Respecting Your People with Proper Employee App Etiquette

An Employee App has the capability of putting information, quite literally, at the fingertips of all employees, wherever they are. Organizations can even alert their people with push notifications sent directly to mobile devices when they really need to know essential news.

This is powerful stuff that’s transformative in building closer employer-employee connections.

But as Uncle Ben famously advised Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Your workforce will absolutely embrace an Employee App when used in a responsible way that respects the valuable real estate it occupies on mobile devices. Just because you can always reach your people doesn’t mean that you should be besieging them with constant buzzes and beeps on their phones – especially at off-hours.

Not to go all Miss Manners here, but you need to demonstrate proper app etiquette if you expect it to become indispensable in the lives of employees. You don’t want people feeling like they’re tethered to their work all the time. The goal is to make the lives of your employees more manageable, not more frustrating.

That’s why you need to not only earn the download of your Employee App on their mobile devices but also earn the right to be kept there.

Here’s how you can do that.

Highlight the Benefits and Ease Any Concerns

Employees will have questions. Make sure you’re ready with answers.

Assure employees that it’s not mandatory that they download the app to personal devices. It is their choice. Explain that there is no tracking ability in the app. (This isn’t Big Brother monitoring employees!) Emphasize how this is intended to be a helpful and useful tool for them.

Focus on all of the things they can have in the palms of their hands. A steady stream of news from around the company. Resources that help them do their jobs. Convenient access to information like their pay stubs and benefits.

When someone feels like they’re being strong-armed into doing something, they’re less likely to do it. Help your people understand why an Employee App will be a positive experience for them and how they will be missing out if they don’t have it.

Give Employees What They Want

Employee App ExampleMy colleague Becky Graebe, our Senior Director, Communication Expert, likes to say that if you send out dinner party invitations, you have an obligation to be an excellent host. That’s a great way to approach your Employee App, too. Think about what will bring employees to the app – every day.

The content should be fresh, engaging, entertaining, and insightful every time employees visit. A large part of Employee App etiquette simply is not boring people. If a person finds nothing but dull, business-speak press releases, it’s a complete waste of their precious time. It’s also bad form.

And when you see content that is resonating with employees, based on metrics that are available on a platform like Dynamic Signal, deliver more of it. If you fill it with the right content, they will come.

If you don’t, it’s just as easy to delete the app – or at least ignore it.

Don’t Drive People Crazy with Distractions

Graebe also has written about how it’s wise for organizations to incorporate push notifications into their communication strategy. In fact, we did an analysis of the more than 350 customers using the Dynamic Signal platform and found that the “sweet spot” for employee engagement is to send between two and four push notifications each week across the entire organization. (At Dynamic Signal, we call these “broadcasts.”)

But Graebe stresses the point that if you’re going to send a broadcast to employees, you darn well better make sure that it’s worth the short interruption in their workdays. Not everything is so urgent that everyone needs to know it right now. In fact, you’re just being rude by pulling them off-task when something isn’t that critical.

Because this is new territory for communication teams, it’s essential to think through how often you want to send broadcasts and who sends them. A powerful platform, like Dynamic Signal, can enable multiple communicators to send broadcasts throughout the entire company or target them to specific roles, teams, and locations.

But it’s not the Wild, Wild West! Good governance is crucial. Consider using a shared calendar to help communicators and community managers keep track of the broadcast schedule. That way, you’re not overwhelming employees by endlessly lighting up their phones. It’s also wise, on a monthly or quarterly basis, to review your content categories to make sure the right employees are always receiving the right information – and not alerts about something totally irrelevant to them.

Watch the Clock!

It’s 9 a.m. at the home office on the East Coast. A company-wide broadcast is sent about an important announcement. But it’s hitting West Coast employees at 6 a.m. and after-hours for your APAC region workers.

Think about when your people are receiving broadcasts. Are you awakening them? Are you interrupting dinner? Is it the weekend? You can’t just send something out when it’s convenient for headquarters without expecting to aggravate employees. With a scheduling tool, like the one provided on the Dynamic Signal platform, you can set times to send broadcasts that make the most sense for employees.

There’s more to consider than just alerts, too. When any of us read a message from a manager or high-level executive, there’s a natural inclination to respond – right away. It’s no different with posts that appear on an Employee App newsfeed. It needs to be made crystal clear that when something is posted at off-hours, there is absolutely no expectation that people will see it or take action until their regular work time. In fact, there’s no obligation even to be visiting the Employee App when not working.

And that’s a nice segue to . . .

A Little Respect Goes a Long Way


(Some Aretha, if you’re now in the mood.)

If an Employee App makes people feel put upon, that the company is invading their personal space, or that they’re always on the clock, then you’re doing this wrong.

We need to treat our employees with the same TLC that we show our customers. A good Employee App wins people over. They should feel like they can’t remember a time when they didn’t have the convenience and accessibility that an Employee App provides.

When employees open up a private channel to their employer, the organization needs to respect that choice. Like most things in life, the key is finding a balance. The last thing you want to do is leave employees more susceptible to burn out or feel like they’re being hounded. You’re providing them what they need and want.

Maybe an Employee App doesn’t give you superpowers. But it is powerful.

So, use it wisely.

Learn more by reading our definitive post, “Employee App: Seven Reasons Why Your Company Needs One Today.”

Post Author

G.I. Sanders

G.I. Sanders is Senior Director, Creative Services at Dynamic Signal. He specializes in entrepreneurship, digital and social media, design, and marketing. G.I. is based in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Passions include technology, startups, music, fitness and sports.