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5 Ways to Engage Employees with Apps for Everyone

5 Ways to Engage Employees with Apps for Everyone

Look at some of the following ideas and see if they resonate with any of your firm’s challenges, and whether you could develop a similar app to create a more dynamic working environment.

The next time you see a coworker filling out something for their company on a paper form — an expense report, for example, or a vacation request — take a minute and look at their body language.

Don’t be surprised if you notice hunched shoulders as they bend over the paper, a furrowed brow as they make sure they don’t make a mistake with their pen and possibly a frown of irritation at having to go through the process in the first place. This is just one example of how manual ways of carrying out everyday business activities can lead to a lack of engagement among employees — which is precisely why more organizations, Salesforce included, are creating innovative digital alternatives instead.

Employee engagement is arguably more important to Canadian companies of all sizes than ever before. It’s not always easy to hire great staff, demand for certain skills is becoming more competitive and when someone quits, there’s always an impact on areas like productivity and even revenue. Technology can play a huge role in boosting employee engagement by making it quicker and easier to do all kinds of tasks, but not all companies have the information they need to make the business case to apply it in this area.

To address that knowledge gap, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study on the total economic impact of using Salesforce for employee engagement with platforms like Lightning and Heroku. Whereas developing internal apps might once have been intimidating and seen as cost-prohibitive, for instance, Forrester Consulting found an aggregate of multiple companies it interviewed saw a 50% faster application development process and savings of nearly $2 million over three years. Help desk calls also dropped 33%, and though it’s sometimes harder to quantify happiness, that suggests employees were probably demonstrating much more upbeat body language as they performed tasks quickly on their smartphone or laptop.

Even if those numbers are convincing, companies might still struggle to think through ideas for apps that will engage their employees. That’s okay, because beyond offering technologies like Heroku, Salesforce has plenty of case studies in how it has successfully acted as one of its own best customers.

Look at some of the following ideas and see if they resonate with any of your firm’s challenges, and whether you could develop a similar app to create a more dynamic working environment.

1. Transform an Impenetrable Intranet Into the Ultimate Employee Assistant

In theory, at least, the company intranet is supposed to be a one-stop shop for all forms and other resources employees need to be successful. The reality is that many intranets morph over time into catch-alls of content, much of which might be irrelevant or outdated. That’s when intranets became the digital equivalent of a dusty filing cabinet that nobody bothers to open.

Salesforce employees were once stuck in a similarly maze-like intranet, where 50% of the help-desk tickets entered through it got lost in the ether. Using only three developers, Salesforce built Concierge, an app based on Heroku and Lightning that makes smart use of data to personalize the experience for each employee, and modern forms of interaction like chat to streamline the process of asking for help.

Since it went live, Concierge has reduced the time it takes to resolve employee issues by 41%, and in 60% of cases they’re able to help themselves by reading a how-to article and not creating a case at all. In fact, more than 63% of Concierge users have completed at least five activities in the app. Canadian companies have already started doing similar things, like St. Joseph Health, to create a more engaging intranet experience.

2. Strike a Better Balance Between Security and Access

Nobody wants sensitive company information to get lost or compromised by a third party, but too often a focus on data protection almost seems to punish employees by making them come up with a litany of passwords they inevitably forget. You would think by 2018 we’ve reached a point where it’s possible to lock down what’s necessary in a way that doesn’t make life more onerous for team members — and we have!

Even if you’re not a security expert, you’ll probably recognize the concept of single sign-on (SSO), where an employee can use just one common way to identify themselves when they log into a cloud-based application. That’s one of the underlying features in Aloha, the tool Salesforce uses to let its own staff quickly start using the apps they need and even organizing them based on how often they need them.

As its friendly name suggests, Aloha is a welcoming way to greet employees as they move forward with a task while also making sure security features like two-factor authentication are consistently applied. No wonder Aloha now sees more than 100,000 SSO events a day, even as more than 12 new apps are added each week.

3. Bring the Team Together Around Common Goals and Objectives

We use the word “team” a lot in business, but many firms struggle to make sure everyone’s got access to the same playbook. In other words, if coworkers aren’t all aligned around the same vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures, the organization might seem disjointed.

That’s the thinking behind V2MOM, another internal app based on Lightning and Heroku that lets any Salesforce employee develop a plan around their performance goals right from their smartphone. Even better, coworkers can see each other’s V2MOMs, which makes everything more transparent and everyone more accountable.

4. Boost Collaboration, Even Among Distributed Teams

There are lots of organizations today where certain employees may need to regularly share information or contribute to each other’s success, but who rarely or never meet in person. That can cause problems when there isn’t a way to feel more regularly connected to each other.

Salesforce recognized early on the power of a “Community Cloud” that could let disparate members of our employee base turn to each other for help, share success stories and generally act more cohesively. Customers like Experian have adopted this as a best practice by creating their own Community Clouds.

5. Inspire Employees to Apply Their Time and Talent for Social Good

Great employers recognize that there is a lot of meaningful work to be done beyond what happens in their own offices. Having staff formally ask about taking time to volunteer, however, can be cumbersome and almost defeats the purpose.

A team of product managers and developers within Salesforce responded to that issue by creating Volunteerforce, which not only streamlines the process but helps employees discover new opportunities to contribute to worthy causes based on their skills, experience and interests. If they come across a nonprofit or other organization that’s not listed in Volunteerforce, they can add it, which makes the app even more powerful as a tool for nurturing corporate culture.

This handful of examples is just the beginning, of course. Download our eBook to learn more about many other ways the platform has changed life at Salesforce — and how you could use it to boost employee engagement in yours.

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