Whether you are a business owner, manager, or employee, you likely do not need anyone telling you that business is tough these days. It doesn’t matter if you are in the gaming industry, manufacturing, or marketing, there is a good chance that you’ve been impacted by COVID and its cascading effect on the economy.
Maybe you’ve had a reduction in staff, or a cut back in working hours, or perhaps even a layoff! Irrespective of the repercussions, it is now all the more necessary that employers stay on top of their game.
There are many methods businesses can employ to stay ahead of the curve. A pressing need is that of keeping your workforce connected, informed and motivated on a regular basis. This calls for the adoption of a relatively nouveau genre of technology known as the employee app.
What Is an Employee App?
The increasing prevalence of smartphones is motivating businesses to create mobile-first work apps. The employee app is one such tool that is used to connect, communicate and collaborate with your workforce. The employee app is all the more robust since it can be tailor-made to include first-line workers into the fold of the digital workplace. With a workplace communications tool accessible from a mobile device, employers can connect with workers no matter where they are. This means remote, distributed, deskless, frontline AND knowledge workers can all be looped into the company’s communication channels.
Frontline workers are those customer-facing, deskless workers that usually don’t have corporate email ids or desktop devices. They have historically been kept out of the loop of corporate communications. This has put them at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing information, critical communications and employee services.
An employee app is not limited to communications. It doubles up as a productivity and collaboration tool as well. Employees and teams can use the platform for file sharing, idea sharing and collaborating on projects. Managers can use it to assign tasks, create checklists and manage approvals and processes. The functions available through employee apps are innumerable. Moreover, accessibility is anytime, anywhere from the convenience of your personal mobile device. This makes an employee app a must-have productivity and communications tool in a post-COVID workplace.
This article highlights some unique features of employee apps through which first-line workers like construction workers, waiting for staff, a gardener or manufacturing line workers can access crucial company messages and information from the convenience of their mobile phones.
Employee apps are mobile-first communication tools. Workers can connect and access messages and information any time and from any place.
Being a mobile-first tool, workers usually don’t need official email ids to login. Through this tool, frontline workers are looped into the digital workplace. Few examples of how employee apps help frontline workers are:
- Production supervisors get access to analytics to identify and rectify issues.
- Retail workers get digital access to shift and schedule details.
- Construction managers can identify delays, if any, in projects.
- Housekeeping staff gets a checklist on their employee app for tasks for the day.
These are just a few examples of how employee apps make the lives of frontline workers easier. Frontline, deskless and off-line workers form nearly 80% of the global workforce. Yet, very little has been done to enrol them into channels of company communications. This is fast changing as businesses and leaders are realizing the importance of engaging these workers.
A large percentage of first-line workers still use outdated paper-based processes and tools to operate. Scheduling tasks and meting out approvals is still a paper-based process.
Communications technology for first-line workers must also come with workflow, checklists and knowledge management systems. Task management and checklists transform processes from digital to paper-based. These workers get wind of their shift timings, tasks for the day, and so on from the convenience of their smartphones. Managers can track work progress and review everybody’s workday through task management. Workers also get access to information and data relative to their field of work, company policies and so on.
Therefore, an employee app doubles up as a productivity tool that helps in collaboration and communication within a distributed workforce.
Rich analytical data and tools is a common feature in most employee apps. Data analytics dashboards give administrators intel on engagement and communication effectiveness. By studying this data, communicators can analyze what works and what doesn’t and tweak their messaging styles accordingly. Admins are given direction and a lot of interpretation of the data to walk them through the process seamlessly. This way, the information received through analytics is put to good use.
With tools like these, you’ll be about to understand how announcements are reaching employees, as well as how many employees are actually reading these announcements. Using data from analytics dashboards, admins can make appropriate changes; and understand which media type is effective and which cross-section of people are more engaged with the content.
One of the main reasons to adopt an employee app in first-line industries is to move away from outdated paper-based processes. Process automation is savings in terms of billing hours – a large quantum of time that would otherwise have been consumed by time-intensive paper-based processes.
It’s time for frontline industries to step out of the Neanderthal era into the digital world of convenience at the push of a button. The time saved through process automation can be directly translated into savings in terms of cost and productivity.
Workflow process automation usually have drag and drop options that help businesses automate workday routines. Task scheduling, assigning and tracking become a seamless activity accessible anywhere from ones’ mobile device.
Integrates With Other Work Apps
If you are like most employers today, it is likely that you already have apps and other tools in place to help out with reports and other activities. When switching to new tools, you not only have to worry about allocating resources, but you have to worry about these new tools integrating with the systems you have in place.
Employee apps come with features that allow integrations with workforce tools, giving users a single point of access to multiple work apps. This increases convenience, saves time and as a result, productivity is positively impacted.
In short, employee apps give deskless workers a voice, a platform to express their ideas, opinions and grievances too. Can you imagine life without your housekeeper, the neighbourhood grocer or food delivery executive? These are anonymous tasks that most of us take for granted. However, in the absence of first-line workers, systems, operations and neighbourhoods will fall apart in an instant.
It’s time that first-line workers are given the facilities, technology and credit they rightly deserve. An employee app is a tool that not only helps frontline industries but upholds the dignity of the ubiquitous frontline worker world over!