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WhatsApp has become a popular way to communicate in recent years, with about 2 billion users worldwide sending over 100 billion messages daily.
Besides personal use, organizations commonly use WhatsApp to keep their staff connected. While this may seem like a convenient option, there are several drawbacks to using this platform for internal communications.
Let’s explore some of the critical issues surrounding this topic.
Why do businesses use WhatsApp?
It’s free, easy to use, and allows for real-time communication between individuals and groups. It features voice and video calls, file sharing, and end-to-end encryption, making it an attractive option to streamline communication.
However, there are several major downsides that are easily overlooked.
Leakage of sensitive business information
Organizations invest thousands of dollars in data security. However, employees who leave your company still have access to all WhatsApp conversations they participated in.
In the best case, you remember to remove former employees from all company chats, after which they nevertheless still have access to full conversation histories. In the worst case – which is not uncommon, especially in larger organizations – you forget to delete former employees and they continue to have access to all your company’s latest ins and outs.
No need to explain that this poses a significant risk of sensitive business information being leaked, especially when a competing company hires your former employee.
Here’s a real-life example: A retail company’s VP of Operations left to work for a competing company and remained in the previous company’s management chat for four months. He continued to receive information about daily financial reports, upcoming promotions and launches, and other sensitive information.
Responsibility for offensive and inappropriate content
WhatsApp doesn’t offer the needed tools for managing internal communications, including the ability to remove offensive or inappropriate messages sent by others. This makes way for serious issues.
As you can be held responsible for any inappropriate content employees send through your organization’s communication channels, you can be subject to legal action. This leaves you exposed to financial as well as reputational damage.
Aside from the legal implications, having offensive content shared on company WhatsApp channels can negatively affect employee morale and your brand image.
Blending professional and personal communication
There’s a reason business and pleasure don’t mix. For starters, it can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, especially if sensitive information is shared with the wrong group of people.
On the one hand, using the same platform can distract your employees with personal messages, affecting their productivity.
On the other hand, receiving work-related messages outside of work hours makes it impossible for employees to disconnect, blurring the line between work and personal time. This, in turn, can harm your staff’s mental health, result in burnout, and undermine work-life balance.
Exactly for these reasons, several European countries – including France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium – have implemented or proposed laws that make it illegal for managers to contact employees during off-work hours. The issue has also been brought to the forefront across the US over recent years, with studies showing widespread support for banning outside-of-work contact.
While WhatsApp may be a convenient option for personal communication, it isn’t a suitable tool for communicating with your workforce.
Instead, consider an internal communication platform designed to effectively and securely communicate with your staff. Connecteam’s all-in-one solution, for instance, gives you all the tools you need to instantly reach, inform, and engage your employees from anywhere and keep all company information and messaging secure within the company.