Improve team communication in the business through mobile apps.
The spread of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented measures, first by governments and then businesses, trying to limit the spread of the corona virus. In addition to restricting travel and cancelling large events across South Africa and the world, countless people were actively encouraged to work from home.
Working remotely under these circumstances meant adapting to a new environment, with the result; a growing number of companies needing to rethink their ways of working and communicating.
In order to continue working efficiently and creating value under these new circumstances, organizations need to understand, accept, and support their employees’ specific situations and needs.
One factor that can influence all of these things is your employee’s mobile apps.
Why is team communication important?It’s no secret, teams that communicate well complete projects quicker and more efficiently than others. Research shows that three people working together is more effective than one person. When communication is effective team members understand their roles and what needs to be done.
According to a survey by Salesforce, 86% of people attribute workplace failures to lack of collaboration. When working with a remote team, having the right hardware – such as an interactive whiteboard alternative for example, and effective communication applications are of utmost importance.
Now consider the fact that 83% of the world’s workforce is mobile and does not use company email. These workers don’t work primarily at a desk or computer, either––leaving ample room for miscommunication, and missed communication.
Yet it can be safely assumed to have their phones on them at all times.
Whether your company has 50 employees or 5,000, a focused internal communication strategy is a key ingredient for success. From frontline workers to management, a team communication app provides equal access to information, which builds teamwork and drives productivity.
Overall, team chat apps are used by organisations for three key reasons — they save time, encourage collaboration, and increase productivity. Team communication apps allow you to keep all your businesses’ communications in one place which makes it easier for everyone to keep open team communication going, to stay on top of work, check progress and share files.
As a communicator, that means that every time you forgo utilizing employee communications apps on mobile devices as a part of your strategy, you’re throwing your resources in with a declining trend and forcing your employees to change habits.
Your time and budgets aren’t endless — so why not use them to take advantage of a growing opportunity?
What are team-based messaging applications?
To start, let’s look at a definition of team-based messaging applications.
Team based messaging applications is software that can be used on any electronic device – mobile phone, laptop, tablet, or interactive display – that focus on instant messaging and voice and video call, but with the crucial element that they are centred on team chat.
This means that IM groups and remote conferencing can all feature in these team-based messaging applications.
Why should you use mobile applications to improve workplace communication?
As a centrepiece of our modern lives, mobile devices have made personal and business communication easier than ever. Communicating with friends or even potential new clients hundreds of kilometres way is as simple as sending a text or chatting via video apps like Snapchat and FaceTime.
Here are a few keyways that an internal mobile app will overhaul and enhance a company’s communication in the workplace.
1. Real time communication
Time is a company’s most valuable resource. When a company needs to communicate effectively, time is of the essence. It can also be said that adequate time is the hardest resource to obtain.
With a mobile messaging app, communication is significantly improved in real time, by providing information in an easily accessible manner. Team members can send short snippets of information back and forth without clogging up their inboxes. For example, thanks to push notifications, which can be either user-specific or companywide, all employees will be aware of the latest updates and important news.
Examples of real-time information that apps help distribute in a more efficient way include:
- Essential company news and updates
- Company safety and security announcement
- Parking and shuttle bus information
- Corporate directories
- Workforce-Wide Unified Communications
- And more
2. More Efficient Workflows
Consider Domino’s Pizza for example with over 14,000 storefronts worldwide. Human Resource used to handle all communication to managers and frontline staff, such as food delivery information and scheduling via email, which proved time-consuming.
By utilising Beekeeper, an internal communication platform and app Domino’s delegated much its communication through this, allowing HR to focus on other people management priorities.
3. Task Management Features
A work messaging app should provide more than text messaging does. Sharing information through a team communication app empowers employees with the ability to answer customer questions, set up a recurring to-do list, and track progress towards long-term targets, develop new task lists and assign action items to co-workers and tag them so they get an instant notification, making it easy to track the overall progress in any project.
This improves employee experience, leading to better customer service and ultimately, better customer loyalty.
4. Employee feedback and engagement.
With an internal app, companies may wish to include modules that can be added for special events or communication initiatives. For example, a mobile app is a great way to collect employee feedback and/or have them take surveys. In this way, apps can be used to collect valuable information, not just disseminate “need to know” info.
This valuable feedback allows a company to improve policies and procedures to keep employee engagement a priority.
5. Centralised information resource
Keeping track of company data and correspondence is overwhelming when internal communication is spread out across an information highway of email, paper, and verbal correspondence.
A team app can centralize internal communication and information such as schedules and pay slips, or general company news, in a user-friendly, secure team communication app and portal where employees can access it easily.
6. Eliminate the Hierarchy Gap
Without an internal communications strategy, the relationship between management and their frontline workforce suffers. The vast majority of mobile workers say they hear from the corporate office only a few times a year, and only when big announcements are made.
A team communication app provides multiple paths, such as activity streams, chatbots, and group chats, to ensure your entire workforce has access to the same information.
When a previously non-digitized segment of the workforce is suddenly given access to information they can access at will, they feel more like a valued member of the team. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that satisfied employees engage more with their colleagues and work harder.
7. Automatic Reporting Features
Who wants to go through stacks of unorganised data to get the reports they need?
The best work messaging apps automatically records individual and team performance and generates the necessary numbers and customisable reports, about your most important goals that anyone can easily understand.
Intuitive business applications let team members customise what types of reports they receive and determine how often they receive them. Leaders can automatically get emails that outline the progress towards individual team members’ tasks and departmental targets providing them with the ability to make good business decisions, anytime, anywhere by providing insights regarding how to reach those goals.
When choosing a team communication app what should you look for?
There is an ever-growing number of team communication apps to choose from — and for good reason.
Real-time communication is an essential business tool for collaboration, team productivity and knowledge sharing, especially as workforces become more dispersed across cities and even countries.
How do you choose?
Companies should choose software that meets their individual needs. To help you find the right app for your team, we’ve put together 5 five key factors to consider when evaluating your options.
1. Ease of Use
Ease of use on mobile is particularly important for frontline workers who rely on mobile devices on the job and don’t have the time to deal with complicated apps. Also consider the various age-groups of your employees, each comes with their own technology comfort levels and work habits.
Navigating these differences means finding an app that is familiar and easy to use. Without high adoption, you won’t be able to leverage the true value of real-time communication.
2. Multiple Modes of Communication
Not every app supports every mode of communication. There are intranets, video conferencing apps, employee alert systems; instant messaging apps, the list goes on.
The problem? Teams need to communicate in a variety of modes and it’s frustrating when you have to juggle multiple apps, especially if you are on the road or client facing.
When choosing a team communication app or software product look for one that combines multiple modes of communication into one platform.
3. Powerful Group Capabilities
An effective team communication app will allow you and your employees to organize conversations into manageable groups, based on task, departments, and job functions.
Groups allow you to keep conversations focused on a specific topic with all the right people. Typically, each team or department will have its own group, as well as groups for specific projects and events as well as a few fun social groups.
Key group features to look for are the ability to:
- Create open groups that anyone can join, as well as closed groups.
- Provide access to the company directory to generate groups that match your company structure/functions.
- Mute conversations that aren’t critical.
- Share files and start conference calls between groups.
- Search for old conversations and files, on all the groups.
- All users to create short-term ad-hoc conversations.
It’s crucial for your team communication app to provide central administration so you can easily manage groups, provision users, and set data management policies.
Administrative power is a significant differentiator between enterprise apps and consumer apps.
With proper administration, you have control over your data, can ensure the platform is configured to meet your needs and most importantly, you can immediately remove all access to the app and its data when employees leave the company.
5. Workflow Integrations
The best team communication apps must allow you to communicate in the context of work being done. Integrations into key workflow systems must allow for a seamless experience that doesn’t require users to bounce between platforms while collaborating.
6. Pay attention to privacy options
Collaborating with teams doesn’t mean all conversations and files should be public.
Sometimes, you’ll want team members to have private conversations or work on sensitive projects. Make sure you look at privacy options before you choose a service.
7. Opt for the cloud
Cloud-based technology has many advantages.
Most notably are version control headaches, by allowing you to see recent edits and activity. All information is stored online so everyone can be on the same page, no matter where they are.
8. integrations and compatibility
Integrations are key. Compatibility is also important.
Look for tools that seamlessly integrate with other apps or backend software. For example, your tools should support all the file types your team normally uses.
ConclusionRemote working arrangements or work-from-home have been common in many organizations for years, aided by constantly growing and improving technical tools. However, the COVID-19 crisis has fast-tracked the number of teams working virtually. Still, the transference from workplace management to virtual management can be tricky.
Managing virtual teams is fundamentally different from regular work teams. It needs planning, coordination, and intentional management.
And while remote communication can be tricky, with the right tools, it becomes a piece-of-cake!