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Beekeeper Launches Read Receipts in Chat Messages

Beekeeper Launches Read Receipts in Chat Messages

You’ll start noticing an improvement in chat messages in the Beekeeper app. Since one-on-one and group chats are a heavily used feature, we wanted to improve the chat experience for our customers. This is one we’ve been excited to launch for a long time!

When you send chat messages, do you ever wonder if they are being read? Now you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1:1 message or a group chat, read receipts in chats tell you which colleagues have read your message and which ones still haven’t. For group chats, click on a message to access a “Message Info” box, to see more information.

This feature is critical for ensuring important or time-sensitive information is read, and, if not, you can follow up with the appropriate contact. It also creates an extra level of accountability as colleagues will be more likely to respond if they know coworkers can see if the message has been read.

Read Receipt Markers

To familiarize you with the new UI, here’s a picture of the possible states and how they’ll appear:

Sending – Message is sending

status: sending message

Sent – Message was received by server, but not yet read

status: message sent

Partially Read – Some, but not all users have read the message

status: partially sent

Read – Message was read by all chat participants

status: message read

Below is the “Message Info” box we mentioned to find out who read your messages.

Beekeeper Message Info Box

Additional Capabilities Coming Soon

There are many other exciting features in the pipeline to continue our journey enhancing the chat experience. Soon you will see a notification at the bottom of the screen when colleagues are typing so you are aware of an incoming message and don’t type over each other.

Additionally, we’re developing a way to help you sort through your unread messages with the “Chat Marker” feature. Every time you enter a chat that has unread messages, it will automatically direct you to the last message you read, giving you the opportunity to catch up on what you missed.

Hopefully this is a useful feature for your day-to-day communication and operations. And if not, you can deactivate it at any time. To deactivate the feature, go to to your Dashboard Settings or contact your Customer Success Manager for assistance.

For more information about Beekeeper and specific features, check out our Help Center or contact us. Let us know how you’re using the platform and what other improvements or features you’d like to see.



Join Us For “Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement” Webinar

Join Us For “Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement” Webinar

Last year we partnered with “Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer for 2017,” Jill Christensen, for a Q&A about the hot topic of employee engagement. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for more information on this subject, Jill is participating in our Bee School educational series designed to help leaders run successful teams.

We recently finished a 6-class leadership course taught by an MBA professor, and now we’re going to continue the initiative with a webinar hosted by Jill titled, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement.”

Who is Jill Christensen?

With three decades of consulting, speaking, and global Fortune 500 executive-level experience under her belt, Jill has dedicated her career to engaging employees to improve productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth with clients like AT&T, Nokia, Crocs, and Novartis. She is Founder/President of Jill Christensen International, a best-selling author, and international keynote speaker, and led Global Internal Communications at Avaya and Western Union.

Her view is radically different—she believes that although Human Resources “owns” culture change, they do not own culture change. Employees will not re-engage unless senior leaders and managers change the way they lead the company and their teams.

Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement

According to Jill’s research, organizations in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and have a 90% better growth trend than their competition. However, 87% of workers are not engaged, which is a huge missed opportunity. Jill teaches business leaders how to inspire employees to get off the sidelines and into the game.

In her webinar, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement,” she explains her four-step strategy to turn your disengaged workforce into a unified, high-performing team. The results? Increased profits, customer satisfaction, productivity, and retention. No matter the industry, employee engagement is crucial for your bottom line.

What You Will Learn

You’re guaranteed to leave the session with:

  1. A new perspective on employee disengagement and the number 1 reason employees don’t engage.
  2. An innovative, proven four-step strategy you can apply immediately to re-engage employees.
  3. Tactics to engage senior leaders in employee engagement.
  4. Clarity on next steps and inspiration to achieve your goals.

Details

Format: Webinar with a Q&A portion at the end.
When: Two sessions will be held January 31st 2pm EST (New York) & February 1st 2pm CET (Berlin)

Do you want to take the next steps in immediately increasing employee engagement and productivity? Sign up below for the free webinar.



Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

If you thought your digital workplace was at the peak of innovation, 2018 will deliver plenty of surprises. As you’ll soon find out, digital transformation is an ongoing process that moves swiftly as new technology emerges. Surprisingly, 47% of companies haven’t even begun their digital transformation process. By keeping up with the trends, you’re already at an advantage.

These top 5 digital transformation trends offer your manufacturing business not just insight, but tangible means of transforming your business in more ways than one. From handheld tools to improve employee productivity to means of streamlining processes along the assembly line, the transformation goes beyond digital.

Integrated Workflows

In today’s competitive global economy, integration is key to ensuring efficient workflows. While each component or department of the business can function independently, you can optimize those functions by integrating tasks and information. Sticking with conventional communication methods like email or voice calls limits the amount of data you can share and the means through which you can send it.

By connecting every employee through an internal communication system, preferably platforms that allow for sharing of information via not just text, but media as well, teams share their skills and knowledge with their peers. Research shows that connectivity helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction, and active internal communication helps.

Ensuring that groups of employees on the production line know what’s happening on the information technology side, or keeping marketing teams in the loop when it comes to software changes in customer-facing settings are only two examples of how integrating workflows benefits business.

Mobile Collaboration

The majority of manufacturing employees don’t work at a desk or don’t even have a corporate email address. Ergo, the bulk of collaboration can’t happen on a desktop device. Technology can have a significant effect on non-desk employee productivity, so making that tech accessible should be a priority for businesses. Mobile collaboration apps give employees more ways to connect, keeping information current and ideas flowing.

Because most employees already have personal devices with internet connectivity, you may avoid substantial rollout costs by allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices. Even for large companies that require corporate devices across multiple departments, investing in the technology now keeps you a step ahead as the digital transformation forces other companies to follow suit.

Internal communications improve efficiency by making peers accessible to one another, but mobile collaboration apps also promote safety. Disseminating critical information to employees via mass message campaigns guarantees employees receive the details they need when they need it.

Machine Learning & AI

From robots piecing together components on the assembly line to machines that scan parts for defects, technology has come a long way from rudimentary programming concepts. Today’s robots have Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, meaning they’re learning right alongside your teams.

Strides in programming abilities translate into more accessible user experiences with advanced technology, allowing you internal control and review of data. Incorporating machine learning into your business even reduces the need for outsourcing, since bots can complete many tasks that human workers can.

Adding chatbots to your processes can alleviate strain on human staffers responding to customer inquiries. Precision scanning machines allow staff to focus on other tasks while bots manage quality control. Freeing up your skilled employees to perform more complicated tasks heightens productivity as bots take care of the behind-the-scenes details.

Plus, with advancements in today’s tech, consumers either won’t notice the automation or the faster route to resolution will cancel out potential frustration at conversing with a computer.

HR chatbot

Analytics

Between production statistics and sales figures, you’re already dealing with a lot of numbers. But tracking all matter of analytics from employee behavior to manufacturing output will highlight ways to improve processes and training across the company.

When you incorporate integrated workflows, mobile collaboration, and analytics in your digital workplace, a mountain of data gives insight on how well things are running. By evaluating those figures, you’re able to streamline the steps in your manufacturing process to increase profits and reduce costs.

Employee analytics can spotlight production opportunities you may have missed. Noting times when employee productivity is at its peak may influence changes in daily scheduling, and lags in productivity may indicate potential for diverting resources to other projects. Overall, the more information the better, both in terms of profit and your people.

IoT

The Internet of Things, or IoT, defines the intricate network of computers, machines, objects, and people that transfer data digitally. Beyond the Web, interconnectivity extends to handheld devices, wearables, sensors, and more.

In the manufacturing industry, your production robots may have sensors or software that send information to remote teams. Employee apps might track who’s working and when. There are endless ways the IoT transmits information and promotes efficiency company-wide.
Beyond chatting machine-to-machine, the IoT lets employees contribute data to organizational compilations through both personal feedback and workflow-based analytics. While current figures peg IoT devices around 20.35 billion currently, projections for 2025 indicate that IoT connected devices will exceed 75.44 billion worldwide.

That means your digital workplace will only keep expanding, and keeping up-to-date with advances has the potential to transform your workflow and put your company on the path toward higher profits and lower costs.

To see how Beekeeper’s internal communication and employee app digitally transformed manufacturing company Seaboard Foods, download the case study.



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 to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

When you discover an exciting new technology and know it would suit your company’s needs, is everyone on board from the beginning, or does the approval process require some finesse? For most companies, ensuring internal buy-in for proposed technology is not as simple as one would hope.

While the value may be clear to one department or another, appealing to higher-level management requires setting the groundwork first. Here’s how to get internal buy-in when adding new tech tools to your organization’s arsenal.

Highlight the Importance of Technology

Whether your target is an employee communication platform, online customer portal, or a software overhaul that has been years in the making, pointing out the benefits of adapting to modern technology is a good place to start.

Thriving in a Digital Age

According to Forbes, a study of over 2,000 companies noted that digital technology supports over half of their business processes. From online retailers to app-based service companies, consumer demand drives the need for technology adaptations.

But innovations in technology haven’t stopped at customer-facing solutions. Most companies are comfortable digitalizing because they use automated processes, computers, and more secure information storage. Still, companies are often hesitant to consider digital solutions outside what they know and use daily.

To get internal buy-in, highlighting your organization’s position as a modern and forward-thinking industry leader should earn support from people who are more comfortable with current systems. Change might not come easily, but when productivity, and therefore future profits, rely on it, it’s easier to get everyone on board.

Demonstrate Value

When it comes to showing your team (or upper management) why new company-wide technology is vital to your organization, addressing its intrinsic value is essential. Giving specific examples of benefits to your organization, as well as focusing on industry-wide indicators of progress, will help turn naysayers into optimists.

Profitability as the Bottom Line

If your goal is to implement a new employee communication platform, upper management may not see the need. For those unfamiliar with the day-to-day games of email tag and multiple methods of exchanging information, the investment doesn’t predict a huge return.

However, those who manage frontline employees recognize that efficiency and clarity are essential to day-to-day operations. That means that their potential for increased productivity via a more straightforward and user-friendly communication platform translates into higher profits for the whole organization.

Connecting different perspectives with baseline measurements like productivity and profitability keep everyone on the same page when it comes down to making a decision.

Six Degrees of Innovation

A study from Cambridge Judge Business School interviewed the senior executives of international companies across a range of industries and found six patterns that indicate successful technology transformation.

The Six Degrees of Innovation define the value of technology based on market demand and include:

  • Custom products and services that meet consumers’ unique needs
  • Sustainable practices such as recycling and reducing energy costs
  • Utilizing peer-to-peer sharing to lower costs
  • Only paying for necessary and timely services
  • Monitoring supply chains effectively
  • Tracking data to adapt to customer needs

According to Cambridge Judge’s evaluation process, a technology that fulfills any one of these “degree” items is a mark of innovation and forward movement. For example, monitoring the supply chain of an organization via consistent updates through internal communication is a step toward accuracy in inventory. That’s a tangible benefit in any business and a perk that technology helps achieve.

Don’t Stop Working

Once you have secured support for the digital innovations you’ve been preparing for, you might think it’s time to rest. However, earning company-wide approval for technology solutions is only the first step.

Allow for an Adjustment Period

Transitioning to unfamiliar methods and digital platforms isn’t always easy, particularly if your team has been using alternative technologies for a long time. If at all possible, aim for a slow introduction of programs or processes so employees have time to adjust.

Track Results

Tracking results is one way to maintain support for a new program or solution rollout. Reminding team members they made the right decision through concrete figures and examples may not stop criticisms from coming in, but they will surely help justify the switch.

Celebrate Milestones

To frontline employees, along with supervisors and lower-level managers, the roll-out of new programs or processes can feel frustrating. The people who use these digital solutions will not only be the first to criticize them, but also the first to praise what works. Use this to your advantage, and make sure that team members acknowledge what new technology allows them versus how previous means limited them.

Optimize

Once employees adapt to unfamiliar technology, don’t let them stagnate! Solicit feedback, generate interest in features and updates, and encourage team growth along with digital growth. Making sure that all team members have appropriate training helps avoid technology fatigue, and a slow rollout can help alleviate stresses before significant transitions.

If you’re in search of a mobile platform to improve internal communication and employee engagement while simultaneously tracking results, fill out out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper.



5 Important Trends in Operations Management in 2018

In the global market, companies are right to focus on trends in operations management and strategies for getting ahead in their respective industries. While technology almost seems to change too quickly to pinpoint at times, modern developments mean more ways to enhance business operations and increase profits.

Whether you’re aiming for an organizational overhaul to become more competitive in your market or merely seeking to cut down on costs of everyday business, these 5 trends may deliver the results you need to meet your operations management goals in 2018.

Internal Communications

Satisfied employees work harder and invest more in your company, but how can business owners encourage employee satisfaction? Promoting internal communication is a helpful first step. Peer to peer communication can enhance workplace morale and improve project outcomes, regardless of your industry. Further, collaboration gleans optimal results on any project when great minds come together.

At the same time, 39% of employees in one survey said that people in their organization didn’t collaborate enough. Addressing those concerns makes your company more competitive and caters to internal employees who may feel overlooked.

Internal communication and mobile collaboration platforms don’t just increase efficiency—they also contribute to positive employee outcomes. Working together, whether through mobile collaboration or in person, promotes productivity and develops relationships between team members.

Mobile Accessibility

Whether you’re in the technology industry and rely on mobile devices to achieve sales targets, or you’re in the hospitality business and need client portals to reach your target market, mobile accessibility is vital to the future of operations management.

Apart from today’s reliance on mobile devices for communication, consumers also turn to their smart devices for everything from household goods to travel accommodations to job applications. This means if you’re not mobile, you’re missing out.

At the same time, turning the focus on technology inward in your organization also offers benefits. Establishing outlets for mobile collaboration, whether via an app or the web, lets your employees connect and share information. It also enables you to send out relevant business information as needed, bypassing email or hard copy methods of sharing information.

Mobile accessibility for staff means remote access to information, tools, and connectivity regardless of their role within the organization. For non-desk workers without email access or an office, remote information sharing is a necessity. Mobile collaboration fills that need while addressing other operations management concerns at the same time.

Automatization

Automating processes throughout your business can save money and increase efficiency when it comes to all areas of operations management. Online reservation services, automated chatbots, inline translation functions, and mobile hotel check-in features are only a handful of examples of business dependency on technology.

By dedicating machines to specific business tasks, companies are freeing up employee time for focusing on their products and their customers. Rather than assigning an employee to monitor the company website and answer the same questions multiple times, programming a chatbot to respond to FAQs saves company time and resources.

But automatization goes beyond your company’s internet presence. Automatic delivery of media campaigns, calendar alerts with schedule changes, and read-receipt functions add automatic convenience to daily processes.

Performance Measurement

Detailed analytics give companies a baseline for implementing changes in areas from development and production to customer service. With metrics solutions that deliver comprehensive measurements, business owners can make informed decisions regarding business practices moving forward.

Not only are companies able to track website performance and on-site sales, they can also zero in on employee productivity and communication. Mobile collaboration apps allow organizations to see which employees are actively engaged in collaboration, and which may require encouragement or assistance.

Engagement Dashboard

Employee Analytics

Beyond sales figures-based analytics, employee feedback and surveys can also contribute to better business overall. On the face of it, operations management may appear to span only materials and products, but people are an essential component of any business structure.

Acknowledging employees on a personal level as well as based on their work performance helps create a sense of community within organizations, and keeping the line of communication between staff and superiors is an excellent way to track team vitals.

Developing surveys (and automating their delivery) can also glean feedback from employees in a simple format. Pre-scheduling survey campaigns means you can consistently receive employee feedback at crucial times, without setting up one-on-one meetings to solicit their input.

Outsourcing

When it comes to reducing costs, outsourcing is often on the top of companies’ lists. Contracting with outside agencies or individuals can help companies save money and ensure each task receives the appropriate attention.

In cases where outsourcing is cheaper than hiring additional staff, or when no staff is available to tackle extra projects, companies should have no qualms about accepting outside assistance. However, carefully considering which projects and tasks to outsource helps avoid creating an overly competitive atmosphere among employees and contract workers.

In many cases, specialists in your industry can offer insights and business guidance that no employee on your team could provide. If receiving this outside assistance will save your company from financial disaster, an up-front investment could prove invaluable.

If you’re looking for a mobile internal communication solution with automatization and performance measurement features, fill out the form below for a free trial of the Beekeeper app.



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.