Mobile communication and new technologies are a huge part of the digital transformation happening in the workplace. Employee apps in particular increase engagement, enhance transparency, and help to improve the employer brand. But their value goes beyond internal communication. In fact, an employee app can handle an array of important HR services. Here are ten ways to maximize an employee app as an effective HR app.

HR app Employee Onboarding Process
A pre-onboarding function is a great way to put new hires at ease before they even step foot into the office.

1. Attract Talent and Recruit the Best

The war for the most qualified employees is intensifying. An employee app can help on three levels: attracting talent, pre-onboarding, and employee retention.

Attracting Talent

When it comes to attracting talent, an employee app can serve as a great advertisement for your company. (For one thing, it's visible in the public App Store.) It's proof that your organization is forward-thinking and places value on creating a superior employee experience for its people. And given how word-of-mouth is so influential when it comes to attracting new talent, optimizing the processes around recruitment can prove immensely beneficial.

Pre-Onboarding

Pre-onboarding often an overlooked part of the employee life cycleis a stage that can make a new employee's life much easier. Not only does pre-onboarding include the application process, but it also covers the period between accepting and starting a job. This is often a time when people experience feelings of anxiety about what's to come.

Employee Retention

An employee app lets HR professionals begin teaching new employees about their company before they even start their first day. With the app, new employees can receive the news and benefits information, for example. Plus they'll have the ability to share their experiences, as well as making comments and giving likes to the stories of their colleagues. It's a great way for new employees to introduce themselves to new coworkers.

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 really 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. 

Remote Onboarding and the Digital Workplace
An employee app gives organizations an effective tool for onboarding new hires.

Taking a gamification approach to onboarding can help relieve the stress of the first few days at a new job. And it helps to teach, inform, and train new employees. An app can present procedures in the guise of a fun quiz or treasure hunt. An interactive channel will enable employees from all locations and departments to welcome your newbies. Such initiatives create an instant feeling of inclusion, and they'll help your new recruits to feel at home from day one.

3. Bridge Communication Gaps and Share Market Realities

Employees need a clear purpose, and they want to feel like they're part of something important. But that's really only possible through clear communication. 

Most popular news channels
News channels let you target relevant information to the employees who need it most, and then see how your people are actually interacting with it.

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 ultimately 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.

Employee Safety Training Reminder via Push Notification
Training functions in the app let your employees keep current with new policies and HR information.

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—guaranteeing that your employees are well informed at all times.

5. Automate Processes

HR spends a huge amount of time on paperwork. These processes can be integrated into your employee app, allowing you more time for what you'd rather be doing: Talking to your employees.

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

Case Study: Delivering SAP Time Sheet Access with a Custom Plugin at Viessmann

Most of Viessmann’s more than 11,000 employees work in production and logistics, and until recently they had limited access to the company’s intranet. Also, most of them are smartphone users. This combination led to the birth of Vi2Go: Viessmann’s own branded employee app by Staffbase.

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 rollout at the company’s headquarters, more than half of Viessmann's targeted employees had adopted Vi2Go as a mobile information channel.

Based on this success, the company decided to use this channel to distribute HR information and services to their hard-to-reach blue collar workers. The most pressing issue was granting access to the employees’ time sheets in SAP.

Within a week, Viessmann’s internal IT had created a custom 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 time sheet.

6. Help Your Workforce

Employees have certain basic needs: documents, contact information, shift plans . . . coffee.

Employee Directory Intranet
An employee directory helps your people find one another on the go.

With an app, all of this becomes digitalized and accessible on-the-go. With an AD integration, all of your employees' contact details can be made available, including emergency contacts.

Shift updates can be communicated instantaneously and sent with a receipt confirmation request. Documents placed in the app are accessible from everywhere, and any information that needs immediate communication can be sent via push notifications. With your entire administration in the app, your workforce can effectively manage itself.

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

7. Rewards and Recognition

Being recognized and rewarded for the blood, sweat, and tears your employees pour into their work is crucially important. According to millennials and Gen Z, feeling valued at work is one of the key factors for generating engagement. And showing that you value your employees keeps them motivated.

Employee Workplace Recognition in a mobile employee app
Employee recognition in the app is a surefire way to build esteem among your valuable staff.

With an employee app you can hold competitions; for example, offering your employees points that can be turned into gift vouchers, extra vacation days, or even 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 enrollment season is a massive part of the work HR does every year. But like automated pay slips and time tracking, an app can make the process easier, faster, and way more efficient.

You can integrate your benefit plans to the app, send out tailored push notifications to people who have yet to enroll, and automatically remind everybody about important information and deadlines. The app helps your employees to understand and appreciate their benefits by effectively communicating plan options, features, and choices.

9. Cultivate a Culture of Safety

60 percent of work-related accidents happen within the first year of employment. Why? Because employees haven't been sufficiently briefed or taught the safety regulations that should accompany their daily tasks.

Not only does your app allow you to communicate your company's safety vision, but it also makes key contacts easy to find, lets you share team specific safety messages, and presents a channel that makes reporting incidents easy. 

Health And Safety At Work desktop intranet page
Putting health and safety information in your app is a great way to create a strong safety culture.

If you'd like to read more about how to create and maintain a safety culture with your employee app, click here

10. Don't Forget Your Alumni

People no longer stay in the same job forever. It's sad but true. That said, it means that your employees of today could very well be your customers and networkers of tomorrow. It’s a common misconception that employees who've left a company no longer have an influence on it. Quite the opposite. What your former employees say about you is generally received as being extremely authentic information.

And while it used to be seen as not worth the effort to include alumni in your company updates, a mobile app makes it possible to create groups and share targeted news just for your alumni. You can let your former people know that they're still part of the family, which is sure to keep engagement high—both inside and out of your organization.

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.

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