Consider this: Anyone over the age of 12 was born after the iPhone was released. A study of Generation Z’s mobile habits found that 25 percent of them received their first smartphones before the age of 10.
While millennials have been mobile pioneers, Gen. Z-ers are mobile natives born into an era of constant connectivity. They are used to immediate feedback in the form of likes and comments. They handle the majority of their day-to-day tasks through mobile devices.
All of this has significant implications for the workplace. To meaningfully engage their employees, employers need to adopt the intuitive, efficient mobile experiences employees value in their personal lives. Those employers that do embrace the mobile-first approach will have a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining employees.
In terms of your frontline workers, mobile has an even greater capacity to transform your organization’s culture, efficiency, and productivity for the better. Here are five ways mobile employee engagement can take your front line to the next level:
1. Increased Security
When it comes to mobile in the workplace, employers understandably point to the risks right away. Employee usage of personal devices for work could trigger Fair Labor Standards Act violations or compromise company security and data privacy.
The reality, however, is employees are already bringing their phones to work. It is therefore in a company’s best interests to proactively meet employees where they are. That means creating some ground rules. When you establish a clear bring-your-own-device policy, you can facilitate on-site team communication in a healthy, safe way on your terms.
Furthermore, your company can provide a specific mobile communication solution for employees to use for work, rather than the social media groups and text messages they’re currently using. With such a solution, you can configure the required security settings to protect your company without forcing employees off their mobile devices. From user verification to geofencing, it’s possible to put up guardrails to keep company and employee information safe.
2. A Central Hub for Communications
In part-time and hourly work environments, employees may be away from their work locations for multiple days before their next shift. In the meantime, they’re missing updates from their managers. Employees might even work more than one job, making it that much harder to stay in the loop and keep information straight.
When employees have an established, accessible space for work communications, they can stay up to date without being on site. Team coordination is also streamlined, saving everyone time.
Companies, many for the first time, can establish top-down communication with mobile. This enables senior leaders and managers to distribute announcements quickly and effectively to the front line. This strengthens the connection between frontline tasks and company purpose, and senior leaders can provide more direct, meaningful encouragement to their employees.
Overall, the important thing is to create a communication channel that is intuitive, easy to use, and engaging for mobile-native workers. Employees will be more likely to make consistent use of your central communication hub if it ticks those boxes.
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3. A Culture of Frequent Recognition and Appreciation
With that central communication channel established, managers have the opportunity to foster stronger team cultures. One of the best ways to do that is to provide specific, meaningful feedback to individuals and teams for their accomplishments.
According to a Gallup report, millennial workers feel more engaged when their managers provide frequent and consistent communication and feedback. However, only 44 percent of millennials report receiving feedback regularly. When managers are leading large teams, it can be difficult to find the time to provide such feedback, but a mobile employee engagement solution allows managers to connect with individuals and teams quickly and conveniently. Plus, rather than waiting until the person is on site to recognize them, managers can show appreciation immediately and in front of the whole team, increasing the weight of the recognition.
4. More Efficiency for Frontline Teams
Just as Microsoft Word replaced the typewriter in offices, mobile technology removes the need for outdated, paper-centric tasks on the front line.
For example, many companies still require paper slips for shift swaps. Furthermore, employees often resort to phone calls, text messages, or social media groups to complete routine tasks like bringing in extra staff to meet demand. These methods are inefficient, time-intensive, and frustrating. They often result in missed shifts and short-staffed teams as employees call out at the last minute when they can’t find coverage in time.
A more convenient, mobile-first solution increases the team’s effectiveness, and your employees’ time savings equate to more customer conversations on the sales floor, tidier inventory, more time for training, and more. Employees will feel more motivated, happier, and more productive, thanks to the ease of the experience.
5. Better Retention of Top Talent
An inefficient environment is draining for top-performing employees. If they feel like they’re not equipped to be as effective as possible, they may start to look for other opportunities. If you empower employees to do their best work instead, they’ll appreciate your company and be more likely to stay.
The more innovative you are, the more attractive you’ll be to top talent. Employees rely heavily on word of mouth to vet potential employers. If your company has a reputation for adopting cutting-edge technology to support and engage employees, you’ll be more likely to win in the competition for talent.
Your employees already have a powerful tool for staying connected in the palms of their hands. Tapping into this existing technology gives you the chance to meaningfully engage workers at all levels while turning your frontline employees into super-effective, high-performing assets for the company. Mobile-first employee engagement can have a real impact on your bottom line.
Brett Patrontasch is CEO of Shyft.