Employee Engagement Apps 101 - theEMPLOYEEapp

Employee Engagement Apps 101

Whether or not employees are engaged has become a key performance indicator at many companies. It has given rise to the prevalence of the annual employee engagement survey in an effort to understand why employees are disengaged. As a result, employee engagement apps have become a major channel that HR and internal comms teams use.

person engaging on a mobile application

What Is An Employee Engagement App?

An employee engagement app is a mobile application designed specifically for helping companies to more effectively engage with their people.

To really understand an app for engagement, it’s important to understand what employee engagement is. We define an engaged employee as someone who not only actively participates in their job and communications but also takes appropriate action as a result of that interaction. This definition goes beyond merely whether or not an employee opens your emails or posts and gets closer to the heart of what engagement really is.

Therefore, employee engagement apps must do more than provide opportunities for surface-level “participation.” They must motivate, provide training opportunities, and connect employees to the information and the support they need to truly engage meaningfully over time.

graphic of employees holding up engagement symbols like a heart, thumbs up, and smiley face.

Key Functionality of Employee Engagement Apps

Employee engagement apps offer a range of features and functionalities designed to enhance communication, collaboration, and overall employee experience. Here are some key functionalities commonly found in employee engagement apps:

  • Company communication. Employee engagement apps provide various communication channels such as instant messaging, news feeds, and company-wide announcements. These tools facilitate real-time communication, enabling employees to stay connected, informed, and engaged with company updates and news.
  • Employee recognition. Many employee engagement apps include features for recognizing and rewarding employee achievements and milestones. This can be through user mentions, videos, hashtags, or other methods.
  • Surveys. Employee engagement apps often offer either built-in surveys or integrate with survey platforms.
  • Learning and development tools. To support employee growth and development, engagement apps may provide access to training materials, e-learning modules, and skill-building resources.
  • Social features. Employee engagement apps foster culture by allowing employees to like, comment, and share content.

What Are the Best Employee Engagement Apps?

There are a lot of applications that fall into the employee engagement category. Sorting through all the vendors and solutions can be exhausting.

Let’s break it down honestly. The best employee engagement apps for your business isn’t a straightforward answer. Although there are certainly category leaders (e.g. we love Slack for computer worker collaboration, for example), finding the best app for your company will come down to a few factors:

  • How does your company define engagement? Are you looking for badges and engagement features such as likes/comments? Or are you looking for a channel that supports micro-learning, the sharing of resources, and the ability to inspire your teams? There’s a time and a place for either type of channel, it just depends on your employees and what they need and want.
  • What are your goals for improving employee engagement? It’s possible that you need a variety of tools and channels to make meaningful improvements to employee engagement. You may need an app that improves your top-down communication (like theEMPLOYEEapp) and an app that helps with recognition (like OfficeVibe).
  • What tools and channels do you already have? You want to choose additional technology that is going to support your overarching strategy for improving engagement. We recommend auditing your existing communications channels as well as employee experience/HR technology to see where your gaps are.

What Do Employee Engagement Apps Cost?

Often, the cost of an app for employees will depend on the number of employees contracted to use the application. Some providers, like theEMPLOYEEapp, do this on a tier-based system to make our product affordable regardless of if you are a small business or an enterprise.

How Do I Make the Case to Leadership For An Employee Engagement App?

As an internal communication, human resources, or employee experience team, getting leadership approval for a new tool can be the most challenging part.

But, remember, you’ve done your research. You know the data behind why improving engagement helps the bottom line. And you looked at all the options out there, read the reviews, and have the vision for how you’ll implement the tool.

To make your case to leadership, that’s what it takes. Show them:

  • The potential ROI of an employee engagement app. Use the benchmark studies from companies like Gallup to show your leadership team why engagement is important.
  • Your strategic roadmap and how the app is instrumental to it. It’s important to illustrate why the app you’ve chosen is going to be instrumental in your success. Not to mention, showing them that you have a plan for how you’ll use the tool is a major selling point. No one wants to invest in technology that doesn’t have a clear rollout plan.
  • Why you chose your engagement app vendor. Whether it’s because of the cost-benefit analysis or the stellar reviews, give your leadership team the peace of mind that you’ve done your research.

virtual employee engagement video call

How Do You Engage Employees Virtually?

The secret to engaging employees isn’t really a big secret. We’ll let you in on it: give them what they need.

Too often, we get caught up in making things incredibly fun or creative, sharing stories, and going all editorial on our teams. But your company’s engagement app isn’t like TikTok or Meta or Instagram. It’s not, and that’s okay!

What your app is, however, is a resource. If your employees don’t find the information they need, it won’t matter how “fun” your app is, they likely won’t keep coming back to use it. So, if you’re looking to engage virtual employees, both remote and frontline, start by asking them what they need as well as what they would like to see on an app.

Too often, we leave the employee voice and their feedback out of these decisions, and that’s the biggest mistake. Value their voice and contributions and let that help shape what your employee engagement app is. We guarantee that will lead to greater success than trying to guess what they might find “fun.”

How Do You Keep All Staff Motivated and Engaged?

Once you figure out what your employees need to feel supported in their role, it’s about maintaining those levels of motivation and engagement. So, how do we do that?

  • Start a regular cadence of pulse surveys. Trust us, if you can implement employee surveys successfully, this is going to become a strategic secret weapon. Not only will you gain valuable insights into how to adjust your strategy, you’ll also show your people you care about their opinion.
  • Show recognition and appreciation regularly. Too many employees feel like they never receive praise for their hard work. Odds are, you’ve been in a role where your manager didn’t say thank you or someone else took credit for your work. Do you remember how demoralizing that was? Starting a sustainable recognition program can be a great way to put an end to that feeling of not being valued.
  • Provide opportunities for growth. Whether employees have the opportunity to be promoted, change jobs within the company, or receive additional training, giving employees resources to improve themselves is a great way to boost motivation.
  • Communicate transparently. Nothing destroys trust faster than not communicating and not being transparent in those communications. Your employees are adults and they can see through platitudes. They know there’s an elephant in the room even if you’re not ready to talk about it. So, open up the lines of communication. Acknowledge adversity or challenges even if all you can say is, “we know this is happening, but we’re still working on a solution.”

At the end of the day, remember that engagement is two-sided. Your employees still have to choose to engage and show up. All you can do is create a work environment and culture that is supportive, transparent, and enjoyable to participate in.

theEMPLOYEEapp: An Employee Engagement App

theEMPLOYEEapp is a great communications app choice if you are looking to engage your employees. Because we made our app with the mission to help companies engage all their employees, including the hardest to reach, we have developed our application to help you reach and engage deskless, remote, and dispersed workers.

In 2022, we announced the release of our enhanced employee engagement functionality to be even stronger when it came to employee engagement and amplifying the employee voice. As such, our employee app allows users to:

  • Like and comment on content that matters to them, including thread commenting to make conversations in comments easier.
  • @ mention users, which sends them a push notification, to amplify employee recognition and help with task management and reminders.
  • Follow hashtags to see all content on specific topics.
  • Save content to the app for offline viewing so they don’t lose access to the resources they need.
  • Contact employees and departments that are listed in the app directory, making it easier to get help and ask questions.
  • Share content (if enabled) on their social media networks, enabling employee advocacy.

Engagement App Success Stories

Implementing theEMPLOYEEapp’s employee engagement app has proven to be highly beneficial for numerous companies. Here are a few success stories that highlight the positive impact of employee engagement apps:

  • Ryman Hospitality, a hospitality and entertainment company, implemented our app to enhance communication and culture for their distributed workforce. The app’s communication features enabled real-time updates, reduced information silos, and fostered a sense of connectedness among employees.
  • Veterans United, a company that provides home loans to veterans, is a Best Place to Work award recipient. Culture and employee engagement are so important to this company, that they wanted to find a way to keep employees feeling connected even when they aren’t at the office. They use our employee app for fun events, innovative information sharing, and more.

These success stories demonstrate how employee engagement apps can positively impact various aspects of organizational performance, including communication, collaboration, recognition, learning, and overall employee satisfaction. By leveraging the right app with the appropriate functionalities, organizations can unlock the full potential of their workforce and create a thriving and engaged work culture.

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