Digital connectivity is rife in businesses of all sizes and it will only continue to become more embedded in our professional lives as further developments are made in the tech field. However, while the likes of video calls and webinars are becoming the norm in firms, there are a number of other tools that company owners are failing to utilise. One key example is the use of apps.

I can confidently say that we all use apps on a regular basis on our mobile phones or tablets. Indeed, there are some people who have an app to organise everything for them. The reason we all choose to use these tools is that they can simplify everyday tasks for us. Essentially, they make our lives easier to manage. But this doesn’t just have to happen on a personal level.

The workforce is crying out for change

At the moment, examples of successful app usage in a business environment are few and far between. However, demand from the workforce for this to change is huge. Indeed, research from Salesforce has revealed that 71% of staff want their firm to provide the same level of technology that they utilise in their personal lives. When we also consider that 60% of European employees are using a smartphone, laptop or tablet provided by their employer (ADP Research Institute), it’s perhaps safe to say that businesses are missing a trick by failing to introduce an employee communications app.

Given that company transparency is also growing in importance for staff, introducing a new system which enables crucial business information to be shared quickly and easily is truly a no-brainer. In fact, according to Gatehouse, 64% of employees feel that their organisation should focus more attention on communicating strategy, values and purpose to the rest of the company.

Added to this, the ability to share video content is now more crucial than it has ever been. For companies of all sizes, having shareable videos available will help engage the workforce. Indeed, research from Engine Creative revealed that 54% of employees expect to see video content within their organisation and 75% are more likely to watch a business video than read a written document. Once again, this is a need which can be met by the successful integration of a company communication app.

The business benefits can be huge

There is clearly demand from the workforce for a digital platform that can be used on mobile devices to distribute corporate literature, engage with the company and manage general administrative and human resources tasks. Aside from this demand, though, the benefit for businesses themselves is huge.

It is becoming increasingly commonplace to see employees working beyond the office, whether this be through home or remote working or hotdesking across numerous locations. In fact, according to data from the TUC, in 2017 the number of people working remotely in the UK alone had increased by almost a quarter of a million (241,000) over the last decade. If business owners and HR teams are to effectively manage and engage workers situated across such wide-ranging locations, apps will need to play a key role in employee management strategies.

In order to truly demonstrate the value of apps in a business environment, we published a report which aggregated information from a number of key research bodies including the CIPD, Gatehouse and the ADP Research Institute. What we found is that by successfully integrating apps into general business operations, firms will see an improvement in five key areas of personnel management:

  1. Engaging new starters during the onboarding process: through the provision of easily accessible information, corporate videos, training schedules, community networking platforms and much more.
  2. Performance management: by putting the power back into the hands of the employee, allowing them greater control over their development and training.
  3. Access and engagement with HR: streamlining processes to ensure actions are implemented quicker and admin tasks – such as holiday requests – are managed efficiently.
  4. Company-wide communication and updates: to not only keep staff informed, but also help those working remotely feel part of the team.
  5. Peer-to-peer communication: allowing greater exchange of information and a better feel of being ‘one team’ rather than separate entities.

As technology evolves, so too does the world of work. The capability to introduce streamlined communications and administration systems is here – and staff are crying out for it. Employers who fail to stay ahead of this modernisation of the workplace and integrate the likes of company apps will simply stagnate. We live in a world where innovation is key and we need to see more firms embracing the opportunities that digital platforms present.

Mark Hobbs is the managing director of Workvine, providing digital solutions to help companies engage with their workforce.