10 Things You Need to Know About Rolling Out an Employee App

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In today’s global business world, employees are more mobile than ever. Emails and IMs just aren’t enough to keep a global, distributed workforce connected and informed. That’s why companies are turning to an employee app to get the job done.

What do companies with a large frontline workforce need? A good employee mobile app.

Your company may be looking to improve remote communication of the pandemic. Or, maybe you want a better way to manage your teams of frontline workers. Whatever your circumstances, you need an app that connects your entire workforce—wherever they are.

Even if you’ve done your research, sat through demos, and secured the necessary budget approvals, deciding on the right employee mobile app can be challenging.

And once you’ve made your choice, how do you make sure that your employees actually use it?

Don’t worry. With adequate planning, introducing new technology in the workplace doesn’t have to be daunting. It all depends on an intentional, thorough approach to planning the rollout process. 

Most importantly, the whole organization needs to be committed to and involved in your employee mobile app rollout every step of the way – starting at the top with leadership

Here are 10 tips for choosing the right app for you and making sure it sticks. 

1. Understand Each Employee Mobile App’s Features

There are a lot of elements to consider when choosing an employee mobile app. 

Some companies simply choose consumer software, like WhatsApp for communication and Dropbox for document sharing. 

Other apps designed specifically for workforce communication. Connecteam and SpaceIQ are good at top-down employee management and providing actionable insight for leaders to improve the employee experience. 

Beekeeper does the same but also facilitates two-way communication. It provides a 360-degree view of the organization at every level, enabling peer-to-peer communication and collaboration for greater employee autonomy.

Choosing the right employee app will increase your engagement, adoption rates, and rollout speed across your entire organization. That’s why it’s so important to know what each app’s strengths are before you make your decision.

2. Look for a Proven, All-In-One Solution for Your Employee App

When in doubt, look for an app that does it all.

Sure, your company may have very specific needs that may require a specialized approach.

But most companies need an all-in-one employee mobile app. The main reason is that it stops app overload for employees. No one wants to move between different apps and worry that they’ve missed an important update. 

You want your chosen app to take on different hats at once: employee directory app, review app, and checklist app. That way, managers can keep track of tasks and send surveys to their team asking for feedback. Employees can access HR processes and documents on their phones whenever they need to. All in one real-time platform that’s easy to adopt.

Sounds like a tall order? It’s not.

Beekeeper has:

  • Real-time communication capabilities 
  • Inline translation to reach employees in their preferred language
  • FAQ chatbots to answer thousands of company-related questions
  • Onboarding workflows 
  • Integrations with other popular systems such as Kronos, ADP, and more
  • Digital forms and workflows to eliminate inefficient paper-based processes
  • One-click access to files, systems, documents, and data
  • Analytics on engagement metrics
  • Campaigns and surveys with real-time data in a dashboard
  • Granular permission and access 

3. Understand the Limitations of Free Options

It’s tempting to default to a free employee mobile app. And yes, some of the free options out there are great starting points. 

But free models have their drawbacks:

  • Limited reach
  • Limited data security
  • Limited interactive possibilities
  • Limited features

If you’re looking for an enterprise-level app, you’re probably going to switch to a paid plan soon. Cobbling together a number of free apps – one for scheduling, another for time tracking – is only going to cause more headaches for you and your employees.

If you’re looking for an enterprise-level app, you’re probably going to switch to a paid plan soon. Cobbling together a number of free apps – one for scheduling, another for time tracking – is only going to cause more headaches for you and your employees.

Trust us, investing in an employee mobile app with all its paid features is worth it.

4. Match the App to Your Employees’ Needs

Generally, all-in-one apps cater to a variety of industries. 

But some apps favor one industry or type of work over another. If your app isn’t getting any traction within your company, it could be the app’s fault, not yours.

At Beekeeper, we saw that there were a lot of apps that favored white collar workers. The features of these apps were designed for those who were desk-bound. But what about blue collar workers? We found that there weren’t many options that met their unique needs.

We’re not the only ones, of course. There’s MobieTrain, which simplifies employee training. Webalo is great for enterprise-level operations that want to empower frontline workers to update their own apps. 

5. Pinpoint Company Goals

The best employee mobile apps are capable of improving almost every aspect of a company’s operations.

But trying to use all the features all at once is a recipe for overwhelm.

As you decide which app to use, and even as you start the adoption process, prioritize a select few goals.

Let’s say you want to improve safety awareness in operations. Apps like Beekeeper are a great way to communicate safety notices and policy updates in real-time. If your employees are dispersed, delays in those notices significantly impact their safety.

6. Communicate the Value of an Employee Mobile App

Look at it from your employee’s perspective:

They get the news that they’re supposed to download a new app and learn how to use it. They’ll do it because they’re told to, but they’re not really sure why. It seems like just another task they have to do on top of their other responsibilities.

But employee mobile apps and employee directory apps are supposed to make their lives easier. Not add to their workload.

That’s why it’s so important to explain why you’re introducing the app in the first place. You could say that:

  • Tagging posts will make searching for training videos simple and fast
  • Secure group messaging will allow employees to connect in real-time
  • Employees can talk about work without exchanging personal information
  • Crucial resources like shift schedules will be available on the go
  • The app’s features can be used to make onboarding more efficient

7. Identify Your Employee App Champions and Get Them Involved

Who are employee app champions?

They’re the people in your company who are going to set the tone for how everyone else will adapt to your new app. 

Champions are:

  • Familiar with the new employee mobile app and its features
  • Able to vouch for how it will enhance internal communication
  • Good at getting their colleagues engaged in using the app

To make sure your champions can have the most impact, give them early access. Communicate the goals you’ve set for app use. 

You also want to pick champions that are a representative sample of your company. If the majority of employees are frontline workers, you don’t want your champions to just be upper management. Having champions from different backgrounds will also give you early feedback on potential uses or challenges you might not have considered. 

8. Generate Anticipation and Incentivize Employee Engagement

You’re not going to see success overnight.

Implementing an employee mobile app across a whole company takes time. That’s why it’s a good idea to break the process up into manageable parts.

Pro tip: Enlist the support of a customer success management team to help with the overall logistics. 

Some ways you could build excitement include:

  • Announce the rollout through traditional offline channels like posters or flyers in high-traffic or break areas
  • Get digital slideshows running ahead of time to promote a specific feature 
  • Give a prize to the manager who signs up the most team members
  • Use the employee directory app to post team milestones, awards, or achievements

Don’t forget to make the results visible by announcing the winning team members in a post on the employee app, sharing any applicable photos or visual content, and tagging the winners in the post to notify them.

9. Maintain Momentum: Consistent Leadership Use of Your Employee App

Aim for engagement from all levels within your company.

How leadership adopts and continues to use the app is critical. Champions are an important piece of the puzzle, but so are managers. If managers actively demonstrate their participation, employees will follow suit. 

Because leadership has a high-level view of what’s going on at the company, an employee mobile app is a great way to keep employees informed. 

We suggest having an editorial calendar of fresh content to engage your workforce. Spotlight one of your employees. Get a manager’s perspective on how they see the company evolving. Employee mobile apps are great for keeping your workers not only connected but informed as well.

10. Use Surveys to Get Continuous Employee Feedback

Use surveys to find out:

  • What employees enjoy about the new app
  • What features are most useful for them
  • Any challenges that the app doesn’t help them with

Surveys can be general or target specific features. For example, if you target the scheduling feature, you can direct questions to find out how employees transitioned to managing their own shift schedules. 

Download our Internal Communications Strategy white paper to learn more about successful employee app rollout strategies.

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