Communication has become the most crucial and engrossing instrument in today’s dynamic business. Although communication technology advances everyday and the amount of tools that foster efficient employee communication are practically uncountable, company and employee dialogues still manage to fall flat. As employees spend more time away from their working desks, the company connectedness is often lost. Moreover, developing successful stakeholder communication strategies also proves to be more demanding than ever, as stakeholders continuously expect and demand more transparency from businesses.

Thus, companies strive to not only build successful communication channels for their employees, but also to tell their stories in a way that resonates with various audiences. Opportunities to participate and contribute to companies’ projects and activities are crucial for stakeholders, because it creates effective communication and fosters stronger relationships. Utilization of mobile apps for customer use has already proven to be successful in strengthening brand identities. However, apps can also be used to successfully foster internal company communication, and therefore adapt to the changing nature of the workplace.

Employee communication and the changing nature of the workplace

Companies have been using intranet to enable employee access to a wide range of company information and services. Surely, intranet fosters employee connectivity within a company or an enterprise. Moreover, it is an effective channel for transmitting company information crucial to employees, such as latest policies and strategies. However, intranet proves to lack efficiency when high-priority information needs to reach employees and other stakeholders quickly. For employees who are not bound to their work desks, accessing company information can be rather difficult, if even possible. A typical employee does not spend 8 hours in the office at his desk anymore. He is travelling on business trips, meeting clients in the city, or is in between business meetings. The inability to access necessary information on the company’s intranet while on the go signifies not only personal inefficiency and lost time, but also a lack of employee engagement and communication. According to a Fortune Magazine’s research in the U.S., a whopping 84% of non-desk workers with more than 1,000 employees indicate they don’t get enough information from the management, as 74% believe, that consistent senior management messages are indeed important to them.

What about corporate publishing, the editorial and journalistic content of a company? Large companies publish periodic (approx. 3-5 times a year) staff magazines, customer magazines and business reports. These not only strengthen corporate identity, but moreover increase customer loyalty and appropriately systemize brand management. Furthermore, published content is also used in a cross-medial way and have the potential to deploy many additional purposes. However, businesses are in a constant state of flux. The main problem facing corporate publishing nowadays is the fact that all content is usually published in print and as static PDFs. Almost 50% of employees surveyed in Germany and working in communication believe that multi-channel publishing is indispensable for the staff magazine, as the needs and demands of employees are constantly changing (cpwissen.de). Indeed, because of the changing employee needs and the continuously developing mobile technology, static PDFs fail to offer the much-needed additional value for companies and their employees. 46% of those surveyed in Germany believe that PDFs will be issued with integrated pictures, videos and links in the near future, while even 86% expect that internal communication will soon reach them predominantly through apps. All this signifies a clear need and demand for internal company apps.

Stakeholder management is another important arena for the success of your company’s projects and activities. Stakeholders include employees, customers, business partners as well as investors, shareholders and suppliers, with whom effective communication is crucial. Not only does it ensure that they are up-to-date with your business plans, it also builds positive relationships and strengthens your company’s corporate identity. However, productive communication with stakeholders proves to be a difficult task at times, especially when a main channel for that purpose is not set. Feedback is crucial for better understanding stakeholders’ attitudes and interests, thus social media, which is a common way to engage with stakeholders nowadays, might not always prove to be the right choice for communicating and exchanging critical information and material.

CEOs agree that employee communication is a highly crucial domain for companies. The formula is simple: the more effective the employee communication, the better the reputation and the image of a company. However, CEOs also agree that the most important tasks in employee and internal communications are to inform, motivate and connect employees. Employee-engaging communication channels such as email, intranet and print publications are effective in informing employees and other stakeholders of company-related information, but hardly motivate or connect them. Furthermore, CEOs recognize that internal company communication should foster trust among employees and build the much-needed transparency for stakeholders. The continuously changing work environment and growing employee needs call for additional and more innovative and flexible communication channels within companies. 

How can employees and other stakeholders be brought together?

Companies are already utilizing mobile technology in order to communicate with their customers more efficiently. Big organizations, or so-called mobile pioneers, on the other hand, are embracing enterprise mobile app strategies to communicate crucial information, share company data and connect employees and other stakeholders. Apps allow for customized and individualized communication, allowing users to access information on a smartphone anytime, and not necessarily at the work place. Smartphones and other smart devices (tablets, phablets) are becoming increasingly popular, and while not everyone owns one, more than half of global mobile phone users are predicted to have a smartphone in 2018 (emarketer.com).

Why do companies need internal apps?

Apps offer a practical communications channel by presenting many ways to effectively spread and share information. They also enable customized communication, that cannot be achieved neither with print media nor with PDFs. A mobile app enables a direct access to employees, who, in turn, are more likely to connect with each other, consequently increasing employee collaboration. Connected employees possess a higher potential to meet their customers’ needs and demands.

Native app technology for the purpose of internal company communication can promote work efficiency. Employees and other stakeholders can easily transmit guidelines and provide consultations via the app. Owing to the fact that all content of an app is automatically synchronized in real-time, not a single person is left out of the company’s business agenda.

As companies constantly strive to increase employee productivity, providing them with necessary tools can, without a doubt, be one half of the success formula. Mobile apps have the capacity to integrate pictures, videos, product catalogs, company brochures, spreadsheets, route planners and more. Unlike with print staff magazines, static PDF brochures and email, all content can be closely monitored, and performance can moreover be analyzed. Enriched content also fosters storytelling, which in turn creates a stronger emotional connection to the information provided.

Moreover, internal company apps utilize the push-notification service, thus ensuring a fast dissemination of time-sensitive and key information. Timeliness often proves to be a determining factor in the changing and dynamic work environment. When employees are away on business trips, and mobile and Internet reception is not always available, apps provide the offline accessibility to the necessary information. Having an unlimited access to crucial company data can significantly stimulate employee work efficiency.

Furthermore, quick and effortless access to an app can significantly foster employee productivity, stakeholder communication and all-over engagement with all the current company activities and projects. This can also be viewed and scheduled in shared calendars, which further promote continual project planning and encourage productivity. What is more, employees can rate, comment and share important company information within the shortest amount of time. Taking this into consideration, apps prove to better adjust to employees’ daily routines.

Stakeholders other than employees also obtain a higher advantage when apps are additionally used to foster internal company communication. Apps enable a direct access for stakeholders to provide feedback for products, projects, campaigns and teams directly on their smartphones. Direct feedback enables and strengthens a more efficient and immediate two-way communication between the company and its stakeholders. On the whole, internal company apps create and foster the transparency that stakeholders so greatly expect.

How to create an internal company app?

How can an internal company app that fosters employee and other stakeholders’ communication be created? If programming and web application design are not your greatest strengths, a sophisticated and efficient production environment is therefore necessary. The Purple Publishing Suite offers an easy-to-use production environment for creating native company apps and other unique digital products. First and foremost, absolutely no technical knowledge is required in order to create an individual app. Furthermore, Purple offers an already built-in design tool that integrates all the main content formats (PDF, InDesign, Photoshop), which can be accessed and administered at any time. It also allows you to create additional features that are important for your company and stakeholders’ communication.