Learn How to Digitize Your Non-Desk Workforce in 20 Minutes

Learn How to Digitize Your Non-Desk Workforce in 20 Minutes

For decades, office workers have been provided with digital messaging and operational systems to help them work more efficiently. Technological advancements are crucial for evolving workplace productivity, but what about the 83% of the global workforce that doesn’t work behind a desk?

This employee demographic has been largely left out of the picture when it comes to the digital transformation office employees have been experiencing over the last decade. However, they need access to communication channels and operational systems just as much as any other employee. Sharing information like shift schedules, sales inventory, safety protocol, trainings, company updates—anything work related— effectively is critical in non-desk industries.

All it takes is the right tools

We know digitizing the non-desk workforce sounds like a daunting task, especially when most employees don’t even have a corporate email address. Luckily, it’s actually pretty simple when you have the right tools.

Recently we announced the next evolution of Beekeeper with our new Marketplace and expanded capabilities for custom integrations. Employees become instantly linked with the operational tools and people they need to do their job well. When colleagues don’t have any blockers, organizations experience increased engagement and employee satisfaction. Both of which have been proven to generate higher organizational commitment and high individual and team performance.

See how 1 Hotels uses Beekeeper to mobilize their non-desk workforce and keep operations running smoothly.

Insights you need to start the transformation

Our long-term vision is to improve the day-to-day realities experienced by 2 billion workers, ushering non-desk employees into a sustainable digital future. For that reason, our most recent white paper, “Digitization of the Non-Desk Workforce,” gives you the knowledge you need to start the process and the imperatives to look for when deciding on a solution.

Here’s a quick introduction of the white paper:

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence signal massive operational changes across virtually every industry, especially for global businesses with expansive and diverse organizational charts. With these changes stems an unprecedented boost in organizational connectivity. As employees adapt, they will discover how increased accessibility to managers, peers, and workplace tools will help them ascend into a richer, more fulfilling era of work.

When discussing hyperconnectivity, the image of an employee glued to their desktop or mobile phone may traditionally come to mind. But for non-desk employees who constitute the very backbone of many organizations in the hospitality, manufacturing, retail, etc. industries, increased connectivity takes on an entirely different meaning. For individuals whose roles require them to be constantly in motion, intensely vigilant to their surroundings, or frequently interfacing with customers, timely access to information and colleagues has the power to increase efficiency and garner many new skills.

Needless to say, executive leaders tasked with leading non-desk employees through current technological changes face a very unique and exciting challenge. Workforce digitization sits on the frontlines of this challenge. Armed with creativity, data, foresight, and the right set of tools, optimizing non-desk employee productivity through digitization becomes your golden ticket to a happy workforce and a prosperous future for your organization.

To learn how to digitize your non-desk workforce and start seeing immediate results, download the full white paper by submitting the form below.



How the GDPR Affects Your Internal Communications

How the EU GDPR Affects Your Internal Communications

As the countdown to the EU GDPR enforcement continues, organizations are frantically working to ensure compliance to avoid being shut out from doing business with the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation aims to protect both companies and the consumers they serve, so non-compliance means there’s more at risk than huge fines.

Personal data protections affect outside business, but they also impact internal communication systems within organizations. Keeping an eye on both internal and external data privacy might mean changing your organization’s communication strategy and its software.

Information Lockdown

The GDPR overview covers users’ rights to access, rights to erasure of data, data portability, privacy by design, and even involves appointment and oversight of Data Protection Officers to track compliance. Transparency in data subjects’ rights, along with enhanced protections against security breaches, will affect how your organization handles information in the future.

Locking down sensitive information is a critical component of the GDPR outline. Here is what you need to know about personal information as it relates to internal communications.

The Definition of Personal Data

If your company regularly uses email or another platform for internal communications, you should expect significant changes in the way you use those media. According to GDPR guidelines, personal data is any information about a person or data subject that offers identification. This loose definition includes:

  • Names
  • Photos
  • Email addresses
  • Bank details
  • Social media posts
  • Medical information
  • IP addresses

If your employees routinely hold private discussions via email, forward medical updates to Human Resources personnel via attachments, or work remotely, the GDPR will affect your responsibility for that information. Still, these are only a few examples of information privacy concerns within organizations.

Communication Solutions for GDPR Compliance

Choosing communication solutions that are GDPR compliant protects users’ data by default. Both internal employees sharing personal information and workers processing client information will follow the same guidelines for information privacy.

Whether your business is part of the EU or not, clients and employees alike will recognize GDPR compliance as a sign that your organization takes privacy seriously. At the same time, acknowledging that employee communication, both on a personal and professional level, contributes to workplace morale is another component of GDPR adaptation.

Improved communication policies and platforms help employees connect and ease the often-complicated transfer of information. However, getting employees on board may prove the most challenging part of adapting to GDPR standards. Still, user-friendly services and integrations can help ease the transition, so choosing the right communication solution takes precedence.

Blocking Hacker Activity

Companies that fail to protect their employees’ and customers’ personal information face substantial costs in the form of fines and lost business if the breach goes public. Conforming to GDPR standards not only adds further protection from hackers, but also guarantees that your company maintains client trust.

The new regulations mean that information traveling online might require a specific type of encryption protection (like end-to-end), but many businesses need more than email to support internal communications. Confidential peer-to-peer communication is one component of organizational communication systems, but that security can extend to all areas of the business to conform to the EU GDPR.

Communication Guides Productivity

At a time when business truly is global, ensuring that your company’s communication methods support rather than reduce its productivity is a priority. In fact, improved communication and collaboration through social technologies can raise productivity by 20 to 25%, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

At the same time, adapting to alternative communications that adhere to GDPR guidelines now means that when May 2018 rolls around, you’re ahead of the deadline in guaranteeing compliance. As a bonus, moving away from conventional communication methods frees up the time you previously spent clearing up misunderstandings due to lagging internal communications.

Employee Contributions to Communication

Although cybersecurity is a considerable concern for business owners, employees are often left out of the loop. Making sure that employees care about cybersecurity is the first step in adhering to the new privacy rules. Encouraging employee participation and feedback is a huge part of maintaining cybersecurity throughout your organization.

Your internal communications approach should consider employees’ needs and responsibilities. As you roll out new processes and guidelines to conform with GDPR guidelines, involve employees in the process. Create a communication policy that clearly defines expected employee behavior and notes any upcoming changes in communication platforms.

Making sure to highlight when and through which channels personal information should travel is the first step, but helping staff understand the intent behind these policies is essential, too. Soliciting employee feedback confirms understanding and clarifies any details. This goes a long in way in improving and securing communication.

Participation to Productivity

While taking the time to help employees through a transition in both procedure and software may initially detract from productivity, note that companies with high effectiveness in change management and communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their industry competitors. This comes from a study by Towers Watson which highlighted employee contributions as they impact an organization’s bottom line. The study’s findings illustrate an intricate relationship between internal communication, management guidance, and job performance.

Is your organization GDPR compliant? Download Beekeeper’s 31-Point Assessment to Ensure GDPR Compliance created by our Data Protection Officer to find out.



How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

These days it’s common to see consumers ordering meals or car rides via their smartphones, booking hotel or flight reservations with a few taps, and order products with two-day delivery. But with the emergence of crowdsourcing companies and platforms that let everyone open up shop, the impact on every industry can’t be ignored.

Competitive prices, authentic experiences, and perks unique to every host give hotels a run for their money. With the rise in mobile apps and ordering services remotely, is there still a place for hotels in the hospitality market?

What is the Sharing Economy?

The sharing economy is a collaborative approach to acquiring goods and services, and in today’s world, it’s a huge part of the overall economy. The premise is simple: technology companies provide the interface between providers and consumers, connecting those in need with those who have extra.

An Independent Workers’ Market

According to Forbes, the sharing or “collaborative” economy means that people can turn to one another for goods and services, rather than large companies. Non-desktop workers, for example, for-hire drivers, rental property hosts, and freelancers across a variety of industries make an income based on a side-gig mentality.

While the majority of consumers have purchased an item or service through the sharing economy, only a small percentage of the population offers those services and goods. That means the potential threat to larger corporations comes from a relatively small segment of the population.

Sharing Economy by the Numbers

Businesses like ride-sharing companies and online retail platforms continue to see growth as people become more tech-oriented and look to peers rather than large corporations to fill their needs. As a result, Uber doubles its revenue every six months, while Airbnb exceeded one million rooms years ago.

The sharing economy segment of the market surpassed $250 billion in 2017, with leaders like Amazon and eBay leading the way. But will the success of companies in the sharing economy cause problems for the hospitality industry, where big names depend on dominating the market to achieve and maintain growth?

Hospitality on a Smaller Scale

Organizations like Airbnb, Expedia, and others are seeping into the hospitality arena and seeing enormous success. Because many companies have lower overhead costs than global and chain hotels, you might expect the sharing economy to overrun the name-brand vacation stay market. But that isn’t the case, said the President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide.

In an interview with PwC, Christopher Nassetta said that the sharing economy is impacting his business, but that it’s also “democratizing” travel. He sees that as a benefit because the model makes travel more accessible to a variety of demographics.

At the same time, reputable hoteliers offer a consistent customer service and vacation experience that local Airbnb hosts can’t compete against. Credibility is significant in the hospitality industry, according to PwC’s survey, and the human element is crucial in customizing consumers’ experiences.

Customer Care Priorities

Because the hotel industry is so consumer-focused, ensuring optimal client experiences holds the key to the industry’s future. Adapting to consumer expectations and investing in each interaction means hiring exceptional staff and providing them with the tools to succeed.

Non-desk workers in the hospitality industry rely on effective peer to peer communication and quick thinking to guarantee the consistency of customer interactions, making the difference between a tolerable visit and an enchanting stay. At the same time, collaboration among team members drives consistent results across all segments of hospitality.

A Tech Approach to Hospitality

Just as technology drives consumer behavior, it also supports workers’ needs. While the sharing economy and its dependence on technology continues to earn its piece of the pie, the hotel industry can remain competitive by adopting that technology.

Offering additional perks such as concierge services, local area guides, and online and app functions alongside regular amenities are just a few ways to add to the hotel experience. Connecting consumers with needed resources is a simple way to promote brand credibility.

Allowing employees to communicate and contribute to collaborative projects via an employee portal encourages productivity and reduces miscommunication that stems from managing multiple communication channels.

Adapting to Change

While it’s not advisable for bigger companies in the hotel industry to sit back and watch crowdsource platforms take over the realm of hospitality, at least for now, there seems to be enough demand to keep business going. However, times are changing, and adapting to those changes means more opportunity for business expansion.

Because of their penchant for earning top marks for reputation, amenities, and quality service, Les Roches suggests that brand-name hotels could lend their accreditation to privately listed rentals on new sites. Hotels can recommend local services, apps, and websites to stimulate the local economy or expand their reputable brand names into offshoots like BMW’s JustPark or Avis’ acquisition of ZipCar.

For startups in business enterprises that depend on crowdsourcing, success seems to have come easy. While hotel industry insiders might see those ventures as competition, technology continues to inspire advances in how consumers source, access, and pay for goods and services, so hotel companies must look forward, too.

To see how hospitality management company’s, RHW, tech approach to hospitality significantly improved operations and communications, download the case study.



Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

As the adoption of mobile workplace technologies continues to skyrocket, there is one question that operations, HR, and IT professionals face across many global industries: “When we optimize our workplace correspondence for mobile, what will become of our on-network company intranet?”

It’s a completely fair point of inquiry—and one we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about as we continue to develop and expand the Beekeeper feature set. There’s no doubt we’re in a mobile content boom, which marks a lot of changes for your legacy content management system.

In the spirit of getting to the bottom of this mystery, let’s talk about the state of intranets now, as well as where they may be heading.

Intranet Recon 101: It’s Like Flipping a Car for Parts

After your employees start using dynamic, interactive, real-time mobile correspondence tools, the fact is that a static web-based intranet hub will begin to look a little stale. There are many reasons why your intranet may feel outdated, a few of which we have outlined on our blog in the past. TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) intranets are often full of content made irrelevant due to the passage of time, they are technologically clunky, lack a clean, simple user interface, and are often far more expensive to maintain than they are worth to your organization’s overall productivity levels.

The fixed nature of intranets also make them less social, less engaging, and, most importantly, less collaborative. For dispersed workforces who rely on digital checkpoints to provide feedback and execute projects, lacking the ability to connect directly with coworkers on the intranet becomes especially problematic. In other words, while intranets do a decent job of connecting people to information, they fail miserably at connecting people to other people.

Despite these shortcomings, when we look at the lack of utilization of legacy intranet hubs, we see nothing but an ocean of potential ways to optimize to meet the fast-paced demands of today’s workplaces. In order to salvage the best parts of the hub, it can be useful to look at your intranet like an aging car. When you lift up the hood, determine the pieces of content that your employees still engage with regularly, either by mandate or choice. You can determine this in two different ways:

  1. If you have access to them, look at your backend analytics to see which portals and knowledge base articles your employees engage with the most.
  2. If you do not have access to your intranet engagement analytics or would simply prefer more anecdotal feedback from your employees, send out a pulse survey to gauge which aspects of the current CMS hub they still use and/or find helpful in their everyday workflow.

Once you’ve identified the parts of your intranet worth saving, it’s time dig deeper into what the next generation of company content sharing could look like. This begins with exploring ways to reconfigure your current CMS with tools like ours that were built specifically for a mobile-first world. When we look at legacy intranet hubs becoming less useful and more of a headache (like the depths of a library archive), we see vast potential for optimizations. Below, we outline three easy steps that will help you successfully converge your aging CMS with your new mobile-first workplace platform.

Integrate

Our Beekeeper Marketplace is a great place to start brainstorming ways in which your legacy intranet can be updated for mobile and real-time use. For instance, if analytics or anecdotal feedback suggests that employees find the intranet’s company personnel directory useful to keep tabs on team members, you might consider a Bamboo HR integration. This would allow employees to upload photos, fun facts, and critical contact information for colleagues to quickly access to get in touch or get to know their teammates better.

Beekeeper Marketplace

Another prime example of this would be implementing a Box integration, which would allow you to upload and maintain all frequently trafficked knowledge base articles and training materials to a centralized digital hub within Beekeeper. This allows employees to quickly look up and access files without having to dig through a graveyard of poorly managed documents that may or may not be up to date with the latest content.

Personalize

Company content hubs should feel like a warm and lively gathering, not a ghost town. Carrying strong visual brand assets throughout your internal communications hub is a great way to encourage employee engagement and collaboration. Whereas a traditional intranet can feel as sterile and stark as a windowless chamber, the Beekeeper digital workplace suite can be customized entirely without robust assistance from IT or technical leaders in your organization.

In addition, the Beekeeper interface allows individual employees to customize things like push notifications and workflows, giving a more personalized feel to the workplace experience. In addition to increasing productivity, these interactive features and notifications also encourage higher levels of participation within the company culture, leading to higher levels of overall workforce satisfaction.

Automate

While we have touched on a couple of these features already, it is worth mentioning that automated workflows, communication streams, and content updates allow for a more dynamic version of your legacy intranet system to emerge. A common pain point among traditional intranet users is that that legacy hubs are resource-intensive to maintain, with technical ownership of the site frequently remaining murky or unassigned. With no one to steer the ship, documents and modules become quickly outdated and useless.

Beekeeper, on the other hand, was specifically designed to self-regulate as much as possible, including workflows, newsletters, and survey dispatches. While it may seem counter-intuitive that automation makes Beekeeper more dynamic and human, it’s touches like these that help your employees integrate the digital work hub into their everyday routines, making life less about logistics and more about productivity. For dispersed teams who may be scattered around a warehouse, kitchen, or retail floor, having check-ins automated becomes a true sanity preserver.

employee satisfaction survey

Why Folding Your Intranet into Beekeeper Will Set You on the Path to Success

At the end of the day, the goal of Beekeeper is to seamlessly augment and integrate with the tools that your employees already use and love, while replacing the tools that may be stuck in the past. Given that mobile apps are the primary method of communication for the modern workforce, our platform was built specifically for mobile rather than adapted for it.

Beekeeper enables employees to engage with their employer in the same way that they engage with their friends and family— on the go and on their own terms. While simply serving up content on a static hub falls radically short of this goal, building a digital space for employees to connect to one another and discover their purpose within their organization encourages all team members to find their purpose at work.

Want to hear more about how to bring your intranet back to life with a mobile, collaborative platform? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
Ditch WhatsApp at Work, Avoid a €20 Million GDPR Fine

Ditch WhatsApp at Work, Avoid a €20 Million GDPR Fine

On May 25th, 2018, the EU will begin officially enforcing its new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards. This initiative aims to heighten personal data security across all businesses operating within or connected to Europe.

Risks of Non-Compliance

Despite the initiative’s roots, the GDPR’s impact will stretch far beyond the confines of the EU. Any hotel that hosts international guests, for instance, is subject to the new GDPR rules. In other words, to avoid heavy fines of up to €20 million, it is crucial for all international business owners to ensure GDPR compliance well before next year’s deadline.

As we sprint to the GDPR compliance deadline, many companies are doing their part to keep their workforce informed. Amanda Finch, Director of Risk and Compliance at Journyx, spoke to us about how GDPR will impact companies well outside of EU borders.

Finch states, “Any data you gathered from a person in the EU, regardless of where they actually reside, puts your company in the GDPR enforcement crosshairs. Can they really enforce these fines on non-EU companies? The answer is yes – they certainly can. In one example, the U.S. and the EU have agreed to a framework that permits enforcement against companies in the U.S. – a necessary step to maintain the vast amount of U.S.- EU trade.”

She goes on to ask, “Do you provide services to companies in the EU? Don’t rely on your knee-jerk instinct to assume that these penalties won’t flow down to you should those companies run afoul of GDPR. If your EU customer gathers personal data and sends it to you, you are as liable as they for their misdeeds, and subject to the same fines.”

Internal communication tools sit at the crux of many of the new standard practices enforced by the General Data Protection Regulation, so naturally, we want to provide you with as much information as possible to prepare.

As digital workplace architects, our team at Beekeeper is constantly optimizing our internal communication tools so your company and employee data remain secure. Today we’d like to talk about what GDPR means for ubiquitous international messaging tools like WhatsApp.

Why WhatsApp for Business is a No-Go as of May 2018

WhatsApp was never specifically designed for enterprise use, and the security risks of using a tool like this for official company business is well-documented. In addition to the fact that WhatsApp’s data privacy record leaves much to be desired, the app is also not optimized for group chat or collaboration. For non-desk workforces and busy teams who must collaborate on the go, this user experience is less than ideal.

Despite its shortcomings for corporate use, many international companies use WhatsApp as a cost-effective one on one messaging and conferencing tool. Under the new General Data Protection Regulation laws, however, the use of WhatsApp will count as a strike against businesses as it fails to meet the security standards that companies must uphold to avoid massive fines. WhatsApp violates the GDPR on several counts, including the Right to Access, the Right to be Forgotten, Privacy by Design, Data Portability, and Transfer of Data.

Achieving GDPR Internal Messaging Compliance in 3 Steps

Company content hubs should feel like a warm and lively gathering, not a ghost town. Carrying strong visual brand assets throughout your internal communications hub is a great way to encourage employee engagement and collaboration. Whereas a traditional intranet can feel as sterile and stark as a windowless chamber, the Beekeeper digital workplace suite can be customized entirely without robust assistance from IT or technical leaders in your organization.

In addition, the Beekeeper interface allows individual employees to customize things like push notifications and workflows, giving a more personalized feel to the workplace experience. In addition to increasing productivity, these interactive features and notifications also encourage higher levels of participation within the company culture, leading to higher levels of overall workforce satisfaction.

  1. Adopt and Adapt
    As May 2018 is just around the corner, now is the time to adopt an internal communication tool built specifically for enterprise—a tool that meets GDPR compliance and that will mesh well with your employee workflow. Adopting an ISO 27001-certified IT strategy is recommended. Before onboarding employees, be sure the new system is thoroughly tested and passes our GDPR liability test.
  2. Implement and Train
    As old habits tend to die hard when it comes to messaging and communication, it’s important to host formal trainings to ensure that employees understand how to use the new internal communication tool, as well as teach them why the shift is taking place to begin with.

    When deciding which internal messaging tool is right for your company, be sure to keep in mind that it should be mobile-friendly with an accessible and customizable interface. Really Simple Systems CEO Jon Paterson has employed a diligent internal communications strategy to keep his entire organization aware of not just adjustments to tool usage, but of GDPR’s high stakes implications for business.

    “Everyone who handles personal data – sales and marketing teams, accounts, HR, customer services – needs to be educated about GDPR.” Paterson shares, “We’ve sent a briefing note to all such staff explaining what GDPR is, how it affects the company and how it will affect them.”

  3. Maintain and Enforce
    Considering the massive financial risk of violating the General Data Protection Regulation rules, maintaining and enforcing GDPR compliance within your digital workspaces is of critical importance. As you retrain older employees on the new internal messaging tools and onboard new staffers, be sure to emphasize that using non-sanctioned messaging tools intended for consumers like WhatsApp, Viber, or iMessage is strictly prohibited, and that usage of any non-sanctioned messaging platforms could result in termination.
To ensure your internal communication tools don’t violate the GDPR and leave you vulnerable to fines, get a free trial of Beekeeper’s employee communication app that is already compliant.



The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

When customers are happy, the internet knows it. Similarly, when a guest is unhappy, hotels bear the brunt of that dissatisfaction in their online reviews. Luckily, there are ways to help improve guest experiences that don’t involve renovations, profit losses, or hiring more employees.

Excellent customer reviews are the pinnacle of success for any hotel, but there’s one industry secret that guarantees optimal guest experiences every time. That secret is maintaining the flow of communication between team members.

Smoother Communication, Smoother Operations

Seamless internal communication supports better business, regardless of industry, but it’s critical in hospitality. Knowing what customers want and getting it to them quickly means you spend less time resolving client concerns and more time taking care of business.

From front desk personnel to non-desktop workers who move all around the property, your employees must work as a team to provide an exceptional guest experience. Between check-in and check-out, each guest will interact with front desk staff, maintenance personnel, housekeepers, bellhops, and more.

When you improve internal communications, good things happen, and not just for your staff.

Better Guest Experiences, Every Time

Entrepreneur suggests six steps toward creating memorable customer experiences, and our communication strategy fulfills each one. From attentiveness to recognition, personalization to consideration, appreciation to delight, behind-the-scenes communication sets the stage for it all.

Fewer Misunderstandings

A disconnect between staff members on your team could spell disaster for customers with specific preferences, billing concerns, or exclusive offers. However, with an internal communication platform that allows for private messaging among team members, noting guest preferences and stay details is one less headache staff must manage.

Creating group messages or channels allows team members to contribute and share relevant and real-time information throughout each shift, while incoming staff can quickly get up-to-date. Keeping all staff on the same page with policies, procedures, and specific guest concerns reduces the chances of misunderstandings during client service.

Quicker Reaction Time

When all employees maintain communication channels on a single platform, your property becomes a digital workplace. Sharing information happens faster than picking up the phone, and sending media and attachments means all your vital information is in one place.

The digital workplace has made phone calls and high-priority emails obsolete. Rapid communication via messaging platforms, accessibility that extends to non-desk workers, and organizational news distribution all contribute to employees’ ability to knowledgeably engage with guests.

Custom-tailored Services

Confidential messages between staff can make the difference between an ordinary customer experience an exceptional one. Centralized information and automated campaigns keep staff up-to-date on critical calendar events, both guest-related and internal.

Imagine having access to an internal phonebook function that allows front desk staff to connect with the resident chef. Staff can confirm a menu for an event and even receive a document or photos via a confidential message, rather than waiting for a return phone call or a time-consuming fax.

Consistent Confidentiality

While non-desktop workers often rely on radio communication across hotel facilities, those devices allow customers and staff alike to overhear conversations. Even if your staff utilize communication methods responsibly, guests probably don’t need to know about the clogged toilet on the third floor or a request for housekeeping services.

Switching to a comprehensive internal communication platform gives employees options for outreach, and ensures that confidentiality is a constant. At the same time, information is handy and easy access whether an employee is near a computer or not. Both app and web capabilities mean your team can move beyond the constraints of the company intranet.

Less Investment

If you stick with outdated methods of internal communication, chances are your employees are less productive than if you embrace a digital workplace. The guest experience depends on your ability to equip staff with the tools to do their jobs effectively and appropriately, not simply the ability to hire more people when business picks up.

In general, a small group of knowledgeable and dependable employees is more valuable than a larger group of employees who are ill-equipped to handle customer concerns because of roadblocks in internal communication. Hiring more people isn’t always the right solution to low customer service marks, but preparing your people to manage guest expectations better will always benefit your organization’s bottom line.

Cohesive Branding

The connectivity of your employees dictates the extent to which they espouse your brand’s personality. By encouraging collaboration and connection among employees, a company can contribute to its brand’s reach. Further, sending feedback via internal systems personalizes that input and opens up communication between peers as well as supervisors and their teams.

Tailoring internal solutions to your brand’s objectives allows you to create a sense of community within teams, particularly those who manage customer-facing functions. At the same time, the division that hotels often see between departments ceases when all employees collaborate toward fulfillment of brand goals and customer service targets.

To see an example of how InterContinental Miami uses Beekeeper to deliver the ultimate guest experience, download the case study.


BYOD - how to manage employee demands and cybersecurity

BYOD – How to Manage Employee Demands and Cybersecurity

Allowing your employees to BYOD – “bring your own device” – is a cybersecurity concern, but you don’t have to let it keep your company from a secure cyberenvironment. Once you understand the benefits of implementing BYOD, you’ll be less hesitant to let your employees use their hardware to run company software.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to smooth over the tension between your employees’ BYOD desires like unrestricted access and your company’s cybersecurity needs, which are typically at odds with free-roaming device usage.

The two biggest factors we’ll discuss are employee education and smart policymaking, both of which rely on your tier of the company to do what you do best: take the lead.

Teach Your Employees About Cybersecurity

If we’re talking BYOD, we’re typically talking about smartphones. Your employees take their smartphones with them everywhere they go, and they’re amenable to mixing business with pleasure so long as the business portion doesn’t interfere with the operations of the device’s other uses. Therein lies the problem.

Smartphones, while the primary target of most BYOD initiatives, are also the biggest vectors for data leakage or loss, representing almost 70% of cases according to a cybersecurity trends report. If you want to prevent your organization from leaking data through every personal device’s sieve, you’ll need to control certain aspects of your employee’s devices.

Imposing control on employee devices is bound to make your employees unhappy, so you’ll have to use a lighter touch than a software-based lockdown. We’ll explain how to develop and implement a formal BYOD policy a bit later in the article, but first, we want you to realize the importance of changing your employees’ perspectives if you’re going to have a successful BYOD policy while maintaining security.

Your employees are more likely to implement reasonable BYOD practices if they understand the consequences of cybersecurity on the rest of the organization. BYOD can carry a risk to your employees, which you should be forthcoming about during your educational discussions.

The trick to BYOD is educating your employees that BYOD is a way for their device to peek into the larger corporate system upon which the entire organization relies. The scope of the peek—be it a keyhole or a cinema-screen—is directly linked to their ability to get the things done efficiently, while maintaining the security of the company’s data and the integrity of their device.

Depending on your industry, your educational regimen may be more technical, or more oriented toward non-specialists. Try not to throw the tech talk at the people who aren’t going to be interested in hearing about the technical detail. Instead, offer a few examples of good BYOD practices, a few examples of bad BYOD practices, and then showcase your company’s BYOD policy.

When showing examples, it’s important to link user behaviors to larger consequences. People respond best to realistic examples, so avoid scare tactics. Not every data breach caused by a BYOD-centric mishap is going to bring down the entire company, but be sure that everyone knows it’s a remote possibility.

By creating a workforce of informally savvy cybersecurity employees, you’ll be adding value to your employees’ skill set and providing them with tools to be vigilant while using their devices.

Create A Smart BYOD Policy

Now that we know the solution to BYOD issues is an explicit BYOD policy and an informal, yet detailed educational program for your employees, what are the concrete steps your company can take to put the wheels in motion?

First, resolve to follow through on making an explicit BYOD policy and talking through it with your employees who need it most. Don’t be like the majority of companies who leave BYOD policies to the realm of the informal or the socially-enforced, yet unencoded. You should pair good BYOD practices by your employees with rewards, and poor practices with mild consequences.

The better you craft your company’s BYOD policy, the more likely your employees are to follow it, and the more likely your company is to retain a strong cybersecurity perimeter. Remember, a policy is only effective if people are motivated and capable of following.

Draconian BYOD policies, while perhaps appealing to larger organizations, will result in more unhappy employees and higher turnover, hurting your bottom line. There’s no reason to let something that’s supposed to be a money-saver like BYOD become a point of loss.

Software as a Cybersecurity Solution

There are some ways that you can incorporate useful software into your BYOD policy for the betterment of your company. Software that can act as a soft barrier between your user’s device and your company’s important data, without getting in the way of the user’s job, is exactly what you should be looking for.

It may seem foolish to introduce an additional step in the already-complicated cybersecurity process, but using an app that’s designed to smooth the BYOD cybersecurity dilemma as part of your BYOD policy is a large step forward relative to trying to go at it alone.

By introducing a layer of protection, your employees can rest assured their device will stay safe and also stay useful in the course of their work. Even more importantly, you won’t have to worry about data breaches or malware infections slipping into your corporate network as a result of a permissive BYOD policy.

The trick is that an intermediary between your employees and your data lets your employees retain full control of their devices, while allowing your company to maintain full control of its internal perimeter. Your IT team will thank you, as will your BYOD users.

Download our “How to Minimize BYOA Risks When Rolling Out Your BYOD Policy” white paper for more information or request a demo with one of our app experts.
how retailers can conquer black friday with a digital workplace app

How Retailers Can Conquer Black Friday with a Digital Workplace App

Retailers large and small prepare all year for the most important weekend in November—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Simply put, just a few days out of the whole year can make or break a business. While retailers want to utilize every competitive edge, the high stakes often mean many retailers are also unwilling to experiment with new ideas.

This reluctance makes sense on the surface. What if a retailer embraces a new technology, marketing strategy or other trend – only for it to backfire during the busiest shopping weekend of the year? Many retailers prefer to stick with the safety of tried-and-true methods.

Unfortunately, an unwillingness to adapt to “the new” can result in a significant drop in sales and traffic. Customers are eager to embrace new technologies and methods when shopping both online and off. Retailers who are able to respond to their customers changing shopping preferences will be able to stand out from the competition.

The Black Friday weekend is all about big crowds. Embracing new technology in the form of a digital workplace app can help you draw those crowds towards your space and away from the competition. Using a digital workplace app can open doors, both metaphorically and literally, for a wide range of new customers during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

What is a Digital Workplace App?

Although the under-the-hood technology is incredibly sophisticated, the purpose of a digital workplace app is actually very simple. In a retail environment, a workplace app connects all employees in a natural, systematic way.

Corporate offices can connect with frontline employees. Colleagues can share information throughout the organization. Specific team-based communication channels can be created.

The information shared extends well beyond messaging. Predefined communication channels allow for product updates, inventory arrivals, and real-time insights from the sales floor. This allows for always-current management and analysis, even during the busiest shopping periods of the year.

Beyond day-to-day operations, digital workplace apps can help motivate and excite employers. A dynamic, engaging corporate culture doesn’t just increase retention of current employees, but also helps attract a top-tier workforce for the future. Digital workplace apps help facilitate sales competitions, team building exercises, and other methods of boosting employee morale.

Empowering Employees During Black Friday

Black Friday advertising and promotions will drive customers towards your store. But once inside, everything depends on the actions of your employees. Unfortunately, Black Friday crowds can be large and notoriously difficult. Employee morale needs to be carefully monitored and managed.

A digital workplace app can help boost morale even during periods of great workplace stress. Because the app can be accessed from anywhere using a mobile device, employees can be given more freedom both at work and during off hours. For instance, employees of a store can create a group chat to discuss schedule changes or even coordinate off-hours morale building get-togethers.

The ability to use an app to connect with a supervisor or manager quickly helps increase employee confidence and autonomy. This is especially useful in appliance and electronic retail where employee knowledge is likely wide, but relatively shallow since there is so much technical information to remember. An app allows employees to quickly seek out the answers to any technical questions asked by a potential customer without having to leave the sales floor.

How Mobile Apps Help Prepare Employees for Black Friday Promotions

On a corporate level, promotions for Black Friday weekend may need to be changed quickly and often. Retail competitors will be trying to out-maneuver one another right until the last minute with constantly changing prices, price matching bonuses, and other customer engagements.

Keeping employees up-to-date on the changes is easy with a digital workplace app. Changes can be instantly sent to all employees within a designated channel. Plus, training updates can also be quickly communicated. A digital workplace app lets employees read training manuals and other instructions at their earliest convenience, which tends to promote information retention.

Mobile communication helps promote employee autonomy. When an employee feels trusted and valued enough to operate without constant supervision, they’re far more likely to enjoy and remain engaged with their work.

Digital Workplace Apps are Quick and Easy to Implement

While a workplace app can greatly enhance the customer experience, customers don’t directly engage with the app. This means most, if not all, of your customer-facing practices can remain unchanged. Instead, the digital workplace app is intended for use by every employee within the retail environment from the sales floor to corporate.

The digital app revitalizes your entire employee structure, allowing for faster and more efficient communication. Plus, digital workplace apps help empower your employees, which boosts morale and promotes retention.

The Black Friday weekend is important, dynamic, and stressful for retailers. A digital workplace app can be an important tool in improving the experience for both customers and employees. Turn this Black Friday into the biggest retail success yet!

Ready to conquer Black Friday with your own digital workplace app? Fill out the form below to speak with one of our retail experts to find out how.
seaboard foods

Seaboard Foods Wins PRISM Award for Employee Communication App

Seaboard Foods was recently awarded two PRISM Awards from the Public Relations Society of America of Greater Kansas City for their employee communication app. They won the “Smartphone Apps” and “Infographic” categories showing the lifecycle of pork production.

Seaboard Foods is one of America’s top ten pork producers and processors and a Beekeeper customer. Their 5,000+ employees are spread over six states, including more than 500 pig farms, a pork processing plant, two biodiesel plants, feed mills, and a full logistics infrastructure consisting of 170 heavy-duty trucks and 400 light-duty vehicles.

At Beekeeper, we focus on connecting people through technology and the success of our customers mean everything. We are very proud of how our clients use Beekeeper to make everyone feel like an equal part of their organizations. So, we are always thrilled when they are recognized for their hard work and accomplishments for creating a better workplace!

About SBF Connect

With more than 5,000 employees dispersed in hundreds of locations, Seaboard Foods’ human resources and communications departments sought a way to communicate with employees and share information throughout the connected food system.

SBF Connect, powered by Beekeeper, received accolades for the way it assists in two-way communication between employees, managers, corporate communications, and executive leadership. It also received recognition for the way the mobile app helps employees feel connected to what they do, fostering a more productive and informed workforce.

“Employee engagement numbers made this a strong entry,” says one of the 2017 PRISM Awards judges. “Great write-up and analysis of the campaign, really enjoyed reading it.”

With SBF Connect, employees get notifications, can easily access information, and ask questions on their smartphone, anywhere at any time. Since the app’s implementation, employees have shared and learned about business and HR information, safety tips, weather updates, and use it for employee recognition.

“Content is great on SBF Connect. I love reading it and knowing what else is going on in the company,” said one employee in a recent communications survey requesting feedback to improve SBF Connect.

Huge congratulations to the entire Seaboard Foods staff for winning these awards! The organization’s commitment to building such a strong, transparent workplace and listening to employees’ and customers’ needs is truly inspirational.

To learn more about how Beekeeper transformed Seaboard Foods’ employee communication, download the case study.


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5 Ways and Tools to Improve Internal Communications in Your Hotel

In the hotel industry, success is driven by happy, loyal guests. To drive loyalty through guest satisfaction, staff must go above and beyond customer expectations. Without exemplary internal communication, providing guests with consistently excellent experiences is next to impossible.

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