In eCommerce, push notifications increase engagement by 278%. And what works for external communication also is a game changer for internal communication. Push notifications finally make immediate responses and reception of important information possible anytime, anywhere. They inform, alert, help to maximize the efficiency and productivity of your workers and increase engagement.In fact, push notifications boost app engagement by 88% and 65% of users return to an app when push is enabled.

Push notifications in internal communication

Similar to text messages push notifications are mostly read within the first three minutes while this is only the case for 22% of emails. Our customer T-Systems sees a 3 times higher rate of readers if a new message has been pushed. And 75% of users from our customer Viessmann read pushed messages within one hour.

So Let’s Break it down: Why Push Notifications?

  • Engaging users: We don’t have one single app on our phone, we have dozens. For shopping, banking, traveling, work and working out. Push notifications don’t only help you to keep users active and coming back but also provide relevant information which encourages engagement, sparks recognition and increases involvement.
  • Update your employees: For your employer brand to be received positively you need to be a trusted source of information for your employees. Push Notifications enable you to be the first when it comes to spreading market realities, as well as developments inside the company. This transparency increases trust and creates a lasting relationship between employer and employees.
  • Relieve the burden on your editors to create new, engaging content every day: Considering the intranet the pressure for editors was on. Creating new content every day was necessary in order to ensure that people would come back. An intranet that hasn’t seen new content in 2 weeks is dead. With an app and push notification enabled this is no longer the case. Editors will be able to create content every two or three weeks and can still ensure that users will receive the news because they can simply push them to the concerned group.
  • Usability and effectiveness: Push notifications are not only already a central part of your employees lives but they are also a lot less messy than emails. They are quick, easy to manage and come on the device with the highest response rate: the smartphone. In addition, on the developer and administrator side, they are simple to produce and don’t cost additional money. Also, considering the user experience, they don’t add more information to your employees already overflowing email inboxes.
  • Remind and train you employees: In addition to information push notifications can help in HR processes such as onboarding and rewarding employees, as well as with training aspects and benefit programs. Automating these processes is the started step for an overall positive employee experience.

The Ultimate Rules to Follow When Sending Push Notifications

With great power comes great responsibility. Push messages work, but sending to many notifications, sending at the wrong time, not targeting your messages or simply not providing value can quickly lead to employees turning the push notification of, or, in the worst case, to deleting the app.

So consider the following rules when you generate the next push:

  • Create value for your employees: When you send out push notifications always consider that you possibly interrupt your employees in their daily life. If the notifications aren’t valuable to them they will simply turn them off.
  • Create relevance: No that’s not the same thing as value. According to a Push Index data study, highly targeted messages increase response rates by 293%! Consider targeting the push notifications according to departments, locations and teams.
  • Align with your company culture and brand: Before you send your first push notification take some time in order to decide how you want to come across and how you want to say things. Push notifications are an extension of your company and your relationship to your employees so make sure that you are consistent in your tone.
  • Keep in mind that you want to engage, not repel: Provide timely and relevant information so your users are the first to learn about company news, benefit plans or shift updates, not that Marc got a new cat yesterday.
  • Measure, learn and improve: Track the push notifications and the open rates. This will help you to determine which notifications are more interesting and hence engaging to your employees and helps you to fine-tune the process.

Work on the Timing and Wording

Localytics data shows that when using external push notifications Thursday currently is the best day for high click rates. Considering the time of day the data shows that sending messages between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. results in the highest average click rate: 15%.

This number is in now way related to push notifications on an internal employee app though. Our customer T-Systems has had the following experience:

Push notifications are really positive for us but we set some rules around them.

We have made an agreement with the works council that we can send as many push notifications as we want between 9am and 5pm. Since we don’t want to “annoy or spam” our employees, we are only sending one notification daily, mostly every second day. According to the statistics, pushed contributions are read up to three times more often than other news. The teaser for a push notification (currently it is the title of the article) plays an important role. Interesting, funny or thrilling teasers are opened more often. But the time the push notifications are sent, influences the reading rate too. Does the employee have enough time for reading news or is he already working? Once the employee unlocks his phone e.g. for a call, the teaser is no longer shown on the start screen and falls into oblivion. So we are pushing directly before lunch or closing time.”

Learning from this experience we advise you to analyze the working hours of your employees and send them push notifications during breaks and shortly before and after work. This might vary depending on the different jobs, departments and locations and your notifications should be targeted accordingly. 

In terms of wording, keep your messages clear, concise, and compact. The aim is to quickly communicate the message and catch your employees attention. Not to inform them in depth.

Statements are more effective than questions. In other words, notifications should offer clear, concrete value that encourage the employee to click-through.

Push Image, Employee App

Considering Concrete Use Cases

When starting to use push notifications our customers often not only ask us why, when and how many messages to send but also what information they should be pushing. Considering the rules above the following use cases have shown to be the most efficient and value packed for your employees:

  • Emergency situations: Use push notifications to inform your employees on weather emergencies, roadblocks or office issues. This information is not only highly relevant to them but can also save time, increase the safety culture and boost efficiency. With push notifications your field workers are only a few clicks away.
  • Deadlines: As mentioned above targeted (!) push notifications can be used to remind teams or departments of project deadlines or upcoming deals. Company-wide you can also use deadline announcements for example to announce benefit enrollments deadlines. Always focusing on the employee value.
  • Upcoming Events: To also put a bit of fun and gamification in there you can push notifications that promote the next christmas party, sports event or a team get-away.
  • App Updates: Apart from using the notifications to promote value don’t forget that they are part of a bigger application: the app itself. And an app comes with regular updates. So inform your employees on new features they can use or the new design coming up.
  • Major company news/ announcements: Focusing on major here. Yes you want to promote your company and employee apps are often primarily used as news channels. But consider that not every piece of information concerning the company is worth interrupting your employees in their daily life. This is often where you overdo it. Think of the least interested person in your company and only send out news as push that would even get a like from that person.
  • Schedule Reminders: One of the biggest advantages of mobile push notifications is that you can include deadlines into your publishing plan. The report is due tomorrow? Send a targeted push notification to the people involved in the project.

Don Wooldridge, Vice President of Culture Development and Training at TradeWinds Island Resorts says:

“After we had the app for a while we did a survey about push notification and found the results quite interesting. We had a large portion of our population tell us that they wanted the phone to ding every time something was published on the app. This segment made it clear that they only looked at the app when it got their attention and if we wanted them to see the message we had better push notify. Then we had a second, equally large population that said they only wanted push notifications in case of emergencies. This group was clear that they would check the app when they had time but did not want to be bothered on their off time by and employer’s app dinging their phone.

“Then, of course, there was a pretty sizable group in the middle who were fine either way. Where we are now is that we have a policy that we only use push notification in three instances:

  1. If we sponsor a contest on the app (which we do frequently)
  2. If there is an emergency message of some kind, or
  3. If the president sends a message.

“We also have a Managers Only Channel which goes to Managers who have a company phone. I push notify to that far more frequently because it is a company phone and they are required to keep notifications turned on.”

Push notifications are a game changer. Used in the right way they can help you to connect to your employees in meaningful ways, create value for them, increase engagement and ultimately boost the employee experience.

Have you used push notifications? Do you have some tips to share or are you interested in more information how our customers use their employee app? Then don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below!

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And if you’d like more information on how to digitize your employee communication, read more here: