One of the biggest internal communication trends in 2021 will be digital transformation for a fully connected, mobile workforce. Integrating an employee news app into an organization’s communication strategy is an important part of that transformation.
We’ll be looking at:
- How employee news apps differ from more traditional means of keeping employees informed
- Why employee news apps can foster a more productive and engaged workforce
What Is an Employee News App?
Before we look at the benefits of an employee news app, let’s break down what it means.
An employee news app is a mobile platform that allows every employee to receive the most relevant information in real time.
The goal of an employee news app is to:
- Connect and communicate with employees
- Deliver content relevant to each employee
- Reach all employees, regardless of language, location, or shift
When deskless workers make up around 80% of the global workforce, employee news apps are crucial for building a more inclusive internal communication strategy. Employees who are on the go and might not even have an email address can still stay up-to-date with company news.
Employee News App vs. Newsletter
Both deliver the news but are different in practice.
Employee newsletters, whether they’re delivered via email or team app usually convey the following types of information:
- A concise, condensed view of important events
- Context for a company’s overall strategy and goals
- A bird-eye-view of accomplishments every week, month, or quarter
By contrast, employee news apps:
- Deliver information on a rolling basis
- Allow employees to give feedback
- Are more tailored to specific teams and individual employees
Unlike newsletters, employee news apps are two-way communication tools better suited to connecting a company’s workforce on a daily basis.
Here’s an example of what frontline retail employees see when they use mobile platform Beekeeper:
Top 6 Benefits of an Employee News App
Now that we’ve covered what makes an employee newsletter different from an employee news app, it’s easier to see why the latter is a smarter choice for most organizations today.
Implementing an employee news app is a key step in the digital enablement of your workforce. Let’s look at the specific ways that step affects internal communication and operations.
1. Mobile Accessibility
Over the past decade, smartphone usage has skyrocketed. Pew Research found that as of 2021, 85% of Americans own a smartphone, up from just 35% in 2011.
Mobile usage in the workplace is only going up. According to the IDC, mobile workers will make up 60% of the U.S. workforce by 2024.
When the vast majority of employees have a smartphone, it makes sense to deliver news in a way that’s already convenient for them.
As more companies are switching from desk-based software to cloud-based mobile networks, employee news apps:
- Involve every employee in a company’s communication network
- Create a two-way feedback loop
- Support the frontline and remote workforce
2. Crisis Communication
The 2020 pandemic served as a reminder that any business can face sudden, unexpected challenges that disrupt their operations.
By having a crisis communication plan in place, companies can help maintain continuity in communication in order to minimize disruptions.
Employee news apps can be a valuable part of a crisis communication plan by:
- Informing employees on how to best prepare for a crisis
- Guiding the response plan once a crisis happens
- Managing the recovery process
3. Reach Everyone
We hear it all the time: Millennials stare at their phones all day.
The truth is that everyone stares at their phones. While 92% of Millennials own a smartphone, 85% of Gen-Xers and 67% of Baby Boomers do too.
Engagement on smartphones is already high, with U.S. adults spending an average of almost 3 hours per day on their device. When employees across age groups and industries prefer mobile communication, it makes sense for companies to deliver news via an employee news app.
4. Seamless Communication
When a company’s internal communication strategy doesn’t truly connect its workers, operational planning and execution suffer.
Managers can’t reach employees and feel like they spend most of their time keeping their teams and company HQ on the same page. Meanwhile, employees feel like they don’t have enough information to complete their tasks.
As a result:
- New projects get delayed because someone on the team didn’t get the right information
- During a new launch, employees are overwhelmed with customer inquiries and don’t know how to respond
- Both managers and employees waste time searching for information
An employee news app reduces operational friction because everyone in an organization has access to relevant information at their fingertips. When employees no longer have to look for information and managers can keep employees up-to-date, teams can complete tasks faster.
5. More Interaction
The problem with thinking of news as a one-way channel for disseminating information is that it leaves out the potential for feedback and interactivity. Most importantly, employees miss out on the collaborative power of staying informed.
Creating a collaborative work environment that encourages diversity of thought and ideas drives innovation in organizations. When employees have a chance to interact with company news, they can provide valuable insight into how products, services, and operations can change for the better.
6. Higher Productivity
One of the key features of an employee news app is that it delivers relevant, timely information to each team member. That way, employees spend less time searching for information and worrying about whether they missed a crucial update or announcement.
The peace of mind that comes with knowing that all company news is in one place creates space for employees to focus on their work and be more productive.
With an employee news app:
- Frontline and remote teams can receive and respond to news faster
- Managers and employees can stay on the same page
- Employees can adjust priorities on-the-go, according to the needs of the business
- Problems are escalated quickly and get faster
Optimizing The Corporate News App User Experience
If the term “corporate news” sounds intimidating or even dull, it’s time to re-think how it’s being delivered.
From an employee’s perspective, reading corporate news via traditional communication channels like email newsletters and bulletin boards isn’t the most user friendly experience. A corporate news app can provide a more engaging and dynamic channel for employees to receive company and industry news.
Delivering industry news via a corporate news app is also a great opportunity to provide learning resources for employees. According to a LinkedIn report, 94% of employees said they would stay with a company longer if there was an investment in learning.
Integrating learning and development into a user experience that is already convenient for employees is a low-cost way to invest in your workforce.
Why Employee News Apps Matter
An employee news app is just one tool, yet it can have a profound impact on company culture.
How do you build good company culture, where employees are engaged and productive? You can:
- Acknowledge and act on feedback
- Include all employees in what’s going on
- Offer recognition for excellent work
- Clarify company goals, policies and values
An employee news app accomplishes all of those tasks, not only benefiting company culture but improving operational efficiency, too.