Today at German T-Systems Multimedia Solutions GmbH (MMS) more than 70% of employees use the employee app, which does more than simply acting as a channel for internal communications.
The initial rollout was almost 2 years ago and the T-Systems MMS employee app case has been presented at several J. Boye group meetings and conferences. I’ve often heard the same feedback from members saying that they initially did not think much of an employee app, but after hearing the case study, it changed their perspective.
In this brief posting, I’ll share the key parts of the story and some of the impact the app has had with thanks to internal communications manager Susann Wanitschke from T-Systems MMS.
Why an employee app at T-Systems MMS?
In a time of change, where many organisations still don’t engage with employees on their mobile phones, I give credit to the team at T-Systems MMS for being one of the first movers and rolling out back in September 2015.
The three key pain points that led to the introduction of an employee app was:
- Employees could only read news on the intranet
- Many employees are often on the road
- It took too long to get relevant content on the intranet
In the big picture, the objective was also to not only be an innovative company for customers, but also for employees and to achieve more employee engagement.
Securing adoption of the employee app
The initial launch in 2015 was at a key company event and since then improvements have been rolled out alongside big company events. The events have been used to drive adoption with the event ticket and updated program available inside the app. Using the app you can also create your personal event schedule, vote and view a livestream.
Besides the usual internal communications content, a key aspect of the app is also to look more broadly at the employee experience, including having fun with games around football tournaments, sharing lifestyle content in a channel named ZAZU after a character from the Lion King and playing games around Christmas time.
Achieving the right balance between data protection and usability is probably one of the key challenges, but in my view, also the key part of successful adoption. Employees need to have the trust and confidence that their data is used appropriately and at the same time, the app needs to be easy to install and use. If you want to have a look at the app, simply go to the App Store on iTunes or Google Play and that’s also how it has been rolled out at T-Systems MMS.
The current 70% adoption is even more impressive considering the fact that the app is not mandatory and much of the content is also available on the intranet.
Push notification as a game changer
One of the key benefits of having an employee app, in particular, compared to a mobile-friendly intranet, is the ability to do push notifications. As known from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and other popular apps, push notifications appear on the smartphone alerting the user to something new.
At T-Systems MMS they have rules and guidelines around the usage of push notifications and limit themselves to no more than every other day. On average the numbers show, that a push message receives 3x the views and reactions compared to usual messages that do not get pushed. According to Susann, they’ve also experimented around the best time of day for push messages, with before lunch time and end of working day as the ones with the most impact.
As an employee, you do have the option to turn off push notifications. According to Susann, less than 25% have done so at T-Systems MMS.
Next steps for the employee app
Recently secure chat has been introduced and it is working very well according to Susann. On the roadmap are features around onboarding for new employees and update channels for communities where every employee can publish.