One of the key strategies for improving Employee Engagement is to improve communications with employees. And one of the best tools for communicating with employees is their mobile devices. Don’t provide employees with mobile devices? Not to worry, a 2014 survey by Gartner found that 40% of US employees who work for large enterprises said they use their personally owned smartphones daily for some form of work purpose.
HR managers have long understood that the lines between work and non-work are becoming increasingly less distinct, with more flexibility built into work places and policies. And with smartphone ownership growing, it is inevitable that employees will no longer distinguish between work devices and personal devices. Consider (source Recode):
- 97 percent of U.S. households have a mobile phone.
- There were 2.7 billion smartphone subscriptions 2014, growing by an average of 15 percent a year through 2020, with subscriptions seen reaching 6.1 billion at that point.
- By 2020, 90 percent of the world’s population over six years old will have a mobile phone.
Clearly, smartphones are going to be used for work purposes, whether the organization sanctions it or not. (From the Gartner survey, only 25% of employees who use their device are required to by their employer. Of the remaining 75% who chose to use their device almost half said that they are doing so without their employers’ knowledge.)
This trend will continue to increase as we welcome the last of the Millennials and the first of Generation Z to the workforce. These generations have grown up with mobile – they don’t know another way to communicate, to find information, or to solve problems. There is no time like the present to make sure your company is supporting mobile access for employees, as well as providing mobile-optimized employee communications.
But be sure to think beyond employees! Here are the three audiences to consider as you create your mobile employee communications strategy:
Current Employees. Especially in a large company, where employees can be across many countries and time zones, unified communication processes can be difficult. An easily accessible mobile app can unify messaging throughout your organization. Because everyone is using the same app – without regard to geographic boundaries or time zones, employees’ sense of a unified, consistent culture is enhanced.
New Hires. Bringing new hires up to speed can be tedious and confusing. New hires are eager to begin contributing to the organization, and may not have the patience or perspective for appreciating your on-boarding process. Apps can streamline the process and deliver a better first impression to new hires. Make it easy to access and complete benefits information, HR forms, training manuals and other important information – all from their smartphone.
Future Employees. Using a mobile app is a great recruiting strategy. You can produce compelling materials that bring your company and culture to life to enhance the recruiting experience. Recruiters can use the app on the road, and the app can also introduce your company to job-seekers who find you organically on the internet.
An added benefit of app-based communications is important metrics and analytics that help talent managers understand who is using the content, for what purposes, at what times. This information can then lead to further content improvement, as well as identifying those who need in-person communications.
Stop worrying about whose smartphone it is and work with IT to make the information security and policy provisions adapt to this new reality. Especially if you want to attract and retain younger employees, you must make mobile communications a priority. Without a well thought-out and optimized mobile communications strategy, you may find your organization lagging in the talent race.