Why a mobile intranet app is vital for next-gen internal comms

In the new workplace mobile-first employee engagement has become vital for enterprise success. Being able to reach frontline workers is more essential than ever and the focus should now be on ensuring they have everything they need at their fingertips to do their jobs effectively. So, why should every enterprise look at having a mobile intranet application, and what should you expect from it?

Employee communicating with colleagues on his mobile intranet app

Do I need a mobile intranet app?

Mobile applications of all kinds are ever-increasing in popularity, with figures showing that, on average, people spend nearly 90% of their smartphone usage time in apps. This is even more impressive when combined with the fact that mobile usage is continuing to rise – the average American spends 3.6 hours per day on their mobile. But it’s not just for social reasons. 10.11% of all apps downloaded in the Apple App Store in 2020 were business-related, meaning businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of providing an app for their employees to use whilst on their phones.

Having a mobile intranet app makes it easy for any employee to get any information, help, and support wherever and whenever they need it. Most people have their smartphones to hand these days and so the app will mean they have the company’s digital hub at their fingertips. Mobile intranet apps are more than just a way of sharing company news – they can enable the organization to implement changes, gather feedback from employees, and solve any issues that may arise.

The benefits to your enterprise – what to expect from your mobile app

An employee intranet enables all staff to access knowledge, collaborate, and stay informed whenever and wherever they choose. So, there are direct benefits for both your organization and your employees from utilizing a mobile version of your intranet application:

#1. An increase in productivity

Having an intranet gives your organization a centralized digital space for all employees, meaning there is the possibility to consolidate all information across the company onto a single platform. Research has found that employees spend 25% of their time searching for information in order to do their job. Making all information easy to find and available to all employees will directly increase productivity for employees.

Being able to access the intranet using their mobile will mean that employees can get the information they need, even if they are away from their desk. Downtime can also be a factor when working online – having a mobile intranet can mean that even if the internet is down, employees can still get online and access everything they need.

Unily documents on mobile

#2. Better communication with frontline workers

According to Deloitte, 70% of today’s workforce is made up of ‘untethered’ workers – those that don’t sit behind a desk every day. Because they are not sat at a computer all day, enterprises need to take into consideration the best way to keep these workers, and those on the frontline, up-to-date and to make sure that they are still getting the ultimate employee experience.

Organizations need to ensure the company experience is the same for frontline workers as it is for those in an office – and not just because it increases employee retention. Research has shown that organizations with a more engaged frontline see customer loyalty rates that are 12% higher than competitors’.

Frontline workers can often find it hard to engage with their wider organization, due to a lack of access to technology. Supplying these workers with a mobile intranet experience can revolutionize engagement, providing a direct channel of communication between the head office and the workers on the ground. It can act as a direct link between teams, senior leadership, and those employees on the ground, which is essential considering that 60% of frontline workers believe that their ideas often go unheard.

Frontline employee uses mobile intranet to stay engaged

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#3. A true digital headquarters

No two employees are the same, and so each worker’s needs and preferences should be taken into account when creating a true digital HQ. Despite technology advancements, the internet is not always built for people with visual, auditory, or physical impairments. Digital inclusion should be the bottom line essential and should be vital when building your intranet.

A mobile intranet app enables all employees to be able to easily reach the intranet and can offer functionality such as screen reading to ensure everyone has the same experience and has the same accessibility. Having content translated into a language of choice is also a way to make sure different cultures feel included and valued, and in doing so, aids in creating a truly inclusive digital hub for everyone to connect to.

#4. The ability to cut through the noise to your employees

When it comes to communicating with employees, sometimes less is more. Bombarding your workers with messages and information every ten minutes can be counterproductive, with one study showing that it can take an average of 25 minutes for a distracted employee to return to their original task.

Being able to cut through the noise to deliver vital messages to those that need them is crucial, and this is how a mobile intranet app can help. The app will lower the noise volume by storing and sorting information into a source of simplified, relevant content, keeping employees from getting lost in a vat of information. Push notifications are also a great way of making sure that users are kept in the loop, cutting through the noise so that critical information can get to those that need it. Research has shown that push notifications boost app engagement by 88%, and can increase app retention rates by 3-10x.

Mandatory read notification on mobile

#5. Ensuring worker safety

Mobile intranet apps also allow for critical updates to be delivered at pace. Protecting worker safety is a top priority, and internal comms teams have a crucial role in communicating any infrastructure changes that affect when, where, and how the team works from an operational standpoint.

Having the ability to communicate directly with employees via their mobile app is a sure-fire way of making sure they have the information they need to stay safe – no matter where they are. This boosts employee retention and builds trust for both the organization and senior staff too, as it was shown that when safety communication between the company and its workers is strong, 96% of staff believe that their employer really puts their safety first.

#6. Cost savings for the organization

Miscommunication can be costly, with studies showing that the cost of poor communication for a company can be, on average, $62.4 million per year. Communication both to and between employees is hugely important, and a mobile intranet app can aid in bridging any gaps. Users can respond to messages from other employees, ask questions, or keep tabs on a project all via their mobile.

Although widely used, email is not always the best form of communication. Mobile intranet apps can allow employee communication to happen in a precise, non-invasive way, especially when push notifications are utilized. This can aid in cost savings for the organization, as miscommunication can be avoided, and time can be spent more productively.

3 mobile intranet app features to look out for in 2021

When creating a mobile intranet app, our Product Evangelist Matt Boyd explains there are three features you should look out for.

#1. Native mobile user experience

Intranet apps have often made great use of responsive web design – the ability to ensure web pages tailor well on a variety of devices and screen sizes – but now they are taking advantage of native mobile user experience. App designs are evolving rapidly, and having a native mobile user experience means the intranet will be tailored to the device it’s viewed on.

Having modern mobile user experience design elements increases the user experience dramatically. Features such as native mobile gestures (the user can swipe an action), a tap bar pattern (the navigation menu at the bottom of the app), and a programmatic flyout (a side menu accessed via an icon or swiping from the side of the screen) can provide a better user experience, and encourage employees to use the app. This is especially valuable when you take into account the fact that 52% of users don’t return to using an app due to its aesthetics.

#2. Offline reading

Offline reading is a great way to bring the consumer-grade experience you’d expect in your personal life to enterprise technology. Information overload is real, and employees may not always have the time to read the latest important update there and then. This is where offline reading comes in. It allows employees who are either busy or often disconnected from the internet, such as frontline workers that work at airlines, to download content to read in their downtime. No matter whether your employees are 30,000ft in the air, or are operating in an oil rig in the middle of the ocean, they can get the internal communications they need to stay connected to their organization.

Having an intranet app that has the capability to download the articles into the app to store, is a safe and secure way of ensuring all employees have access to the same content. Having a mobile version of your intranet will not offer the same mechanism as an app will to download pages, store them securely, and allow users to read them.

Offline reading on Unily mobile app

#3. Biometric authentication

Mobile has long since adopted biometric authentication, allowing users to log into apps using facial or fingerprint recognition, and it’s something intranet apps should be considering to implement. Biometric authentication is a fast and convenient way to enable security on your mobile device. Your intranet and its content need to be secure no matter what device people are using it on, and biometric authentication is one of the safest security measures due to the fact it is hard to fake or steal someone’s biometrics.

The time has come to go mobile

Having a mobile app unleashes productivity and collaboration in the workforce, making communication limitless for all employees – including those workers that are untethered. If you’re interested in taking your intranet mobile, get in touch with us for a free consultation.

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