Last updated on May 23, 2023 at 01:25 pm
My journey with theEMPLOYEEapp started when I worked for United Health Services (UHS). We used theEMPLOYEEapp to communicate with our healthcare workers. But eventually, my career brought me full circle to working at theEMPLOYEEapp as a Client Success Associate. Now that I’m in a role where I help other administrators use their employee apps, there’s a lot of wisdom that I wish I’d known when I was just starting out managing an employee app. In this blog, I’ll share the six things I wish someone told me when I started.
What is an employee app?
Employee apps come in many forms. But here at theEMPLOYEEapp, we’re talking about apps that create a central hub of resources and allow companies to easily communicate with all their employees.
Our employee communication app is managed by administrators who have access to a Content Management System (CMS). The CMS lets them target posts, events, app push notifications, and even SMS texts to their teams.
Lessons from managing an employee app
Many companies have small internal comms teams where everyone wears many hats. This can make it difficult to feel like you have the time to create engaging app content. But here’s the secret: it’s not as hard as it seems to manage an employee app.
1. You’re doing a better job than you think
When we scroll through LinkedIn or attend conferences and webinars, it’s easy to feel a little inadequate. Some companies launch campaigns full of video, podcasts, award-winning graphics, and—oh wait, that’s Adobe or some other large organization.
We shouldn’t compare ourselves to those companies because they have insane budgets and large teams. We don’t!
Whether you know it or not, you’re in the same boat as almost everyone in your field. Most companies have way-too-small internal comms teams and an equally limited budget. Many internal comms pros I know aren’t also graphic designers and video editors.
But, in my experience, we all have grit. We all care. And we’re all doing a much better job than we think we are.
2. Cross-department collaboration is key to managing an employee app
Want to know the secret to successfully managing an employee app?
- Have a great content governance plan.
- Meet with content creators frequently to stay aware of what’s happening across the company.
While meeting all your employee app goals is a bit more complicated than these two steps, they are vital to setting yourself up for success. Without a content governance plan and content creators across your company, you’ll end up struggling to create local-level content and all of the work will fall onto you, which will limit how much you can do with your app.
Like most things in life, the more the merrier. Work with departments across your organization to share updates in real time. Tap into super users to share content at the plant/hospital level. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.
3. Industry networking is priceless
When you’re on a small team especially, networking is invaluable. I recommend attending every seminar, conference, or webinar that you can. But don’t tune in and just listen. Try to connect with other communicators and learn from what they’re doing. Odds are, you have some nuggets of wisdom that could help them too. This sharing of ideas has helped me repeatedly over my career.
4. You don’t need fancy equipment or software
We all want to create professional-looking content. But many of us, understandably, are intimidated by the Adobe Suite, DSLR cameras, and other hardware/software. But the reality is, you don’t need fancy equipment or editing software to create fantastic content.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my DSLR camera and have used it for work, but it’s not necessary. Most smartphone cameras could give my DSLR a run for its money. And BONUS: you already own one of those and know how to use it!
Because of their accessibility and ease of use, there are endless resources for smartphone photography, video recording, and video editing. I also recommend following other content creators on TikTok and Instagram for their tips and tricks.
With all of the free apps and editing software out there, you don’t need to know how to use professional editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Premier, After Effects, etc. I’ve collected a few great, free tools over the years:
- Kinemaster (free video editing app for your phone)
- InShot (Free on iOS and Android)
- Mojo (free and paid templates on iOS and Android)
- Adobe Creative Cloud Express (mostly free but with some features that you have to pay for)
PRO TIP: If you don’t have access to Microsoft PowerPoint or Word, you can create docs on Google Slides or Google Docs and export them to any format you need!
Image and graphic design tools:
- Unsplash or Freepik for free stock images
- Photo Pea for a free online photo editor similar to Photoshop
- Canva for all your design needs
5. Managing an employee app is like managing social media
Even if you’ve never been a social media manager, we’re all familiar with social media. We all see the same trends that catch our attention and engage us or make us remember information. These same best practices apply to your internal employee app too:
- Make it visual. Especially when we don’t have a lot of time—which your frontline teams don’t—we want to consume content quickly. Short videos, photos, and visual graphics are supreme for this reason. They also allow you to have more fun and be more creative. If you’re bored reading a text update, your audience will be too. Some messages need to be text-based and to the point, of course, but when you can, it’s great to embrace multimedia content.
- Brands on social media are experts at CTAs. Click to learn more. Don’t miss out! Have you subscribed yet? Whatever it is, social media posts get you the most important or engaging information quickly and then follow it up with a super clear call to action (CTA). Internal messages also have CTAs with high stakes if employees don’t follow through. Pay attention to what makes you click or take action on social media and test that with your communications.
- Keep it short and sweet. Social has taught us we can get a lot across in 140 characters. But Sometimes, we can’t make key operational messages that short…so what can we do? Try breaking up the information with bullets. Bolding key phrases helps too. And you can separate sections with images. Do virtually anything to avoid sending a wall of text.
I recommend checking out websites like Later and Social Media Examiner. These are great sources of information and often have tips for social media and how to create stunning content—which will help with your app!
6. App rollouts aren’t a one-and-done
You can’t just run one rollout campaign to get employees to adopt your app and call it quits. Gaining adoption is an ongoing process when managing an employee app.
Here are my tips:
- Once you get users into your app, you need to find ways to keep them engaged and coming back for more content.
- New employees need to adopt the app when they join the company (pro tip: get downloading the app added to the onboarding process).
- People adopt technology at different rates. This is described in the technology adoption curve.
- Downloading and using any new tool requires a change management strategy, which when done right, goes on for a very long time.
So, don’t just roll out your new app and think that’s it. You have to keep working at it. But no strategy can succeed in a vacuum. You have to ask your employees for their feedback. What would make them want to use the app? If you can answer this question, you’re in a great spot to take your adoption to the next level.
Managing an employee app: next steps
I’m in awe of my fellow communications professionals. We often wear many hats at our organizations, but we’re always looking to help our people and peers. So, keep up the amazing work!
And if you’re interested in learning more about our employee app and how we can help you find success with it, let’s get in touch.
About the Author
Renee Quade is the Customer Support Manager for theEMPLOYEEapp. Before joining the team, Renee spent over a decade in the communications space, working in both radio and marketing. As an expert in all things content, Renee helps our clients get results.
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