What Makes a Great Internal Communications App?

If your organization has already adopted an internal communications app then you’ll be fully aware of the benefits. But what actually makes a great internal communications app?

The rise of enterprise apps has meant that internal communications apps are being used across organizations in a number of ways. This is resulting in more efficient workflows, faster access to information, and more productive employees.

What is the purpose of an internal communications app?

In short, internal communications apps are helpful for the following reasons:

  • Increase employee productivity
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Connects departments across a global organization
  • Maximises use of current hardware
  • Encourages positive habit building

Internal communication apps serve the overall purpose of connecting your organization through an engaging and interactive medium.

internal communications app

Why do you need an internal communications app?

Internal communications apps are versatile, and in almost all cases they are a much more effective solution than intranets, email, or newsletters. You could create apps for:

  • Company news and announcements
  • Industry updates
  • Document libraries
  • Employee directories
  • Newsletters
  • Crisis Management

Particularly within large organizations, internal communications apps are a solution to an engagement issue that often detriments company performance. Your employees are using mobile technology to complete at least 60% of their tasks, and they’re using apps on those devices 86% of the time.

In essence, you need an internal communications app to meet the needs and expectations of your employees. They expect instant updates and information on they company and their department.

What makes a great internal communications app?

There are some key features that should be at least considered when creating your first internal communication app.

1. Interactivity

Many internal communication apps are built around the same principle that an intranet or email newsletter is – broadcasting information. However, a great internal communication app will actually be constructed to enable communication, above all else.

This conversational approach is possible because of polls, surveys, forms and other interactive features that enable employees to actually engage with content.

Alternatively, add in reaction buttons so employees can ‘like’ or rate topics by upvoting content.

2. Practicality

Ideally, your internal communications app will serve a practical purpose. A good way of fulfillling this would be to find out what the most popular feature of your old intranet or previous internal communications channel was.

If your intranet had a popular section detailing what was on the office lunch menu that afternoon, you may be able to create an app on that exact topic. Ultimately, you know that your employees with interact with it.

That will not only increase the likelihood that your employees will find it useful, but it will also give you the opportunity to leverage its popularity.

3. Usability

Simply put, you want to make it easier for people to do the things they currently do.

By utilising a practical app use case you can engage more users with content they what to see. This is the perfect opportunity to offer users the opportunity to interact with content that you would also like to promote.

For example, you may want to incorporate a poll or survey as a means of gathering data from employees.

This also means that you can integrate existing features or resources into your internal app to avoid isolation.

internal communications app

Gather data from your employees using an internal communications app

It’s important to understand what you want to achieve from your app before you begin creating it. In the case of an internal communications app, you might be using it to gather data or information from your employees.

Data of any kind can be very valuable to top-level management, particularly in large organizations, as it would enable them to learn what their employees’ problems are and think of ways to solve them.

Gather insights on your employees

Insights into employee interests could also prove an effective way to create content marketing strategies or even to address the product or service itself.

This is most certainly not the only use where data collection via internal communications apps is a possibility:

  • Monitor levels of communication between certain departments to determine which need greater resources allocated to them
  • Assess which employees are actively engaging with colleagues
  • Use surveys to ask your employees what they think needs to be addressed or prioritised in regards to important company matters

How to start creating your first internal communications app

In summary, internal communications apps can range from specific to broad use cases, but essentially the key features that you use will remain the same across them all.

An effective internal communications app will support employees by being:

  • Interactive
  • Practical
  • Easy-to-use

They’re an increasingly popular way of:

  • increasing efficiency,
  • increasing productivity,
  • improving connectivity,
  • and increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

Although it may seem daunting at first, all these suggestions point towards creating a simple and practical solution that employees can use on a daily basis.

We have a step-by-step guide to help you through each of the planning stages in the lead-up to creating your first internal communications app, as well as your enterprise mobility strategy. (Download it here, it’s free!)

Alternatively, you can check out our website to learn about internal communications apps features and use cases.

[Editor’s note: This content was updated and republished on 1st November 2016]