of a touchscreen and increases response rates for desired outcomes. For example, employees can quickly indicate their understanding of a new process, or product, thus enabling a company to understand when more or fewer communications are necessary.
- Direct: Mobile doesn’t require an employee to open an email or visit a website—a big time saver. An employee simply taps the app notification and is taken directly to the information to be consumed. For example, in our experience, a well-designed mobile app only takes about two minutes of an employees time per shift to establish knowledge around new programs, and ultimately eliminating lengthy meetings.
- Customized: Successful enterprise app developers take a page from popular consumer loyalty rewards programs, which uncover large amounts of information on customers and targeted content that spurs action. For example, some apps allow organizations to segment staff by any number of demographics or divisions and develop customized messages. The system also remembers which employees expressed interest in a particular type of message or program (i.e., lunchtime yoga) and will only deliver future messages on these topics to interested individuals. This is the ultimate in developing a one-on-one, firm-to-employee relationship.
- Gamification: Rewarding your employees for engaging in your programs and consuming business-critical content can establish a fun, competitive, and social environment throughout an organization.
You manage what you measure
Mobile apps can provide real-time, one-click feedback on communication effectiveness. Managers use this information to improve business and communication strategies. For example, if a specific division or age demographic didn’t read or respond to an initial round of communications, the managers portal can provide suggestions on how to reach a disconnected audience. Additionally, when gamification is integrated as a part of the strategy, employee understanding and engagement is captured in a much deeper and meaningful way.
“Companies want to transform into a center of gravity for brilliant people. Companies that use these data-driven approaches to work and operate with increased speed, make better decisions and foster inspiring cultures. This attracts the best people, who want to work in these types of environments.”—Rahaf Harfoush, Communication World Magazine
Bring it all together
Good ideas, when brought to life, bring countless rewards, and it is no different with mobile communications. Although the technology was developed with frontline employees in mind, we’ve found that an effective mobile app also encourages management toward a common goal. Too often a company’s engagement strategy is divided among several management leaders, who are not familiar with internal communications, creating confusion and a disconnect between the brand and its employees.
When complementary objectives and communications are brought under one system, these messages become part of a cohesive and positive message for employees—a huge internal branding boost that produces big results for employees, and the company as a whole.