The world of work is always rapidly changing and evolving. With remote work on the rise, particularly during the change to home-based work during the pandemic, employees aren’t sitting in offices working in traditional settings all the time.
Telecommuting was already on the rise with remote teams working together on projects based in far flung locations around the world.
This can present challenges for internal communications: traditional methods communicating with employees simply don’t cut it, and important information might not reach everyone who needs it. For example the most favored methods in many organizations are sending emails (which might never be opened) or placing information on the intranet and hoping people find it.
One of the best ways to reach your entire workforce, no matter what work they do or where they are located, is via a mobile app.
Around 3.5 billion people worldwide now use smartphones, according to recent research by Bankmycell. This is almost half of the world’s population. This is approximately 1 billion more smartphone users compared with 2016… and it is only projected to increase.
According to Statista, it is predicted that there will be 7.33 billion mobile device users by 2023. And the World Advertising Research Center thinks that almost 73 per cent of internet users will use only smartphones to access web pages by 2025.
It therefore makes sense to invest in technology that capitalizes on the growth in smartphone usage: that way you can always reach your employees.
What is an internal communication app?
An internal communication app is a software application that can be downloaded onto your employees’ smartphones and tablets and provides a way for them to receive information from management, colleagues, different departments within the organization and so on.
The apps can be downloaded on devices whether they are provided by the company, or are the employees’ own personal device.
Employees are increasingly used to using social media and messaging on their smartphones in their personal life, and many have a preference for this style of communication.
Different internal communication apps have different features, but in general they will send messages to employees’ devices that can be read and accessed from anywhere, at any time. Some apps work as broadcast messaging systems and provide links to internet or intranet articles, others can be used as a messenger system, some may have the ability to conduct surveys and polls, while others may work well as a collaboration platform for projects.
The best one for your organization will depend on how you intend to use it.
An internal mobile app can be your main internal communications channel, replacing other channels that have become obsolete, or it can be used in conjunction with other methods that you use to communicate with employees.
Advantages of using mobile apps for internal communication
Mobile apps offer many advantages for organizations seeking to improve their internal communications.
For starters, improving internal communications has multiple proven benefits for organizations. It increases productivity, leads to less errors and mistakes, keeps employees connected and engaged, and makes the organization run better and more profitably.
And while many organizations diligently try to communicate well with their employees, the truth is that many of the systems they currently rely on aren’t cutting through.
A Gallup poll found that 74% of employees feel that they are missing out on company information and news - this shows that people want to know what’s going on, they often just aren’t effectively receiving the information.
Email, for example, is an unreliable method of communicating with employees. Inboxes are so cluttered with messages that important ones can go unnoticed and unopened, meaning that critical information can be missed by the people who need to read it.
The corporate intranet in many organizations has become a “dumping ground” of notifications and documents and employees won’t necessarily know that there is some important new information there without looking for it.
In fact research from Prescient Digital Media found that only 13% of employees surveyed said they use their company’s intranet every day… while a whopping 31% admitted that they have never accessed their company intranet at all.
Corporate social network channels suffer from a similar fate. They are quite popular with some demographic cohorts, but for others they become “just another thing I have to do” - these people don’t enthusiastically log in to contribute to discussions or to read the latest updates and see it as a chore, and as more digital noise.
Newsletters may be a great way to group lots of information together, but they lack the immediacy that other forms of communication can take. If you have something that you need to alert employees to quickly, can you afford to wait for a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly publication to include it?
A mobile app solves all of the problems you may be facing with your traditional internal communication channels, and much more. It will reach everyone with a smartphone or tablet and doesn’t rely on them to go looking for it. Your news and updates are guaranteed to be seen - there’s no need for employees to constantly log in to the app and look, they’ll receive push notifications on their screens.
Benefits of communication apps for organizations
There are many ways a mobile app can benefit your organization. The benefits include:
- Reaching employees no matter where they are. Even if they are working from home, don’t work in an office environment (e.g., a building site, driving a truck etc.) or are traveling for business.
- Communicate at any time of the day. If something urgent happens out of normal business hours that affects your employees, you can let them know via the app.
- Making remote working more achievable. WIth the shift to working from home for many organizations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, internal communications systems are being re-examined to be the most effective and efficient to keep the team unified.
- Consistency of information. You can be sure that all employees are receiving the same information which cuts down on rumors and errors.
- Communicating quickly. An internal communication app is one of the fastest ways you can reach your employees with important information, news or advice. This means that speculation and rumors can’t take hold.
- Drive employees to the intranet or internet sites. With an internal communication mobile app you can include links to important information on your internal or external websites and send your employees to it rather than hoping they’ll just go looking for it and find it.
How to choose an internal comms app for your business
Every organization has different needs. It’s important to understand that what works for one business might not be the best solution for yours.
When comparing internal communication apps you should factor in the following:
1. The specific needs of your company. What sort of information do you need to share?
It makes sense to choose a fit-for-purpose system. Do you need to send general news announcements only, or do you have specific needs tied to your industry? For example, do you need to warn about inventory shortages or hazards? Make a list not to forget anything.
2. Do you need to have a chat function?
A chat function can be nice to have and can encourage employees to quickly communicate with one another, but it can also be over-used and create extra digital noise in the workplace. Is this an important feature for you, or can you live without it?
3. Do you need to communicate emergency information?
Different emergency situations can affect just about any business, and keeping employees safe is paramount. Do you have an effective emergency communications system in place? If not, you should reevaluate why you don’t.
Emergencies can happen at any time, whether it's a fire, a natural disaster, a severe weather event, a gas leak, an active shooter or an industrial accident. An app that will let you send emergency information quickly is invaluable.
4. What are the communication preferences of your employees?
Your employees may be expecting to have more mobile-based communications, or they may prefer emails. This will be dictated by your workplace demographics. Poll your people to find out how they would like to receive important information.
5. How much will the app cost?
The price of an internal communications app might look like a lot, but the actual price of purchasing the software (or a subscription to the software) is only one part of the cost. You also need to weigh up what it will save you in terms of productivity.
Different apps have different pricing structures - sometimes cheapest isn’t always better… especially if the app lacks the features of other apps on the market, is too difficult to use or doesn’t come with vendor support.
Basically if the app is quick and easy to use, it will save you on productivity. If it is too complex, it will take up too many people hours.
6. Will the app show you detailed metrics?
Without metrics and analytics, you have no idea how successful your campaign has been. You also don’t know if important and critical information has been seen by employees.
7. Will the app solution be easy to implement in your business?
When an app is complex, it can take a lot of time to implement within an organization - and can result in lost productivity.
Look for an internal mobile app that is easy to configure and is easy to operate - you shouldn’t need to be an IT expert to send straightforward employee communications.
From the other side, the app needs to be easy for employees to access. If it is something that will be buried on their devices or will require a lot of effort for them to find the information you’re sending on it, the app is possibly going to add little value to your organization - you need something that will quickly grab their attention.
8. Does the software vendor offer ongoing support?
Vendor support can save you lots of time when there are issues with the software. It may be that there is a known bug or error, or you just need some assistance to become familiar with the app. Having vendor support that is easy to access in an emergency is crucial - if you can’t get the assistance you need, when you need it, your business operations can suffer.
The best internal communication mobile apps
There are a lot of different internal communications mobile apps on the market these days, and not all of them are the same. Choose one that has the features that will work best for your organization.
Some of the best apps around include the following.
This is an app that is designed to help manage projects You can assign tasks for employees on different boards and move them around when the task is finished.
This is an app for mobiles and desktops and has a range of internal communication features such as HD video calls, video conferencing and running online meetings.
This is also a tool available for both mobiles and desktops and has a range of different channels available to push information in an intrusive way to computer screens and mobile screens alike, ensuring that employees never miss important company information. DeskAlerts mobile alert app was created exclusively for business needs.
Part of the Microsoft family, Yammer can integrate with other MS products and will let your employees connect and collaborate together. It has an inbox where employees can read the latest news and a space to share documents and have conversations.
This is another collaboration platform where employees can have conversations, share links and upload files. The app is intuitive and easy to use.
In addition to broadcasting news from management to employees, this app lets employees have two-way conversations as well.
This app is a bit like using Twitter - it is powered by hashtags that help to organize and categorize topics so they can be found later.
If you need a tool that lets your team chat instantly - and privately - this could be worth a look. This app can also be used for making HD video calls as well as transferring large files.
Why you should consider the DeskAlerts mobile app
DeskAlerts is a trusted internal communication software system that is used by many large organizations in different industries around the world. Our mobile app for internal communication is available on Android and iOS devices and helps companies to keep in touch with their employees via push notifications.
Our clients use the app to deliver crucial company news, announcements and links to intranet posts and other content. It can also be used to invite employees to corporate events and receive an immediate response. Some or all employees can be reminded about specific rules and tasks. And the surveys, polls and quizzes module means that you can get instant feedback from your employees and see the results in real time.
The app can be customized to replicate your corporate branding. All messages are sent by an authorized user with access to the administration panel.
Messages can be sent in different formats, including text, graphics, videos and file formats. And you can also send to desktop computers at the same time.
When you send a DeskAlerts message you can be guaranteed of 100% visibility with your employees - and you can easily see the read reports and other metrics for your analysis via the statistics panel.