Real-time communication is essential in today’s workplace. Providing employees with apps that streamline work is key, but only if the solutions meet the needs of your workforce and are deployed strategically for success. The following tips for buying an employee communication app will take you through the process from start to finish.

1. Audit your existing communication apps

Conduct an audit of existing software to find out what apps employees are using so you can see where there is overlap and where there are gaps. Consider the following questions:

  • Are consumer apps (such as WhatsApp or GroupMe) being used? — This is a big security risk and administrative burden for companies.
  • Are point solutions being used for safety alerts, messaging, phone calls, social selling, and employee advocacy? — Point solutions are not cost-effective and don’t drive adoption.
  • Do the current technologies create communication silos? — Silos create inefficiencies that inhibit the free-flow of information sharing and idea creation.

With a clear idea of the technology currently used at your company and ideas for improvement, it’s time to establish your objectives.

2. Identify your key objectives

To keep your search focused, identify what it is you hope to get out of the new technology. There are countless solutions for communication — you can easily narrow them down by focusing on what exactly your workforce needs and what goals your organization has. What is the specific problem you are trying to solve?

Make sure you keep your workforce in mind and find a solution that works for them. If you have deskless workers who are out in the field or in front of customers, you will need a solution tailored to their needs (mobile-first and easy to use, for example). If connecting the office with the field is a priority, make sure the solution works across desktop and mobile and is compatible with your standard devices and operating systems.

With your goals in mind, it’s time to start analyzing options. There are some considerations to keep in mind.

3. Create a must-have and nice-to-have checklist

Consider the following capabilities of the employee communication app:

  • User-friendliness: Your company most likely employs people of various age-groups, each with their own technology comfort levels and work habits. For employees to adopt the solution, it needs to be easy to use. This is especially important for deskless workers who don’t have the time to deal with complicated or non-intuitive apps.
  • Integrations with existing applications: To make the app really useful, it should integrate with different business and workflow apps so that employees can communicate and collaborate seamlessly — within the context of the work that’s being done.
  • Purpose: It’s important to consider who the application was built for. Is it a solution for people who are based in an office or for those who work in the field? Was it created with your industry in mind?
  • Scalability: Choosing a solution that can easily scale to fit your organization is crucial for longevity. It’s also important to ensure that the app works across all of the devices and operating systems that your workforce uses.
  • Security and compliance: Think about the security, privacy and compliance requirements of your business. You need to ensure that only current employees and approved contractors are able to use the app. Consumer apps are never going to be an option, even if they are popular among your workforce.
  • Administration: Central administration that allows IT to easily manage and provision users is crucial. This includes a way to immediately remove all access to the app and it’s data when employees leave the company.

4. Create an implementation plan

Once you’ve purchased an employee communication app, it’s imperative to get it rolled out properly so that you get your ROI. The goal of implementation should be to drive adoption and successful use of the app across the workforce.

This may be a big change management initiative if employees will be learning a new way of getting work done — and not everyone is going to want to change. The plan should outline a strategy, objectives, tactics, and timelines. The vendor you choose may be able to help you with much of this process.

Key components to include:

  • Explain why you are rolling new technology, including the goals and benefits
  • Advertise and create hype around it — point out how it will make employees’ jobs easier
  • Mandate usage to drive high adoption and provide best practices where applicable
  • Provide continued training and education

Enjoy the ROI!

Ready for an Effective Employee Communication App?

Zinc is the leading employee communication app for companies with workers spread between the office and the field. Zinc combines all modes of communication (messaging, voice, video, push to talk, content sharing, and broadcasts) into one powerful, yet easy to use platform. With enterprise-grade security and central administration, leaders have full control of their data and easily keep up with their frontline workforce.

See How DISH Network is Driving Results with Zinc 
employee communication app

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.