Employee Communication Archives - BuildFire

10 Benefits of an Employee Communication App

Workplace communication is a vital part of any organization.  

Employees must be able to share information and stay up-to-date with the latest company news, but it’s not always easy for them to do so in person or through email alone. 

That’s why an employee communications app can be such a valuable tool. This blog post will focus on the top ten benefits you’ll experience using an employee app for internal communications.

Are you ready to transform the way your company communicates? Let’s dive in.

1. Communication Apps Establish Company Culture

Company culture is the foundation for any successful business. But creating the right company culture and getting everyone to buy in is much easier said than done. 

The best companies find ways to get everyone in the organization to work towards a common goal. By establishing the right culture and working environment in your company, your staff will be more productive, and you’ll reduce employee turnover. 

So, what does a comms app have to do with company culture? 

For starters, it immediately modernizes any company. Employees will see the organization as innovative and forward-thinking. Plus, you’re giving your staff the communication tools they need to succeed—which everyone appreciates.

But communication apps also facilitate the idea of open communication. Employees feel connected to their co-workers at all times, which helps build bonds and foster long-term relationships.  

Comms apps break down barriers that prevent employers from communicating with each other and management alike. Regardless of the work environment, everyone has their mobile device within an arm’s reach at every hour of the day. So that company culture and communication ability never leave their side.

As an employer, you can create a custom workforce app that mirrors the type of culture you want to create. Everything from the color choices to images, videos, push notifications, and other app content can instill the type of culture that you’re trying to establish. 

2. Comms Apps Drive Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can make or break the success of any organization. Whether you have five employees, 500 employees, or 5,000 employees, their level of engagement has a direct impact on your bottom line. 

Unfortunately, this is something that many businesses struggle with. Only a small percentage of the workforce is actually engaged. 

As you can see from the infographic, the vast majority of employees fall into the “not engaged” and “actively disengaged” categories. Less than one-third of all employees are engaged.

Disengagement is extremely costly. In fact, a disengaged employee costs roughly $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. This translates to roughly $350 billion per year in lost productivity for the American workforce. 

Apps can provide an immediate impact on employee engagement because they provide everyone with direct access to each other. Employees who work remotely or in the field automatically gain a connection to HR, management, and co-workers from the palms of their hands. These people no longer feel as isolated or disconnected as they do without the ability to communicate via apps.

Your employees are already using their mobile devices in the workplace. So it makes sense for them to use these tools to communicate—ultimately boosting engagement.  

3. Internal Communications Apps Are a Single Source of Truth

Technology is rapidly evolving. But there’s so much great software out there that it’s become a bit overwhelming. 

Here’s how many applications organizations of different sizes are using:

  • Smaller companies with 1-100 employees — 102 apps
  • Medium-sized companies with 101-1,000 employees — 185 apps
  • Enterprise companies with 1,000+ employees — 288 apps

An internal communication app solves the problem here on multiple levels. It can eliminate the need for multiple applications by providing all company information in a single source of truth.

These apps can be used for:

  • Human resources
  • Pay stubs and employee benefits information
  • New hiring onboarding
  • Workplace safety and compliance
  • Employee training and development
  • Company news and announcement
  • Employee schedules
  • Live chat messaging
  • Message boards
  • Employee directory
  • Office location information

The list goes on and on. For those of you who are already using other apps for certain employee-related or business-related tools, you can integrate your existing solutions with a custom communication app as well. The possibilities here are virtually limitless. 

In turn, your employees won’t have to bounce back and forth between multiple platforms to get the information they need to succeed. This makes their lives easier while simultaneously increasing productivity across the board. Everything can be accessed from a single communications platform.

4. Communication Apps Appeal to the Modern Workforce

Your business always needs to stay one step ahead of the competition. This goes beyond just offering a better product, service, or marketing strategy—it includes recruiting top-level talent.

Younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z are the largest part of today’s workforce. Unlike generations of the past, these workers demand modern technology.

They want an enjoyable employee experience on multiple levels. If your company makes it easy for them to access HR information and communicate remotely, then you’ll have an edge over other businesses recruiting the same people. 

The modern workforce is used to being on their smartphone at seemingly all hours of the day. They’re using these devices for both work-related and personal tasks. You need to give them tools that they want through channels that they’re comfortable using—and communication apps fit those criteria perfectly. 

In addition to recruitment, employee apps will help you retain your staff for the long run as well. Employee turnover is extremely expensive, as the costs associated with hiring, onboarding, and training add up quickly. 

But an app kills two birds with one stone. In addition to making your place of work more attractive to prospective hires, it also establishes company culture (refer back to benefit #1). Both of these lead to high retention. 

Furthermore, the app itself can be used during the onboarding process—which has a direct impact on retention rates.  

For more information, check out our post on the top employee management trends for the modern workforce

5. Organizations Can Measure Communication Analytics

Today, the best business decisions are data-driven. But it’s impossible to make certain management decisions if you don’t have tools that can collect the appropriate data.

That’s where a comms app shines above other methods of workplace communication.

On the admin side, you can quickly see how the app is being used. What users are opening the app? How frequently do they open it? What features are they using the most?

You can use these analytics to double down on aspects that are driving communication and engagement. But you can also use the app to target employees that aren’t necessarily taking advantage of the app’s features. 

For example, you might have certain company news announcements that drive more engagement than others. You can use this information to create more announcements that fit into this category instead of wasting time on ones that nobody cares about. 

You can even use the app for employee polls, employee surveys, and other ways to gather feedback. 

According to a recent study published by the Society for Human Resource Management, employees want to be heard. 

Communication apps are an easy way for managers to collect feedback on a regular basis. You can even set up anonymous feedback so employees can give their opinions without feeling like they’ll be reprimanded for their opinions. 

All of this provides valuable analytics to company leadership, so they can make appropriate changes and keep employee morale high. 

6. Comms Apps Reduce the Need For Internal Email Communication

In terms of internal comms, email is slowly dying. They just don’t provide the instant response that workers seek in modern communication environments. 

From a productivity perspective, email is crushing the way people spend their time. On average, just one employee sends and receives 112 emails per day. Employees are spending up to 23% of their workday on email.

Work emails create a false sense of productivity in the workplace. Workers feel like they’re getting stuff done as they declutter their inboxes, but that task isn’t really adding any value to big-picture initiatives. It’s just busy work that can be eliminated. 

Communication apps offer a more quick and direct form of internal comms. They can even add a social-media-like experience in the workplace with features like an employee communication wall. 

While there is definitely still a place for email at work, the way we use it needs to change. More and more companies are realizing this and trying to find ways to use email less. Employee communication apps are a viable alternative.

7. Employee Apps Provide Real-Time Communication on the Go

Modern employees are constantly on the move. Whether they’re on a job site, working remotely, or just grabbing a coffee in the neighborhood, they like the ability to stay connected with work while living their lives.

Traditional email and phone calls aren’t as convenient and realistic for these types of scenarios. Your staff doesn’t want to answer calls when they’re on the train commuting to the office or standing in line at a local coffee shop.

Management can use employee apps to send urgent messages and notifications to all employees, regardless of their physical location.

Let’s say you need to cancel a meeting or make urgent schedule changes. This can easily be communicated to some or all of your staff with push notifications. 

8. Communication Apps Enable Collaboration For Deskless Workers and Remote Teams

Modern companies need to accommodate the deskless workforce

As the name implies, these are people who aren’t sitting behind a traditional desk throughout the day. They might be working remotely, on job sites, meeting with clients on the road—the list goes on and on. 

While 80% of the workforce is considered deskless, just 1% of enterprise software funding is allocated to this group. 

There’s obviously a big problem with these numbers. Organizations are neglecting the largest and most important part of their workforce.

Deskless workers don’t have the luxury of a landline or desktop in front of their faces all day. They are behind the wheel of a vehicle or getting their hands dirty on the job. You can’t expect them to find a computer to get things done when they’re in these types of situations.

But smartphones are always around. Even from a construction site or client’s home, your deskless staff can stay connected and communicate with everyone from a mobile app.

From HR self-service to safety handbooks, training manuals, and company announcements, all of this can be accessed from anywhere.

9. Employee Communication Apps Are Easy to Use

The ease of use and user experience is really important to consider when you’re evaluating software solutions for your employees. You don’t want anything with a steep learning curve or tools that will make simple tasks harder than they need to be.

But the mobile app experience is seamless. Workers are used to using mobile apps for basically everything they do on a day-to-day basis. From social media to banking, food ordering, ride-hailing, and more, apps power the way we live. Why not leverage this in the workplace too?

According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that invest in the employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t. 

In short, an app that improves the employee experience will have a direct impact on your bottom line.

10. Communication Apps Deliver a High ROI (Return on Investment)

Continuing on the subject of profits and bottom-line revenue, let’s talk about the ROI of an employee app. Obviously, you want to make sure that your decision to invest in employee communication will pay off. 

We recently published an article on the ROI of an internal communications app

I suggest reading that to help you calculate the potential ROI for your business. But here are some of the top highlights and areas where you’ll see the best return:

  • Increased engagement
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased profits
  • Lower employee turnover rates
  • Improved relationships with management
  • Reduce costs associated with workplace safety incidents
  • Lower costs associated with training

Depending on the size of your organization, an app can save hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars over time. You’ll begin to see the ROI almost immediately after implementing an app for internal comms. 

Conclusion

If you want to improve the way your organization communicates internally, then it’s time to build an employee communication app. The benefits of this are numerous and will work for any size business—from a startup company with only one or two employees up through the enterprise level.

These apps streamline team communication and offer extensive functionality for your business.

Ready to get started?

BuildFire makes it easy for anyone to create a custom workforce app. Our software is easy to use, and it’s the fastest way to build a high-quality app for your business. 

Start your free trial or contact our team to get started today.

Top Features of an Internal Communications App

So you’ve finally decided to build an app for your employees—great decision! But if it’s your first time going through this process, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

What features do you need? How do you evaluate the features of your development solution?

We created this guide to make your life a little easier. First, you’ll learn more about the most popular features of an internal communications app. We’ll also show you our buyer’s guide to evaluating development solutions for your employee mobile app. 

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear picture of what you can accomplish with a workforce app for employee comms. Let’s dive in.

11 Features to Include in Your Employee Mobile App

There are dozens of potential features you can add to an employee app for internal communications. But these 11 are the most popular:

1. Company News and Announcements

Your employee app should serve as a centralized hub for all company news and important announcements. This is much more efficient than sending memos, writing emails, or posting flyers on the break room bulletin board.

One of the best parts about an announcement hub is that your staff can access it from anywhere. They’re already using their smartphones at work, so giving them the ability to read company news from a native mobile app makes things more convenient for everyone.

Pro Tip: Choose a development platform that makes it easy to update the news feed on the admin side without having to write any code. 

2. Employee Directory

Adding an employee directory to your app is a convenient way for your staff to communicate with each other. It eliminates the need for a phone operator, which streamlines communication across the company.

If someone needs the phone number, email address, or office location of a co-worker, they can find it in the mobile directory in seconds. 

You can add as much or as little information to your employee directory as possible. But most businesses tend to add more as opposed to less. Consider adding a photo, short bio, department, work anniversary, birthday, and more. All of this information helps establish a sense of community and builds a strong company culture within your organization. 

3. Push Notifications

This will arguably be the most important feature to include in an employee app for internal communications. It’s the fastest way to deliver real-time information to your staff, which is crucial for time-sensitive announcements. 

If your company has deskless workers or field service employees, push notifications are far superior to email for communication. Just look at these metrics compared to email:

That’s because a push notification will go directly to your staff’s home screen, similar to a text message. For employees working on job sites, on the road, or otherwise away from a computer, the chances of them seeing this message in a timely fashion are much greater than seeing an email. 

For some industries, like construction, lots of employees and contractors don’t have a company email address. So a push notification is the only viable way to reach employees.

This type of messaging works well for things like scheduling changes, closures due to inclement weather, or any other time-sensitive announcements and top-down communication.

4. Polling and Feedback

Use your employee app to facilitate polls, surveys, and collect feedback from your employees. Your company will benefit on multiple levels by adding this type of feature. Here’s why.

According to a recent study, employees who feel heard are 4.6x more likely to perform to the best of their abilities. Giving them input and making them feel like they have a say will empower your organization. 

The feedback also gives management valuable information on the workplace environment. It tells you what you’re doing well and what needs to be improved. Feedback keeps your staff engaged at work and in the app as well. 

5. HR Self-Service

Forcing your staff to call, email, or visit the human resources office for important company information is inefficient. For starters, it puts a burden on your HR staff. But it also decreases workplace productivity for everyone else, as they can only contact HR during business hours. 

So instead of doing their jobs, people are wasting valuable time on hold with an HR rep. Employee self-service can reduce HR administrative tasks by 40-60%

For remote employees, field service workers, fleet and shipping drivers, and other deskless employees, visiting HR isn’t even an option.

Check out this case study on Preferred Materials. 80% of the company’s employees work on job sites. These workers struggled to get crucial HR information, and the HR staff was constantly overwhelmed by phone calls. So Preferred Materials created an app with a 24/7 self-service hub to solve the problem—resulting in a 300% increase in communication engagement. 

6. Employee Community Wall

An employee community wall is another excellent way to build connections and prioritize company culture in the workplace. It’s an informal place where your staff can communicate with each other about work or even non-work-related topics.

Think of it as the break room or water cooler for your remote staff or field service workers. 

Just 56% of the deskless workforce feels connected and engaged with employers and co-workers. A community wall brings somewhat of a social media aspect to your employee app. 

Don’t think of this as a distraction. Roughly 90% of employees admit to checking social media at work already. With an employee community wall, at least they’ll be engaged with the organization.

7. Onboarding and Training

Use your app as a way to streamline the employee onboarding experience. You can even use the employee mobile app to share videos and other crucial training information with new hires.

As a manager on the admin side of the app, you can use backend analytics to monitor the completion of the employee onboarding and training process. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of a smooth onboarding experience. It’s much easier to retain your staff if the onboarding goes well.

Furthermore, a standardized onboarding process leads to a 50% increase in new-hire productivity. Organizations with an onboarding program benefit from 54% more employee engagement as well.

Read this case study on Praxair to learn how a mobile app saved them $480,000 in just eight months on costs associated with employee training.

8. Safety and Compliance

Internal communication apps make it easy for organizations to streamline compliance as well. You can use it to collect incident reports and track data required for safety training.

The employee handbook, company policies, and safety manuals can all be accessed from anywhere via the app.

So an on-site technician or field service worker can use the app to refresh their memories on safety protocols before doing certain jobs. 

9. Events and Calendar Sync

An employee app for internal communication is the perfect way to manage company events. From the holiday calendar to trade shows, webinars, and any other important date, all of it can be managed via the app.

Your staff can use this company calendar and sync the information with third-party calendars on their personal mobile devices. You can even combine this feature with push notifications to send reminders prior to an event.

Some organizations take this one step further and use a scheduling plugin to set up meetings, all of which can be facilitated within the employee communication app. 

10. Maps

The possibilities with enabling maps on your employee app are seemingly endless. 

It’s a great option for businesses with multiple offices and locations. But the feature also works well for field workers reporting to different job sites. Maps, GPS, and navigation functionality can show them exactly where they need to go.

You can even use a geofencing function to send users an alert when they enter a specific GPS location. For example, when a field service worker reports to a job site that you’ve geofenced in the app, you can send them an alert with instructions for the day or a simple reminder to punch in. 

11. File Management

With an internal communications app, your staff can manage files directly from their smartphones.

Contracts, orientation packages, invoices, training materials—the list goes on and on. It’s an easy way to safely store, share, collaborate, and access work-related files. 

Let’s say your organization has a fleet of drivers performing jobs in customers’ homes. If a new job comes in while one of those workers is already on the road, you can use the app to manage new work orders. This way, the driver doesn’t have to report back to the office before heading to the next job. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose The Best Development Solution For Your Internal Employee Communications App

Now that you’ve had a chance to see some potential features for your app, it’s time to evaluate the development solution. As you’re shopping around and comparing options, these are the factors that must be taken into consideration:

Company Branding

The best internal communication apps have custom company branding. Your logos, color scheme, and everything else associated with your business should be included. 

You don’t typically get this option when you purchase pre-built HR software with a supplementary mobile app. 

From the app icon to the login screen and everything else, you want the app to be branded as your own. This makes it more appealing to your employees and keeps them engaged as they’re using the app. 

For larger organizations with subsidiaries, you could potentially have different app branding for each subsidiary. 

Cross-Platform Availability

Unless your company issues a phone to every employee, the app will be accessed through everyone’s personal device. So the app needs to work seamlessly on both iOS and Android.

If you’re using a developer to code the app from scratch, you’ll need to create two separate apps for each platform. That’s a long and expensive process.

Instead, look for a solution like BuildFire. With a single development, you can launch your employee app on iOS, Android, and PWA. 

Customization

Beyond the company branding, you want complete control over every aspect of your app.

You likely won’t have this option if you go with a pre-built communications system or HR software. You’re stuck with the features the app comes with, with no real room for customization.

But every business is unique. Sometimes, a pre-built plugin or feature doesn’t work for the problem you’re trying to solve. 

BuildFire is unique compared to other options because the customization is limitless. If there’s a feature you need and you don’t see it on the plugin marketplace, we can build it for you. For larger organizations with internal developers, our system is open-source. Your developers can use the BuildFire SDK to create custom functions without limits. 

Integrations

The app should integrate with tools that you’re already using for business. 

You can set up your app to integrate with analytics services, authentication servers, databases, CMS, etc. The app should be able to sync with platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Calendly, Facebook, Twitter, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and more.

These seamless integrations limit the amount of work and development you need to do on the back end. For example, want to share training videos? Just integrate the app with YouTube.

User Management

Most businesses want to group their employees into different categories. This is especially true for larger organizations with people working in different locations.

The ability to segment app users creates a custom experience for all of your employees. 

For example, let’s say you needed to close one of your offices for the day due to a water main break. That urgent notification shouldn’t be sent to every employee nationwide. You need the option to only contact those who are affected by the closure. 

Scalability

Your internal communications app should be able to grow with you as your company scales. You might only have 200 employees and four offices today. 

But what happens when you hit 500 employees? What about 2,000 employees across five continents?

You shouldn’t have to rebuild a new app every time your company expands. So choose a development solution with limitless scalability. 

Expert Support

Look for a development solution that will be there when you need them most. 

You shouldn’t have to worry about the backend servers and maintenance of your app once it’s launched. Then you’ll be forced to deal with updates and bugs—the stuff you never want to think about.

At BuildFire, our white-glove support is available each step of the way. Our BuildFire Plus solution takes our service one step further with consultancy, wireframes, design, prototyping, user engagement reports, and so much more. 

If you need assistance and want a hands-off approach to creating an internal communications app, we’ve got you covered. 

Design and Performance

At the end of the day, all of the features don’t matter if the app itself stinks. You need to prioritize the employee experience.

It should have smooth navigation, a user-friendly design, and look professionally made. Your staff shouldn’t be dealing with crashes, errors, or slow loading times. The app needs to perform well when they’re on a construction site performing a job or sitting on the subway commuting after work.

Conclusion

I hope that this post gave you some inspiration on what features to include in your internal communications app. The buyer’s guide should help you narrow down your development options as well.

Check out this guide on how to build a successful employee mobile app for some additional information and pro tips. 

When you’re ready to get started, sign up for BuildFire or book an app consultation with one of our specialists.

ROI of an Internal Communications App

Businesses across every industry are finding tremendous value in deploying apps in the workplace. Employee apps for internal communications are extremely versatile—from driving engagement to HR-self service and compliance, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

While the qualitative benefits of creating an employee comms app might seem obvious, the financial return on investment isn’t always so clear. 

Many business owners, CFOs, CTOs, and other decision-makers want to make sure the app will actually pay off before diving into development. This is a natural and logical thought process.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. Below you’ll learn how to measure the ROI of an internal communications app for your employees. 

This information will help you crunch the numbers to ensure the investment pays off. 

Increase Employee Engagement ROI

According to a recent study by Gallup, just 35% of the US workforce is engaged. Not only does this mean the remaining 65% is not engaged, but the study also found 18% of workers are actively disengaged—which is troubling. 

Engagement in the workplace is more than just a metric related to how your employees focus or how much they care about their jobs. Employee engagement has a direct impact on your bottom line.

How much of an impact?

Additional research from Gallup shows that increasing engagement can increase profits by 22% and boost workplace productivity by 21%. 

That’s not all. Increasing employee engagement gives you a significant competitive advantage. A study from PostBeyond found that companies with engaged employees outperform others by 202%. 

Keeping employees engaged at work has become a bigger HR challenge today than ever before. With so many deskless employees working remotely, in the field, or otherwise outside of a traditional office environment, it’s easy for them to lose connection with co-workers and management.

But a mobile app keeps your staff connected and engaged regardless of location. 
Companies seeking to improve employee engagement with an experience-driven approach benefit from significant results. The numbers speak for themselves.

Mobile apps are all about the employee experience. Your staff is already using their smartphones and mobile devices in the workplace—why not make their experience even better by providing them with a dedicated app for internal communications? 

For every 1% increase in employee engagement, expect to see sales increase by an average of 0.6%. 

Reduce Employee Turnover ROI

Retaining top-level talent in the workplace is a challenge. But one simple way to reduce employee turnover is by implementing modern communication software in the workplace.

The average annual employee turnover rate is 10.9%.

Times are changing. Unlike generations of the past, the modern workforce is always looking for new opportunities. They don’t get one job and plan on staying there for life. According to a recent survey, 52% of adults in the US and Canada plan to look for a new job in 2021. 

Aside from compensation, recognition is a top reason why employees actively look for new career opportunities.

20% of those surveyed said they feel unappreciated at work. An additional 69% said their relationship with management would improve if they were recognized more often. 60% of employees say their employers seek feedback for ways to improve the employee experience, but just 16% of employers took action based on that feedback.

This is a big problem, and it all stems back to engagement and effective internal communication. 

As a result, employees are churning, and it’s costing companies a lot of money.

On average, it costs about one-third of an employee’s salary to replace them. So businesses with a high employee turnover rate are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually that could easily be avoided. 

In addition to the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training, you also need to look at these costs from an operational efficiency point of view. 

How will your output and productivity change when a person leaves? Does this put a heavier burden on your existing staff? All of this adds to your total cost. 

A successful employee app fills the gaps in communication lags. Even when your staff is working remotely, on-site, or otherwise out of the office, they can still communicate with co-workers and management. 

You can set up an employee communication app with features for employee feedback, recognition badges, announcements, and more. Use the app to highlight an employee of the week or just spread positive news about top-performers in the workplace. 

Use the app to build company culture, facilitate two-way communication between employees and management, send surveys, and collect feedback for improvements. 

Internal communications tools like a mobile app ensure that your company’s business goals are clearly aligned with everyone in the organization, from top to bottom. 

Safety and Compliance ROI

It’s tough to think of something more important than safety in the workplace. This holds true across businesses of all shapes and sizes.

In a traditional office setting, the risk of injury sitting at a desk or walking to the water cooler is fairly low. But for industries like construction, shipping, manufacturing, production, and similar industries with field service workers, the risk is much higher.

Aside from the importance of keeping your workers safe, the cost associated with injuries and non-compliance is significant. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) penalties can range from $13,653 to $136,532 per violation. 

According to a workplace safety report, employers can expect to pay an additional $4 of indirect costs associated with an accident for every $1 of direct costs. 

This formula adds up quickly for expensive accidents. $20,000 in direct costs becomes a $100,000 incident when you factor in the indirect costs like legal fees, productivity, morale, and more.

Can your company really afford to have these types of problems?

Mobile apps make safety, training, and compliance much easier. You can use the app to provide safety videos and onboarding lessons to ensure compliance. 

Your staff will always have access to the employee handbook, company protocols, and other safety-related information from the palms of their hands on personal devices, regardless of the location. 

In the event of an incident, you can also use the app to collect incident response forms to help streamline the process for a fast resolution. 

Case Studies: ROI of an Employee Comms App

Here at BuildFire, we’ve built over 10,000+ mobile applications. Employee apps are one of our most popular solutions. 

To truly show you how much money you can save by developing an internal communications app, check out these case studies:

Preferred Materials — 300% Increase in Employee Engagement

Preferred Materials has 1,875+ employees. But as a regional supplier of building materials and paving services, just 20% of the staff works in an office. The remaining 80% works on the road and in the field. 

The biggest challenge faced by Preferred Materials was communicating with field service workers. 

This communication problem put a tremendous strain on the HR department, as they were constantly fielding calls. Since the HR team is only available during office hours, this forced employees to call during the day, causing productivity problems on job sites. 

Not only was this frustrating and causing bottlenecks both in HR and in the field, but it was also extremely costly for Preferred Materials. So they created a mobile app as a cost-effective way to reduce HR workload and improve internal employee communication.

As a result, they were able to reach 81% of the workforce, and 48 job sites were connected through a single mobile app. Preferred Materials even used the app to send push notifications to employees regarding plant closures from Hurricane Irma.

Praxair — Saved $480,000 on Training Costs

Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North America. The organization has 50+ offices and more than 40,000+ employees across the globe. 

The company’s leadership team in Asia was having problems communicating across different locations. The minimal communication led to wasted resources, as many efforts were unnecessarily duplicated. 

Praxair needed a way to improve internal collaboration amongst management so they could share best practices and information through a centralized interface and new communication channel.

Using BuildFire to create a mobile app was the solution to improve the company’s internal communication strategy. 

The app contained a wide range of features and functionality for things like leadership development, employee training, webinars, real-time company news, learning materials, and more. 

As a result, Praxair saved over $480,000 in just eight months on costs associated with employee training. 

How to Increase the ROI of an Internal Employee Comms App

Now that you’ve had a chance to see some data-driven ROI metrics, it’s time to look more specifically at your own business. Here are a handful of numbers you can crunch based on some of the glaring statistics we’ve seen throughout this guide:

  • Number of Employees x 0.65 =  Percent of Disengaged Employees
  • Number of Employees x 0.109 = Average Employee Turnover Per Year
  • Average Employee Salary x 0.33 = Average Cost to Replace One Employee
  • Average Cost of Safety Incident x 4 = Average Indirect Cost of Safety Incident
  • % of Increased Employee Engagement x 0.6 = Average % Increase in Sales

These numbers are just a starting point to wrap your head around the ROI of an employee app for internal comms. 

For simplicity’s sake, let’s narrow the focus. Employee turnover is a great example because it’s something everyone can relate to, regardless of industry or business size.

Let’s say your company has 50 employees, with an average annual salary of $75,000. 

Based on these calculations, your average employee turnover would be 5.45, and the total annual cost to replace these employees would be $134,887 per year. 

Can you really afford to spend over $100,000 per year on costs associated with employee turnover alone? For larger organizations, the cost associated with poor communication in the workplace is in the millions. 

Refer back to the case studies. One company used an internal comms app to save nearly $500,000 on costs associated with training in just eight months. Long-term, the app is saving them millions of dollars. 

Now consider the cost of creating an internal communications app. That number will be significantly less than the costs associated with poor communication in the workplace. 

The Fastest Way to Increase ROI — BuildFire

Not every business has a big chunk of cashing sitting around for a mobile app development project. Even for those that do, it’s still a significant investment. 

Fortunately, BuildFire can create your app for a fraction of the time and cost compared to traditional development. 

From an ROI perspective, this is a win-win scenario on multiple levels. First, it reduces your initial investment. But it also reduces your time to launch, meaning the cost savings kick-in sooner rather than later. 

Your ongoing costs and maintenance fees will be lower as well, as BuildFire maintains everything for you on the backend. 

How do we do it?

Our platform already has lots of pre-built functionality. So we’re not building all components of the app from scratch. It’s just a matter of making changes and tweaking certain elements to fit the needs of your organization. 

For example, features for things like an employee directory, company announcements, co-worker community forums, social media integration, file sharing, messaging, and polling can be added to your app immediately. Want to add videos for employee training and compliance? Our platform integrates seamlessly with YouTube and Vimeo.

But what makes BuildFire so unique compared to alternative communications platforms and existing employee apps on the market is our limitless customization. 

We can create any type of custom feature for an internal communications app to ensure it meets the needs of your organization. So if you have a unique request to boost your ROI, our expert development team can make that happen. 

That’s why BuildFire is one of the best internal communications solutions on the market today.

Conclusion

Creating a mobile app for internal business communications can benefit your business on so many levels.

In terms of ROI, you can increase employee engagement, reduce employee turnover, reduce costs associated with safety and compliance, reduce costs associated with training—the list goes on and on.

Employee comms apps even directly contribute to increased productivity, increased sales, and higher profits. 

The numbers truly speak for themselves. Just look at the case studies of real businesses that saw a phenomenal return on investment from building an employee app.
To get a more accurate ROI estimate for your specific business, talk to our team about building a workforce app for your business today. We’ll look at your needs in greater detail to determine how you can save as much money as possible with an employee app.

7 Reasons to Rethink Employee Engagement and Internal Communication With Mobile Apps

The way we communicate with and engage employees has changed drastically over the past decade. Companies are finding that email is no longer a viable option for all communication. 

With many people using smartphones or tablets as their primary computing device, communication and engagement need to be convenient, timely, and personalized through mobile apps. 

Do you need help with your employee engagement and internal communication process? Do you want to improve your employees’ communication and how they’re staying informed about what’s happening at work? Mobile apps can be an excellent solution for both of these.

This article will show you how a custom app can help your business build better internal communications and employee engagement by providing an overview of the possibilities. From company announcements to safety monitoring, compliance, and more, this post will make you rethink your current process. Let’s dive in!

1. Company Culture

A custom app can help build company culture by providing an exclusive space for employees to communicate and collaborate for their day-to-day lives at work. It also provides the opportunity of sharing important announcements or milestones with your team in real-time through push notifications right on mobile phones without having them waiting until everyone is back together again.

The modern workforce prioritizes happiness and lifestyle in the workplace much more than prior generations. If companies can’t create a culture that aligns with their employees’ values, those businesses will struggle to retain top-level talent.

Apps give that opportunity to do so. A custom app is a chance for human resources and leadership teams in your company to have conversations with remote employees, field service workers—even other use cases like managing their safety or compliance issues on the job site while they continue working. It’s also an awesome way of building up loyalty among current staff by showing them you care about what matters most— them! This translates into happier, more engaged people who will be eager to share good vibes around the office.

According to a recent study, company culture is the largest predictor of employee satisfaction in the United States.

Employee satisfaction factors

You want top-level talent? Apps are how we keep people happy and loyal. Creating an internal apps is one of the easiest ways to improve the employee experience. 

Practice what you preach and lead by example. Employee benefits, training, and team-building events are just a few ways to establish your company culture. All of this can be managed and improved with a mobile app.

2. Remote Work

Work from home has become the new normal. Even before a global pandemic turned the world upside down, remote work was trending upwards. More and more employees are working from remote locations, but they’re not as engaged because of isolation. Employees need a way to feel connected. Remote workers also want the tools at their fingertips to help them be more productive.

Remote work does have its benefits, like more flexibility, less time commuting (and saving gas money), improved quality of life by being closer with family and friends, and so much more. But remote work still creates problems.

People don’t have colleagues around them, and there’s no water cooler talk happening in the break room or at lunchtime with friends on their team because they work from home instead of an office building like everyone else does (or did). Employees need a way for coworkers not working remotely but still within your company network to stay connected as well—and it has nothing to do with staying safe during those pandemic days.

According to Buffer’s State of Remote Work report, collaboration and communication are the biggest struggles for remote employees.

Biggest struggles while working remotely

It goes beyond keeping employees in the communication loop–it’s also about uniting them with your company culture (as mentioned in our last point).

A custom mobile app for effective employee communication will connect you with deskless workers and people working from home, as well as contractors and freelancers supporting your team.

3. Speed

Instant communication is a must-have in the modern workplace. 

It’s not enough for HR to simply provide a way of communicating with remote employees, field service workers, and others. Those same people need the ability to communicate quickly—and asynchronously if necessary without relying on email or phone calls alone (which is so outdated). With mobile apps and communication channels like Slack in place that allow instant messaging from one device directly to another, it becomes clear why these intranet communicators have become immensely popular during periods when everyone wants answers now. 

Some questions are more urgent than others, and can’t wait until tomorrow morning. Most employees prefer quick chats versus talking at all times on the phone or responding to lengthy emails. 

Plus, employees are so accustomed to this type of communication in their personal lives that the idea is just second nature. 

Users have grown increasingly more comfortable with using mobile devices for work, especially when it comes to time-saving tools on a smartphone compared to relying solely upon email and traditional phone calls as before (which was oftentimes slow). Mobile apps help people get things done faster since they can do everything from one screen on their preferred devices.

4. Peer-to-Peer Communication

In addition to using mobile devices for work, employees are also increasingly turning towards peer-to person communication. Sending messages through an app is actually faster and more convenient than ever before. Companies can create their own custom apps that offer features such as instant messaging. These IMs allow users access from any location with an Internet or Wi-Fi connection—which means no matter where you’re at in your office setting, there will be a way of communicating. No need to have someone come out into common areas like lunchrooms every time they need something done quickly or always being tethered by email replies sent back and forth inside company emails.

Internal communication between peers can be more productive than communication from top-down management. Employees can get their day-to work much done much faster with the help of these messages—and even when they’re away, it’s easy to communicate using IMs.

There are many other benefits that come from communication apps for businesses too. Announcements will be seen as soon as possible and onboarding new employees becomes easier, and so much more.

This two-way communication also helps strengthen employee relationships, which improves your company culture (as we discussed earlier).

5. Gamification

Implementing a game-based learning process is a fun and creative way to train your employees.

Gamification is a technique that has been used successfully for years by companies like McDonald’s, Walmart, and Starbucks to motivate employees. The benefits of gamifying employee training programs are directly related to engagement.

Check out these eye-popping statistics about gamification in the workplace:

gamification in the workplace

Everyone loves an added incentive. If your team doesn’t have some type of gaming experience already, they’ll be able to make up ground quickly with these resources. A company culture built on fun can go far when starting out new initiatives—but more importantly, create intrinsic motivation which lasts longer than external rewards such games provide.

A mobile app is the perfect way to implement these game-based processes.

Gamification is ideal for the onboarding process, as it provides more incentive for employees to watch training videos and go through compliance-related tasks. Apps can also keep track of the tasks that employees have completed with a progress bar to show them what they’ve accomplished. 

In addition to new hires, you can use gamification on a daily basis for work-related tasks. This type of feature can create some friendly competition amongst your staff as well. They’ll be trying to win different competitions and climb the leaderboards, which will keep them more engaged and ultimately make them work harder.

The best part is, gamification doesn’t require any additional training for your team. It’s something easy and fun you could start doing today.

4. Video Engagement

Videos are a great way to get employees engaged with the company and feel more connected. It can also help build a culture within an organization because it provides people opportunities for laughter, learning new skills, or being inspired by others who are excelling at their work—watching other videos on topics such as sharing best practices in your line of business. This concept applied while working remotely may make distributed workers feel better about not having face-to-face contact every day, which would increase productivity further downline.

Video content in a mobile app could be used for safety training programs, onboarding process improvement initiatives, consulting services advice sessions from experts outside organizations, and so much more. In addition to the quick and easy accessibility to this content, videos can also ease employee anxiety.

The key to a business success, from a communication tools perspective, is providing the users with what they need, when, and how. You can even include videos with detailed instructions and tutorials for field service workers to access on job sites. 

Employees are used to consuming video content via mobile in their personal lives. From social media platforms to browsing YouTube, this has become second nature for most people. So the idea of adopting the same practices for an internal business mobile app won’t seem so foreign to them. In fact, most people will embrace it with open arms.

5. Measure KPIs For Effective Employee Communication

Without an internal communication app for your business, it can be difficult to understand the effectiveness of your communication strategy. How well is your company communicating right now? It’s tough to provide a concrete answer if there’s no way to track performance.

But with an app, you can see exactly how many employees are opening push notifications or how many of them have completed video training. 

An app can help measure the KPIs that will contribute to a successful and thriving company culture. Once you’re able to measure the effectiveness of your internal communication, you can set benchmarks and target goals to continuously improve efficiencies. 

This is a great way for companies that have remote employees or field service workers, as well as those with other needs like managing company news.

6. Apps Establish a Sense of Normalcy

Your employees are using mobile apps on a day-to-day basis for countless things in their personal lives. From online shopping to banking, social media, travel, and so much more—it only makes sense to give them this same opportunity to use an app in the workplace.

HR communication with a remote employee or field service agent outside the office won’t feel so “corporate” if messages are delivered via mobile. Plus, not every worker has access to a computer 24/7. But their phones are never more than an arm’s reach away. 

Employee app

Mobile communication apps can provide a central hub for company announcements or even an employee social wall or news feed for a more relaxed communication strategy. These types of features mirror the ones they use in their personal lives on other apps, which will ultimately drive more employee engagement.

All of these reasons contribute towards successful organizations where people feel valued. 

7. Employees Become Brand Ambassadors

Younger generations crave authenticity in the workplace. They want to work for a business that puts them first and gives them opportunities to succeed. 

By providing your staff with modern solutions like a mobile app for internal communication, it empowers their careers. 

You can even use an app to facilitate employee-generated content. This will create more buzz around the office, and it’s more likely to get read and shared than news from management. 

Employees are more likely to refer friends and family if they’re happy in their work. They’ll be ambassadors for the company, spreading positive word-of-mouth that will help make your business grow exponentially. Happy employees will care more about their jobs and do whatever it takes to bring your company to the next level.

Conclusion

A mobile app can help businesses improve internal communications and employee engagement. Mobile applications are more personalized to the needs of employees, which helps them be happier in their jobs, so they’ll care about performing better for your company. 

Apps also give companies an opportunity to engage with employees on a deeper level that’s difficult using other channels like email or phone calls alone.
Ready to take your company to the next level? Starting building an internal communication app today with BuildFire—no coding required. Check out our workforce solutions to learn more about what you can accomplish with our platform.

11 Apps to Manage Your Mobile Workforce

Apps make life much easier. We use apps in our personal lives for things like banking online, booking flights, getting directions, or doing dozens of other tasks from the palms of our hands.

But mobile apps are also highly beneficial in the workplace.

Mobile employee apps are perfect for internal communication purposes, managing workflow, and providing your staff with self-service HR tools.

Apps are especially useful for organizations with a deskless workforce. Mobile workers don’t have easy access to computers or laptops at a moment’s notice. But their smartphones never leave their side.

Workforce apps are growing in popularity. In fact, 87% of businesses depend on employees accessing business apps from their smartphones.

That’s not all. Your employees want mobile apps. 59% of workers say that organizations are too slow at incorporating apps into the business model. But 60% of employees say that workforce apps directly improved their personal productivity.

So which apps are the best?

I’ve identified the top 11 apps that your business can use to manage its mobile workforce. I’ll outline the features, benefits, and any potential drawbacks of each one below.

1. Slack

Slack has quickly become one of the world’s most popular business apps for internal communication. This instant messaging tool for iOS and Android is leveraged by large enterprises, small businesses, and everything in between.

It’s trusted by big names like Airbnb, TD Ameritrade, Target, Cole Haan, Zendesk, Fox, and HubSpot.

Slack has over 12 million daily active users across 150+ countries. 65 of the Fortune 100 companies use Slack.

Whether you have remote employees or field workers performing jobs on-site, they’ll always be kept in the loop with their team. Whether they have questions or need assistance related to a particular job, or just want to give a quick status update, Slack delivers messages in real-time.

Slack allows you create communication channels for different teams. Let’s say you’re a contractor. You could create a separate channel for each job or each crew.

Use Slack to communicate with freelancers, third-party contractors, or even staff from other businesses that you’re working with.

This app has a wide range of solutions and use cases for employees related to:

  • Remote work
  • Engineering
  • Distance learning
  • Sales
  • Financial services
  • IT
  • Human resources
  • Customer support
  • Project management
  • Media

Another reason why Slack ranks so high on our list is because it integrates with 2,000+ other apps and tools you might already be using.

In addition to instant messaging, you can leverage Slack for audio and video calls. Let’s say you have an on-site technician making a repair at a customer’s house. They can video chat with someone in the office if they need assistance or want to show them progress in real-time.

The app is so popular that it’s become a verb. We use it here at BuildFire. It’s not uncommon for someone to say something along the lines of “Slack me later.”

With all of this in mind, Slack does have its fair share of restrictions. It is not an all-in-one solution for managing your mobile workforce. It’s simply an effective communication tool.

2. Trello

The Trello app is an exceptional tool for managing productivity in the workplace. For single projects or ongoing work, it’s an ideal project management solution for small and large teams alike.

Here’s how it works.

First, you create a Trello “board.” The board can be used for anything from managing your company’s blog to handling workflow status updates for field service technicians.

Within each board, you can create a list. Lists are columns that can be used to define the progress for different tasks and projects.

Here’s a simple example. Columns for field service workers could be:

  • To be scheduled
  • Scheduled
  • On-site
  • Done

Every time you have a new project, simply create a “card” and place that card in the respective column. You can create subtasks within that card, such as “called client” or “left a message.” Cards can have due dates and be assigned to specific people within your team.

Let’s continue using the example above. If you schedule a new job for a field service technician, you can put the card in the “Scheduled” list and assign it to the designated employee.

The card can include details about the job, including the address, customer name, and anything else that needs to be done.

Once that employee arrives at the job, they can simply move the card to “On-site” to keep the entire team updated. They can take notes on the card, upload documents, pictures, and complete subtasks like “provided estimate” or “fixed broken sink” (or whatever else you’re doing out there).

If your mobile workforce needs an app for project management, Trello is an ideal solution for you. You can join the millions of users leveraging this tool.

It’s worth noting that Trello isn’t perfect. While you can tag team members and add comments to cards, it doesn’t really provide real-time communication, instant messaging, or audio and video calling features.

Like most of the apps on our list, the app is intended for just one specific purpose. In this case, the purpose is project management.

3. allGeo

Formally myGeoTracking, allGeo is a solution designed specifically for field service workers. The platform offers multiple mobile employee apps for different use cases.

  • Field Service Visibility — Monitor time and location on the job.
  • Field Service Time Clock — GPS time and attendance system.
  • Field Service Safety — Monitor employee safety on-site.
  • Field Service Inspection — Collect data with forms and checklists.
  • Field Service Dispatch — Real-time notifications and messaging.
  • Field Service Milage — GPS mileage tracking and real-time location.
  • Field Service EVV — Geofence-based tracking for compliance.
  • Field Service Load — Automatic status updates including ETAs.

As you can see, allGeo has a field service app for nearly every mobile employee management tool that you can think of. Unfortunately, none of these come with internal communication features.

It does have some HR and HCM functionality. The apps can integrate with payroll tools like QuickBooks and Paychex. But it’s somewhat limited in terms of what you can accomplish with this.

Another downside of allGeo is the fact that all of these apps are separate from each other. So if you want multiple features, you’ll have to use more than one app. This can get messy and confusing.

allGeo does have a custom app solution for these purposes. But overall, the individual apps function better on their own.

With all of that said, these are still top mobile employee apps for field service workers if you need just one of the management functions listed above.

4. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is another mobile employee app with a specific point of emphasis. As the name implies, this app is used for holding virtual meetings.

The app has features for both audio and video meetings that can be managed from smartphones and tablets. It’s an excellent way for remote employees or staff working on different job sites to communicate in real-time.

With a mobile workforce, you lose the ability to hold conference room style meetings at the office. GoToMeeting makes it possible for you to hold virtual conferences.

Top features for GoToMeeting include:

  • No meeting time limits
  • Business messaging
  • Personal meeting rooms
  • Calendar integrations
  • Up to 250 participants
  • Unlimited cloud recording
  • Meeting transcriptions
  • Diagnostic reports
  • Admin center

You can access GoToMeeting from your computer as well, which is very useful. For example, let’s say you’re in the office but want to give a presentation to all of your remote staff. You’ll be able to present from your computer while giving your mobile workforce the ability to join from their smartphones and tablets.

GoToMeeting does have a messager feature as well. But it falls short compared to solutions like Slack, which we discussed earlier.

I like the fact that GoToMeeting seamlessly integrates with Office 365. It’s a nice bonus for those of you who are already using this tool for scheduling and staying organized.

As with most of the other apps on our list, GoToMeeting has its fair share of restrictions and limitations. It’s strictly an app for audio and video meetings or conferences. It’s not going to integrate with your payroll system or give your employees access to timecards, handbooks, benefits, or anything like that.

5. Kronos

Kronos is an all-in-one solution for managing your mobile workforce.

The company was initially founded 40+ years ago back in 1977. At the time, they specialized in time management by revolutionizing employee time clocks. Over the years, Kronos has been able to adapt with the times and modernize its brand with apps and other workforce management tools.

Kronos has solutions for a wide range of business needs, including:

  • Time and attendance
  • Employee scheduling
  • Labor activities and analytics
  • Benefits administration
  • Acquisition and onboarding
  • Talent management
  • Payroll
  • Human resources

The company has mobile employee apps and solutions for businesses across multiple industries. Kronos has tools for health care, retail, banking, higher education, government, manufacturing, and more.

Kronos offers product suites that encompass multiple workforce management tools into single solutions.

While Kronos is undoubtedly a leader in workforce management, the app itself falls short of the desktop solutions. Based on user reviews and ratings, there are lots of performance issues. The Kronos app has just a 1.6/5 rating on the Apple App Store. The 3.2/5 rating on the Google Play Store is a bit better, but still not up to par with what we’d like to see.

6. BambooHR

As the name clearly indicates, BambooHR is a human resources solution.

This mobile employee app is a modern way to manage your mobile workforce. It gives your staff the ability to check and access crucial HR resources from anywhere. From requesting time off to looking up a coworker’s contact information, BambooHR has it all.

One of the best features of the app is the calendar. It gives management and employees clear access to who is working each day, who’s on vacation, and who has time off coming up.

Everyone will have access to phone numbers, email addresses, and other important contact information for their coworkers. This makes it easy for your staff to stay in contact.

Other top features include:

  • Time tracking and payroll tools
  • PTO management
  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Offboarding
  • Employee records
  • Workflows and approvals
  • Reporting and analytics

BambooHR is definitely one of the best mobile employee apps for HR management on the market today. It offers employee self-service tools as well as management and supervisor benefits.

Overall, the app is very easy to use and integrate with any business. Unlike other apps on our list, all of these functions can be managed in a single solution.

With that said, not every feature comes standard with the BambooHR app. Time tracking, payroll, performance management, and other advanced features need to be added separately.

Additionally, BambooHR doesn’t have any features beyond HR functionality. It’s not made for internal communication, task management, or anything else that falls outside the scope of human resources.

7. Google Drive

Google Drive is something that most of you are probably familiar with. Lots of us (including myself) use Google Drive in our personal lives for storing files in the cloud.

But this is an excellent solution for managing files at work as well.

As a cloud-based solution, you can access Google Drive from anywhere. From documents to spreadsheets and images, your entire team can collaborate on files with this app.

While the application of Google Drive’s features aren’t necessarily geared towards specific business functions, you can easily find ways to make the app work for your needs.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have field service workers that need to take pictures while on a job site. Your staff can simply take photos using the camera on their smartphone and then upload those images to a folder in Google Drive directly from the app.

You can set up folders for each project, client, or organize your files in whatever way you see fit.

Once a file has been uploaded to the drive, anyone with access can see it. So another employee back at the office could see any uploads in real-time from their smartphone or computer.

Set up Google Sheets to manage workflow tasks on a spreadsheet. Or use Google Docs to provide your mobile workforce with important information about clients, jobs, or training material.

If you have a small team and need a simple solution for file storage and communication via mobile employee apps, Google Drive is a free and simple solution. You’ll just have to get creative with how you set everything up to stay organized.

8. Asana

The Asana app is very similar to Trello, which we talked about earlier. It’s a mobile workforce app made for project management.

Simply create a task, drag it to the respective status column in the workflow chain, and assign team members to collaborate.

Asana is a little bit more advanced than Trello in terms of its features and capabilities. Beyond basic workflow management, Asana is better for tasks with multiple action items. The app dashboard makes it easy for your remote staff to manage and clear any action items assigned to them.

With Asana, you’ll also be able to organize projects and tasks based on level of priority. Employees can attach files, add comments, and manage campaigns from a simple and easy to use dashboard within the app.

Asana integrates with other tools, including other solutions on our list, like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, and more.

I’d say Asana is geared more towards remote digital marketing teams as opposed to field service workers. There are specific tools and features for mapping out and tracking plans that are just better for this type of remote work.

You can use the Asana app to automate certain processes as well. This is ideal for maximizing efficiency and productivity.

If your organization is in a creative industry with remote workers, the Asana app will be a top choice for task management. But it’s not an all-in-one tool for managing a mobile workforce. The communication tools are limited compared to other options on the list, and HR functionality is non-existent.

9. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat

Hangouts Meet is the new and improved version of Google Hangouts. Commonly referred to as just “Meet” for short, this app is a communication tool that’s included with G Suite.

So for those of you who already have G Suite for other business purposes, you can start using Hangouts Meet for video calls directly from the app.

This app is a basic tool for video meetings and conference calls. It’s better for smaller groups and even one-on-one video calling.

Google offers a separate app called Hangouts Chat for messaging. You can set up different chat rooms for projects, teams, or just use it for one-on-one conversations.

Both of these apps are better for smaller teams who are already using G Suite. It’s unfortunate that the calling and messaging features aren’t integrated into a single solution. Your remote workforce will have to switch back and forth between both, which can be annoying.

For example, let’s say two employees are messaging via Hangouts Chat. Then they decide that it would be more productive if they hopped on a call. Your staff would be forced to switch apps and connect from there instead.

But if you’re a low volume user or working with third-party contractors or freelancers, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat are both sufficient for basic usage.

10. Dropbox

Dropbox is similar to Google Drive, although it’s a bit more advanced in terms of features designed for managing remote employees.

With Google Drive, you need to get creative in terms of how you organize your files and set them up for business purposes. Dropbox has some of those tools built-in right out of the box (no pun intended).

Dropbox is a top option for those of you who need to share large files with remote workers. Team plans start at 5 TB of storage. You can send files up to 100 GB using Dropbox Transfer.

You’ll also have access to features like:

  • Document watermarks
  • Tiered administrative roles
  • Single sign-on integration
  • Ability to manage multiple teams

450,000+ businesses use Dropbox for managing files and content with employees.

With Dropbox, it’s an easy transition from the app to desktop. Your remote staff can start something on their computer and then access it on the road from their mobile device at a job site, client meeting, or anywhere else.

If Google Drive doesn’t quite meet the needs of your business, use Dropbox for an upgraded (but still very basic) workforce mobile app for content management.

11. Build a Custom Workforce App

Rather than using a cookie-cutter solution with limitations, you can build a custom workforce app with BuildFire.

Custom app development gives you the opportunity to add whatever features you need to manage your mobile workforce. Instead of using one app for HR self-service and another app for internal communication, your custom workforce app can contain both features in a single solution.

Common use cases for BuildFire workforce apps include tools for human resources, safety, compliance, field service workers, and field sales workers.

Popular workforce management capabilities include:

  • Employee training and development
  • Compliance
  • Company news and announcements
  • Employee onboarding
  • Real-time communication for a crisis or emergency
  • Timesheets
  • Time off requests

Custom app development gives you the ability to measure success and improve engagement with your mobile workforce. It’s also an all-in-one solution for to address challenges faced by your HR department.

BuildFire gives you the opportunity to create an app on your own. No coding or development experience is required.

For those of you who want some additional assistance with the development process, you can get the app designed and built by the team of experts at BuildFire. Our platform supports full customization.

Final Thoughts

There’s a common theme with the mobile workforce apps on this list. All of them have limitations and flaws.

Do you need an app for internal communication with remote employees? There’s an app for that. What about an app for managing projects and tasks? There’s another app for that. There are apps for video calling, file management, and field service employees. But none do all of the above.

The only way to get an all-in-one solution for mobile workforce management is with custom app development. Tools like BuildFire make it possible for you to manage employee tasks, real-time communication, payroll, self-service HR features, and more in a single app.

This is the best way to manage your mobile workforce and remote employees.

The Modern Workforce: 11 Employee Management Trends For 2021

Workforce management trends are continually evolving. As a business owner or manager, it’s crucial that you keep up with the latest management tendencies in your industry.

It’s no secret that the employee landscape has changed over the years. The modern workforce has a different mindset than those in the past.

Workers have different needs, wants, and behaviors, so managers need to adapt accordingly.

While most companies recognize this, they’ve done little to change their existing protocols and processes. If your company is still using employee management tools from a decade ago, it’s a sign of trouble moving forward.

With that said, it’s not too late to adjust your methods. That’s why I created this guide.

Does your company have field service workers, remote employees, technicians, or use contractors? You need to get familiar with the latest workforce management tips, tools, and best practices.

Use this resource to improve your employee management skills by appealing to the modern workforce.

1. Data-Driven Insights

Historically, terms like “data-driven insights” and “big data” were only used in tech companies and large corporate offices. That’s no longer the case.

Companies with field service workers are using data to manage their employees.

New technology has made it possible to track employees while they’re out on job sites. From monitoring their vehicles to calculating how long it takes to complete tasks, these management tools are trending upward in 2021.

According to a recent study, the smart fleet management market is growing at a CAGR of 8.9% between 2018-2025. This is expected to be a $537.53 billion industry by 2025.

These are some of the top benefits experienced by companies using this technology to manage employees.

Employee accountability is the number one benefit experienced by managers. It ensures that your field service staff isn’t taking a two-hour lunch break while claiming to be on-site or at a customer’s home.

But this technology can also improve your processes by providing more efficient routing.

For example, your dispatchers can know exactly where every vehicle is at all times. So when a new job gets called in, they can send the closest truck. All of this can be managed directly from your employee workforce mobile app.

It’s a much more effective system than having to manually call each employee on the road to see where they are. This is inefficient for management, as well as the workers who are interrupted by these calls.

As a manager, the data generated from these workforce management tools can help you provide a better experience for your employees and clients alike, all while reducing costs.

2. Improved Workflow

The modern workforce wants to be more efficient. When they recognize inefficiencies in the organization, it gives them a negative perception of management.

Managers are finding new ways to improve the workflow process for their staff. Most of these workforce management solutions are driven by automation and technology.

For example, let’s say you manage a plumbing, electric, HVAC, or similar type of business. You do commercial projects, as well as jobs in customer homes.

What is your current process for managing employee workflow tasks? If it involves clipboards, manilla file folders, and manual record-keeping, then you’re using an outdated system.

Mobile technology has made it possible for workers to complete workflow processes on the go, from anywhere. They can have access to job information from the palms of their hands.

  • Arrived on-site
  • Job in progress
  • Task #1 complete
  • Task #2 complete
  • Scheduled follow-up
  • Job complete

This is just a basic example of a potential workflow sequence. Your staff can complete steps from a workforce app in seconds while adding notes and taking pictures of the job site.

Managers can have access to everyone’s progress in real-time. This improves employee efficiency while giving management more of a “hands-off” approach. You don’t need to call your workers every hour to check-in for a status update. Just check the app to see their progress.

3. BYOD in Field Service

Bring your own device, better known as BYOD, has been a common theme in corporate offices for quite some time now. But as of late, BYOD has also penetrated the field service workforce

A recent study shows that 77% of field service workers use their own devices for job-related tasks.

Just 9% of workers in this category aren’t using a mobile device at all.

There are several different reasons why BYOD has become such a popular workforce management tool in field service.

For starters, more companies are turning to mobile workforce solutions. Since virtually everyone already has a smartphone that they’re using at work, it makes sense for them to use the devices they’re comfortable with.

Some workers prefer Apple, while others would rather use Android. Instead of spending more money issuing company phones to every worker, they can simply download your custom company app on their own devices.

As you can see from the graph above, 5% of field service workers are given an employer-provided device of their choice.

This tackles the problem of forcing employees to use a specific type of phone issued by the company. However, with just 5% of field service workers having this option, it’s not much of a trend in 2021. We may see more of this in the future. But for now, BYOD continues to dominate field service employee management.

4. Worker Wellbeing

Employees are more than just a number on a computer screen. Companies are striving to improve the wellbeing of their staff.

This goes beyond just providing health tips and benefits for your employees. It’s about creating a commitment to a wellbeing culture.

North America leads the world with workplace wellbeing programs. In fact, 52% of North American workers have access to workplace wellness programs. This compares to 23% in Europe and just 7% in the Middle East.

With that said, we’re going to see a greater emphasis on these types of programs in 2021 and beyond. As a manager, you need to understand the costs of unwell workers.

Managers have recognized that it’s better for the company when workers are healthy.

Top workforce management professionals encourage and promote these types of wellness programs for both physical and mental health. As a result, they’re benefiting from workers who are happier and healthier. This translates to better performance at work and reduced costs in the long-term.

Ease of access to wellness programs is crucial to success. For example, let’s say your company is providing free or discounted gym memberships for employees at select locations.

How can your employees find out more information about this program?

If it requires visiting the HR department or calling a manager on the phone, it’s less likely that they’ll participate. This is especially true for remote workers who are rarely around the office.

But if your field service staff can get discounted health club and gym memberships directly from their mobile devices, the programs will have higher participation rates.

Happier employees will ultimately translate to better decision making and improve the customer experience.

5. Employee Self Service

Employee self-service (ESS) has been dominating the last couple of years and will continue trending upward in 2021.

Self-service technology benefits employees and managers alike.

That’s because your staff will have access to crucial information on their own time, whether it’s in the office, on a job site, or at home. They won’t be required to communicate directly with a manager to complete certain tasks.

Take a moment to analyze your current process for common employee requests. Can they be improved with self-service technology?

These are some of the top uses of employee self service-portals.

Some businesses have inefficient processes for choosing insurance and requesting time off. In many cases, the staff has to actually meet with a manager to go over insurance options.

I’ve seen businesses that require time off requests via hand-written notes left on a manager’s desk. It adds an extra step or two for everyone involved in the process. Plus, it’s incredibly inconvenient for field service workers who need to go out of their way to deliver a message in person.

But workforce management tools, such as an HR mobile app, will improve these inefficiencies.

This will allow your staff to request vacation time directly from their phones. Once approved by management, automation can notify employees with a push notification. Now they won’t have to keep checking the status of their request online. The message will be delivered straight to their phones.

6. Independent Contractors

More and more companies are continuing to use independent contractors for a wide range of reasons.

For starters, hiring a full-time employee is expensive. Just look at your costs related to onboarding, training, benefits, sick time, vacation, and turnover. You don’t have to deal with those issues by outsourcing tasks to independent contractors.

According to a recent study by Intuit, 40% of the US workforce will be contingent or on-demand by the end of the year.

This puts managers in a unique situation. Technically speaking, these independent contractors are not company employees, even though they might have similar roles.

I could argue that it’s even more important to establish rapport with someone doing contract work than a traditional in-house employee. Managers need to maintain control over the project while understanding the position of the contractor.

In the simplest terms, you are not the boss of an independent laborer. Sure, you can terminate the contract if you’re unhappy with the relationship. But the contractor has less to lose than a full-time staffer.

Good contract work is hard to come by. Managers assuming that these workers are easily replaceable will be sorely mistaken, especially in high-demand industries.

As a manager working with contractors, you need to change up your management style a bit. Make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial. When managed correctly, your company can benefit from skilled contractor labor for years to come.

7. Less Emphasis on Higher Education

Companies are changing the way that they recruit employees. Skills are being valued higher than degrees.

Most jobs require on-site training, regardless of the employee’s educational history.

Managers have realized that a college degree doesn’t necessarily make someone a more qualified candidate. In fact, just 10% of managers say they would not hire someone who doesn’t have a college degree.

The modern workforce consists of people who carry industry certifications and other credentials.

Do certain jobs require higher education? Absolutely. Doctors, lawyers, and accountants will always need college. But a field service employee, project manager, or on-site technician does not.

Furthermore, companies can offer continuing education credits to their staff through various methods. You can offer training materials and tests to your staff through a mobile app.

For example, let’s say you manage a construction company. You might initially hire someone as a general laborer. But you may eventually want them to get an electrician license. That person can work towards that certification while continuing with their daily on-site duties.

More and more companies are offering apprenticeships and similar types of programs. This encourages workers to better themselves without needing a four-year college diploma.

Close-minded managers that are only considering candidates with a degree will struggle to find qualified workers in the coming years. With the rising costs of tuition, the modern workforce has realized there are plenty of fruitful opportunities that don’t require higher education. So look beyond an applicant’s LinkedIn profile.

8. Remote Work Communication

Did you know that 80% of the modern workforce is deskless?

There’s a good chance that your company has remote teams or people working from home. Managers still need to communicate with field service workers, even if they’re not on-site with them at all times.

But unfortunately, there seems to be a significant disconnect between managers and employees when it comes to communicating. In fact, 49% of employees say they are not happy with the way management communicates with them.

Only 56% of the deskless workforce feels connected to their respective companies. This means that roughly half of all remote employees experience communication barriers with their managers. Poor communication has an adverse effect on employee productivity, employee happiness, and operating costs.

What’s the solution?

Companies are turning to technology as a resource for improving communication with remote staff. Mobile apps are becoming the most popular workforce management tools for employee engagement in 2021.

Today, you can do anything remotely. From project management to performance reviews, modern managers need to adjust their skill sets associated with talent management.

Do you want more information on this subject? Check out our guide explaining why your deskless workforce needs a mobile app. Subscribe to our blog as well. You’ll be notified whenever we publish new content and resources.

9. Emphasis On Company Culture

Managers are stressing the significance of company culture in 2021. This statement holds true across industries.

Why? For starters, less than one-third of the entire workforce is engaged.

Implementing a new company culture is more than just having a professional-sounding mission statement. Actions speak much louder than words, and it starts at the top.

An astonishing 94% of managers and 88% of employees agree that having a distinct culture in the workplace leads to success. Furthermore, companies with a strong company culture are four times more likely to see revenue growth.

Factors like work environment, company values, and team collaboration all play a role in developing culture.

Company culture is intangible. It’s not something that happens overnight. As a manager, it’s your job to engage with the modern workforce and understand the type of culture that fits best for your organization. The core values of the company must align with the employees.

When done correctly, your staff will become your brand over time.

In a way, your staff’s mentality can be compared to that of your customers. Consumers are familiar with your brand’s advertising campaigns, charitable donations, and other factors that create your brand image.

Your employees have the same awareness but to a greater extent. They know what you actually do, not just what you say. Your staff understands exactly how you operate.

{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“b36243ee-faa3-4d3f-ac37-ed50b0f2319d”],”srcRootClientId”:””}If you’re cutting corners at the customer’s expense or mistreating contractors, it will impact the perception of your brand in the eyes of your employees. As a result, it affects their performance.

Practice what you preach. Create a company culture that gets your employees excited to be part of the team.

10. Talent Acquisition and Retention

The modern workforce has a different view of employment compared to past generations. They know their worth and won’t settle for positions where they aren’t valued.

This is creating challenges for acquiring top-level talent.

For those of you who are lucky enough to find quality workers, it doesn’t mean that they’ll stick around for life. 51% of workers are actively seeking a new job.

Employee turnover is expensive. Turnover costs can range up to 200% of an employee’s annual salary. That’s why 87% of managers believe that improving employee retention is a top priority for their organizations.

The initial recruiting and onboarding process will have the most significant impact on how long an employee stays with a company. In fact, a recent study suggests that 69% of employees are less likely to churn if they had a great onboarding experience.

Another study shows roughly eight out of ten managers agree that internal recruiting improves employee retention.

69% of employees say that management style is a significant challenge in the workplace.

This is something that all managers need to understand. Your personality, talent management, and communication style has a direct impact on acquiring and retaining top-level talent. If your staff feels as though they are being treated unfairly, they’ll simply look for another job.

Top-level talent expects technology in the workplace. From artificial intelligence tools to mobile apps and more, all of this will help you acquire and retain your staff.

11. Diversity and Equal Opportunity

The modern workforce is more diverse than ever before.

In fact, Forbes reports that women hold more jobs than men in the US. As of 2020, women occupy 50.04% of all positions.

This diversity goes beyond just women. A recent CNBC publication states that 4.5 million of the 5.2 million new hires in the United States are considered racial minorities.

Here’s another statistic to back-up this claim. Within the next five years, Millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce. More than 44% of Millennials are classified as non-caucasian.

This makes them the most diverse generation in the history of America.

Conclusion

Managers must adapt to the modern workforce trends. As you can see from this guide, things are not the same as they were in the past.

Employees have different expectations from management, and the top organizations are using technology to fill those workplace gaps.

Mobile app integration and employee management tools have been a common theme in these trends. Businesses are using new technology to improve communication and employee engagement.

This is crucial for field service worker management and organizations with remote positions.

If you can’t adjust your management style to keep up with the latest workforce trends, your company will struggle in the coming years.

Subscribe to the BuildFire blog to give yourself an edge. We’ll keep you up to date with the latest trends, tools, and best practices for employee workforce management.

8 Biggest Challenges Faced by HR Departments

Human resources is arguably the most important department in any business. But modern workforce environments have created lots of HR issues and inefficiencies. More specifically, companies are having trouble overcoming the remote employee challenges of HR. 

Does your business have field workers, remote staff, or other deskless employees? Your HR department needs to make adjustments to accommodate those members of your organization.

It doesn’t matter how large or how small your business is; leveraging mobile technology is the best way to address imperfections and limitations in human resources.

Whether you have a team of five or a team of 500, a workforce mobile app can be the solution to your HR challenges. 

I’ve personally consulted with dozens of businesses that were faced with remote employee challenges of HR. So I know first-hand the frustration and pain points that you’re dealing with. You can check out these case studies and customer stories to see how businesses used mobile technology to improve their HR department. 

Based on my experience, I’ve identified the eight biggest HR department challenges today. I created this guide to shed some light on these challenges and provide guidance for working through them. 

1. Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can make or break the success of your business. In fact, a recent study suggests that companies with highly engaged employees achieve double the annual net income compared to businesses with low employee engagement. 

It’s tough for HR departments to keep employees engaged if those workers are remote. 

Field workers and deskless employees feel a disconnect between their employers. This explains why just 26% of employees in the US are engaged. 

Employee Engagement

The remaining employees are either not engaged at all, or actively disengaged, which is even worse for your business. 

A remote worker may not have much if any, face to face contact with a manager, supervisor, or HR department. They just show up at a job site or a customer home to fulfill their duties and move on. This creates a sense of your staff just going through the motions, as opposed to being engaged.

According to a study of 82,000 businesses and 1.8 million employees across 49 industries, companies with engaged employees are 20% more productive than companies with low engagement. 

Those companies are 21% more profitable and have 10% higher customer loyalty. 

So how can your HR department overcome engagement issues? Consider building a workforce mobile app. 

Your remote staff will always have access to their mobile device, whether on-site, on the road, or even at home. An app gives them the ability to feel connected to the company at all times, which will ultimately boost their engagement. 

From timesheets to scheduling, vacation requests, and other tasks managed by HR can be accessed and completed in a mobile app.

I consulted with a business last year that had a problem with too many remote workers calling out of work at the last minute. We discovered the root of the issue was that the process to request a day off was too complicated. It was easier for the staff to just call in sick before their shift started.

Those employees were not engaged and didn’t care about the ramifications these call-offs were causing. 

But by creating a mobile app and making it easier for staff to request days off in advance, the HR department eliminated this problem. This is just one of the many use-cases to improve employee engagement with an HR mobile app. 

2. Remote Workforce Communication

Effective communication with field service employees is nearly impossible without the right technology. It’s reliant on emails, phone calls, and paper records. These tend to go unanswered or missing, respectively. 

Take a moment to analyze your current HR processes. If a remote worker wants to get in touch with HR, what steps do they need to take? If HR needs to contact an employee, how do they do it?

With in-house staff, it’s possible for employees to walk directly into the HR office. The HR department also has the ability to speak face-to-face with workers on-site for whatever they need.

While this process isn’t the most efficient, it’s still easier than reaching a deskless employee, field service representative, or workers on the go.

Take a look at the most common reasons why internal communications are not working at companies, according to employees.

Internal Communications

In summary, there seems to be an overload of information, unorganized channels set up for communication, and remote workers are excluded.

Does this sound like the problems faced by your HR department?

Cost of Poor Employee Communication

Poor employee communication is more costly than you think. In fact, about $37 billion is lost each year due to communication problems. 

Workers spend 28% of their days reading, writing, and responding to emails. They spend an additional 19% of their time tracking down necessary information required for completing tasks. 

Now, let’s focus more on your remote employee challenges of HR.

38% of the virtual workforce says communication is the biggest issue. An additional 33% of those workers say their company lacks the right technology to accommodate their needs. 

A mobile app addresses all of these HR challenges and pain points associated with poor communication. 

Remote workers are forced to send emails on the go. They also play phone tag on a daily basis. Your workforce app will give them full access to crucial information at their fingertips.

The HR department can send memos or other important messages as a push notification, as opposed to an email that can get buried or lost in the shuffle. 

One of the best examples of how an app can improve HR communication is Preferred Materials Inc. The company has nearly 2,000 employees across roughly 50 job sites. Before leveraging mobile technology, the HR team was only able to communicate with 20% of the staff effectively. 

After launching a mobile app to improve internal employee communication, 81% of their remote workforce was reached. You can read the full Preferred Materials case study here.  

3. Training and Development

Think about your current process for training and onboarding new employees. What about your system for employee development?

In my experience, lots of businesses and HR departments have trouble in both of these areas. There is a disconnect between what’s expected by the employer, and how that information gets relayed to the staff. 

That’s because training, onboarding, and development systems are outdated. New employees are usually taken through a day or a week of training, facilitated by a combination of senior staff and an HR rep. Obviously, this varies depending on the business and position. 

Again, I don’t want to generalize, but it seems as though most companies view training and development as an expensive cost. So they cut corners and try to get it done as fast as possible.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 22% of businesses don’t even have a formal onboarding program. 

Only 28% of companies can definitively say that their onboarding process is highly successful. That number is far too low. This is one of the most crucial times in employee development.

The way an employee is trained from the beginning will have a lasting impact on their productivity and engagement throughout their duration at the position. 

In fact, the HBR study shows that it takes about eight months for a new hire to reach full productivity. But 33% of all new hires look for a new job within the first six months after being hired. 23% of new hires don’t make it to their first anniversary. 

Investing in Technology

HR departments would be much better off by investing in technology to improve the training and development process. That’s why internal business mobile apps will be the number one technology transforming the workplace environment in the coming years. 

With an app, new hires can access everything they need to know about the training programs and onboarding process from the palms of their hands. 

They can access study materials and even take quizzes or tests for in-house certifications.

The HR department will be able to monitor the progress of new hires as they go through the training and onboarding process on the backend side of the app. This ensures that everyone is going through the steps as required.

Mobile app usage for training and development doesn’t need to stop after a new hire has been onboarded. The HR department can continue using this tool for development on all employees at different stages throughout their careers. 

For example, let’s say an employee that has been working for two years needs some type of certification or continued learning course. The entire process can be facilitated directly through the app. 

Overall, this cost-effective technology makes it easier for employees to absorb training materials on their own time. This will ultimately give your company a competitive advantage in terms of innovation and sustainability. 

Check out this case study on Praxair, to see how a real company saved $480,000 on training costs with a mobile app. 

4. Attracting and Retaining Talent

The days of employees finding a job, being grateful for the opportunity, and sticking with the same company for the rest of their lives are long behind us. 

The new workforce has a different mentality. They understand their value and how much businesses need great talent to be successful. 

As a result, HR departments are having trouble finding the right talent. Once someone is hired, it’s equally as challenging to retain them for the long term.

If your company lacks new technology, attracting and retaining talent will continue to be a challenge moving forward. 

In fact, 71% of Millennials say that a company’s use of technology will influence if they want to work at that organization or not. It’s not just the younger generation of the workforce; 66% of Generation X and 53% of Boomers agree with this statement. 

We previously discussed how an HR mobile app could be used for training and development. 

Well, 58% of employees say that continued professional development is a contributing factor to their overall job satisfaction. That’s why 63% of workers seek jobs from organizations where they have access to training and workshops. 

An app gives your company an edge over the competition seeking candidates from the same talent pool. If an employee has the opportunity to work for an employer leveraging technology to make everyone’s life easier, they are going to take it. 

5. Reducing Costs

At first glance, your HR department might view a mobile app as an unnecessary up-front expense. It’s common to have this mentality, and you’re not alone in those thoughts. 

But in reality, inefficiencies in HR actually cost your business much more in the long run.

We just discussed the importance of hiring and retaining talent. So how much does it cost to replace an employee?

Cost of Replacing Employees

Depending on the position, it can cost up to 400% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. That alone is enough of a reason to build an HR mobile app.

Even if you’re not experiencing high employee turnover right now, this will be an HR challenge moving forward if you can’t adapt to new technology trends. 

But this is just one way to save money with a mobile app. An app will make your employees and HR team more productive. 

Think about how long it takes your HR department to assist employees and perform basic tasks. Each time someone has to call HR or send an email, it takes away from their job-related duties. This creates a bottleneck in human resources, which is one of the biggest remote employee challenges of HR.

Imagine if just one HR employee spends 10 minutes per hour fielding calls and replying to emails from remote employees. That translates to 400 minutes per week, and 347 hours per year.

That’s more than two full months of work. Now imagine how much this costs you if your HR department has five team members, each doing the same thing. What if they spend 20 minutes per hour on these tasks?

From an efficiency standpoint, the costs associated with HR communication are astronomical. An app can potentially save multiple employee salaries with just one function.

6. Human Error

Let’s put cost, efficiency, and employee satisfaction to the side for a moment. Doing things manually puts you at risk for human errors.

Without technology and automation, this is a significant remote employee challenge of HR. 

We’ve already discussed some of the everyday manual tasks required by HR representatives and remote employees at organizations without mobile technology. I’m referring to phone calls, emails, physical paperwork, and things of that nature.

Even your best and most experienced employees are vulnerable to mistakes. It’s so easy for an email, file, piece of paper, or hand-written note to get misplaced or filed incorrectly. 

Take a look at the top reasons why organizations using manual methods evaluate HR software.

Improving efficiency and organization is the overwhelming majority response to this survey. Reducing human error definitely falls into this category. 

In my experience, I see the most HR human error in payroll. 

Processing payroll is arguably the import function of an HR department. Miscalculations in hours, overtime, taxes, and employee classification are unavoidable if you’re doing everything by hand.

I don’t know what’s worse; overpaying or underpaying employees. But I’ve seen both happen at nearly every business without automation and the right technology in the HR department. 

33% of employers make payroll errors every year. These errors cause compliance issues, which is why 40% of small business owners incur IRS penalties as a result of these errors.

7. Providing Employee Self-Service

If you’re not leveraging the right technology, your HR department won’t be able to offer employee self-service. The lack of employee self-service tools is one of the significant remote employee challenges of HR. 

Access to payroll, benefits, training materials, and other resources can only be found if an employee contacts HR directly. As we’ve already explained, this is hugely inefficient. 

For starters, if forces remote employees to contact HR during business hours. This is usually 9-5, Monday to Friday for most companies. However, field service workers don’t always work traditional 9-5 jobs. This means they won’t be able to communicate with HR on nights, weekends, or early mornings. 

Rather than calling or emailing HR to ask a question about their benefits, request time off, or view a paystub, all of this can be easily accessed in an employee self-service mobile app. 

More than half of employers do not offer employee self-service tools. 

With that said, 73% of employees expect organizations to offer ESS tools. This relates back to one of our previous HR challenges about attracting and retaining talent. 

Employees who can view this type of information on their own time will be happier and more productive. This also eliminates inefficiencies in the HR department, since your HR staff won’t be fielding as many inquiries via phone and email. 

It’s a win-win scenario for everyone and helps keep your costs low. 

8. Poor Accessibility

Accessibility goes beyond employee self-service. Technically, you could offer ESS tools through a web-based portal to meet that demand. However, this still creates poor accessibility challenges in HR for remote employees.

Your staff needs access to information and tools from anywhere, not just from a computer.

Smartphones are always on with them. From job sites to coffee shops, vehicles, and their living room couches, an HR mobile app can be accessed from anywhere. 

Accessibility is arguably the biggest remote employee challenge of HR. Your deskless workforce can’t get import information on-site. This causes a disconnect and creates problems with tasks and performance. 

How does a technician working in a customer’s home access information about the job requirements and update the work order status? How can that same employee access resources to help them better serve the client? 

Without an app, everything is done manually. Then your staff is forced to update information at a later time or date from a computer or submit physical paperwork. This doubles the workload and is more susceptible to human error, as we’ve previously discussed. 

Check out this case study about Ninja Zone to learn more about how a mobile app improved accessibility for their company. 

The app helped gym trainers access materials in real-time while they were away from the office and unable to reach a computer. 

Conclusion

In reality, human resources departments are faced with dozens of challenges on a daily basis. But these eight are the most common and relatable the majority of organizations. 

This is especially the case for businesses with deskless workers and remote employees. 

I’ve seen first-hand how mobile apps can eliminate the remote employee challenges of HR departments. When you’re ready to solve these problems at your company, you can get started building an app today. 

At BuildFire, you’ll have the option to build an app on your own or let our experts build it for you. 

Don’t wait any longer. As you’ve learned in this guide, failing to leverage mobile technology is costing you money every day. It creates efficiency and productivity issues as well, and puts your company at risk for losing high-quality talent. 

How to Build a Successful Employee Mobile App

Not all mobile apps are intended for mass consumption on the app store. Mobile apps can be used as powerful tools in the workplace as well. Small businesses and large enterprises alike can benefit from an employee mobile app.

An internal communications app is a great way to improve any inefficiencies in your HR department while simultaneously future-proofing your operation. 

Common tasks that can be solved with an internal business app include:

  • Corporate communication
  • Management self-service
  • Employee self-service

An app can improve the way information is sent to your employees, which is a major HR challenge for businesses. Mobile apps can also give your managers access to crucial information, such as company financials, while they’re on the go.

The employee self-service functionality gives your staff access to everything they would have from a company computer while they are working remotely. 

These are three broad types of tasks that can be solved with an employee mobile app for your business. As we continue through this guide, I’ll cover some more specific features that make these apps successful.

So for those you of you who are thinking about creating an app for your employees, use this resource to guide you through the process. 

Benefits of a Business App For Employees

An employee mobile app is not something you should create just for the sake of doing it. If you don’t understand the benefits of an internal business app, then it doesn’t have a chance of being successful.

You should keep these benefits in mind when you’re designing the app. This will ensure that all of the app features are implemented with a clear purpose. 

Increase Productivity and Engagement

Mobile apps can improve HR efficiencies, making it easier for your employees to complete basic tasks. Rather than having to visit the HR office or calling the HR department over the phone, your staff can access and make changes to their personal profiles directly from the app.

If someone wants to request vacation time or needs to call out sick, they won’t need to make a call or use their computer. All of this can be managed in an app.

Your staff is already using their mobile devices on the job. 

In fact, 60% of employees say they use apps for work-related tasks. An additional 71% of people spend at least two hours per week accessing company information from their phones and tablets. 

By giving them an employee mobile app, you’re making it easier for your staff to do the things that they’re already doing from these devices.

As a result, this will improve employee productivity and engagement on a day-to-day basis. 

Overall, this will improve the employee experience. According to the infographic above, happier employees are more creative, more productive, and generate more sales.

Once you recognize that your employees prefer to use their mobile devices for workflow-related tasks, you can build an app to improve those processes. 

Reduce Human Error

Mistakes happen. This is just part of running a business. While some mistakes are obviously more significant than others, you’ll obviously want to reduce faulty actions as much as possible.

Your business is more susceptible to making internal mistakes if the majority of your processes are handled manually by your staff. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s use your human resources department as an example, as it pertains to your employees.

What is your current process for staff requesting time off? Some company policies require staff to email the HR department. Others even accept hand-written requests dropped off at the office. 

These types of procedures leave too much room for human error. An email can be overlooked, misunderstood, or accidentally deleted. Paper requests are tough to keep track of and can easily get lost.

But an app can eliminate these types of mistakes. Your staff can request time off and add their vacation schedules directly from the app. This information will automatically sync up with your HR system. 

Instant Feedback

How often do you get to sit down with your employees and review how they’re doing? What’s your process for listening to employee feedback?

Your staff is the driving force behind your operation. They are on the front lines, so they know what’s working and what can be improved. If they have a suggestion to improve the process, it shouldn’t have to wait until their annual review meeting. 

Set up a function within the app specifically designed for employee feedback. The possibilities here are endless.

It can even be used for requests to fix a broken microwave in the break room or an oversized pothole in the parking lot. You can send out surveys to your employees on a regular basis to encourage their feedback as well. 

Overall, this will keep your employees happy knowing that you actually care about their input. 

Improve Employee Communication

Effective employee communication is the key to success in the digital workplace. 80% of employees say that proper communication actually helps improve the performance of their work. 

60% of people want their employers to keep them informed with company news.

However, roughly 30% of the entire workforce believes that their company’s existing methods for internal communication is not working. That’s a major problem for businesses today.

Here are some of the most common reasons why internal communication is failing.

Furthermore, 86% of business executives and employees say that ineffective communication is the number one reason for workplace failures. 

The majority of businesses use email to communicate with their staff. But the average office worker receives 120 to 150 emails per day. Sorting through those to find the vital internal announcements is ineffective. This relates back to employee productivity, which we discussed earlier.

But an app can provide the main hub for all important announcements. You can use an in-app news feed as a way to reach employees. Important notices can be sent to your staff via push notifications, so everyone will see it immediately. 

Real-Time Information

Another top benefit of an employee mobile app is access to real-time information. This is a major flaw in the workflow process for many businesses, especially ones with deskless employees.

Let’s say you have an employee who is on the road completing a job remotely. When the task is complete, they can update their progress directly in the app as opposed to waiting until they return to the office. This can drastically improve your scheduling procedures and workflow statuses. 

Here’s another example, from a completely different angle, to show you how versatile these apps can be. 

Your company might have a shuttle bus that takes your employees to a parking lot, public transportation, or central location in a nearby city. Your staff can access the shuttle schedule and track its actual location in real-time with GPS monitoring. 

Is your IT department running last-minute repairs that will impact technology in the office? Are you shutting down early today due to foul weather coming in? 

All of this can be communicated and seen in real-time with an employee mobile app. 

How to Make Your Employee App a Success

Now that you understand the benefits of an employee app, it’s time to learn how to make your app successful. I’ve identified some specific features and elements that should be taken into consideration when you’re going through the building process.

Solve a Problem

The first thing you need to do is identify a problem in your current operation. Otherwise, your app won’t have any purpose or sense of direction.

Don’t limit yourself. An app can solve more than one inefficiency in the workplace. So make a list of everything and then figure out which ones can be improved with a mobile app. Some examples include:

  • Poor internal communication
  • Low employee productivity
  • Limited resources for remote staff
  • Too many manual tasks in the HR department
  • No access to real-time workflow processes

Once you identify the problems, it will be much easier for you to implement specific features in your employee app to address those concerns. 

Define Your Company Culture

What is your company all about? You might have a mission statement or branding strategy, but that’s not the same as your company culture.

This is more important to your staff than you might think. Take a look at the most important aspects of a job description, according to a recent survey of employees. 

Aside from compensation and actual job requirements, company culture ranks high on this list.

An employee mobile app will allow you to set the standard for how your staff communicates, behaves, and works. If you can emulate the company culture through your use and engagement in the app, it increases the chances that your employees will follow that lead.

For example, let’s say you have an instant messaging feature for internal communication. You can’t expect your staff to use it if you never do.

A great employee app will be branded based on the company culture. If your app is dry, boring, colorless, and uses formal language, then that will be the perception of your company’s culture. 

Alternatively, if your app is bright, colorful, branded with your logos, includes company taglines, while communicating information in a way that’s both fun and engaging, your staff will behave the same way.

This relates back to employee engagement and happiness. Let’s look at something as simple as the phrasing between two statements.

Free beer in the break room! Help yourself. 

Or… 

There will be complimentary beverages and snacks for all faculty at 1:00 PM today

Each of these portrays a different type of company culture. Which one do you want to be? The choice is yours, but an app gives you the chance to emulate your vision. 

Establish a Central Information Hub

Your app should be full of useful employee resources. You can’t expect your staff to keep a physical copy of your employee handbook with them at all times. But with a mobile app, they’ll have access to this type of information from anywhere. 

Here’s a basic example of how you can set up the main dashboard for your employee app.

employee mobile app

From here, your staff will have access to everything and anything they could possibly need to know about your company.

Do they need a reminder about certain safety procedures? Review the rules within the app. 

Rather than sorting through the 100+ emails, they get each day to find company news and announcements, they can simply check the app on their own time for any updates about the company.

The app can include a company directory listing all employees’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, and other helpful information.

Your event calendar can be integrated into the app as well. This is much more effective than passing out physical flyers around the office for upcoming events. 

The best employee apps allow staff to access payroll information, health plans, and other benefits as well. If they have a question about any of these things, they can simply use the app as a resource instead of being forced to contact your HR department. 

Create Modules For Employee Learning

Employee mobile apps can also be used as an effective training tool. Depending on the type of business you have, it may require your staff to go through certain programs to remain eligible or advance their position. 

You can set up your app with learning materials, guides, and videos to train your staff on how to do things. This can be extremely helpful for new hires as well.

An app even gives you the opportunity to set up tests and quizzes directly on the platform. These can be used as practice examples before your staff needs to go through an actual certification program.

In addition to educating your staff, this type of feature can also provide you with valuable information about your employees.

You might be under the assumption that your staff is highly trained and fully knowledgeable about certain topics. But the results of these tests may tell you otherwise.

Furthermore, if you see analytics showing that a high percentage of your employees are constantly checking the same learning materials, you can potentially change your training process to make sure that people understand everything better the first time around. 

Encourage Friendly Competition

Do you offer prizes or rewards to employees with the top sales each month? You can set up a sales team leaderboard in your app to track everyone’s progress in real-time.

This type of feature will encourage your staff to work harder to make their way towards the top of the ranks.

Even if you’re not in sales, you can find other ways to re-create this type of competition using the mobile app. Maybe you reward employees based on their attendance or punctuality. Or maybe your staff has an in-house competition for who takes the most steps in a day.

These types of friendly competitions can boost morale around the office and create comradery in the workplace. Your employee mobile app is the perfect place to track and facilitate something like this. 

Enable Push Notifications

Earlier we talked about how inefficient email is when it comes to communicating with your staff. But how much time are they actually wasting searching through emails?

According to a recent study, your staff spends about 2 hours each day searching for and gathering information. That is not an effective use of their time, and it’s costing you tons of money.

Push notifications are a much more effective way to communicate with your staff. So make sure that you take full advantage of this feature for your employee mobile app.

Don’t get carried away and send them tons of useless notifications throughout the day. That defeats the purpose. 

Here’s something you need to keep in mind. Push notifications can be disabled by the user. So you don’t want to bombard your staff with too many messages. That will cause them to turn notifications off, and then you’re back to square one. 

Save the push notifications for messages that are urgent and of the utmost importance. Any high-priority memo could be sent as a push notification as opposed to a general email.

Other company announcements can be found within the app as well. 

Don’t Forget About Your Deskless Workforce

80% of the global workforce is considered to be deskless. While this group makes up the vast percentage of employees, just 1% of enterprise software funding goes towards them.

So when you’re designing an employee app, you need to keep your deskless employees in mind. These are people who work remotely, work on the road, on-site, or bounce around between multiple locations.

You can’t treat them the same way as your in-house staff who you see every single day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday.

Depending on the type of business you have, it could be days or even weeks before your remote workforce needs to report to an office. 

Recently, BuildFire helped build a mobile app for Preferred Materials. The company has nearly 1,900 employees, but only 20% of them are office-based. By creating an app to target their deskless workforce, they were able to increase employee engagement by 300%.

You can check out the full Prefered Materials case study here. 

Set Up Instant Messaging

Communication has been a major theme throughout this guide. It’s one of the main benefits of building a successful employee mobile app.

But most of the communication that we’ve discussed so far has been between management and the staff. Human resources or the CEO sending out updates, memos, or other types of information. However, you’re not just limited to those examples.

You can set up instant messaging within your employee mobile app. This will allow your staff to communicate with each other, from anywhere, in real-time. 

Many companies might have some type of instant messaging software that they use for this. But in order to access it, your staff needs to be logged in to their computer. 

By adding this feature to your mobile app, it extends that communication outside of the office and doesn’t chain your staff to a desk. 

People are used to texting and sending quick messages from their smartphones all day as it is. So this will be easy for them to adapt to. They may even prefer it over email or phone calls.

It’s another great way for your remote staff to feel like they are still connected to the office when they are on the road. If they have a question, need some assistance, or want to provide an update, your employees can simply send an instant message within the app. 

Test the Usability

Building a successful employee mobile app goes far and beyond just adding the right features. You also need to make sure that the app is user-friendly. 

If your app doesn’t load quickly, crashes often, and can’t perform basic functions, then people aren’t going to use it. This is not a situation that you want to be in.

A mobile solution is supposed to improve your efficiencies, not make things more difficult. If your staff tries to use the app for something but is unable to do so, then they are forced to revert back to their old ways.

This essentially makes your process even less efficient than it was before. Here are some statistics to keep in mind when you’re testing the usability of your app. 

So don’t rush to get your app in the hands of your staff until it’s been thoroughly tested. Maybe release a beta version to a select few members of your team to get their feedback before you launch at scale. 

Maintain High Performance

Your employee app won’t be perfect. Don’t worry; no app is perfect. 

Even the best apps out there have room for improvement. While it’s important to test the usability before launching it, understand that the process doesn’t end there. 

You’ll still need to come out with updates to ensure that the app is always performing at a high level. Since this is something that your staff will be using on a daily basis, you can’t cut corners when it comes to performance. 

Take feedback seriously. If your employees are experiencing problems or difficulty using the app, encourage them to share that information with you so you can make the necessary adjustments. 

Conclusion

Nearly any company can benefit from an employee mobile app. But before you start this project, it’s important to understand exactly what makes these apps so successful.

Don’t just build an app for the sake of doing it. There needs to be a reason and purpose behind your decisions, like building an app to streamline the employee onboarding experience. 

Every business is different, but there are certain common features that every employee app should include. So use this guide as a reference for building your app. 

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to move forward, you need to figure out exactly how you’re going to build it. Here at BuildFire, we have the tools you need to build a workforce app. 

How to Improve Employee Efficiencies With An HR Mobile App

Human resources is one of the most important departments in any business. Yet, so many HR departments struggle with efficiency issues. Paper piles up, phones ring off of the hook. Emails go unanswered. HR inefficiencies can lead to more significant problems in the workplace. Your employees need HR to gain access to crucial information related to things like their compensation, benefits, schedule, training, and more. 

The inability to access this information can create disgruntled employees and low productivity. Some companies have HR functionalities and information accessible through a web portal but that’s really not enough. The best way to have an efficient HR department is with a workforce mobile app. Mobile apps make it easy for human resources to improve internal communication with its deskless workforce. 80% of workers across the globe are considered “deskless.”

Your staff, deskless or not, needs to be kept up to date and have access to critical information in real-time. 

97% of HR leaders plan to increase technology investments in the coming year. So if your company can’t adapt, your problems will only get worse.

In this guide, I’ll explain why you need to have an HR mobile app for your business. I’ll also go through some real-life examples for how you can use this technology to improve efficiencies. 

Benefits of Building an HR Mobile App

The advantages of an HR mobile app are seemingly endless. But to simplify things, I’ve segmented these benefits into five main categories.

  • Convenience
  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Accuracy
  • Speed

Check out my detailed explanation of these perks below. 

Convenience

81% of Americans own a smartphone. 61% of people check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up. 

As you and I both know, mobile technology has taken over our lives. Your employees are using their phones every day, even while they’re working.

In fact, more than 90% of people use their smartphones at work.

Since your staff is already using these iOS and Android devices on a daily basis, it only makes sense to provide valuable HR resources to them via mobile as well. 

Yes—theoretically, they could use a smartphone to access an HR web portal. But that won’t deliver a good user experience, so they probably won’t take advantage of it. 

90% of mobile time is spent in apps. This is how your staff wants to access information. 

Plus, most of your workers may not have another option. We have already established that the majority of the workforce is deskless. Think about all of your staff that aren’t tied to a desk. How are they supposed to access HR information?

Deskless employees, remote workers, and staff who are on the go need a mobile solution for human resources. 

Being forced to visit the HR office, make a call, or send an email isn’t nearly as convenient as opening an app on the devices that they constantly each day. 

Engagement

Employee engagement can be challenging to manage. Regardless of your industry or business size, engagement can make or break the success of your company.

Communication is the key to success at every level of your business. But it’s even more important for HR departments since the information being provided is so crucial to the lives of your staff.

So many businesses fall short here, and it’s causing major engagement issues with their employees. According to a recent survey, 80% of the US workforce says that poor communication is causing them stress at work.

This stress is impacting performance. In fact, 63% of workers in the same study said that they’ve wanted to quit because ineffective communication has hindered their ability to do their jobs. 

A mobile app can drastically boost engagement at work. It’s also one of the best ways to improve internal communications and performance management with field employees.

Check out this case study on Preferred Materials. 

To summarize, only 20% of their 1,875 employees were office-based. It was challenging for them to communicate with remote staff, and their HR department couldn’t keep up with the calls and emails. 

The solution—Preferred Materials built an HR mobile app, which resulted in a 300% engagement increase.  

Productivity

Low engagement results in reduced employee productivity as well. This is a significant problem since it directly impacts the bottom line of your business.

If your staff isn’t getting as much work done, then it costs you more money to operate, which results in lower profit margins. Depending on your scenario, poor productivity could even cause an operational loss.

70% of employees feel overwhelmed at work due to broken communication methods. That’s why your company needs to adapt to new technology.

However, mobile workers say they could get half of their work done using just a smartphone. 

By giving your staff access to work-related information in a mobile app, it will automatically boost their productivity.

Without an app, your staff is forced to connect with HR by either calling, emailing, or physically visiting the human resources office. This takes too much time away from more important tasks. 

It creates productivity problems for the workers seeking information, as well as your HR staff that needs to provide them with assistance. 

An app essentially kills two birds with one stone. Your staff will be able to access information more efficiently without causing any bottlenecks in the HR department via phone or email. 

Accuracy

An HR mobile app reduces the risk of human error. If you aren’t using technology to streamline your HR department, there’s a good chance that you’ve run into problems like this in the past.

In terms of scheduling, vacation time, and time tracking, an app will be much more efficient. You can even automate certain workflows.

Your staff, management, and HR team will all have access to everyone’s schedule. So there won’t be any miscommunication about who was supposed to be working or when they were supposed to arrive.

If someone wants to request vacation time or call in sick, everything can be managed directly within the app. 

This is much more accurate than relying on email correspondence for something so important. If your team has to email their manager for time off, and the manager has to approve the time by submitting another email to HR, it becomes a chain of events that’s susceptible to error. 

Speed

Real-time communication is another top benefit of an HR mobile app. Any important announcements can be sent directly to your staff via push notification. This is something that they’ll see almost immediately, as opposed to an email that can be overlooked for days. 

Here’s an example of what these messages could look like.

The speed of an HR mobile app also relates back to convince and productivity, which we previously discussed. 

Think about how long it takes for an employee to call your HR department to get an answer. There might be some back and forth, hold times, and call transfers within the department. Those calls are likely followed up by an email with additional information. Overall, it’s just not the smoothest procedure.

An app eliminates any friction or pain points in the process. Your staff won’t need to call, email, or physically visit the HR office.

Instead, anything they need will be available in real-time at their fingertips. 

A web-based employee portal is not a substitute for an employee self-service iOS or Android mobile app. Those only perform well from laptop or desktop devices, and we already know that your staff prefers to use their phones. Plus, your team may not even have access to a computer throughout the day.

Can employees access a web-based portal from their smartphone? Sure. But the experience won’t be user-friendly. Mobile apps are faster and more responsive than mobile websites. 

Examples and Use Cases For an HR Mobile App

The advantages that we’ve just discussed showcase the importance of an HR mobile app. But how can you actually get those benefits?

I’ll show you some real-world examples of ways that a mobile app an improve efficiencies in your HR department. 

Payroll

How can your employees view and access pay stubs? I know some small businesses that hand out physical pay stubs to their staff around the office on payday. This is a challenge for companies with field workers.

Some of you might have an online system through your payroll provider that allows your employees to view stubs online. But this isn’t the most user-friendly way to provide information.

In fact, employees are 60% more likely to access pay stubs and other payroll information from a mobile device than from a desktop or laptop. 

With an app, your staff can see everything they need related to payroll. 

  • Hourly wages
  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Taxes
  • 401k

The list goes on and on. They’ll easily be able to view specific pay periods, either by week, month, quarter, or year. 

At the end of the day, your staff is working for a paycheck. The last thing you want to do is give them any reason to think that you’re withholding information or not providing easy access to what they are being paid.

54% of American workers have had problems with their paychecks. 26% of hourly employees were paid too little. Even 15% of salaried workers say they have received paychecks that were shortchanged. 

Mistakes happen. I would never accuse a company of intentionally underpaying their staff. But if you’re transparent and make everything easy to access through a mobile app, it will make any errors easier to identify and rectify as quick as possible. 

Time Tracking

Are your employees stealing from you? Again, this is a heavy accusation that I wouldn’t make. But stealing can go beyond taking physical inventory from your property.

A recent study suggests that one out of every two employees has admitted to “time theft.” This includes 16% of employees who use the “buddy punching” system. 

Another survey found that 43% of workers have exaggerated their hours to get paid more. 

One of the best ways to prevent this is with time-tracking HR software, which can be integrated into your HR mobile app. Right now, just 25% of employers use time tracking technology.

Shockingly, 25% of offices still use paper or a spreadsheet. 10% use punch cards. A small percentage of companies track hours via text or email.

Clearly, these are not efficient ways to monitor something as important as employee wages.

With time cards, paper sheets, or email correspondence, there is so much room for human error. Your HR staff could easily make a mistake when manually inputting these numbers into your payroll system.

But with an HR app, everything can be tracked with technology in real-time. It also eliminates the possibility of buddy punching.

This makes it easier for your deskless workforce or field employees to track their time as well.

Employee Benefits

What benefits do you offer your employees?

There’s a good chance that not everyone who works for you fully understands these benefits. Whether it’s a retirement plan, time off, sick days, health insurance, or something else, you want to make sure that this information is easily accessible so everyone can take full advantage of it.

When someone first gets hired, they are focused more on the job itself than every single benefit offered by the company. It’s easy for certain things to be forgotten or overlooked.

For example, maybe you offer to pay for a percentage of your staff’s gym membership. Or maybe they get a discount on equipment or clothing at a nearby store. 

Without a mobile app, it’s a pain for your employees to learn about their benefits. They’d be forced to communicate with HR, where benefits would be listed over the phone or via email. That’s not an efficient use of anyone’s time. 

With an internal employee mobile app, your staff can access these benefits on their own time, conveniently, from their smartphones. 

When it’s time to renew their health insurance, your team can review plans and packages directly from the app as well. 

Your HR staffing team will also have access to employee records and other crucial information needed for HCM.

Scheduling

Employee schedules can be another big headache for your HR department. Without using technology, it forces someone to manually figure out who should be working when. 

This can easily lead to shifts being overstaffed or shorthanded. 

Take a look at how employers plan weekly schedules. As you can see from the graph below, 45% of them use paper. 

Only 18% use an app for scheduling. The other methods, such as texting, spreadsheets, emails, or verbal communication are far less effective. Instead, you can use automation for scheduling workflows with a mobile app.

Inferior scheduling methods increases the chances of your employees missing work. In fact, 26% of employers say that workers miss shifts at least several times per month. An additional 18% of employers say this happens weekly, and 9% say they deal with missed shifts on a daily basis.

Not only is this costing you money and lowering your productivity rate, but it’s also damaging your employee morale.

In certain industries like retail and food, 70% of employees say they have at least one last-minute shift change per month. This has a major impact on their quality of life, and doesn’t keep them motivated to keep working for you.

Believe it or not, 49% of hourly workers say they would take less money for more control over their schedule. 

An HR mobile app will let you kill two birds with one stone. This new management system allows for your employees request their schedules directly through the app, and assign them shifts in advance. Any changes can be made in real-time.

Your staff can also use this app as a way to schedule vacation time or call out sick. If an employee has to miss a shift, you can send a push notification out to other members of your team if they want to pick up some extra time. The opportunities here are seemingly endless. 

Either way, it will be much more effective than forcing all communication to be done via email or phone calls to the HR department. 

Employee Training

When you hire a new employee, it’s common for them to go through some type of training program. They might even need to take tests or get certifications to continue working for you.

You can use your HR mobile app to distribute and facilitate employee training. This can save you tons of money and improve your process.

An app allows you to create a sequence of tasks for employee onboarding. It might be videos to watch, forms to complete, or a combination of both. Your HR staff can monitor the completion rate of these tasks to ensure that your new hires are going through the proper training process.

We wrote a case study on Praxair, an industrial gas company with 40,000+ employees worldwide.

After launching a mobile app using BuildFire’s platform, Praxair saved $480,000 in training costs in just the first eight months of deployment. At this rate, the app will save them $720,000 per year in employee training. 

Granted, not all of you have employee training costs that are this high. But everything is relative. Even if you have 40, 400, or 4,000 employees, saving money and time on employee training will improve your company’s profitability. 

It also makes things easier for your employees and ensures that they are always up to date on any required certifications.

Resources, Policies, and Employee Handbook

This relates back to what we discussed earlier in terms of employee benefits. Your mobile app can serve as an all-in-one HR solution for employee resources. 

Company information, news, staff directory, and even an internal employee chat can be accessed directly from the app. 

workforce mobile app

Your app can even integrate with social platforms that your staff uses for work.

Use your app as a way to showcase company events. Whether it’s important meetings, fundraisers, a 5k walk, holiday party, or conferences, everyone will be able to access that information from the app.

Another top feature of an HR mobile app is the ability for employees to submit feedback. 

Whether it’s a suggestion, compliment, or complaint, all of those forms can be accessed and submitted directly through the mobile app. 

Internal Communication With Field Employees

Any business with field employees must have an app to improve internal communication. 

Failing to communicate with remote workers can make them feel like they aren’t part of the team, which causes engagement and productivity issues. 27% of field employees say they feel underappreciated. 

12% of deskless workers say they didn’t receive adequate training. An additional 11% did not receive any training at all.

Just 9% of companies are using mobile apps to communicate with field employees. Those companies typically have higher employee engagement and employee satisfaction rates. 

It’s not practical for a field employee to be on a computer throughout the day. They also shouldn’t be forced to access a computer when they get home on their personal time.

An app drastically improves this communication. With live chat and push notifications, your field staff can stay connected to your office without having to access emails or make calls. 

They’ll also be able to manage their schedules and view essential resources related to payroll, benefits, and training while on the go. 

Use your app for safety and compliance. This type of information will always be available to your staff, and you can collect any incident reports directly through the app. You can also provide tools to boost field sales performance. All of your remote reps will have sales tools at their fingertips to optimize productivity. 

Conclusion

An internal business mobile app is the ideal solution for improving efficiencies in your HR department. 

Your staff is already using mobile devices on a daily basis to complete work-related tasks. You might as well make this process more efficient for everyone.

Apps boost employee performance and productivity. In addition to being incredibly convenient, apps are faster and more accurate than alternative methods for HR management. 

Some specific ways to apply a mobile app to your HR processes include:

  • Payroll
  • Timesheets
  • Employee benefits administration
  • Scheduling and PTO
  • Training and onboarding
  • Employee Resources
  • Communication with Field Employees

The possibilities and opportunities here are limitless. You can build apps for human capital management, applicant tracking systems, and more. A mobile app can save you money, improve inefficiencies, and make your employees happier. 

Whether you’re a large enterprise or a small startup; you can use BuildFire’s platform to create a workforce app. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Why Your Deskless Workforce Needs a Mobile App

By definition, a deskless worker is any employee who is not seated behind a desk when they’re working. While this definition is quite broad, it’s highly relevant to the majority of businesses so who is a deskless employee?

Some examples of deskless positions include on-site technicians, field sales representatives, delivery drivers, blue-collar workers, and home healthcare providers. Even insurance adjusters need to be on the go to meet clients and contractors on-site at a claim. 

The list goes on and on, but the deskless workforce seems to be penetrating companies of all sizes in nearly every industry.

There are countless employees out there who don’t have the option to work in an office. If you consider the amount of field employees who are on the move or work at multiple locations, you’ll see the deskless workforce rate is rising quickly. 

Workforce mobile apps are designed to accommodate the needs of blue-collar workers and field employees. This is the best way to get them engaged with your company. 

According to a recent study published by Forbes, 80% of the workforce is considered deskless.

Yet, just 1% of software funding is allocated to these employees. There are obviously some serious flaws with those numbers.

So if your company has deskless employees, you’ll need to change the way that you manage them. This will require you to leverage the appropriate technology.

Your deskless workforce needs a mobile app. 

Simply put, you can’t treat remote or field workers the same way as your in-house employees. Plus, even your traditional in-house staff might be deskless a handful of times per month. So a mobile app will ultimately benefit your entire workforce. 

For those of you who are interested or on the fence about a mobile app for your remote staff, I’ll explain why this is a must-have technology for nearly every business. 

Improve Communication

Deskless employees are different. While this may seem like an obvious statement, a surprisingly high amount of businesses haven’t seemed to recognize and adapt to this quite yet.

Communication is the key to success at any place of business.

However, 79% of workers in the United States say that they are more likely to hear about something through word of mouth in the office as opposed to official communication from management. 

Nearly 50% of all workers are not happy with how management communicates with them. 

According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, these are the biggest communication issues in the workplace.

As you can see, not giving clear instructions and not having time to meet with employees both rank high on this list.

If your business is having so trouble communicating with your staff while everyone is under the same roof, how can you possibly communicate with your deskless employees who are constantly on the go?

With a deskless worker, you can’t just spontaneously stop by their desk or office to give them instructions. You can’t expect them to be at all meetings either. 

So what’s your current process for keeping these people up to date or in the loop?

All too often I consult with business owners who don’t really have a system for this. Maybe someone from the meeting sends a follow-up email. But that’s not always helpful or accurate. 

Picking up the phone to call a deskless employee can turn into a game of phone tag, which is not an efficient use of anyone’s time. 

A mobile app eliminates friction in the communication process. Your deskless staff can be informed in real-time with push notifications and announcements within the app. 

This will make them feel like they are still part of the team, even though they aren’t always around or available. It also ensures that they’ll always have access to a clear set of instructions, as opposed to taking notes by hand over the phone during a call with a manager. 

Futureproofing Closes Gaps

Your business can’t afford to fall behind the latest technology trends. Failure to adapt now could lead to big problems down the road.

Learning how to leverage technology will help close any gaps or inefficiencies in the workplace.

Once you learn how to futureproof your system, managing deskless employees will become easier than ever before.

If you’re still relying on fax machines, landline phones, and face-to-face communication to manage your workforce, then your process has room for improvement. 

You need to take advantage of the technology that your staff is already using on a daily basis. BYOD, short for bringing your own device, has become the new normal in the workplace.

96% of Americans own a smartphone. 

The vast majority of employees bring these devices to work, and they feel more productive when using their own devices. So why not take advantage of this?

Your staff is already using their phones at work. So it only makes sense for communication to go through these devices with an app.

An app makes it easier for your deskless workforce to solve problems. They’ll have access to useful resources, guides, customer information, and much more in the palms of their hands. 

Your business mobile app can also be used for communicating with team members, keeping track of workflow progress, and updating schedules. 

For example, let’s say you have a business that requires your staff to perform work in the homes of your customers. Without a mobile app, your current process might look something like this:

  1. Your staff has to come into the office.
  2. Everyone meets with a manager to get assignments for the day.
  3. They are handed a physical folder with information about the customer and the job.
  4. Drivers get on the road and head to customers’ houses.
  5. Work is performed, and notes are manually updated in the customer folder.
  6. Drive back to the office to drop off notes and customer files. 

I know this is pretty broad and non-specific. Depending on your business, there might be a step or two missing, or an extra step that is not required, but you get the picture. 

A mobile app will drastically simplify this process. Your staff can just go directly to on-site jobs without having to stop into the office for assignments.

All of the customer information, files, and instructions can be managed within the app. Your staff can even check off tasks like “estimate done” or “job complete” in real-time. 

An app will improve your efficiencies and allow your staff to get more done in a day’s work. It also enhances your record-keeping process. Overall, an app is clearly a better solution to the alternative.

Appeal to Millennials

For some of you, this might seem like a strange reason to get a mobile app for your deskless workforce. Why would you need to appeal to Millennials?

Well, as of 2016, Millennials have become the largest generation in the American workforce. 

That’s not all. By 2030, 75% of the total workforce will be comprised of Millennials. 2030 isn’t that far away.

Basically, Millennials are going to be working for you. If they aren’t currently the majority of your deskless workforce, they will be in the coming years.

It’s in your best interest to keep your staff happy. Otherwise, they’ll just leave and find another job.

Millennials don’t have the same mindset of generations before them. Their parents and grandparents found a job and stuck with it forever. 

But this generation seemingly already has a foot out of the door whenever they start a new job.

According to a recent study, 74% of Millennials believe that constantly job hunting will help their career. 44% of them say they expect to leave their current job within the next 2 years.

70% of Millennials say that they would quit a job based on that company’s sustainability for the long haul.

This relates back to our previous point about future-proofing your business processes. Basically, if your employees think that your business doesn’t have the technology to survive moving forward, they’ll leave. 

Plus, Millennials are extremely tech-savvy. They are eager and willing to use technology to improve processes in their personal and professional lives. Offering your deskless workforce a mobile app will be welcomed with open arms. 

Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

By nature, a happy employee will be more engaged. However, keeping your employees happy is easier said than done. It can be challenging to get people excited about work.

We’ve already discussed that 80% of the total workforce is deskless. However, the needs of the deskless workforce are drastically overlooked. 

Just 56% of deskless workers say that they feel connected and engaged with their employers. An additional 27% of deskless employees say that they feel underappreciated.

Why is this the case? It could be for a various amount of reasons, but it all stems back to effective communication, which we discussed earlier. 

If you’re not able to see your deskless staff and communicate with them on a regular basis, it’s easy for them to disengage and feel underappreciated. This will ultimately affect the quality of their work. You need to avoid this at all costs.

But how can you possibly engage with someone who you don’t even see on a daily basis?

Mobile apps increase employee engagement. 

These numbers speak for themselves. By increasing employee engagement with a deskless workforce mobile app, you’ll reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, and boost productivity.

The success of your business is in the hands of your staff. Too many employers have the mindset that anyone is replaceable, which is why your staff might feel undervalued. 

But employee turnover is expensive. Hiring, training, and onboarding a new team member is not always a simple process, especially if its for a deskless position. If you’re unable to improve your processes, then new employees will feel the same way as the ones who left before them. 

It’s a vicious cycle that you don’t want to put your company in.

Employee turnover, disengagement numbers, and productivity rates are costing you money. You’d be much better off investing that money into a mobile app. That investment could save you tens of thousands of dollars per year in the long term. 

Easy Integration

We’ve already discussed how technology can bridge the workforce gaps between deskless employees and their employers. But with that said, sometimes employees can feel overburdened with too much technology across multiple platforms.

If a company uses lots of different software, deskless employees are forced to navigate across multiple interfaces and platforms. This is not always ideal. By nature, using several different platforms is more complex for a deskless employee. A traditional in-office worker will likely have an easier solution for similar tasks. This can cause a divide between your staff. 

That’s why a mobile app is the ideal solution for everyone.

Your internal business app can easily integrate and potentially replace other software that you’re currently using. Both your in-house and deskless workforce will have access to the same information, in real-time, on the same platform. 

Training your staff on how to use one mobile app is much easier than teaching them how to use five or six different software solutions. 

By consolidating the technology, your deskless workforce won’t need to jump from platform to platform to get work done, which will ultimately increase their productivity. 

A mobile app creates a single source of information for things like customer history and job notes. You won’t have to worry about mistakes being made when employees are forced to manually update information across multiple platforms. 

Since all data will be coming from one system, it will be much easier for you to analyze everything so you can make informed business decisions.  All of the data in the app can also be used to improve the workflow process for deskless employees. 

Reduce Costs

To piggyback off of our last point, a mobile app will ultimately benefit your bottom line. At the end of the day, this is really what matters the most.

Cost savings was one of the top reasons why businesses invest in deskless technology.

Increased productivity is a major contributor to saving money. 

Think about your current process for managing deskless employees. Earlier, we discussed a hypothetical scenario that involved workers having to report to the office before going out on the road for the day. 

Just eliminating that one step could save two hours per day, per deskless employee. If you have 20 deskless workers, that’s 40 hours of labor saved in just one day. Assuming your staff works five days per week, that’s more than 10,000 labor hours per year.

Do the math. Multiply that number by the hourly wages of your deskless staff to see how much money you can save in a year. 

This is just one example. Productivity can be increased throughout the entire workflow process as well, ultimately contributing to more hours saved each day, week, and year. 

I know what some of you are thinking. Your deskless staff is on salary, so you pay them for at least 40 hours of work regardless.

But with improved productivity, each employee will have increased bandwidth. They’ll be able to complete more tasks on a given day, meaning your company can increase its workload and grow without adding more members to your team. This will allow you to scale back other costs as well. 

Enhance Security

Security needs to be a top priority for all businesses. It’s your job to protect any information related to your company, employees, and customers. 

Analyze your current process for cracks, leaks, or vulnerabilities in your security systems.

How are you communicating and transmitting sensitive information to your deskless workforce? 

This information can be anything from a customer’s home address to an employee’s social security number. Emails, web-based employee portals, and physical documents are not always secure. But a mobile app serves as an added layer of protection for sharing files. 

55% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack in the past year and 50% had a data breach. These are the most common types of attacks on businesses.

Mobile app technology can prevent these types of breaches. 

Smartphones can use facial recognition, fingerprints, other biometrics to access sensitive information. Your employees will need to verify their identity before viewing something like a paystub. 

48% of data breaches were caused by a negligent employee. A mobile app will help add security layers, even when an employee makes a mistake.

For example, if your staff loses a physical file, it could end up the wrong hands. But to access that information on a mobile phone, someone would have to hack both the phone and app. This becomes nearly impossible if a fingerprint scan is required for each.

Improve Accessibility

Not everyone works a traditional 9-5 job. 

People work odd hours, especially deskless employees. Some may start early, others may work late nights or weekends. Depending on the nature of the position, some deskless workers may need to be on-call at a moment’s notice.

A mobile app gives them on the go access to everything they need from virtually anywhere. This includes access to real-time information related to the workflow process. 

For example, let’s say you have ten employees out on the road performing work on-site at different customer homes. By the nature of your business, the work is ongoing, and you’ll need to be back at each home more than once. 

With a mobile app, your staff will have real-time access to scheduling appointments. 

This is much more effective than having to follow-up and call your customers while sitting in front of a schedule in the office. 

What happens if a customer asks a question that your deskless employee doesn’t know the answer to? No problem. Instead of calling into the office, they can access handbooks and other resourceful guides at their fingertips directly within a mobile app.

Conclusion

You can’t afford to neglect your deskless workforce. 

Times are changing, and you need to leverage technology to improve your workflow processes and systems for managing employees. 

A mobile app will make it easier for you to communicate with remote workers while simultaneously futureproofing your operation. An app appeals to the majority of your staff, which will increase employee satisfaction and engagement.

It’s easy to integrate a mobile app into your process. This investment will boost your security and lower your costs for the long term by improving employee productivity. 

An app gives everyone, including your in-house staff easier access to critical information.

If you’re ready to build a mobile app for your deskless workforce, you can do it using BuildFire’s platform. We have experience building apps to improve communication for field employees.

You can build the app yourself using our system or have our team of experts build it for you.