This week, Apple announced its latest smart phones to a highly excited audience at their headquarters in California. The new iPhone X anniversary features offers an edge to edge screen. Face ID recognition and wireless charging. This is a device designed to be your constant companion, your sleek slim portal to the world’, showing it in high definition quality on a screen that quite literally knows who you are.
With the rise of such high quality mobile devices comes a rising expectation from users that the content they view will be of similar quality to the device they view it on. That includes any information that your business wants or needs them to access as part of their job.
Ditch the desktop mentality
In a mobile age, businesses cannot rely or expect employees to always view information on desktop computers or laptops, especially if it needs to be accessed out in the field. This means that all your business information should be mobile friendly, including documents, images, scans, video, newsletters, training manuals, HR forms and contact directories.
Many businesses have built an impressive library of internal resources that currently reside in their intranet. In terms of technology, it may be relatively straightforward to allow remote access to the intranet via mobile devices. However, if the filing system is complex, and the resulting found documents difficult to read on a mobile device, employees will simply not bother.
Instead a forward-thinking business will be considering how best to make their information easily accessible AND engaging. If employees can find the information they want quickly and easily via their mobile devices, they’ll also want to engage with that information on the same device.
Read The 5 essentials of a great Internal Communication plan here.
The digital training manual
Consider the trusty training manual. Most companies have at least one, and in the past, they cost a fortune to typeset, print and distribute. The rise of intranets allowed businesses to place a single digital copy of each manual online, and enable employees to access it. Each manual could be easily updated, there was only ever one authoritative version, and pages could be printed out if required.
Moving to a mobile environment, however, that training manual may in turn no longer be the best way to disseminate the information. Scrolling through many pages for an elusive diagram or explanation is both time-consuming and frustrating. A short explanatory video could replace pages of text and diagrams, allowing employees to see and hear instructions, not just read them.
"How to" YouTube searches
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Rather than search online for a printed instruction manual, today’s computer-savvy consumer will simply type “How to xxxxx” into YouTube, and watch a video or six. There is a danger that frustrated employees might turn to such external information sources on YouTube, rather than their company's own hard-to-access information. For minimal costs, businesses can quickly and easily create their own videos, and put them centre stage in their employee information system.
Employee friendly apps
Today, there are a bewildering array of apps available to enable businesses to share information with their employees. There are portal apps, comms apps, planning apps, project sharing apps, documents sharing apps, most of which do one job and do it very well. Very few combine the five essential requirements for an efficient employee information system:
- Secure storage and access
- Organised, accessible company documents, information pages, videos
- A comprehensive and interactive employee directory
- The ability to release information to selected groups, or company-wide
- Integration with existing HR and IT systems
At TalkFreely, we placed these five essentials as the foundations of our TalkFreely employee engagement app. So, your employees need just one app on whatever mobile device they wish to use. Just one app, one secure login, one interface that is intuitive, organised and can be customise to the unique needs of each user. Now your employees can access information in any media format, share information with colleagues, or add their own information, to build a cloud-based library that adapts according to the business’ needs.
Time for a spring clean
There is another substantial benefit to a move from an intranet to an app-based solution. It is a golden opportunity for a business to assess all its information, to remove old documents that are no longer relevant, and streamline information filing systems that are archaic. HR forms can become digital, enabling employees to fill them in on their mobile devices. Presentations can be shared live through video streaming, and the resulting footage and slideset stored for viewing later, so nobody misses out. Major announcements can become must-watch live presentations by the CEO.
Always on, always available
Next time you’re standing in a queue, or on the station waiting for a train, check out how many people are looking at their phone. Not talking, just looking. It's probably the majority, and it won't just be those under 25 either.
With an employee information solution, those 'lookers' could be your employees, checking out information on their daily commute, looking up product specs or fixes out in the field, or preparing for that 9am meeting on a busy Monday morning.
They could also be catching up with Game of Thrones, playing Candy Crush, or checking their social media. Your business information has to, in some measure, emulate and compete with those attractive potential time-fillers.
With an all-in-one app solution like TalkFreely that sits alongside all these others on their phone, you probably can. Call us or sign up for a free trial, to see how TalkFreely could benefit your business. And knock Jon Snow off the screen for a while.