An employee engagement app can either add to the noise or create crystal clarity – so choose wisely
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rise of the employee engagement app as an internal communication tool. Only the other day, I was catching up on my emails while travelling on the London Underground. As I stepped off the train, I heard the familiar announcement: “Mind the gap” – and came uncomfortably close to dropping my phone between the train and the platform edge. It was ironic that the mail I’d been reading was from a client complaining about no-one using their employee engagement app. Mind the g-app, indeed!
The client in question, a comms manager in a forward-thinking public sector organisation, was complaining that a recently installed Jive app, which had suddenly appeared on desktops and mobile devices, was not proving popular. A quick call to the in-house IT team shed no light. “Ah yes, that replaces Yammer,” the person in the contact centre responded, “No-one used that either.” First up, surely when we put these things in place, we have to give some practical guidance and training about how to use them to good effect before their only use becomes ‘liking’ the litter-in-the-car-park thread.
In this digital era, we have more and more ways to share information with the workforce, most recently through the rise of apps. But satisfaction with how most organisations communicate isn’t, in my experience, getting any better. In fact, people at all levels complain about it more than ever. If we are just sending more noise, from more sources, via more channels, we are simply adding to the confusion.
I am, however, encouraged to see that some employee engagement apps are now focusing on more than just broadcast communication by, for example, measuring the reach of specific channels. Even so, knowing how many people opened an email or clicked on a newsletter still doesn’t tell us what they took away from that communication. Did they understand it? What did they make it mean? What are they going to do differently as a result?
My passion for 25 years has been making a difference to organisational performance through employee engagement – and then being able to prove it. I want to be able to demonstrate to CEOs that the messages from their leadership event actually left the conference room and were understood and acted on by staff at the coalface, who are now fully aligned. I want to pinpoint where change programmes are being implemented at speed and where they are bogged down. I want to show that top talent is motivated to stick around and to help drive new ways of working.
The ‘g-app’ I want to fill is the one between the aspirations leaders have for their organisations and the day-to-day reality of what really happens at the sharp end of the business – out in the field, in regional offices, on the shop floor.
An app to generate dialogue and killer data
Rather than just banging on about how important it is that companies do this, Axiom is trying to help – by harnessing the rise of mobile technology and social tools. Right now, we’re fine-tuning a new employee engagement app that will quickly and efficiently provide up-to-the-minute data on the word on the street, depict the mood of the business in innovative infographics and chart the extent to which staff understand key messages – by audience and over time.
So, do you agree that employee engagement apps should be creating crystal clarity about what really matters to organisational performance rather than just adding to the noise? If so, reach out and help us shape a cutting-edge app that meets the needs of your business.