Digital transformation is accelerating faster than ever. Born out of necessity when the pandemic hit, companies are quickly realizing the benefits of the digital workplace and more of them are using team communication apps than ever before.
Team communication apps are the single most effective way to connect every person in an organization—from frontline workers to the C-Suite and streamline conversations for a more productive workforce.
Here’s why connection and alignment of every single worker is essential in today’s world:
- Workforces are more spread out than ever before
- Company culture is most effective when everyone is a part of it
- Productivity is highest with transparency
- 80% of global workforce are frontline workers and often left out of communication
Communication is intricately connected to the bottom line. When business leaders use a mobile-first employee app, they create a forum of open communication, with avenues for employee insights and feedback that can inform business strategies for better outcomes.
What Are Team Communication Apps?
A team communication app is a workforce solution that brings everyone together in one place for effective communication across an entire organization. It is a mobile platform that connects workers to each other and their employers. A communication app empowers workers by giving them a way to receive company information, provide feedback, and communicate with their colleagues and managers. A communication application is also a way to automate and streamline workflows.
A team communication app is:
- On mobile devices, so everyone can access them where and when they need
- Hosted on a secure cloud platform so all data is protected
- One of the biggest secrets of employee engagement!
Often, companies have numerous communication channels, like:
- Internal intranet
- Payroll and scheduling
- Video and audio chat and messaging
- Blog posts
- Email, news, bulletin boards
The beauty of a communication app is it can consolidate and streamline communication from all of the multiple channels into one robust mobile platform.
Why Use a Team Communication Application?
For millions of people, the nature of work has changed. The notion of the office is changing. It’s no longer a place where workers spend 40 hours a week. More and more, employees are either remote or working a hybrid job, splitting their time between working from home and the office.
In fact, 58% of people now have the option to work remotely either part or full-time.
But this figure just covers workers in more traditional jobs that require a desk and computer. And they’re actually in the minority.
80% of the world’s workforce are frontline workers. They are most often mobile, meaning they don’t sit at a desk or use a computer or have company email. And they’re almost always left out of digital communication. In fact, most companies still use those antiquated break room bulletin boards to reach these teams.
Workforces, both frontline, and traditional desk workers are more dispersed than ever before. Which makes communication extra tricky. Many companies have come to rely on video conferencing programs to hold meetings. But this still doesn’t take frontline workers into account.
Employee communication apps are the most effective way to reach everyone in an organization.
Having a mobile-first communication solution levels the playing field and invites every single worker into the same space with equal access to the same information. It aligns organizations by being able to reach every single person at the same time.
What To Look For In A Team Communication App
These days, there are a lot of options for workplace communication tools, and deciding which one to use can be an overwhelming process.
Let’s start with this pro tip: Stay away from apps used for social communication, like WhatsApp. It’s a great platform for sending messages to friends and family, but it lacks the security and regulatory compliance capabilities that are required for workplace communication. Workers should use a company-issued app for communicating at work.
Internal communication apps designated for business will have built-in security measures. For example, Beekeeper has achieved ISO 27001 certification, adhering to rigorous international data security standards.
This is especially important when a company has a BYOD (bring your own device) policy and frontline workers use their personal smartphones for employee communication apps.
The best apps for communication at work will also have these qualities:
A true team communication app will be used for a lot more than communication. HR will use it to streamline onboarding and will store all of the necessary forms on the platform. Managers will create and track shift schedules on the app. Workers will be able to complete open enrollment from their mobile device. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
That means internal communication apps should be able to integrate with other software and systems different departments might use, like Microsoft Azure, ADP, and Workday. Workflow integrations through one centralized communication platform makes life easier for your workforce by enabling an easy single sign-on rather than the headache of having to toggle between different apps.
Ease Of Use
To get maximum buy-in, a workplace app should be intuitive. That means workers should be able to easily download, sign on, and be up and running in minutes. They should be able to easily navigate the features without much (or any) instructions.
If an app is convoluted and it’s too difficult for workers to find what they need, workers will become frustrated and choose not to use it at all. And for a communication app to be most effective, companies need to get a high adoption rate.
Video And Audio Chat
While not a necessary element for a communication tool, video and audio chat options can offer a nice alternative to just messaging, especially when workforces see one another less and less in person. Sometimes it’s just good to connect voice to voice, face to face. Find a workplace app that offers video and audio chat features, or use a tool that can integrate with programs like Slack which has voice and video call and conferencing features.
A team communication app is SO much more than sending messages. It should be a hub of information exchange, where teammates can come together and collaborate no matter where they’re based.
A team app shouldn’t be a stagnant space. It should be buzzing with energy and excitement and ideas. When people have the ability to come together to accomplish tasks and work towards goals, it sparks creativity and triggers a surge of innovation. It also builds friendships and fosters a feeling of belonging at work. It’s no surprise that collaboration is a key ingredient for employee engagement.
Onboarding And Support
20% of hires leave a job within the first 45 days, so onboarding is a critical period of time for both the employee and the company. With a team communication app, the onboarding process – which is usually long and tedious – can be swift and automated. Workers can complete all of their paperwork from their mobile device and HR can track their progress from the app’s company dashboard. This cuts down on onboarding time and allows the employee to become a productive member of the team sooner!
Discover how RWH Management customized Beekeeper’s team communication app to create a unique experience for frontline workers and built a solid company culture!
5 Benefits Of Implementing Team Communication Apps
The ability to have instant contact with anyone—and everyone—in your organization is a huge boon for businesses. But a team communication app does so much more than that.
Here are 5 of the top benefits companies gain when they implement a communication application.
Team Alignment and Unified Culture
80% of the world’s workforce hold frontline positions in their companies. But as companies began to digitally transform their operations, they invested more money in communication technology that was designed for desk-based workers.
Fast forward to what’s available today. With mobile-first employee apps, entire organizations can connect on one single platform. Leaders can align their workforce to the same messaging, at the same time.
Why is this important? Because companies that have a unified organization with everyone aligned to the same messaging, mission, and values ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal which drives better business outcomes.
Gathering everyone together on one communication app is the best way to build a unified organization and culture. (Can you believe that 41% of people don’t really get what their company stands for?) A team app should be lit up with accolades, a hub of feedback and back and forth, and a place where everyone is included.
There used to be a clear divide between what information executives knew and what they shared with workers. One SHRM survey showed that companies lost an average of $62.4 million due to poor communication between companies and their staff.
When leaders openly share information with their employees, it builds a sense of trust. It also sets the stage for workers to feel comfortable sharing their feedback and insights. And that open back and forth is when communication really hits its stride.
A team communication app is the infrastructure that companies need to share information. Whether it’s information about financial performance, executive teams, company goals, or keeping employees informed during a global pandemic, workers want—and deserve—to be kept in the loop.
- Builds trust
- Builds a stronger, more unified culture
- Boosts engagement
- Makes employees feel valued
- Reduces turnover
- Lets employees know the importance of their role and what goals they’re working towards
And a team communication app is the most direct, immediate way to foster that culture of transparency.
Higher Employee Engagement
We can’t ever say enough about employee engagement. It’s probably the single most important element in a company’s success. And companies with greater engagement can have up to a 43% higher retention rate. When employees are engaged in where they work and what they do, they are more productive and will go above and beyond for themselves and their teams.
With a mobile employee app, everyone is included. Frontline workers who were once left out of communication are now connected and a part of the conversation. It’s invigorating and gives employees a sense of purpose and belonging. Walking into a new job with an app in their hand and their colleagues personally welcoming them means workers are engaged from day one.
Managers can also use the app’s dashboard to keep a close eye on engagement trends in their company and know when they have to adjust communication strategies to boost it. They can see overall engagement as well as individual employees based on app usage.
Got a team communication app but need some pro tips on how to boost engagement? Read this article on 20 Best Practices for Cultivating Frontline Employee Engagement.
There’s no time like the present! For too long, frontline teams were the last ones to receive information due to antiquated communication methods, like those old-school bulletin boards or in-person meetings. But for a long time that was the only way to reach this mobile workforce.
Now, there’s no excuse to not have frontline workers receiving real-time communication along with their desk-based counterparts. With a team app, messages are instantaneous. That makes a huge difference for frontline organizations. Real time communication:
- Saves time
- Saves money
- Creates a safer workplace
- Improves customer service
With their two-way capabilities, team apps double as collaboration tools. Dispersed teams can communicate and work together via mobile devices from any location.
A team communication app fosters collaboration by:
- Enabling the sharing of documents, videos, and images
- Real-time messaging and feedback
- Multi-channel communication
With the ability to collaborate, workers are suddenly part of a team rather than working independently. (And there’s another ingredient for boosting engagement!) Frontline workers can ask real-time questions to resolve a customer issue, swap shifts, share advice and tips, and work together on projects. It builds unity and camaraderie and leads to greater productivity and innovation.
Best Apps For Communication
Ready to start reviewing team communication apps to see which one might be right for your company? Here are some of the most popular ones on the market today.
*It’s worth noting that while some apps are great on their own, they are often better together. Most of the products out there, with the exception of Beekeeper, are still designed as primarily communication apps for desk-based workers. But the good news? Most of these other employee apps can easily integrate with Beekeeper to create a powerhouse collaboration platform and create the best communication apps for companies.
Beekeeper is a robust, mobile-first communication and collaboration platform that has full integration capabilities and a 90% activation rate. It is designed for entire organizations, giving everyone the ability to connect from the device of their choice. But it’s mobile-first approach is geared towards the inclusion of frontline workers who can have all of their apps (i.e. payroll information) under the Beekeeper banner for an easy, single sign-on. All people, processes, documents, and systems are in one centralized place which ultimately streamlines the frontline experience, cuts down on time searching for information, and boosts employee productivity.
Slack has had a huge surge in users these past couple of years. This popular app caters to remote workers but has a good mobile interface. Users can organize their work by channels, which organizes chats and documents into a “searchable archive.” and enhances collaboration capabilities. Checkout the Beekeeper + Slack integration.
Rocket.Chat is not necessarily focused on frontline teams, but it does offer different communication channels and team chat options and integrations so workers can connect and collaborate. Rocket.Chat also offers an omnichannel customer service platform so teams can communicate with users through platforms like Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and voice messaging.
Microsoft Teams is a popular workplace communication program. With one-on-one and group chats, video conferencing, and voice communication, it is a well-rounded communication platform that enables workforces to collaborate from anywhere. Primarily designed for desk-based workers, Microsoft Teams integrates with platforms like Beekeeper in order to facilitate frontline communication as well.
Google Workspace is an expansion of Google’s tried-and-true lineup of products (Gmail, Meetup, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, etc.) It’s a familiar user interface that many people are used to in their personal lives. But Workspace is packaged specifically for businesses (including company email addresses) so it brings everyone together in an environment dedicated to collaboration. Also, while not specifically designed for frontline workers, Google definitely has a mobile-friendly suite of products.
Communication challenges are a primary cause of poor performance for companies. But with mobile-first, team communication apps that take every worker into account, companies can flip the script and realize the benefits of having everyone in their organization connected—like happier workers and higher revenues.