Take your employee communications to the next level with your own employee app.

How HR Can Use an Employee App for Every Step in the Employee Lifecycle

With the US unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, the war for talent is on. Companies today need to create a different kind of work experience for their top brand ambassadors—their employees—and focusing on your employer brand in order to improve your customer brand is now recognized as a best practice in most B2C industries.


Mobile communication and new technologies are a huge part of this process. And with employees in every role eager to use their smartphones more at work, the use of apps in the workplace is steadily rising. Employee apps increase engagement, enhance transparency, and help to improve the employer brand.


But not only can apps be used for overall internal communication, they can also be tailored to handle many HR services. Here's 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 (especially because 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 lifecycle, is also a stage that can make a new employee's life much easier when done well. 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 co-workers.


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 are part of something. 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 and guarantee that your employees are well informed at all times.



#5 Automate Processes

HR spends a good amount of time on paperwork. These processes can be integrated into the app and make time for what you really want to do: Talk to your employees.


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



Case Study:
Delivering SAP Time Sheet Access with a Custom Plugin at Viessmann
Most of Viessmann’s over 11.000 employees work in production and logistics and have only limited access to the company’s intranet. Also, most of them are smartphone users. The combination of both 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 was not whether the app looks fancy, but what our employees want”, 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 roll-out within the company’s headquarters, 2.500 employees in Viessmann’s adopted Vi2Go as a mobile information channel. That’s more than half of the targeted employees.
Based on the success of Vi2Go the company wanted to use this channel to distribute additional information and services to their hard-to-reach blue collar workers. The most pressing issue was the access to the employees’ time sheets in SAP. Employees had to ask their supervisor to get access to their current time tracking account which was a time consuming process.
Within a week Viessmann’s internal IT created a custom Staffbase 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 timesheet. Data and access to the infrastructure is controlled by Viessmann and only selected information can pass the firewall.


#6 Help Your Workforce

As employee there are certain things that we need every day. Documents, telefon numbers, shift plans. Coffee.


Help Your Workforce


All of this becomes digital and accessible on-the-go with an app. With an AD integration all our employees contact information is available, including emergency contact. Shift updates can be communicated spontaneously and with an confirmation request. Documents can be placed in the app and are accesible from everywhere and all changes can be communicated via push notifications. The whole administration can go online and helps your workforce to effectively manage itself.


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



#7 Rewards and Recognition

Being recognised and rewarded for the blood sweat and tears your employees pour into their work is so, so important. Not only because it keeps employees motivated but also because it shows that they are valued in their role. And feeling valued at work is one of the key factors for engagement according to Millennials and Gen Z.


Rewards and Recognition


Over the app you are able to hold competitions and for example could offer your employees to collect points that then turn into gift vouchers, additional days off or 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 the enrollment season is a massive part of the work HR does every year. And like automated pay slips and time tracking an app can make the process easier, faster and more efficient.


Integrate your benefit plans to the app, send out tailored push notifications to those who haven't enrolled yet and automatically remind everybody. “The app helps your employees to understand and appreciate their benefits by effectively communicate plans, features, and choices to them.“



#9 Ensure a Safety Culture

60% of work related accidents happen within the first year of employment. Why? Because employees aren’t sufficiently briefed and don’t know the safety regulations that should accompany their daily tasks.


In your app you can not only communicate the company's safety vision, but also make key contacts easy to find, share team specific safety messages and create a channel that makes reporting incidents easy.


Safety Culture


If you would like to read more on how to create and maintain a safety culture with your employee- app go here.



#10 Include Alumnis

Employees today, customers and networkers tomorrow. It’s a common misconception, that employees leaving a company have no influence on that company anymore. Quite the opposite is true. What your former employees say about the company is received as extremely authentic and, hence, true.


Considering future employees and customers this is the voice they will listen to. In addition, former employees are future customers themselves.


While it used to be nearly impossible to include Alumnis in company updates a mobile app makes it possible to create a targeted news feed and groups just for Alumnis. Communicate to people that they are still part of something and keep engagement high even outside of the company.



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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.