Any tool can be used in the pursuit of doing great good or irreparable damage. It is entirely dependent on who wields it and their intention.
The same applies to a state-of-the-art, comprehensive employee engagement app. If the strategy to execute it is outdated, ineffective or deficient, then it would have as little impact as an ill-considered, cheap app that has been created hastily.
You have built your employee communication strategy based on developing a new app to drive, develop, and improve how you communicate with your entire workforce. The app is ready. The question you need to ask is, are you ready?
Integrating new digital solutions with old legacy systems is not a one-size-fits-all process that every business can follow. Nor is it a case of ‘rip and replace’ the old with the new. It is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
While your new employee engagement app may ultimately replace existing methods of communication, it is more sustainable with a less disruptive overlap than a complex substitution.
That means that as you migrate your company to the new platform, you will need to support current systems for the moment.
- Some of the upgrade techniques you apply will need to modernise existing features. Is this possible?
- You will also need to continue to access documents and data from your old system while you set up your data migration from the legacy system. How do you intend to do this?
- Draft a ‘retirement plan’. This will help define how long you plan to support your old system before your employee engagement app is in place. This ensures that the time between retiring your old system and launching your new system is kept to its absolute minimum.
The Necessity of API Integration
Did your solution even exist when your company built your old systems? Unlikely, but APIs are available as tools to mitigate aged technology.
An API (or application programming interface) is a connection between computers or between computer programs. It is a type of software interface, offering a service to other pieces of software. A document or standard that describes how to build such a connection or interface is called an API specification. In addition, if you implement them optimally, they can:
- cut costs,
- improve efficiency, and
- increase profits.
4 Features of an Effective API
Before you select an API to integrate with your current systems, remember that it will need to present the following four features to be effective:
- It is documented extensively. It needs to talk about each data structure and its members with their type and purpose. Your comprehensive API document will help other developers. The best API is worthless if no one understands how to work with it.
- Simplicity. An API will ensure fast and flexible working because you can adapt it without constantly referring to the lengthy rules and steps.
- It is complete. It should not be missing features or complex code, making it challenging to work with in the future.
- Consistency. It names the same things, in the same way, every time. An API makes it predictable and easy for you to follow.
You need to inspire your employees’ buy-in. As a C-suite executive, you form part of the team that decided to implement your new digital solution. Your decision to do so was not impulsive but based on two things:
- To connect with your workforce in a more profound and meaningful way;
- Research proved that it was the only solution to improving overall employee engagement and experience.
But now you need to help your employees reach the same conclusion. The intention behind your choice is not contrived, but this does not make it any less difficult to persuade employees. People do not like change, especially when it comes to technology.
Let your app be the ambassador.
People are generally resistant to change, but this often stems from a lack of understanding. Keep your employees informed and in the know, using the following four steps to encourage their acceptance:
Step 1: Explain why you have introduced your employee app in-app. Highlight its benefits by using its best features as part of your introduction. You can:
- tag posts that will make searching for training videos fast and straightforward
- emphasise the security feature attached to group messaging that allows employees to connect in real-time, in a safe space
- begin sharing important company updates, such as shift schedules
bring recruits into the mix immediately by directing all onboarding processes through the app.
This is how you set the tone for how everyone will adapt to your new app and encourage a peer-to-peer experience.
Your champions will be:
- familiar with the new employee app and its features
- able to vouch for how it will enhance internal communication
- good at encouraging fellow employees to become engaged with the app.
To ensure your champions have the most significant impact, offer them early access and communicate the goals you have set – especially those targets that relate to them.
Step 2: Pick employees who represent your whole company. This action will enable you to get early feedback on additional features or challenges that you might not have considered in your initial scope.
But champions alone will not get the job done, and certainly not within a relatively tight timeline.
Step 3: Consider including a ‘reward’ feature in your employee engagement app. Reciprocity is the key to a successful relationship. If employees can see that you acknowledge their efforts to learn and adopt the new feature, they are even more likely to get onboard.
There are many ways to reward employees, such as:
- awarding a prize to the manager who signs up the most team members,
- using the employee directory app to post team milestones, awards, or achievements,
- developing an in-app scavenger hunt to get people familiar with its capabilities in a fun way.
Remember to make the results visible by announcing the winning team members in a post on the employee app, sharing relevant photos or visual content, and tagging the winners in the post to notify them.
Step 4: You will need to walk the talk. Cliché aside, it is essential for you to demonstrate that your organisation’s leadership is wholly committed to adopting the app.
If you actively show your participation, your employees will follow suit.
For your final step, use your app to share surveys to gauge the uptake among your employees.
You can ask your employees questions such as:
- What do you enjoy most about the new app?
- What features are most useful to you?
- Are there any challenges the app has not helped you overcome?
Keep them general or target specific. For example, in the scheduling feature, ask direct questions to determine how employees transitioned to managing their shift schedules.
Want to see how others effectively introduced their employee app as part of their internal communication strategy?
Your organisation is a living organism, with your employees its beating heart. We spoke about evolution earlier in this article, and all living organisms evolve. It is how we survive.
The same applies to your employee app. Your app must adapt and adjust to the organisation. While certain algorithms may allow the app to evolve with your employees as they engage with it, at some point, you will need to review your app and refresh it.
Even with the best intentions, and the most cutting-edge technology, the human factor will determine the success of introducing a new employee engagement platform. Your highest priority is to bridge the gap between what you and your employees know and the potential benefits of what the new engagement platform can teach you.
Are you ready to talk about how an employee app can help your workforce? Speak to an Expert to find out more.