5 Things You Need in an Internal Communications App
Last updated on August 23, 2021 at 08:50 pm
Hopefully, you’re reading this because you’ve already realized that there are many reasons you might need an internal communications app to reach your dispersed, frontline workforce. If not, we have at least fifty reasons why you should consider one. But if you’re ready to compare app providers and figure out what you really need in your communications app, we’ve broken down the five essential things you’ll want in your app.
Internal Communications App Security
Whenever you consider a new tool or strategy, there are a lot of company stakeholders to bring on board. Notably, when you’re considering a one-stop hub of communication and resources for frontline teams who don’t have easy access to your other systems, you’re going to need to make your case to IT and to Human Resources. And that’s actually a good thing because their co-sponsorship is going to be beneficial in the long run.
That’s why the first thing your app must be is secure. And we mean secure from two different perspectives.
The first is that you choose an app provider that takes the necessary cybersecurity measures like annual vulnerability auditing and SOC II Type 2 compliance. This type of security will make IT happy and is often a prerequisite to getting them to sign off on a tool. And the second type of security will make HR (and you) happy. Does the app allow you to target communication and does it have a robust permissions structure so employees only see the information that applies to them?
And this ability to reliably target information to groups is critical to internal comms. According to the Ragan State of Internal Comms Report, 83% of internal communications professionals think it’s important to personalize content to groups of employees, but only 40% can with their existing channels.
Ease of use for both admins and employees is another essential thing to consider in your internal communications app. You want your employees to actually use whatever tool you select. So, you don’t want to turn people away by choosing something overly complex or difficult to use.
Setting your internal communications app up for success will require thinking about your adoption strategy, and usability has a big role to play. We know that there is a technology adoption curve where you have stages of adoption. This concept states that there are groups of people who adopt technology faster than others. The two categories where you really need to focus on overcoming obstacles to use are your late majority and laggards. You might never get laggards to adopt your technology despite your best efforts, but it will be especially hard to get these groups on board if the product isn’t easy to use and beneficial in their day-to-day.
Culture, Employee Engagement, and Employee Experience
Another thing that we think is absolutely essential in your internal communications app is the ability to customize it with your company branding. And there are many reasons for this.
For one, most organizations that we work with struggle to connect their frontline teams to the company they work for. Sometimes this is because they don’t really know who they work for (e.g. a casino employee at Harrah’s might not realize they work for Caesars Entertainment). Or it can be simply that they feel loyalty to their team, manager, and location and not the company at large because they never receive direct communication from the top. Whatever the reason is, connecting employees to your company is a huge first step in improving your workplace culture. And a big way to do that is by creating a channel where this information is front and center.
And we know that when you focus on culture and inclusion, employees are more engaged and the experience of working at your company improves. This impacts your bottom line by improving retention, productivity, safety, and more.
Forward-Thinking Content Strategy
The digital revolution for internal comms is here. And it’s important that we continue to invest in new tools and tech that are forward-thinking. For example, the rise of video is here to stay. So you want to invest in channels that support video.
Luckily, most apps are already set up to support multimedia content like video, images, and podcasts (yay!). But really think about what you’ll use the tool for or might use it for in the future. For instance, does the provider support Excel or PowerPoint? Will it cover all your content needs so you can start creating comms campaigns that really deliver results?
Adopting an Employee-First Mindset
And last, but perhaps most important, is thinking of the end-user. Your internal communications app is for them and should be set up that way. It should provide the information they need and be organized in a way they can understand. But that’s up to you as a communicator. Whatever tool you use will only be as good as your content and strategy.
But you can choose a tool with an easily searchable document hub. First and foremost, having a document hub means having the ability to store essential resources on your app. This includes everything from onboarding materials, to training videos, policies, and so on. But making sure it is easy to search is key. Your frontline managers are busy and need to find answers to their questions quickly. This is a great way to save time and show your employees you are dedicated to making their lives easier.