In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an interesting trend going on in the employee communications world.
More brands are shifting to a mobile-first, newsfeed-like approach.
Take Nissan, for example. It’s VP of Communications in Europe, Stuart Jackson, recently shared results from his team’s move away from the corporate intranet to an employee app: Nissan Insider Mobile. The early results? Not too shabby. 10% of employees have downloaded the app and used it in the first four weeks. And, a third of the audience visits the app over the weekend!
Or, take Target. It’s new “Skimm-like” daily email is essentially a mobile-first, newsfeed-like experience. In employee’s email inboxes by 6:30 a.m., this scannable email is (most likely–I’m guessing here) designed to be a mobile-first experience given the wide swath of Target employees across the country.
Those are just two examples of stories I’ve heard about lately. The trick with employee comms is it’s all behind the firewall, so “case studies” are hard to come by (unless you know someone). So, if it’s bubbling up in media circles, chances are it’s a bigger trend than we might think.
Yet, many companies still lag behind.
Many companies are still operating on 1998 internet principles. That is–over-relying on web sites and desktop views to drive employee awareness and understanding of key company priorities and issues.
However, it is the year 2016, and mobile devices are increasingly the way people (and, of course, employees) are getting their information.
Yet employee comms teams haven’t adapted.
Why not? A myriad of reasons: lack of budget, lack of vision, lack of leadership. It’s a pretty long list.
But make no mistake about it–this IS a trend. And, I see it advancing even further in the years ahead. Here’s why:
Employee communications experience should mirror personal communications experience
This is what drove Target with its “Briefly” daily email. They loved the Skimm–MANY people love the Skimm. So, why not replicate their model for employee comms purposes? The Skimm is just one example of the way people consume news differently now–predominantly in short bursts and increasingly on mobile devices. How many employees at your company have mobile devices? 80 percent? 90 percent? 100 percent? How many are checking those phones multiple times throughout the day? Why wouldn’t you try to reach those employees on a tool/device they’re using ALL THE TIME?
Reach employees without computer access
This is what drove Nissan to develop its mobile employee app. It was trying to better reach the thousands of employees on the production floor. Those employees without desktop access. Think of all the companies and industries this impacts–health care, manufacturing, retail. Again, it’s a pretty long list.
Don’t make employees hunt for news–make it easy
One of the major challenges with corporate intranets is that they are the definitive dumping ground for information. Which means employees have to search hard for relevant and timely news (usually–outside the home page, for example). A mobile-first newsfeed approach removes that challenge. You’re getting the most relevant and timely information in front of employees with minimal work on their part. All they need to do is check their device the thumb down.
Reach employees on weeknights and weekends
If you work on the corporate side, how much time do you have during the day to check traditional employee comms channels? If you’re like many, not much. Chances are you’re in meetings. Doing work. Managing people. All of which takes you away from your computer to read employee comms messages. Or, in industries like health care, manufacturing and retail, employees don’t have desktop access during their jobs–you actually NEED to reach them when they’re not working. A mobile newsfeed (specifically, an app) gets at this need. Just look at the early results from the Nissan folks above.