How to Choose an Internal Communications App for Your Business

Internal communications apps are slowly but surely becoming a go-to solution for employee communication across the spectrum, from small businesses to massive enterprises, and spanning every industry. 

Considering that employee communication apps are easy to use, offer functions to address key organizational needs, and can be quickly implemented, it’s no wonder more businesses are making the smart choice to communicate and engage with their employees via this dedicated and efficient channel. 

 

What is an internal communications app?

An internal communications app (also known as intranet app) is a platform for your employees to talk, share, and communicate with each other beyond traditional channels like email and phone calls.The Ultimate Manager's Guide to Working from Home - Connecteam

Before internal comms apps, business communications took place via email or over the phone. However, considering that email wasn’t really designed to be the cornerstone of internal communication, it started to show its limitations. An average inbox today is overloaded, reading all those emails takes up to 13 hours a week, and yet up to 62% of them are completely irrelevant! Now, remember you are paying your employees for all those hours…

But there’s more to consider: apparently, the mind-boggling 80% of the world’s workforce today (at least) are so-called deskless or mobile employees, working on-the-go, which means they might not even have access to a work email as such. All that leaves you no choice but to employ a mobile-friendly solution to keep everyone in your team on the same page.

Internal communications apps, like Connecteam, are exactly such a solution, that lets you simplify and centralize your business’s internal communications for all employees on one platform – in one app.

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Reach every single member in your team, with fun, dedicated, and measurable communication. Engage your team like never before, reflect your company’s culture, and solidify your employer branding with Connecteam’s employee communication and engagement app.

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Why do you need an internal communications app?

  • Non-desk employees

First of all, as we’ve just learned, the majority of the world’s workforce, barely spend any time behind the desk. Their daily work is out there in the field, delivering packages, cleaning hotel rooms, fixing appliances, managing hospital floors, waiting tables, driving commercial vehicles, or serving as security personnel. So you have to have a mobile-first solution for employee communication in a quick and efficient manner.

  • Low motivation & employee turnover risk

According to Gallup, more than 78% of employees are disconnected from their workplace costing the US economy $350 billion annually. If you have a majority of workers who don’t sit in front of a computer screen all day, you have an even greater need to offer them an easy, on-the-go solution otherwise you’ll experience high turnover and low productivity. On the other hand, a solid company culture strategy may significantly reduce the employee turnover and make you the company people are proud to work for. 

The best way to create an engaged workforce is through creating a solid company culture of effective communication, so if you really want to commit to it, make sure to check our dedicated free ebook on building an effective internal communication strategy.

  • Smartphone obsession

With Americans using their mobile phones over 3 hours a day on average or every 12 minutes and are on their phones 80 times a day, mobile apps for internal communications have become a go-to employee engagement and communication solution.

The ability for your employees to claim shifts, upload field reports, give feedback, and receive important updates on-the-go, and from their own personal device — is hugely important. Not only do you make it quick and effortless for them, by choosing the most natural channel of communication for them you can increase the discipline and response rates, making following the procedure just a native habit, instead of an obligation.

  • Time consumption for manual employee management

Time is one of the most precious resources these days, and no one can afford to lose so much of it on cluttered excel spreadsheets, calling or texting employees to make sure they’ve updated the schedule, and spending hours trying to calculate the monthly payroll. Using an internal communications app lets you improve efficiency, avoid communication issues, and get more done in less time, no matter how big or small your business might be.

 

How to choose the best internal communications app for your company?

 

1. Understand what your company needs

What’s more important for your business – a task tracking platform or a group chat app? Do you need a shared calendar for meetings and conference calls or a project management platform for keeping track of milestones and goals? Do you want an all-in-one solution or best of a breed?

Every business has different needs, and the key to choosing an effective communications app is understanding your needs and identifying the best tool to serve them.

Some business communications apps, like Slack, are built for a chat. Others, like Basecamp, are built around project management. Connecteam lets you tailor your app to focus on the features that are most important to your business.

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2. Understand what your employees want

Your internal communications app can boast every feature under the corporate moon, but it’s unlikely to improve productivity if your employees don’t like using it.

According to the latest internal communication industry trends, the best employee app isn’t necessarily the one with the cleanest interface or the best code. A lot of the time, the best app is the one that most easily fits into the processes your employees are already used to.

Before you select an app, ask your employees for their opinions on different tools:

  • Ask if they’re comfortable using a certain tool on an ongoing basis
  • Ask if there are any weak points that affect their ability to use an app to do their jobs or take part in collaborative projects

Try not just solving your organizational challenges, but rather managing your staff with genuine care,” says Daniel Chambers — the 2020  Manager of the Year, according to The Gallup Workplace Awards. 

He knows that employees who sincerely feel valued and connected to their leaders bring their best to work and reach higher performance levels.

What it means is that your employees need to see how relevant the internal communications app is to their own work and interests. The more they can relate, the more engaged they will be, and the faster they will adopt your intranet app for daily use. 

Finally, set up a test run with a few of your employees. Let them test out the solution and see if this is something the rest of the company will use.

 

3. Figure out the costs

There are several costs to internal communications tools, such as the product price, the cost of training, and the cost of usage.

If your business hasn’t used an internal communications app before costs can be significant. A seemingly affordable but complicated solution can often cost more than an expensive but simple one, largely due to training-related costs.

Finally, there’s the cost of using the app. The more employee time an app requires, the greater the amount of lost productivity for your business.

And vice versa – by using the built-in smart automation and workflow templates, you can save both time and money on the costly and time consuming manual labor of your employee managers and accountants.

When you’re calculating the costs of an internal communications app, look beyond the monthly subscription fee. It has to be quick to set up, easy to use and requires no overhead costs like installation.

Poor communication costs businesses breakdown by Connecteam

The great thing about Connecteam is that setting up your employee communication app takes about 15 minutes and your team can be up and running within a day or two – that’s because it’s THAT easy to use. 

 

4. Calculate the benefits

  1. Speed
  2. Accuracy
  3. Measurement

Costs don’t come without their rewards. As you figure out the costs of upgrading your internal communications, it’s also important to calculate the benefits you’ll get from starting to use it.

One of the biggest benefits is faster, more accurate internal messaging. Since your communications are centralized and accessible on mobile, employees can respond to new events and developments faster, no matter where they are.

Add to that that communication via an internal communications app helps encourage social interaction, allows users to share feedback through comments, likes, and sharing.

Another benefit is accuracy. While emails can easily get lost or ignored, a centralized group chat is easy for employees to follow. Unread messages are counted and highlighted, making it easier for every member of your team to stay up to date as projects develop.

Not all of these benefits can be quantified, but some can. If you’re aware of the amount of time your business spends on email and the time savings made possible by applications, you might be able to quantify the savings and improvement in productivity the app creates.

internal communication apps are a must-have for businesses

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Then, you can also measure how well your workforce is using the app. Which features are more popular than others. Which employees need to be commended and which need a nudge. What can be improved and what needs to get scaled up. Receiving actionable data makes a huge difference in making changes within the company and app usage as well. It’s the win-win situation you were looking for. 

Measurement cannot be overstated. It’s this feature that will allow you to understand where to allocate your company funds for improved efficiency at the lowest cost.

 

5. Is it easy to implement?

We’ve already kind of touched on this but as a business owner, administrator or manager, some solutions may require you to:

  • Install the application across your entire network of workstations and mobile devices (or, if it’s a cloud-based app, create and distribute login credentials for each user)
  • Train employees in using the app to make sure they’re confident and capable from the first time they log in
  • Establish rules and processes to make sure communications are streamlined, efficient and effective

When apps are complicated or challenging to set up, implementation can take a lot of time. One of the first steps you should take when choosing an internal communications app is to look at its setup and implementation process.

Is it easy to configure? Does it have an intuitive interface, or is finding your way around the app a challenge? Will your employees find it easy to switch from email to the app, or does it require lots of training?

More importantly, does the app integrate with your existing internal communications and work tools? If it does, implementation could change to a gradual process instead of a sudden switch from one platform to another.

You may have noticed that there is a move towards software in the cloud and mobile (We’re also part of this revolution). Such solutions are great for smaller businesses but if you operate a large enterprise with thousands of employees and complex project lifecycles, you’ll probably require the type of customization and implementation that out-of-the-box cloud solutions just can’t offer.

 

6. Is good, timely support available?

When apps work, they can save your business time and help you generate more revenue. But when they don’t work — particularly when support isn’t immediately available — they can bring your business to a standstill.

Before you invest in any app, check that good, helpful, timely support is available. Support may not seem like a major factor when you first start using an application, but if a crisis occurs, you’ll be glad that there are experts available to help you.

Connecteam received votes for the Best Customer Support and continues to respond to customer inquiries in under 5 minutes!

 

7. Is it easy to use?

Finally, is the app easy to use? Since internal communication is such an important part of any business, it’s important to prioritize ease of use and user experience when you’re comparing communications apps. Don’t allow your employees to become even more frustrated when you offer them a new solution, only to have them turn around and say, it’s making matters worse! 

Remember that your employees will use the app you choose on a daily, or even hourly basis over the long term. Invest in an unfriendly, confusing app and there’s a real risk you’ll need to switch platforms in the future due to employee frustration.

 

So let us recap how exactly your business can benefit from using an internal communication app.

 

Streamline your communication

Time is money, so you need to streamline your employee communication. By streamlining, we understand the ability to send immediate updates, track who actually sees them, assign shift tasks with attached files in one click, collect and approve absence requests, see when and where your employees are clocking into the shift, collect quick feedback and so many more handy features available. 

 

Reach your remote workers with internal communication mobile apps

Business Insider reported that 50% of the workforce will be working remotely by 2020. However, the biggest challenges employers have with their remote team is effectively communicating with them – not to mention, fostering work relationships, boosting engagement levels, encouraging productivity, keeping everyone on the same page, and so on.

Additional stats go on to prove that internal communication mobile apps are a must when working with remote employees. For example:

Your remote employees really need to understand who they’re working for and what the company’s mission is. In order to work at their very best, they need all the necessary information to execute their job role, to remain compliant, to provide the best service. Plus, they need to know where to turn to when they need support, to share thoughts and ideas, and also to offer feedback.

internal communication app for younger generation of workers

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Managers must make sure they remain transparent, clear communication channels should be established, feedback should be easy to obtain and share, one-on-one chats or check-ins are vital to keeping aligned and to show you are, include them in the company culture, give them shout-outs when they excel, share positive messages like customer feedback or birthdays, and more.

Adopt team building games for your remote team to boost engagement and to connect them to their co-workers.

 

Reach your younger workers

Millennials (or Generation Y) and Generation Z already became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force back in 2016 and are projected to represent 75% of all employees by 2030. And the time they spend on their mobile phone is shocking:

  • The average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone
  • Millennials spend slightly more time on their phone, at 5.7 hours
  • Baby boomers spend 5 hours on average on their phones

However, 13% of millennials and 5% of baby boomers admitted that they usually spend over 12 hours every day on their phones.

This is where internal communication mobile apps come in. If you don’t have the latest technology in your workplace, you’ll only find that the younger generations are greatly disappointed.

“Most millennials remember a time when fax machines and landline phones were commonly used and AOL dial-up was the only way to access the internet, but their incoming Gen Z colleagues only know of these things from history books and movies. Bottom line – this new generation of workers expects technology to touch every facet of their life and companies should embrace this sooner than later,” said Jeff Corbin

The younger generation will download an internal communications app that enables them to receive company news and updates (total transparency is key), access key resources, offer ideas and feedback, interact with management and coworkers, and much more. 

 

Create your own branded employee app

Connecteam lets you create your own branded employee app for internal communication, to-do lists, project management, event scheduling, and more in less than an hour. Learn more about how Connecteam works and create your own internal communications app now. Better yet, take advantage of Connecteam’s free plan! 

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