Create an App - 7 Key Considerations

Internal communications need as much attention, if not more, than external communication. Achieving business success starts from within an organisation. If employees are engaged, they perform better and the business grows. Most large corporations own an intranet to distribute information and important company documents. However, these are often only accessible via desktop computers.

What does this mean for frontline employees whose access to a computer is irregular at best? Not a great deal. A more meaningful approach can be found in making available a mobile employee communication app that provides a platform for reaching all your employees via their personal smartphones or tablets.

This provides you with an effective and secure channel for connecting dispersed workers. This also addresses the growing contingent of employees who demand effective methods of communicating with their managers and team members.

Gone are the large, cumbersome IT projects of the static workplace. Its replacement? A rapidly developed and deployed mobile communication app that drives employer-to-employee collaboration.

Before you plunge in, we encourage you to consider the following list of 7 key factors companies have to weigh before they implement their employee communication app.

1. Features and Functionality

  • Consider including any or all of the following common features:
  • Chat function
  • Instant messaging
  • Content sharing
  • Push notifications
  • Company news
  • Employee training opportunities
  • Employee surveys
  • Notices
  • Contact directory
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Modules for employee training
  • Sales team leader board
  • Search function
  • Links directory
  • Single sign-on feature
  • Team calendar
  • Multilingual function

Companies also need to give consideration to the functionality of their communication app. A solution that lacks the capacity for instant messaging and doesn’t provide audio and video calling is unlikely to leave employees impressed. Integration with productivity suites, whether these be Microsoft, Google or alternative offerings is equally important.

2. Content is King

If your only action is to introduce an employee communication app – without any change to the content you are sharing – it is unlikely to make a meaningful impact. You need purposeful content that is relevant to your workforce. After all, one of the primary purposes of employee communication is to help employees understand what the company’s goals and objectives are, how they fit into it, and to encourage them to buy into its strategy

This means you will need to consider the following:

  • Multiple administrators overseeing your app.
  • Full-time and part-time editors who can create content easily and maintain it continuously.

If you are expanding your communication platforms (via the introduction of an app) it is also opportune to review your existing communication channels. Your intranet and communication app should be complementary to each other. To make the most of your intranet you will need an intranet-specific content management system (CMS). The key in this regard is to get a CMS that is flexible enough to meet the usage needs and requirements of your envisaged communication strategy.

Current intranets all include variations of the following content:

  • Practical-use cases
  • Frequently used documents
  • News
  • Company communications

Some intranets have extended to include more sophisticated features, such as employee portals focused on self-service processes (for example, applying for leave). It’s important that features such as these are translated into a format aligned to your new mobile platform.

3. Big Bang versus Ramp-up

A number of companies invest significant resources into the building and launch of a comprehensive mobile communication app. This can work well if you have a tech-savvy and mobile workforce. For most companies, a smaller impactful start to the development of an app may yield better results. Thereafter, by giving consideration to industry best practice approaches that consistently garner insights from employee usage of your communication app. You can refine your communication strategies and further develop your app in a way that is responsive to your employees’ needs.

4. Opting Out a ‘Must Have’ Option

For an employee communication tool to be completely effective, employees must register on the platform. But they should never be forced to do so. You should still allow employees to choose the company information they want and need.

Remove barriers to signing up, such as restrictive costs attached to hardware or data charges, and you may find that more employees opt-in. You can potentially further boost registration by ensuring that the information you host on your app is relevant to your employees’ work and interests.

5. Hosting Choices

At this point, you need to ask yourself whether a native or web app is best for your business.

Native apps are fast and responsive as they are built for a specific platform, and they are created using a platform’s core programming language and active programme interfaces. This makes the app much more efficient. The device stores the app, allowing the software to leverage the device’s processing speed.

A web application will reduce costs for both your employees and your organisation. Web applications are always up to date because updates are applied centrally. All users can access the same version, so it removes compatibility issues. With a web browser, you can also access a web app anywhere.

6. Real-time Communication

Yes, mobile employee communication apps help cut across the babble with push notifications and text messaging that you can use for those rare but critical moments when you need to notify employees of immediate, business-critical news (such as an office closure or a COVID exposure).

7. Cost Considerations

Make no mistake – an employee communication tool will have several costs, including:

  • Subscription
  • Implementation
  • Usage
  • Employee training

Initial costs might also seem prohibitive if your organisation implements an internal communication app for the first time.

When weighing providers and what solution works best for your organisation, it is important for you to take a look at:

  • Set-up time
  • Ease of use
  • Training required

As with any business resource implementation, it’s best to start with the end in mind. To make the most of your communication app investment, set yourself clear business objectives and constantly assess whether you are in fact getting an acceptable return on your investment.

Key Takeaways

Your organisation has unique needs, and these will be key to choosing an effective communication app. You must recognise and understand the best way your app will help to fill them. Solving the question of whether you will need a workplace communication app that merely executes instant messages or one that incorporates other features, such as task management, payroll or schedule management is important. The answers to these questions will guide you in developing an employee communication app that reaches every single member of your team in an engaging way, with relevant content that fits their needs, improving engagement and ultimately boosting employee productivity.

If you’re looking to find out more about building an employee engagement app, please click here to speak to an expert.