Check out the theEMPLOYEEapp and you’ll see not only a logical way to improve communication across the organization, but just one more sign of the emerging multi-billion-dollar engagement field. When one considers all of the engagement tools and services – from leadership training and recruiting to coaching, assessment, communications, learning, innovation, rewards & recognition, analytics, and more – this is already a $100 billion-plus marketplace. Moreover, it’s a revolution that has only just begun, one that promises to change the way traditional engagement tactics are bought and used (and from who).
Jeff Corbin came at the engagement business from a direction that is kind of ironic from our standpoint: the financial community. While proponents of engagement, including the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, have a mission to educate the investor community about the ROI of engagement for shareholders, theEMPLOYEEapp actually grew out of an app Corbin’s financial services communications company, KCSA Strategic Communications, conceived of for clients in investor relations. A new company was created to be first to market with a way for public corporations to share financial information with the financial community and media. Along the way, one of the company’s clients asked for an app to manage employee communications, and theEMPLOYEEapp was born.
Although customized for the needs of each client, theEMPLOYEEapp focuses specifically on communication, unlike the rewards and recognition platforms that focus on awards and behaviors, or other products designed for innovation, etc. As a result, the platform allows for highly robust solutions to distribute just about any information they want. The product essentially leapfrogs legacy Intranets to get information out into the field to the people who need it, when they need it.
the EMPLOYEEapp recently conducted a second annual survey of employees, finding that:
Yet, the survey also found:
Corbin says that theEMPLOYEEapp takes the mystery out of corporate communications with employees and makes the process highly measurable. Reports show what type of information is accessed by who in order to measure the level of engagement with the platform. New features get regularly added based on clients who come to them with new requirements. “We are very proud that our technology is based totally on customer needs, not on the notions of a bunch of developers far away from the needs of the workplace,” Corbin says.
The business model for theEMPLOYEEapp is simple: a set-up fee averaging around $5,000 based on customization needs, and then a per-seat charge that ranges from $3,500 per year and up, depending on company size. The product already has a number of well known clients displayed on its website, and the relatively low cost and benefits, Corbin believes, could serve a marketplace of hundreds of thousands of firms.
So what’s the challenge for Corbin’s business? As we hear from most engagement solution providers, the key challenge is distribution – how to reach the enormous marketplace of companies that can benefit from this product. For now, based on Corbin’s background, he has focused mostly in the corporate communications arena, and not so much in human resources as one might expect.
As a seasoned communications expert, Corbin says that in the end the focus of communication has to be on the strategy and the content, not the technology. Technology, he says, is just a platform. “What counts is the relevance of the information” – and that’s the expertise his communications background adds to the company’s advantages.
Asked if he believes engagement is an enduring field or a fad, Corbin says: “There’s enough research that shows engagement can help companies increase revenue or lower costs. When one can draw a direct connection between a process and dollars, then you have a field, because people will be willing to invest.”
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