Using WhatsApp For Organizational Communication? Think Again!

whatsapp for business communication

WhatsApp, which crossed the 2 billion-user mark years ago and sees over 65 billion text messages a day, has become increasingly popular in the eyes of organizations. Alongside the positive technological contribution and the easy communication method it provides, you just can’t ignore the negative influences and the damage this app can cause management, the IS managers and the company’s legal advisors.

A lot of managers and employees are talking about the difficulties starting to emerge from using the app for organizational purposes. For example, an overflow of irrelevant and distracting information and even shaming and fights between employees. Are you still finding it hard to give up the workgroup text?

 

Here are 7 issues that’ll convince you to consider a more efficient alternative to keep in touch with your employees.

 

1. Managing contacts

Every manager knows this: You start working with a new employee or supplier and want to text them. But for this to happen, you first need to add their number to your private smartphone contacts list – if you don’t, you can’t message them onWhatsApp. And of course the minute you text them urgently, the number is not going to be there, and you start smelling that frustration is in the air. Every time a new employee or supplier joins the company, you have to manually add, edit, and delete the contact information. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Want more examples? The contact’s name isn’t always accurate and that can cause a lot of confusion when you’re searching for them. Or let’s say the contact you have is no longer there and they don’t have the new employee’s or manager’s contact information – who do you turn to then? Or you started working on a project with a group of employees, what can you do when the project is done? It’s not like you can easily erase the entire group’s names from the list. So what all of this boils down to is a total, unnecessary headache.

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2. Group management

Naturally, new employees join the organization, change positions, or quit. Is someone in charge of removing them from all those group texts that are no longer relevant for them? How do you deal with an employee who was fired and when is the time to take them out of the group? How do you help new employees who just joined get all the information and updates they missed?

Here are some stories bound to send a chill down your spine: an ex VP manager of a certain retail company started working for the competition but stayed in the group text for a very long time and kept receiving crucial unauthorized information. Or employees in the HR department of a big company didn’t add new employees to the group text until they would “pass their test”, meaning that the communication tool becomes a private “club” and not everyone is welcome.

In addition, there are no admin controls available to regulate the users in WhatsApp which proves a huge risk of personal and unauthorized communications that can occur within the app. And as you can’t monitor the communications that occur within the app, anyone can create an unauthorized group and communicate privately.

There are many more examples of the WhatsApp group text issue, starting with wrong contact names, and ending with actual damages to the organization.

 

3. Data security

Data security can badly damage organizations and even cause a complete breakdown, which makes it one of the most crucial issues in the company. A fired employee, even if he was already removed from the group text, still holds delicate company information like photos, files, chat history, and contact details. All this information is automatically stored in the employee’s smartphone without the need for any action on his part. This disgruntled employee can reach out to the competition and can hand out all this information, just out of spite. In addition, this information is also available for him in legal cases involving the company. But at the end of the day, the real problem is that IS department will have no way to monitor this information and find out what the employee chose to do with it until it’s too late.

“If not given company-approved cloud tools, frontline workers may risk company and data security and regulatory compliance to use their own. Fifty-three percent of frontline workers use messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger up to six times a day for work-related reasons, but 68% of them said they’d stop if given approved internal communication tools.” – Google

On top of it all, your message content that does exist can be unencrypted:

  • Backups are not encrypted. This means that if you or anyone you are in conversations with, backs up their WhatsApp then that content is not, in fact, encrypted.
  • Exports of chats are not encrypted. Any person in any WhatsApp group that you belong to can actually export the entire chat history of the group as a plain text file and publish it anywhere or send/store it anywhere unencrypted.\

Therefore, you must assume that sensitive and private business information in WhatsApp could easily be exposed at any given moment, despite the end to end encryption that is within WhatsApp itself.

 

4. Deleting and restrictions

It’s obvious the type of content that appears in a private family or a friend group text is not appropriate or fitting in the work environment or the organization’s group chat. Whether it’s a tasteless joke, insults, blurted out information about the company, sexual harassment, or even a disgruntled employee who was just fired and lets loose with rude comments, not to mention actual cases of employees accidentally sending a private picture in the wrong group. You can probably guess the consequences of these situations, but it’s most crucial to understand the importance of controlling, deleting, and monitoring the group text. It’s not just important, it’s a must!

 

5. Work/Life separation

When there is no absolute separation between private group texts and work chats, the chance of confusion rises significantly. It’s also very reasonable to assume employees and management wouldn’t want their private WhatsApp photo to appear in the organization’s communication system – no one want to be represented in front of their colleagues or business partners with an embarrassing photo from their last vacation.

This creates an unusual overflow and might cause important information to disappear in all the chaos. Joanna had a son? Congratulations! You can now expect 200 push notifications from everyone wishing her “Congratulations!”. Every manager knows the irrelevant dialogue created over daily updates, CEO announcements, controversial information, and so on. That is why there has to be a clear separation between the two!

In other words, a blurred mix of personal and business conversations should not be taking place within a single interface, as it only leads to confusion and even a lack of motivation to really work.

 

6. Communication is more than just chat

Companies don’t just need a tool to chat with their employees, they need to boost engagement, to share updates, to connect colleagues, to enhance productivity, to better collaboration, and so much more.

Communication in the workplace is focused on exchanging information and ideas that both verbal and non-verbal. And when you do it right, you have a strong company culture.

 

7. Unable to manage emergencies

Whatever emergency pops up, your company needs to be able to handle it right away. Examples of emergencies include sexual harassment, man-made disasters, workplace violence, cyber-security attack, and more. If presented with an emergency, your employees need to know how to report it and who to report to. After, HR needs to handle the situation right away.

Managers also need to know that their message went through, and WhatsApp is limited in this case. The communication approach should be way more through, from letting the manager to not only send the information but also close the loop to know that the message went through.

And let’s not forget the global pandemic, COVID-19, which has forced many companies to react quickly. Managers need to be able to keep everyone on the same page, distribute real-time information, manage stress levels, and much more to help avoid serious blowback.

 

To conclude,

Using WhatsApp in the work environment seems comfortable and easy. And sure, it seems easy to implement WhatsApp quickly and successfully, even if not formally, in the organization, but if you take a better look, you’ll find a lot of malfunctions that can eventually prove to be very costly. At the end of the day, it will only help management realize the organization is ready for an employee app as the next communication tool for the company.

Today, more and more companies around the world use an employee communication app for their communicational needs – a mobile-friendly tool tailored for the organization’s needs, providing a one-stop-shop for employees to communicate with each other and with the company itself, in a professional, secure, smart and efficient manner. Designed to tackle the different challenges of the organizational field, now thousands of companies worldwide use the Connecteam employee app to keep track of the organization’s data, manage groups automatically, add restrictions and authorizations, create diverse channels, produce reports and run organizational communication successfully and professionally.

Reach out to our team to learn more about our communication solution. 

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