Marketing Your Internal App

Marketing Your Internal App

This article was updated on July 25, 2018.

Mobile apps are gaining popularity in the HR space, making it possible, for instance, for employees to view pay and benefits information and conduct timekeeping.

"With more workers predicted to access business applications via their mobile devices in the future, HR leaders have an opportunity to use mobile technology to simplify administrative tasks, boost engagement and drive organizational effectiveness," reports HR Magazine.

An internal app, for instance, might have a clock, time card, calendar and team schedule, allowing managers and employees to coordinate and plan. A time and/or pay app would also offer security in the form of a convenient login such as a Touch ID and PIN. Moreover, mobile access to HR information like Time and Pay can be more efficient than traditional web access by way of a desktop.

But simply providing great value is not enough. Helping your employees understand and use your internal app should be a major component of any digital transformation initiative.

"If you build it, they will come," the saying goes. But sometimes you have to do more to get the word out. As mobile app usage among your employees (especially younger ones) booms, how can you drive adoption of your internal app?

Here are four steps to drive adoption of HR apps:

1. Develop Marketing Materials and a Campaign

Have your "value" messages ready before the launch, and then develop marketing materials appropriate for sending those messages to employees via multiple internal communication channels. Post a guide to the new app on your internal web page. Send an email message to all employees about the benefits of the app and instructions for downloading it. Create posters and put them in your break rooms and hallways. Put tent cards in the cafeteria or lunch room. Offer live demos. The idea is to make everyone aware of your app and its value, and then make a strong call to action (i.e., asking them to download the app now).

2. Promote Its Value

This is not a question of explaining the app's technical specifications. The value you must show relates to how using the mobile app will improve an employee's overall experience, making work-life more manageable. Put yourself in the employees' shoes and sketch out how using the mobile app compares to doing the same activity without the mobile app. If, for example, timekeeping can be done via a mobile app, the employee will be untethered from having to clock in via your legacy timekeeping system. Show them how this app will facilitate flexibility, mobility and simplicity by crafting your marketing messages accordingly.

3. Drive Awareness

For a mobile HR app to be successful, employees have to know about it, understand its value and then download it. Each of those steps is an important part of the employee's conversion-to-adoption journey. So when you launch your HR app, you need to drive awareness. You might organize a big social event to celebrate the launch in order to drive adoption from day one, for instance.

According to Forbes, Indiana-based digital firm, Blueridge, launched their internal, HR-related app with an ice cream social. All employees were invited via different internal communication channels and were asked to download the app and take part in a scavenger hunt/contest related to the use of the new app. "It was an absolute hit," said Blueridge CEO Santiago Jaramillo, "the team obviously loved eating ice cream and going through the scavenger hunt inside the app. That helped with getting the app downloaded on their phones and getting them familiar with what they could use inside of it."

4. Maintain Engagement

You want to keep your employees engaged in using the app, so continue collecting their feedback about how to improve the user experience. When you hire new employees, be sure to provide them with an orientation about the benefits of using your app and require them to download it. This way, they will understand right from the start that the app is an integral part of their life at your organization.

Mobile apps, such as Time and Pay apps, offer tremendous value to employees and are a great way to engage your employees no matter where they are physically located. If you deliver clear and consistent communication about its benefits and how much easier it will make your employees' lives, they will in turn be quick to jump on the bandwagon and spread the good word.