Improve staff engagement with mobile apps

The Zombie Apocalypse is with us. Zombies everywhere, roaming the streets, invading restaurants, occupying the cashiers counters in banks, and manning security booths. You can identify the zombies from their deformed arms and thumbs, as well as the crocked cervical vertebrae that holds their head at an awkward angle. The only part of their body that appears to be alive is an appendage that glows from a 5.5 inch screen, glued to their palms and flashing images before their slow blinking eyes.

No, its not a Zombie Apocalypse, its a Zombi E-pocalypse and we can blame the late Steve Jobs for creating a generation of people with wires coming out of their ears. Mr. Zuckerberg is however responsible for sucking the life out of them and making them seemingly irresponsive the real life happening around them. He did this by incorporating Artificial Intelligence into his social network, but now the new generations intelligence is artificial.

It is this antisocial behaviour that discourages top executives from taking social media seriously. “What type of people will you reach with social media?” they ask with a frown, thinking that it is their grandchildren and the immature that are constantly engaged with new media. The numbers tell us a different story as they indicate that there are 21 million data connections in the country according to the mobile service provider returns, so really every man and his dog is online.

Rather than view this behaviour with scorn, think about the opportunities that are provided by ubiquitous connections to communication, information and entertainment. Unlike the past when we listened to the radio in the morning, read the paper when we got to work and watched TV in the evening, today audio, text and video is with us 24/7.

In digital marketing and communications the current focus is on reaching external audiences with advertising and public relations in mind but somewhere along the way the internal audiences have been forgotten. Companies launch massive culture programmes and use posters, wall hangings and desktop props to infuse their positive mantras among their staff.

With the global average of time spent on the internet at two hours and 15 minutes then surely this must be a media that we want to use for our internal communications to energise our staff. Brazilians are at the top of the pile with an average of five hours and 54 minutes spent on the internet and I’m sure Kenya is way up there too.

To build excitement you’ve got to start with a strong insight about your team members upon which you can build an engagement app that is easy to use and intuitive. The activities therein must capture their hearts and minds and offer incentives that are relevant both to them and your company’s goals.

For example if you intend to improve communications across individuals and departments in the business, then a section of the app would award points for the number of interactions people had with others in a day, and combine the departments points at the end of the month. Those with the most points win a grand prize that gives them the bragging rights and keeps them motivated.

You’ll have to keep track of the usage levels of the app to ensure that it is doing what it is meant to do and be ready to refresh the content when you detect a dip in usage. So the next time you see the zombies glued to the 5.5 inch screen you can be comforted that part of that time is being used on your culture app to keep them inspired and focused.


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