The Power of Mobile to Enhance and Connect Organizational Communications
— November 24th, 2016
In light of recent reports, we invited Ciara O'Keeffe of StaffConnect to give us her thoughts regarding the use of mobile for organizational communications.
Imagine a scenario where a sales director is asking their CEO for budget for a new sales tool. This tool has been proven to increase sales productivity by 16%, customer satisfaction by 23% and loyalty by 21%. Do you think their request would be approved?
A recent study by Aruba, found a direct correlation between mobile optimized work environments and employee engagement.
The study found that companies rated as pioneers in mobile technology by employees saw a rise in productivity (16%), satisfaction (23%), and loyalty (21%).
However, according to Newsweaver’s latest ‘Inside IC Report’, published last month, over half (55%) of internal communicators say that they are not using mobile as a channel. The main reasons given were due to a “lack of budget and resources”.
There’s no shortage of recently published reports extolling the business benefits of enterprise mobile channels. Internal communications (IC), as a profession, has also grown in C-Suite influence and importance in recent years. Leaving me to question, are communicators not asking for the budget or are their requests being denied?
The answers may also lie in Newsweaver’s report. 73% of communicators say that they spend most of their time writing, sending or getting feedback and approval for content. Nearly three quarters of each day is spent writing and editing content leaving little time to meet with leaders, work on strategic initiatives or change existing processes.
In the same report, 59% of communicators say that it’s difficult to show how IC affects change among employees. This is unsurprising given the focus on creating and editing content. Measuring the effect of content on employees is difficult, especially with traditional channels like posters, printed newsletters, email, and antiquated intranets.
Returning to the sales director example from above, it would be easy for the CEO to monetize the business benefits of the new tool. Arguably, this would be more difficult for internal communications. However, the cost of disengagement is well documented. According to Gallup, actively disengaged employees cost the United States between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity per year.
The challenge for internal communications is making this cost more relevant to the individual business. This can be done, for example, by using feedback from previous employee surveys, showing a correlation between engagement rates and company performance. Or simply asking employees a series of questions around the topics of communications and engagement.
Another quick and effective approach is to start with a small subset of the company, to show potential business benefit. For example, if the company has non-desk employees it would be easier to prove that they would benefit from a mobile communication channel. An important benefit of mobile, as a channel, is the mobility!
Aruba found that collaborating effectively is the most crucial factor behind loyalty to a company (33%). If your non-desk employees do not have access to two-way communication channels, their collaboration opportunities will be limited.
I conducted a recent survey with a client of StaffConnect. Their non-desk employees answered questions about the app and the company’s communication practices. The results were very encouraging. Here’s a sample:
- I am better informed on the company news and updates than before using the StaffConnect App - 94% said agree or strongly agree
- The app makes it easy to share information with my colleagues - 91% said agree or strongly agree
- The app makes it easier for me to share my opinion in the organization - 86% said agree or strongly agree
Measurement is easier when using a mobile channel. Built in survey features, which capture regular feedback, and paired with the more traditional analytics suite can give you the tangible metrics required to convince leadership to go mobile.
Don’t overthink or over plan your mobile strategy. First decide where the biggest opportunity for impact is and then make a start. Work with your employees and your leaders to capitalise on the mobile-first opportunity. Saving time, improving engagement and increasing productivity is only the start.