As much as we are living in an increasingly connected world, we are still challenged with communicating to employees in an effective manner. With remote employees, staff members on the road, the rise of flex hours and telecommuting, and working in satellite offices, the traditional methods of working have dramatically changed. To reach today’s on-the-move and geographically dispersed workforce, the past styles of communicating through in-office meetings, email blasts, and posters just won’t suffice. Today’s employees expect timely, relevant, and customized communication 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’s Out, Mobile’s 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 workweek 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 get staff attention when and where they want it, in a way that traditional communication channels can’t.
- Push Notification - Some mobile platforms provide the ability to send specific messages at the exact time employees need to see them. For example, for a group of shift workers who start their shift at 9 am every day, sending a mobile message regarding mission critical work information 5 minutes before the start of a shift exponentially increases 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/less communications are necessary.
- Direct - Mobile doesn’t require the employee to open an email, or go to 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 three minutes of employee time per week to establish knowledge around new programs (eliminating lengthy meetings).
- Customized - Successful enterprise app developers take a page from popular consumer loyalty rewards programs, which uncover as much information as possible about customers and target messages that will spur 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 communication, the manager portal can provide suggestions on how to reach this audience. And 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 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 employees in mind, we’ve found that an effective mobile app encourages management toward a common goal as well. Too often a company’s engagement activities (whether they be regarding mission critical communications, or on CSR, sustainability, health and wellness, and safety) are divided among several management leaders, who do not regularly communicate about shared goals and communication strategies, leaving messaging and employee communications disjointed and confusing.
When complementary objectives and communications are brought under one system, these messages become part of a cohesive and positive message for employees. This is a huge internal brand boost producing big results for employees, and the company as a whole.