Designing Mobile Apps for the Disconnected Worker

July 14, 2015 Nicole Klemp

disconnected worker

There is a literal disconnect happening with a large part of today’s workforce that could easily be remedied with mobile technology. Many of today’s mobile enterprise applications don’t align with the way employees actually work. In reality, less than half of all U.S. workers even have a company email address. But it makes sense — people like line workers and those in the service industry don’t ordinarily have the time to sit down at a computer and check their email. And most factories and restaurants may have (at best) one computer — and it’s likely for management use only.

Still, companies need the capability to communicate important information to these workers — things like corporate policy updates, HR documentation, payroll, etc. We already know that better technology resources equal a better Worker Experience, and in turn, happier customers.

So how can organizations connect with a large population of traditionally disconnected workers?

They can reach those workers the same way they are already (likely) trying to connect with their customers — through mobile. About 80 percent of full-time workers in the U.S. have a smartphone with internet access. So, if employees had access to an enterprise application that could push important messages and documents to their phone, companies could essentially reach over two-thirds of their workforce instantly, and with minor interference to employee productivity.

Many notable companies are already starting to embrace this capability. Hard Rock Hollywood partnered with Louisville-based startup Red e App to roll out a secure enterprise platform to better communicate with their 3,000+ employees. Approximately 40 percent of Hard Rock Hollywood employees have adopted the app, with an impressive 96 percent read rate on one-to-one messages.

Discount retailer, Family Dollar, developed an iPad application for managers to monitor performance metrics and inventory data — saving them time and allowing the company to scale over 8,000 stores. The surprising thing about this is that Family Dollar put this mobile process initiative in place before developing a consumer-facing strategy. Which is a testament to the value of putting mobile technology in the hands of employees.

Find out how your employees really feel

All employees should be made to feel that they are more than just clock-punchers. Engaging these workers in a more personal way can make them feel more connected to their company and increase loyalty and job satisfaction. Mobile presents a great opportunity to not only push information to employees, but to receive feedback from them as well. Bunny Inc., a company that connects companies with voice-over talent and resources, has found a way to gauge the daily satisfaction of their remote employees. The company uses an app called Niko Niko for daily happiness check-ins with employees. Workers can swipe across their smartphone screens to indicate their overall mood or to answer survey questions from the company. The app’s “happiness meter” indicates how employees are feeling, and allows them to comment on any areas of the business that need improvement.

The introduction of mobile apps to any organization is just one of the ways to build the Worker Experience. The goal of any new initiative should always be to increase employee engagement through a collaborative and open company culture.

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