Before the Covid-19 crisis turned the world upside down, we were used to getting a degree of pushback from O365 users who had embraced Teams, or from other largely desked-based organisations who had turned to tools like Slack. There was an ‘at first glance’ assumption that a mobile-first app with a prominent comms and intranet capability was just replicating what they already had - despite our clear engagement focus.
It has taken the seismic shock of a wholesale relocation to home for people to start rethinking that assumption. First off, all that work-related noise that would fill inboxes or the air around your desk has now been redirected into multiple messaging or collaboration channels. Work carries on at pace, in an even more fragmented environment and still there’s no way for internal comms, corporate reach out and employee support to get through: there is no proper mechanism or framework for staff engagement. So ask yourself: you’ve done brilliantly at keeping the work going – but how are you planning on keeping your people going?
Those of our clients who are naturally distributed and mobile have always had this challenge – keeping people together while apart, bridging the physical and emotional gap, building really strong cohesive cultures when the fabric is stretched so far, serving the employee, not just supporting the job, this is their normal. But corporates have largely relied on the social togetherness of people in a physical office environment, with the ‘help’ of emails – increasingly filtered out - and static intranets – largely unloved - to create a collegiate culture with a metaphorical arm being wrapped around employees.
As many of them have already discovered though, that is quite challenging even in normal times – mainly because engagement and experience aren’t just ‘things’ to be plucked out of a handy box but are engendered by an ethos and an approach and certain fundamental activities and behaviours embedded over time.
There are specialist engagement tools that can support those efforts – and yes, I have my hand up here – as they champion not work but people at work. Our Engage employee app is a companion app, not a productivity app or a messaging app. It’s the companion who can more easily put that metaphorical arm around you: it’s keeping you connected, supported, valued, reassured, enabled, informed.
We’ve already seen it prosper in sectors where, because the workforce is largely non-desked, the answer hasn’t automatically been sought in the corporate default Microsoft stack – what is Teams to a trucker? Instead, manufacturers, retailers, utilities and the like have sought engagement technology to support their engagement strategy. Today the cultural attachment is there, the commitment is there, there’s plenty of social capital in the bank - because they feel that arm wrapped tightly around them. And over the weeks and months to come, that achievement could be priceless.