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10 Ways HR Can Use an Employee App at Every Stage of the Employee Life Cycle

Mobile communication and new technologies are a huge part of the digital transformation at work. Employee apps in particular have been shown to increase engagement, enhance transparency, and help to improve the employer brand. But apps can be used for more than internal communication, they can also be tailored to handle many HR services. Here are ten ways how.

 

1. Attract Talent and Recruit the Best

Considering how the war for the most qualified employees is intensifying, an employee app can help on three levels: attracting talent, pre-onboarding it, and keeping it around.

Employee App Onboarding

When it comes to attracting talent, an employee app can serve as a great advertisement for your company (for one thing, it's visible in the public App Store). It's proof that your organization is forward-thinking and that it places value on creating a superior employee experience for its people. And given how word-of-mouth is often the most influential channel when it comes to attracting new talent, optimizing the processes around recruiting can prove immensely beneficial to your company.

 

Pre-onboarding, while often an overlooked part of the employee life cycle, is also a stage that when done well can make a new employee's life much easier. Not only does pre-onboarding include the application process, but it also covers the period between accepting and starting a job. A time during which people are often filled with expectation and anxiety.

 

An employee app lets HR professionals begin teaching new employees about their company before they even walk in for their first day. With the app, new employees can receive the news feed and benefits forms, for example, and they'll have the ability to comment, like, and share—a great way to introduce themselves to new coworkers.

 

As for retaining talent, an app can decrease turnover by increasing engagement. Surveys can help to identify employee needs and regularly monitor their mood. The app will also appeal to the tech-savvy nature of younger employees. Making transparent, peer-to-peer information available to all of your people shows that you value their opinions, and it actively encourages the creation of employee content. Millennials and Gen Z place great value on being able to communicate anywhere and anytime, and when it comes right down to it, that's what this new platform is all about.

 

2. Make Onboarding Easy

Your app helps to automate the onboarding process, saves paper, and integrates your employees from day one. 

Make Onboarding Easy

Taking a gamification approach to onboarding can help relieve the stress of the first few days at a new job and help to teach, inform, and train. Procedures can be presented in the guise of a fun quiz or treasure hunt, and an interactive channel will enable employees from all locations and departments to welcome your newbies. Such initiatives create an instant feeling of being part of a team and they'll also help your new recruits to feel right at home.

 

3. Bridge Communication Gaps and Share Market Realities

Employees need a clear purpose, and they want to feel like they're part of something important. But that's really only possible through clear communication. 

Bridge Communication Voids

Facilitating the app as a news channel allows you to share business beliefs, market realities, new projects, overall organizational goals, and new strategies. And even your remote workers and freelancers can be reached. An employee app will do wonders for engagement and go a long way toward eliminating communication silos.

 

Also, a mobile news channel directly connected to your employees will allow you to become the most reliable source of organizational information. Such an immediate connection is necessary in order to compete with the speed of the internet and social media. An app lets you control the message.

 

4. Educate and Train Your Staff

Ensuring that your staff is briefed and up-to-date at all times enhances the customer experience. Especially considering the non-desk workers briefing opportunities are rare though. And to hold a massive training event once a year has proven to be pretty much completely inefficient.

Educate and Train Staff

An app allows you to create an alternative knowledge culture that supports micro-content. Regularly upload training videos, marketing information, and updates concerning the brand promise—guaranteeing that your employees are well informed at all times.

 

5. Automate Processes

HR spends a huge amount of time on paperwork. These processes can be integrated into your employee app, allowing you more time for what you'd rather be doing: Talking to your employees.

 

An advanced app enables you to integrate functions like vacation planning, time management systems, pay slips, and payrolls. 

 

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Case Study:
Delivering SAP Time Sheet Access with a Custom Plugin at Viessmann
Most of Viessmann’s more than 11,000 employees work in production and logistics, and until recently they had limited access to the company’s intranet. Also, most of them are smartphone users. This combination of facts led to the birth of Vi2Go: Viessmann’s own branded employee app by Staffbase.
Within a few weeks, the employee app was created and filled with content. “The main question wasn't whether the app looked fancy, but whether it offered what our employees wanted,” says Albrecht v. Truchseß. Staffbase delivered the necessary plugins for a quick start with bulletin boards, meal plans, corporate news, and internal job offers. Just one month after the first rollout at the company’s headquarters, 2,500 Viessmann employees had adopted Vi2Go as a mobile information channel. That was more than half of the targeted employees.
Based on the success of Vi2Go, the company decided to use this channel to distribute additional information and services to their hard-to-reach blue collar workers. The most pressing issue was granting access to the employees’ time sheets in SAP. Employees had to ask their supervisor for access to their current time-tracking account, which was a time consuming process.
Within a week Viessmann’s internal IT had created a custom plugin based on the Staffbase Plugin API and the Staffbase Plugin Java SDK. The plugin communicates with the internal SAP system and presents the Vi2Go user with their current time sheet. Data and access to the infrastructure is controlled by Viessmann, and only selected information can pass the firewall.


6. Help Your Workforce

Employees have certain basic needs: documents, contact information, shift plans . . . coffee.

Help Your Workforce

With an app, all of this becomes digitalized and accessible on-the-go. With an AD integration, all of your employees' contact details can be made available, including emergency contacts. Shift updates can be communicated instantaneously and sent with a receipt confirmation request. Documents placed in the app are accessible from everywhere, and any information that needs immediate communication can be sent via push notifications. With your entire administration in the app, your workforce can effectively manage itself.

 

As for the the coffee . . . well, we're working on that one.

 

7. Rewards and Recognition

Being recognized and rewarded for the blood, sweat, and tears your employees pour into their work is crucially important. According to millennials and Gen Z, feeling valued at work is one of the key factors for generating engagement. And showing that you value your employees keeps them motivated.

Rewards and Recognition

With an employee app you can hold competitions; for example, offering your employees points that can be turned into gift vouchers, extra vacation days, or even a new phone. The scale is really up to you, but a little goes a long way. Personally saying thank you is already a big step in the right direction.

 

8. Communicate Benefits

Getting your employees to enroll in their healthcare programs during enrollment season is a massive part of the work HR does every year. But like automated pay slips and time tracking, an app can make the process easier, faster, and way more efficient.

 

You can integrate your benefit plans to the app, send out tailored push notifications to people who have yet to enroll, and automatically remind everybody about important information and deadlines. The app helps your employees to understand and appreciate their benefits by effectively communicating plan options, features, and choices.

 

9. Cultivate a Culture of Safety

60 percent of work-related accidents happen within the first year of employment. Why? Because employees haven't been sufficiently briefed or taught the safety regulations that should accompany their daily tasks.

 

Not only does your app allow you to communicate your company's safety vision, but it also makes key contacts easy to find, lets you share team specific safety messages, and presents a channel that makes reporting incidents easy. 

Safety Culture

If you'd like to read more about how to create and maintain a safety culture with your employee app, click here

 

10. Don't Forget Your Alumni

People no longer stay in the same job forever. It's sad but true. That said, it means that your employees of today could very well be your customers and networkers of tomorrow. It’s a common misconception that employees who've left a company no longer have an influence on it. Quite the opposite. What your former employees say about you is generally received as being extremely authentic information.

 

And while it used to be seen as not worth the effort to include alumni in your company updates, a mobile app makes it possible to create groups and share targeted news just for your alumni. You can let your former people know that they're still part of the family, which is sure to keep engagement high—both inside and out of your organization.

 

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Our Staffbase employee app is not “just” an app but a complete platform that keeps your employees in the information loop as well as creating a positive employee experience from day one.

 

To learn more please contact us or feel free to leave a comment below!

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Written by Sina Kaye Lockley

Sina is a communication specialist at Staffbase. She wants to help companies engage their employees and find ways to make work more fun. She writes about internal communication, mobile employee engagement and how to use an app in today's evolving workforce. She religiously reads one book a week and sleeps with pen and paper next to her head.