I remember clearly that a couple of years ago, a leading mobile handset manufacturer talked about a term called “micro-boredom”. Micro-boredom happens in very small slices of time in which we do not know how to fill the time. And mobile devices, with their applications, provide the escape route. Clearly, I felt that this is going to be an important trend which will mean that mobile devices with a large apps ecosystem would flourish. That’s what is happening today with iPhone and Android devices. But, importantly, micro-boredom is a trend and people do tend to look at mobile devices as a way to fill in the void. And you can possibly see this trend all around you – think about daily commutes, coffee breaks, waiting for someone – the list is endless. In effect, I think that there are multiple opportunities to have the attention of people.
On the other hand, there is some data (though limited to the USA) from a mobile analytics firm, Flurry, to suggest that mobile app usage is not only increasing over time, but is also actually ahead of the traditional web consumption. This reinforces the strength of the mobile medium.
Combining the two trends above, I feel that the most ubiquitous, available, connected and engaging screen is the screen of a smart-phone. It is always with the individual, it is always on and one can push content on it. While a number of companies are using this screen for engaging their customers, I have not come across companies with a mobile strategy for engaging their employees. The possibilities are endless. It could be an enterprise social networking app to keep up with other colleagues or the latest news about the company or to check out what is the next product being developed by the team on the 18th floor! It could be a video app where people could listen to senior leaders articulating the purpose of the company or the new strategy. It could be an app that provides e-learning. It could be an intelligent recommendation engine app that looks across all your enterprise web activities and recommends books for professional development. Or it could all come together in an integrated app. I could go on, but I am sure that we can conjure up even greater possibilities with this.
I think having a mobile strategy for engaging employees is very important already, though it may not be widely recognized as a need. I think this is a powerful medium to connect and engage with employees. If you have any ideas on how to bring a “mobile employee engagement strategy” to life, do write in!