Employee Engagement Apps vs. Intranets - theEMPLOYEEapp

Employee Engagement Apps vs. Intranets: What’s Best for Your Deskless Workforce?

Employee Engagement Apps vs. Intranets: What’s Best for Your Deskless Workforce?

Last updated on March 7, 2024 at 10:33 am

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, where a large portion of the workforce is deskless and constantly on the go, employee engagement has become a top priority for organizations. Companies are looking for ways to keep their non-desk employees connected, informed, and engaged in order to improve productivity and retain top talent. With the rise of technology, two popular solutions have emerged: employee engagement apps and intranets. Both promise to enhance communication, collaboration, and overall employee satisfaction. But when it comes down to it – which one is truly best for your deskless workforce? In this blog post, we will dive into the differences between these two tools and help you determine which one is most suitable for your organization’s unique needs.

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Understanding Deskless Worker Needs

The frontline and deskless workers face the following challenges in their day-to-day lives:

Unique Communication Challenges:

Deskless workers, operating outside traditional offices, grapple with distinct communication challenges. The absence of constant internet connectivity necessitates tailored solutions for immediate access to email and centralized communication platforms. Overcoming language barriers and accommodating diverse communication preferences present additional hurdles that require nuanced tools.

Information and Resource Access Struggles:

Deskless workers face challenges in accessing critical data on the go. Unlike their desk-bound counterparts, staying updated on essential information is hindered. Bridging this gap requires mobile-friendly solutions that provide real-time access to vital data. Technologies such as cloud-based platforms and secure mobile applications have become imperative to facilitate efficient resource retrieval while ensuring data security.

Isolation and Lack of Connection:

Beyond practical work aspects, deskless workers experience a desire for connection and community. However, the nature of their work often leads to feelings of isolation. Addressing this challenge involves implementing platforms that foster team collaboration and social interaction, creating a virtual community. Features like virtual team-building activities, discussion forums, and recognition platforms become essential for overcoming the social challenges faced by these workers.

Convenience and Efficiency Prioritization:

Deskless workers prioritize convenience and efficiency in their workflows, posing a unique challenge. Implementing technologies that cater to these preferences is crucial. Mobile-friendly applications with user-friendly interfaces are essential for seamless task navigation while on the move. Integrating intuitive tools and streamlined processes ensures efficient duty performance without unnecessary complexities. Features like offline access and automatic synchronization become vital in addressing the challenges posed by varying work environments and connectivity constraints.

Employee Engagement Apps: Strengths and Weaknesses


Mobile-First Design

It ensures user accessibility on various devices. It facilitates convenience and flexibility, allowing employees to engage with the platform anytime and anywhere.

Push Notifications and Alerts

Mobile employee apps can send push notifications and alerts. This feature helps with real-time communication, ensuring employees stay informed about important updates, deadlines, and events. 

Targeted Communication

These apps enable targeted employee communication, allowing organizations to tailor messages to specific groups or individuals. This customization ensures that employees receive relevant information, enhancing their engagement. 

Gamification and Incentives

Employee mobile applications frequently integrate gamification elements and incentives to enhance the overall app experience, making it more enjoyable and rewarding. This strategic approach allows organizations to elevate motivation levels, foster healthy competition, and reinforce positive behaviors among their workforce. Remarkably, a substantial 80% of US workers express that incorporating gamification into learning processes is notably more engaging than traditional methods devoid of game elements.

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Lightweight and Focused

Engagement apps are easy to download and avoid complex algorithms. It results in a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, promoting seamless interaction and adoption by employees. Studies indicate that businesses with actively involved and committed staff surpass their counterparts without such engagement by 202%.


Limited Information Sharing and Collaboration

While employee engagement apps excel at targeted employee communication, they may fail to promote broader information sharing and collaboration. The platforms might lack robust features for team collaboration, hindering the flow of information across departments.

Potential for Information Overload

The constant stream of push notifications and alerts, beneficial for real-time communication, may lead to information overload. Employees may become overwhelmed with the volume of messages, diminishing the platform’s effectiveness. 

Isolated Experience

Mobile employee apps contribute to an isolated experience for some employees. Deskless workers may miss out on the sense of community that traditional, in-person engagement activities can provide. It can hinder the formation of strong team networks.

Security Concerns

Employee engagement apps involve the sharing of sensitive information, which raises security concerns. Organizations must prioritize data protection and ensure that these platforms have robust security measures to safeguard confidential information from potential breaches.

Employee Intranets: Strengths and Weaknesses


Centralized Hub for Information and Resources

In organizations, employee intranets function as centralized hubs, efficiently collating essential information and resources. This consolidation simplifies access to crucial documents, policies, and real-time company updates, fostering seamless navigation for employees in retrieving necessary information.

An impressive 85% of workers have conveyed that their motivation and enthusiasm peak when consistently provided with updates on company-related information. This underscores the significant impact of a well-utilized employee intranet in maintaining a workforce that feels informed, engaged, and empowered.

Collaboration and Communication Tools

Collaboration and communication tools enhance employee teamwork and connectivity. Features like instant messaging, discussion forums, and project collaboration facilitate real-time communication. It breaks down employee communication barriers and fosters a collaborative work culture.

Social Features and Community Building

The seamless integration of social features into mobile intranets plays a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community within an organization. Employee profiles, dynamic activity feeds, and interactive discussion forums are instrumental in promoting heightened engagement and a profound sense of belonging.

This strategic incorporation of social intranets has yielded tangible benefits for companies, with a remarkable 20% increase in employee satisfaction and a substantial 87% surge in employee retention rates. The organic integration of these social elements not only enhances connectivity but also contributes significantly to the overall positive work environment and employee loyalty.

Structured and Searchable Content

In intranets, content is often categorized, tagged, and organized to make it easy for employees to find what they want. Search functionality further enhances accessibility, ensuring that even large volumes of information can be efficiently navigated.

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Potential for Scalability and Customization

Organizations can tailor the platform to meet their specific needs, adding or removing features as necessary. This adaptability allows the intranet to grow alongside the organization and evolve in response to changing requirements.


Desktop-Centric Design

Desktop-centric design may pose challenges in an era where remote work and mobile devices are increasingly prevalent. Deskless employees working on-site may find intranets difficult to adopt because of this. The absence of a mobile experience adversely affects the organizational experience for at least 65% of employees.

Information Overload and Complexity

Information overload and complexity can be drawbacks in large organizations with vast data. People may struggle to filter through the abundance of information, leading to confusion and decreased employee productivity.

Adoption and Engagement Challenges

Resistance to change, lack of training, or low awareness of the platform’s capabilities may hinder widespread adoption. Organizations must invest in effective onboarding and training programs to ensure employees embrace and utilize the intranet to its full potential.

Potential for Siloed Information

There’s a risk of siloed information within intranets, where different departments or teams may create and manage their content independently. This can lead to fragmented knowledge and hinder cross-functional collaboration. Establishing transparent content governance and collaboration protocols is essential to prevent silos and promote a cohesive information ecosystem.

Security and Access Control Considerations

Protecting sensitive information and ensuring access permissions are appropriately configured are vital to preventing data breaches. Regular security audits and updates are necessary to avoid potential threats and maintain the confidentiality of organizational data.

Choosing the Right Solution: A Decision Framework

Consider the following parameters while making the decision to choose the right platform for your organization:

Size and Distribution:

Understanding the geographical spread and the size of your non-desk-bound workforce is crucial. Employee engagement apps provide flexibility and accessibility for remote or widely dispersed teams, ensuring effective communication throughout the entire organization.

Information and Collaboration Needs:

Assess the level of information and collaboration required within your organization. Employee engagement apps are designed for real-time communication, task management, and collaboration, making them ideal for dynamic work environments that prioritize quick responses and streamlined workflows. On the other hand, intranets may be more suitable for organizations that prioritize a centralized repository of information without emphasizing real-time interactions.

Mobile Accessibility and User Experience:

Prioritize mobile accessibility and user experience, especially for deskless workers who are constantly on the move. Mobile employee apps are optimized for smartphones and tablets, ensuring a seamless experience and facilitating efficient communication and collaboration.

Engagement Goals:

Define your engagement goals and choose tools accordingly. Employee engagement apps are tailored to individual employee experiences, offering features such as surveys, recognition programs, and feedback mechanisms. Intranets, on the other hand, excel at fostering team collaboration and connections.

Budget and Technical Resources:

Evaluate your budget and technical resources for seamless integration with existing systems. Employee engagement apps often provide cost-effective solutions with cloud-based infrastructure, making them accessible to a variety of organizations. Consider the technical maintenance and training requirements to ensure a smooth implementation and ongoing operation of the chosen tools.

Summing Up

Empowering your global deskless workforce requires a thoughtful evaluation of their unique needs, the dynamics of your organization, and your technology infrastructure. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between employee engagement apps and intranets. With mobility, accessibility, and functionality in mind, implementing the right solution is essential for maximizing productivity in today’s fast-paced professional landscape. Let’s revolutionize the way your employees work and propel your organization to new heights of success!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can employee engagement apps replace the need for intranets in a deskless work environment?

While employee engagement apps focus on enhancing communication and engagement, intranets provide a centralized location for official documents, policies, and comprehensive information. A combination of both may be ideal for a well-rounded communication strategy.

Q: Can employee engagement platforms and intranet apps be integrated with other tools and systems deskless workers use?

Many employee engagement apps and intranets offer integration capabilities with various tools and systems. It ensures seamless collaboration and reduces the need for employees to switch between multiple platforms.

Q: Are there security considerations when choosing between employee engagement apps and intranets for a deskless workforce?

Absolutely. It’s crucial to evaluate data encryption, access controls, and compliance with privacy regulations for both options. Ensure strong user authentication to prevent unauthorized access and safeguard sensitive information.

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