A Mobile Strategy for Employee Engagement

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!

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8 thoughts on “A Mobile Strategy for Employee Engagement

  1. Dear Abishek,

    First of all I want to thank you for your info, graphs and conclusions. I really had not thought of the relationship between (micro-)boredom, mobile apps and EE. However, as an engament coach for people and organizations I was already working on something as you decribed in your quest. In the last years I worked out a fully equipped HR/Management programm which is especially designed to show, raise and maintain EE. This programm is called “de krACHTmeting” (that’s dutch and stands for measuring forces). This programm or model can be used IRL but at this moment I’m searching for people who can help me to extend it into Augmented Reality as it’s designed and intended to go there. Your blog shook me up and showed me how unique and powerful my programm will become when I added this extra dimension. However, I’m an expert when it comes to (social, customer & employee) engagement and lack the technical skills to actually build such an app. Are you or is anybody else here willing and able to cooperate on this with me? Feel free to contact me! Because now I’ve read this blog I’m even more convinced that my EE programm has the potential to become the number 1 executable way of making EE as big as big as it should be and available for everyone worldwide. Many thanks thus! (typed on phone, sorry for mistakes in lingo or typing)

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    • Arie – thanks for your comment! Frankly, I am not a technical expert here and don’t have the know-how to develop apps. But, you should definitely bring your ideas to reality by working with some tech folks. I will certainly be keen to check out your product idea. Feel free to bounce off any ideas with me.

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  2. Completely agree with your forecast trend. I’m in China now and riding the subways, bus etc. Seems that everyone’s eyes are glued to the mobile screen.

    I was looking this QR Code and teaching presentation on slideshare on http://tinyurl.com/3u2ee5v

    The use of QR can be extended into the workplace to connect people and company information, communication updates, business strategy, policies, company video or just about anything… Employees can scan the QR for later viewing. This can be a tool to keep employees engaged during employees own time.

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  3. Hi Abhishek? Nice post – just came across it. I recently saw Toni ahonan speak aout the future of mobile and it is very compelling. I can def see the use of mobile in internal engagement strategies. For me though, embedding a social strategy into the company internally is the first step. Mobile is def one of the key enabling devices, but the acceptance of engaging in the open and uncontrolled way that social allows has to be overcome first.

    I agree with ou rec the customer/employee difference. Companies eventually accepted customer engagement but only when hey had to! The same will happen internally with employees but it is coming.

    Arie – re your tool, sounds interesting. Have you anything you can share at the moment? Also, I think in a lot of ways companies can engage through mobile already as the apps already exist – Facebook, twitter, rypple, yammer etc etc and they are all deployable on a mobile device. if companies could only make the mental shift to embrace these technologies rather than ban them the might just make a significant step forward.

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    • Gareth – thanks for stopping by my blog!
      I agree where you are coming from. Indeed, I recently got exposed to a client’s internal social collaboration initiative (using Jive). And one of the big challenges was the mindset change you are talking about. I quite liked Charlene Li’s “Open Leadership” in this regard.

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  4. I also meant to say that this engagement internally employees, using open, collaborative and social/communities as some companies are doing externally with customers is THE biggest opportunity for organisations in terms of innovation, growth, harmony and survival IMHO.

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  5. Pingback: A Mobile Strategy for Employee Engagement | INgage Alliance

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