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Boosting Employee Engagement with Internal Communications Apps

There are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide [1] and 3 hours and 15 minutes is the world daily average time spent on mobile phones (this can top 12 hours for some). As little as two decades were enough to literally alter the way people go about their lives and interact with each other. It is not surprising then that organisations, sensible to the benefits of employee engagement solutions, have turned to internal communication apps. There are in fact many great reasons to be doing so.

As an Employee Engagement Tool

For many, smartphones and applications have become natural extensions of themselves. It is common for people to rely on their phones and apps to be updated on news, connect with friends, check the weather and other latest trends, and conduct functions such as transferring money, finding a job, holding meetings, and more. An internal communication mobile app can allow you to match your employees’ daily habits to push your company’s information, instead of asking them to go out of their way to come look for it. Choosing the right channels of communication is winning half the engagement battle.

Employee apps allow companies to reach out to a maximum number of employees, especially when important content has to be disseminated. Think of your employees who are out there developing business or delivering your products, anyone who is working remotely and who might not have access to emails or desktops. Apps are a convenient way to keep them updated.

In fact, such an app is aimed at connecting the workforce, to set up teams, and create a sense of synergy. It’s not surprising that they are fast becoming a significant tool to enhance employee engagement. When we speak of leadership communication, internal communication apps can be the right tools to make significant positive impacts.

Making a Good Tool Great: With a Mindset

However, what is applicable to every tool, is also applicable to such employee apps, and that is: a tool is as valuable as the context in which it is used.

At the outset, employee engagement solutions pivot around very fundamental and essential aspects of a company. Their success is dependent on the company values, the communication skills, and the very real emotional involvement of the team. An internal communication app on its own, is unlikely to have much positive impact. But within a nurtured culture of engagement, such a solution can potentially do wonders.

There are certain risks to keep in check when launching an employee app. But with risks comes potential returns. We list below certain challenges to watch out for:

Acceptation: Transformation is not always uniformly accepted. Executives, employees, and communicators need to see value and ease of use, instead of a ‘flashy’ burden. This can be a major hurdle and deal breaker in the absence of strong content strategies and roll out plans. The design of an app should first and foremost keep the end users always in mind.

Integration: Adding another channel on top of the email system, intranet, team, or other internal communication software, will likely just increase the technological burden on the workforce. Deploying an app which integrates with existing functions is where the value is.

Retention: It’s no secret that apps compete for user attention. There’s no reason why the same should not apply to an employee app. Unless an organisation makes the use of the app mandatory (which kind of defeats the engagement purpose), the employee app will be competing against highly pleasurable apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter, and the like. It’s important to survey employees and conduct focus groups to identify not only the best solution, but also the most interesting retention solution. Developing pertinent content is key to retaining users of an internal communication app.

Bondfire

Bondfire is an employee engagement offer powered by Evolution. Our experts specialise in nurturing engagement cultures and developing tailor-made solutions, including internal communication apps, for companies serious about investing in their workforce. Internal communication is an area of focus by itself, but which is more effective within an overall strategy involving branding, content development, engagement, and much more. An innovative and trendy internal communication app can provide that extra level of workforce excellence and pride, especially if underpinned by a strong engagement culture. Discover more about our internal communications tools here.

[1] S. O’Dea, Statista 2020. “Number of smartphone users from 2016 to 2021”. Web. Retrieved on 4 December 2020.