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Why Using A Mobile App For Employee Communications Is A Bad Idea

5 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Aug 16, 2019 8:45:00 AM

Communication is the key to success for every business. Efficient communication means you’ll be able to coordinate well within your team, ensuring that everyone is on the same page at any given point in time.

Inefficient communication can harm your productivity and even the final outcome of your projects. In fact, inefficient communication costs businesses nearly $10,000 per employee per year. Therefore, for businesses with around 500 employees, the total cost for this type of counterproductive behavior can reach $5.2 million.

As technology has progressed, there are now loads of mobile apps that can be used for communications. While they greatly benefit those who are looking to connect with their close ones, there aren’t many advantages for businesses. In fact, using a mobile app for employee communications is actually a bad idea. Here’s why:

1. Data Privacy

While mobile apps may claim to be encrypted and secure, your data may not be private when you converse with your employees on them. In fact, the most well-known mobile communications app, WhatsApp, ranked last in a report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation when it came to data privacy.

Even the European Court of Justice felt that companies such as Facebook don’t provide enough personal data protection for European users. When you’re discussing sensitive topics with your employees, it might be a good idea to refrain from using such apps as any data breach may end up exposing this confidential information. Such data security risks should be avoided at all costs, especially when you’re discussing things like trade secrets.

Click Here To Download Your Free Ebook To Find Out What Features Your Employee Notification System Must Have

2. Group Messaging Disadvantages

Mobile apps such as WhatsApp only allow up to 256 users in a group at a time. While this might work well for small teams, larger organizations can’t use the app simply because it doesn’t support the required number of members. Additionally, it is almost impossible to keep track of every message as there’s no possibility of creating threaded chats.

It’s also difficult to manage who has access to the chats because whoever obtains admin status has permanent access. Similarly, it’s not possible to selectively send messages to a smaller section of members in such group chats.

Instead, a mass notification system can come in very handy in such cases. You can easily send out messages to your employees without any restriction on the group size. Additionally, it’s possible to be selective when choosing who to send certain messages to.

Employees may also be required to share their private number with their colleagues when they join such groups, something that a minority wouldn’t be comfortable with. On the other hand, with a mass notification system, the employees only need to share their contact details with a coordinator, protecting their right to privacy.

3. Doesn’t Help in Emergencies

Whenever there’s any sort of emergency, you’d need to inform your employees almost immediately. While mobile apps may help you send out messages, the chances of every employee reading them are drastically low as some employees may not be connected to WiFi or a data network. Moreover, some people may not open app notifications in such situations, putting your employees in direct danger.

Alternatively, you can use a multi-channel emergency notification system to send out instant alerts through SMS, voice calls, social media, and internet posts. Additionally, as there’s no limit on the group size for sending out the notifications, you can expect your message to reach all employees, protecting them from any potential harm.

4. No Auditing Features

One major issue of mobile apps is that there are no provisions to audit the conversations that are taking place. The reason why automotive giant, Continental AG, banned WhatsApp from its devices was possibly because of security concerns that were raised in the courts and by data protection authorities.

While auditing conversation is essential, it is also necessary to track and record the documents and media that are sent through the app. Doing so can help in improving the accountability and identifying intrusions on data privacy. Even if there’s a need to reconstruct events from the past for an investigation, auditing features are necessary.

That’s where a mass notification system steps in. It allows you to track user activity so that you can keep up-to-date with and view everything that’s being communicated, especially the message histories of recipients.

5. Lack of Admin Control

It’s necessary to have admin controls over your communication systems. Most mobile apps offer minimal control over the group such as changing the description, icon, and adding/removing members.

Your communication system must have the option of complex user management. It should enable you to create, manage, and even delete employee accounts to ensure that only your current employees can chat within your organization. Communicating externally with specific groups and third-parties would also be an essential requirement for a mass notification system.

An additional bonus would be an option of scheduling messages for a future date or time. Advanced features, such as geotargeting and two-factor authentication ensure greater admin control over messages too.

6. Undermine Corporate Culture

Mobile apps may seem easy-to-use and trendy at first. However, beyond a certain point, they undermine corporate culture. In fact, as many as 40% of respondents to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development believe that this is most certainly the case with regards to WhatsApp. On the other hand, only 26% of respondents felt that it enhanced the workplace.

As stated before, mobile apps may help you communicate with friends and family; however, they don’t have that level of professionalism that business communication requires. Due to the lack of supervision, it’s possible for employees to create unauthorized groups and privately message anyone. Worst case scenario, the app may be used for bullying, which can lead to some employees feeling oppressed and possibly leaving the company.

Final Thoughts

Mobile apps are handy tools for communication. However, for corporate communication, it’s best to stick with tools that are specifically designed for it. Mass notification systems offer; better admin control, allow audits, protect valuable data, make it easy to message specific groups and help in building a thriving business environment.

What are other reasons why you shouldn’t use a mobile app for employee communication?

Let me know in the comments.

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