The United Kingdom

How Employee Apps Are the Backbone of Successful Enterprises

January 14, 2021

Discover why employee apps power talent retention, improve job satisfaction and increase productivity within your workforce.

Adapt internal communication to your workforce

From a business perspective, digital tools are a necessity to survive and thrive in today’s market. Employees are constantly becoming more tech-savvy and with the Millennials and Generation Z estimated to make up the majority of the global workforce by 20251, digitalisation is a key driver to meet employees’ expectations.

Yet, the shift in the workforce demographics hasn’t caused businesses to change their employee communication massively, research shows. Despite having a smartphone penetration rate of more than 90 % in developed countries2, Email seems to remain the preferred medium for communicating with employees3.

The gap between employees’ mobile usage and employers’ old ways of communicating spawns new opportunities for businesses to engage even further with their workforce via employee communication apps. And businesses have everything to gain by focusing heavily on creating tighter bonds with their employees.

According to a survey from 2020, more than ⅓ of employees are actively looking for a new job and only 19 % consider themselves “very engaged” when working. Moreover, 26 % feel that the lack of recognition and appreciation by management and coworkers are the highest barriers to increased engagement at work4.

Recognising these challenges, we explore how employee apps can help businesses to attract talent, improve employee satisfaction and increase productivity within the workforce.

Is your internal communication a strength or a weakness to your organisation?

Retain talent through digital recognition

Employee turnover remains one of the biggest challenges facing every company. Statistically, the loss of work, looking for replacement and training courses costs employers ⅓ of the employee’s salary5. And with an average staff turnover rate of 15 % in the UK6, the amount rises to millions of pounds each year.

The top reasons for employee turnover can be broken down into three categories:

  • Lack of compensation (52 %)
  • Lack of career advancement (34 %)
  • Lack of recognition (19 %)

While compensation and career advancement are to be expected high up on the list, the lack of recognition is surprisingly high. 19 % of employees decide to leave a company because they don’t feel recognised for their contribution. This is the third most common reason employees decide to leave a company7

Employee app with gamification for a global facility service company

For ISS, a Danish company with more than 500.000 employees globally, rewarding employees through an employee app with gamification served as the right solution to engage their workforce. By enabling them to register tasks and problems with management through a photo-sharing option, the app rewards employees every time they help the company with internal reporting on service and maintenance issues.

Appraisal is a strong motivator

While face-to-face recognition shouldn’t be replaced, employee apps using push-notifications can quadruple message cut-through and increase reach by over 800 % thereby facilitating communication between colleagues more easily and quickly8. Like ISS, recognizing a job well done doesn’t have to be manifested via pay raises to have a positive effect on employees’ well-being. 90 % say that receiving recognition motivates them to work harder and 91% believe that a recognition culture makes a company more attractive for future employees9.

Being recognized as a valuable asset to the company is tied closely to overall job satisfaction. And while job satisfaction often increases with a visible recognition from management and coworkers, other elements play just as an important role in the process.

Collect and catalogue feedback easily via employee apps

Experiencing some level of friction at work is to be expected by both employer and employee. How businesses approach and handle that friction, however, has a big impact on employee job satisfaction. 90 % report that they are likely to stay at their current company if it acts on employee feedback10.

Despite this known factor, only 1 out of 4 employees agrees with the statement: “My company takes my feedback and suggestions seriously and effectively”11. This incoherency indicates that companies are not taking employee feedback seriously or have the setup needed to retrieve and act on valuable critique from the workforce.

Customised employee reviews to elevate job satisfaction

Hunter Warfield, a revenue recovery agency in the financial industry, experienced painful performance reviews with their semi-annual review cycles. On off-quarters, the business conducted smaller reviews that were distributed manually. The company discovered that their processes weren’t helping employees and managers to talk openly about career goals, progress or giving or receiving recognition. By implementing an internal app focused on employee feedback, HR and managers were able to customise features such as check-ins, 1-on-1’s and self-reviews and collect and catalogue all types of feedback in a digital system.

“My supervisor care about me as a person”: Up 14%
“At work, someone encourages my development”: up 9%
“Within the last 6 months, someone has talked to me about my progress”: Up 15 %12

Company technology is tied closely to high job satisfaction

For companies struggling with poor reviews from its workforce, Hunter Warfield serves as an inspiration as to what businesses can achieve quickly by implementing digital feedback tools in the workplace. In fact, research suggests that just by having a more agile approach to employee feedback, businesses can adapt better to employee needs as more than half of the workforce would like reviews at least once a month instead of the annual or bi-annual performance review system carried out by 70 % of businesses13.

Like text-messaging has replaced physical letters, running performance reviews via an employee app could spell a win-win situation for both employer and employees. Studies show that:

51 % of employees are more likely to have strong job satisfaction if they work in fully enabled digital workplaces where new technologies are in use14.

Despite these numbers, businesses are still struggling to adopt new technology into the hands of their employees. And it’s a costly affair when taking a closer look at how simple technology can lift company performance to new heights.

Increase productivity by offering digital experiences with employee apps

Whether it be it-infrastructure or digital tools in the workplace, technology has a major impact on company performance. On average, digital leaders are 26% more profitable than their industry competitors15. And for large enterprises, the difference can add up to many millions of pounds on the bottom line.

Using e-learning to streamline retailers

As a luxury brand, the Danish mattress giant Tempur was challenged by third party retailers that didn’t deliver the same level of service and expertise as their product and brand promised. With high costs related to training sessions and a more mobile sales team, they were looking for a smarter solution. Through motivating e-learning that leverages gamification dynamics on a device staff were familiar with, Tempur was able to educate retailers in a creative and engaging way.

The Tempur app, The Sleep Academy, has increased top-of-class mentality amongst sales personnel with over 93 % in return use and 60.000 screen views per month. It has also provided country managers with valuable statistics and knowledge of their sales team. Read more about the case here.

Going digital doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel

Like Tempur, introducing technology doesn’t have to change workflows dramatically. Gamification and e-learning are powerful tools to engage and educate employees, which in turn have a positive impact on the business as a whole. So do companies with a strong learning culture have up to 50 % higher engagement and retention rates compared to those that don’t16.

Utilising technology to train and engage employees also opens up for redistributing resources more effectively. So do the need for physical training programmes and courses diminish with e-learning via mobile devices, while the company can track performance and engagement more effectively.

Engagement is one of the most important KPIs for companies to track if they want to increase productivity. According to Gallup, unmotivated employees are a tangible headache as they on average cost companies 3,400 USD for every 10.000 USD they make. And with a regular employee spending approximately 90.000 hours at work in a lifetime, it amounts to millions of pounds17.

Digitising employee communication will future proof your organisation

Old ways of communication internally have lost its business value considerably when comparing it to employee expectations and demands. Yet, the need to communicate to and with your employees is more important than ever to secure talent, improve job happiness and increase productivity within your organisation.

Deciding on which tools to use for employee communication can be challenging since multiple factors influence how your company should structure your internal communication setup: How digitally mature is your organisation’s workforce? Do you struggle with attracting talented employees? Or is it a challenge to keep them? These are just a few out of many questions impacting your organisation’s choice of technology.

Employees want to see employers act on their feedback, recognise their contribution to the business and develop their professional skill sets. No matter the solution, companies failing to embark on improving and digitising their employee communication will keep fighting an uphill battle to attract talent and build a high-performing business that stays competitive in the years ahead.


[1] Capital, “Millennials and Generation Z – The New World of Work”, 2018.

[2] Deloitte, “Global mobile consumer trends, 2nd edition”, 2017.

[3] Kevin Ruck, “Exploring Internal Communication: Towards Informed Employee Voice”, 2018

[4] 2020 Engagement & Retention Report. Failure to Engage.  Achievers 2020.

[5] HRDive, “Study: Turnover costs employers $15,000 per worker”, 2017.

[6] Monster, “What is the ideal employee turnover rate?”,  2020.

[7] Achievers, “2020 Engagement & Retention Report. Failure to Engage”,  2020.

[8] Staffbase, “The return on investment of an employee app.”

[9] Achievers, “2020 Engagement & Retention Report. Failure to Engage”,  2020.

[10] Achievers, “2020 Engagement & Retention Report. Failure to Engage”,  2020.

[11] TINY Pulse, “The 2019 Employee Engagement Report”, 2019.

[12] Hunter Warfield and

[13] Reflektive, “The Growth Divide Study“,  2018

[14] Aruba, “Beyond Productivity. The Human Side of the Digital Workplace Quantified”, 2018.

[15] Capgemini Consulting, “The Digital Advantage”, 2012.

[16] 2018

[17] Gallup – 2017


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