Posts

Beekeeper Product Release Notes January 2018

Beekeeper Product Release Notes January 2018

This might be our most exciting Beekeeper product release notes yet! Due to customer requests and cybersecurity regulations, we’ve made some big changes in the last couple months. Here’s what you’ll start noticing in the Beekeeper app and some improvements on the back end.

Release Highlights

    • Message Receipts (iOS, Android, Web App) – Thanks to the new Message Receipt (also known as “read receipt”) feature, you can now see who has read your messages in real time. Each message will display an icon to show if the message is sending, sent, or read. Group chats also show partially read messages. Click on the message to access the “Message Info” box which shows the chat participants who have read the message and those who have not. The feature will be activated for all customers on January 18th.

      message received

    • Beekeeper is Fully GDPR Compliant – We are proud to announce that Beekeeper is now fully GDPR compliant, months before the regulation comes into place. Thanks to some final security improvements completed by the end of 2017, our customers can rest assured knowing they’re using a secure tool that makes them compliant with the new regulation.

      Find out more details about the General Data Protection Regulation and our journey to compliance.

      gdpr compliance badge

    • Chatbot SDK (Developers’ Portal) – Build customized chatbots that enable your users to communicate with other tools through Beekeeper chats. Set up chatbots to retrieve PTO information or request time off, receive payslips, and more. Additional use cases and the full documentation is available on our Developers’ Portal.
      chatbot

    • eAlarm Integration (Marketplace) – eAlarm is a web-based crisis communication service you can use to alert, inform, and mobilize your organization in the event of an emergency. Integrate eAlarm with Beekeeper to trigger emergency alerts directly from your Beekeeper app in a few simple clicks. Available only in Switzerland.
    • More Capabilities

      • Login Notification – Users will be notified via SMS, email, or an in-app message when anyone logs into their account with a QR code
      • Typing notifications reflect when someone is typing in a chat (iOS, Web, Android)
      • Infrastructure changes to prepare for Location Management
      • Support to open Dashboard URLs internally, i.e. Dashboard on mobile (Android)
      • Hovering over link preview shows more detail (Web)
      • Sending a chat message scrolls conversation to the end (Android)
      • Ability to specify positions for Bot accounts via API to give more information about each bots purpose
      • Additional bug fixes and stability improvements

      Our number one goal is to make sure our customers are happy and using the app to its full extent. If you would like to see a new feature added, contact your Customer Success Manager.

      For more information Beekeeper’s and specific features and use cases, check out our Help Center.
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.



Bee School Leadership and Followership QA

Bee School Session 6: “Leadership and Followership” Q&A

Class is dismissed! Sadly, Bee School has ended with Dr. Herkenhoff’s lecture on “Leadership and Followership,” but we have a few more insights to share. This educational series has been a great success and we couldn’t have done it without your participation!

Leadership

In the final session titled “Leadership and Followership,” Dr. Herkenhoff explains the qualities of each, why they are essential, and how to improve in both areas. First, she dives into leadership—the act of guiding and directing others. She explains the differences between formal and informal leadership, and identifies the four types of leaders with examples, pros, and cons of each.

Leadership Styles

leadership styles

Expanding on her last lecture on “Emotional Intelligence,” she reveals her research findings that good leaders have the technical know-how and high IQ, but great leaders have those and a high EQ. That is the ultimate differentiator, along with knowing how to build communities.

Below are what she deems as the most important leadership skills:

  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Frazzle factor (stress)
  • Risk-taking
  • Feedback
  • Remember: People join companies, but leave managers. Be a great manager and you will retain your people.

    Followership

    On the flip side of leadership, followership is the process of being guided and directed. Many people consider the term “follower” as negative, but that it simply not the case. Effective followers have the power to improve organizations and influence their leaders. We are all followers at some point, so these skills are essential for each and every one of us.

    The professor outlines the four types of followers and pros and cons of each to prove her case.

    Type of Followers
    Types of Followers

    There were two great questions asked during the presentation and below are Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions or feedback about Bee School, or want us to send you the recording, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

    Q&A with the Professor

    1. Do good leaders need to be good followers?

    Absolutely. Being a good follower doesn’t make you a sheep. There are many traits learned as a follower that make better leaders.

    Collaboration is the key to success. Leaders who have learned how to work with people and bring out the best in them will create a strong culture and have an easier time motivating teams to accomplish goals. Similar to collaboration, diplomacy means knowing how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to the attitudes surrounding them.

    It is this awareness that is learned while being a follower that allows leaders to take into account their various audiences including colleagues, board members, customers, and coworkers. A good leader knows each of their stakeholder groups well enough to know what it will take to bring them along for the ride.

    Collaboration, diplomacy, and awareness are great, but critical thinking and knowing when to stand up to their leaders is an admirable trait learned as a follower. It is this motivation, intelligence, and competence that inspires followership.

    Standing up to your leaders at every point in your career when you think things are heading in the wrong direction takes courage. This requires critical thinking and awareness of the situation to get your point across with the conviction and energy needed to change what is wrong, as well as support a leader or manager who is doing things well.

    2. What is the best process for delivering and receiving feedback?

    Delivering feedback is one of the most difficult things for people to do, so when you receive feedback, the first thing you should say is “thank you.” The courage that it takes to give any feedback is significant. The fact someone took the time and effort to make you better deserves to be treated with appreciation.

    After receiving feedback and thanking the person, take a minute to reflect and do your best to remove your personal emotions from any response. If you need more time to digest the feedback, let the person know you would like to sleep on their comments before responding.

    Giving feedback can be accomplished in three simple statements:

    1. Deliver the data – not your opinions.
    2. Let the person know how this made you feel.
    3. State your wish for how you would like to see things changed for the future. If this is a manager giving performance feedback, this is the time to also deliver a fitting consequence if the situation is not resolved.

    Here is an example:

    1. Mary, last week in our team meeting I requested you submit your TPS report by this Monday. It is Wednesday and I still haven’t seen your report.
    2. I am frustrated that I wasn’t heard asking for the report or informed about a delay in the process of delivering it to me.
    3. My wish for the future is that you meet deadlines that are asked of you or you communicate in advance why you can’t meet the deadline. I would like this report submitted by noon tomorrow. If I do not receive your reports on time, I will not approve your future requests to leave a few minutes early.

    You can finish by thanking the person for accepting your feedback and be willing for it to work the other way around (minus the consequences part).

    Bee School may be over, but we have another webinar around the corner! Sign up for the next one with employee engagement expert, Jill Christensen, who will share her four-step strategy to immediately engage employees.



Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Bee School Session 5: “Emotional Intelligence” Q&A

Everyone knows what an IQ is, but not many know what an EQ (emotional quotient) is and why it’s critical for successful leadership. This week’s Bee School lecture focused on “Emotional Intelligence” which determines your EQ. This concept is defined as the ability to recognize and regulate your emotions and those of others around you. Emotional intelligence (EI) includes the following:
emotional intelligence chart

Although the term is relatively new, the concept has been around for a long time. MBA professor and host of the Bee School educational series has conducted a significant amount of research on the topic. She found most managers have roughly the same amount of technical skills, and what sets good managers apart from exceptional ones is a high EQ.

Results consistently showed this was the main differentiator and, by having these skills, managers could be miles ahead of the average manager. By honing these skills, you can relate to people of different backgrounds and bring out the best out in yourself and colleagues by being aware of behaviors and how they impact others.

Dr. Herkenhoff shared some of her own examples of how she used emotional intelligence to solve complex challenges at global organizations. Her findings showed there is a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction. It’s directly responsible for increased retention, productivity, confidence, innovation, and lower stress levels. Alternatively, a low EQ can result in a lack of commitment, loyalty, organizational values, safety, and poor customer service.

During the seminar, there were two questions for the professor and you’ll see her responses below. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What do I do when I discover emotional destructive behavior from an employee? How do I address this issue in a dialogue?

This is a tricky question to answer without any background or context, but I’ll do my best. If the issues being brought into the workplace are personal in nature or have escalated to the point of potential physical threats, I would advise consulting your HR department or someone else within the organization to discuss a plan of action that would result in the best outcome for all parties.

I would also advise against getting into a deeply personal conversation with the person. You are a manager, not a therapist. Your goal is to help your employee find the resources they need to be happy and whole so they can successfully perform their job.

If the destructive behavior impacts others within the organization, it must be addressed before it becomes a spiral of negative or toxic energy within the organization. Focus on the merits of the issues and seek a win-win solution first.

If it’s not as serious in nature, take a step back and try to recognize where your colleague is coming from and understand their pain. You can look at the factors in Hofstede’s model to help fine-tune your response and determine the way that particular person would like to communicate.

Address these during in-person meetings as they have the richest context. Before the first meeting, I would document the performance issues you’ve noticed that are related to the destructive behavior and review each within the context of job performance. List dates and times of specific job issues followed by your wish for how these issues would be handled in the future.

Once you have the meetings, make it clear you understand their side and also articulate how negative emotions affect company operations as a whole. Maybe they didn’t realize the impact they’re having and how much you genuinely care about their happiness at work. Ask the employee if there is anything he or she needs to accomplish your wishes.

Be careful that you are not asking what you as a manager can do to get them there. It is up to the individual to make the decision to change and it is up to you to provide the resources, if possible, to help accomplish your wishes as well as theirs. It is not up to you to fix or take on the emotional burden of an employee. It is your job to identify the problem within the context of the workplace and work on a collaborative solution where you are supporting the employee, but not fixing the issue for them.

Once the issue has been discussed and the employee has expressed what they need to adjust their behavior, make a plan to revisit the conversation weekly to check in on progress.

Your goal should be to avoid:

  • Lost productivity
  • Theft
  • Sabotage
  • Lack of commitment
  • Lack of loyalty
  • Low personal safety
  • Perception bias- pessimistic outlook
  • Poor customer service
  • Toxic work environment

2. Does EQ take precedence over normal intelligence?

Depending on the job duties, a healthy mix of both should be there. When it comes to normal intelligence, employees should be able to adequately perform all of their job functions and have the ability to extend their scope to adjacent functions with ease. If the person can accomplish their role, the level of EQ can make the difference between a C player and an A player.

A players are a must on every team. Their self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, and self-confidence can be motivating and contagious for your B players striving to be A players. To excel as a leader, both are important. From my research, I’ve found managers are generally the same technically, but it’s the emotional intelligence that sets them apart and makes them the best leader.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up for the last class! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

6 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

Ways to keep employees engaged during the holidays is top of mind for many managers. The productivity decline a lot of workforces experience throughout December stems from a perfect storm of social, financial, and business-related stressors that appear like clockwork at the end of each year.

As the holidays kick into gear, family-related obligations lead to an influx of time off requests across entire organizations. This causes projects to halt and often places a burden on managers to produce the same output or better with significantly less staff members on call.

For employees who decide to power through, absenteeism and low morale can become rampant. Some employees may physically show up to work, but their mind remains preoccupied with holiday shopping or personal finance issues. In addition, the stress of meeting end-of-year sales or performance goals may cause some employees to buckle and burn out under pressure.

Luckily, there are many ways to keep employees engaged, rested, and fulfilled throughout this particularly busy holiday season. To help you brainstorm what incentives might work for your business, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite tactics that have worked for other companies, particularly those with dispersed or primarily non-desk workforces.

1. Host a festive employee off-site or remote event

Being stuck in the office for longer hours, especially when the sun sets earlier and the temperature drops, can certainly affect employee morale. One great way to instill a mid-holiday season mood boost is to host a daytime off-site event where employees are treated to a nice meal and a fun activity.

For non-desk or dispersed workforces in which many employees don’t get to directly interface with their colleagues every day, throwing an event where employees can socialize in a more laid-back context helps build trust and camaraderie throughout your company.

A great example of how this incentive worked for a dispersed workforce is LessAccounting.com, an accounting software provider. To help bring together employees in six different time zones, the executive staff throws a party at a time where all their employees can meet over Skype. They shop online together to buy each team member a gift while enjoying food and refreshments.

Speaking about his motivation for starting this tradition, LessAccounting.com co-founder Allan Branch told Entrepreneur.com, “We have no water cooler. It is really easy to have a whole bunch of strangers who do not interact at all.” With this remote event approach, the gifting activity is gasified so that each gift recipient has to put their microphone on mute when the team is discussing what gift they should get for them. This gives teams a chance to enjoy seeing the reactions on their co-workers’ faces as gift suggestions are shared.

2. Reward great performance with extra time off

Every holiday season, a few true-blue staffers may exhibit particular performance excellence during the holiday season, despite all the readily available distractions. While it may seem like these are the employees you will need to worry least about during the winter months, the reality is that the threat of burnout is real. The last thing you want is for your very best employees to suddenly find themselves losing sleep and neglecting to take care of themselves in the interest of compensating for team member absence during the holidays.

At the start of the holiday season, make it known that those who display exemplary levels of fortitude and leadership during the difficult winter months have the potential to be rewarded with bonus days off, redeemable in the Spring once things slow down.

For parents of kids with Spring Break days and employees wishing to save their vacation for when the temperature begins to rise, this could be a great way to make sure that a healthy population of your employees will remain steadfast and focused through the end of the year.

3. Offer incentives for working less-desirable shifts

Within service-based industries, working through the holidays often becomes a somewhat obligatory reality of the job. In fact, the holidays often constitute the busiest season of the year for hospitality businesses. To ensure that you will have sufficient staff coverage during the less-desirable shift times, it can be advantageous to get creative with rewards.

After all, while paying time and a half on official holidays is a great way to acknowledge an employee’s dedication on days normally reserved for family, there are plenty of other days leading up to the holiday that will require just as much coverage.

4. Award personalized bonuses

Rewards mean far more when they’re personalized for each employee. While giving out holiday bonuses is customary in many industries, digital survey tools can help managers give their individual employees a bonus that truly reflects their individual preferences and needs. This can range from giving gift certificates to a favorite restaurant, or a gift certificate pertaining to their hobby of choice.

This knowledge provides a deeper awareness of the types of rewards your employees will actually enjoy. Tickets to a baseball game may appeal to some, while others prefer a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Adding that extra personal touch will make the experience memorable.

5. Provide stress-relief services in the office

The month of December is stressful for a variety of reasons due to the obligations of holiday travel, events, gifting, and meeting annual sales or performance targets. Given the pressures of delivering on year-end goals and fulfilling personal holiday obligations, your employees are under a heightened level of stress during the season.

There are many ways to help alleviate this, but the most important aspect of this strategy is to communicate clearly through your actions that you care about your employees from a holistic perspective, not just the aspects of wellness that pertain directly to their day to day tasks.

Corporate health programs are a popular way of keeping employees healthy and engaged at the same time. Jeremy Smith, co-founder & COO of on-demand parking startup SpotHero brings in yoga and meditation specialists to the office during holiday season to help employees relax. He told CIO.com, “Having someone come to the office makes it very easy for employees to take a break from their busy schedules and find a moment to relax.”

6. Give out holiday friends and family gift cards, discounts, or access passes

If you run a service-based or retail business, one cost-effective way to show gratitude to your employees is to issue friends and family gift cards that team members can then give to their loved ones over the holidays. Giving your employees the chance to share your services with their friends and family helps instill a sense of pride and a boost in morale during the hectic holiday season.

Disney employees at all levels benefit from deep holiday discounts and extra theme park passes during the Christmas season. As former Epcot greeter Heather Sliwinski reported to Business Insider, “Disney treats their cast members very well — we got additional family and friends park passes for the holidays, extra discounts on merchandise and food,” Sliwinski said. “I was able to have my parents come visit before Christmas because they provided extra guest tickets. It was really nice!”

If you need more ways to keep employees engaged during the holidays and the whole year round, get a free demo of Beekeeper’s mobile collaboration platform by filling out the form below.
Can software disrupt the workplace safety world too

Can Software Disrupt the Workplace Safety World Too?

There were 4,836 workplace deaths in 2015, according to the latest data from OSHA. And approximately one in five of those fatal accidents took place on a construction site. Despite advancements to improve workplace safety on construction sites, safety hazards still exist. They probably always will.

The construction industry is one of the most reliable generators of blue collar jobs that can’t be outsourced. So how can we make construction sites safer for our workers?

New Software Has Disrupted Taxis, Hotels, and Even Dating – Is Workplace Safety Next?

Approximately 84% of construction workers who sustained head injuries weren’t wearing work safety gear at the time of their injury. And 50% of all fatal workplace falls occurred from altitudes of 25 feet or less due to poor fall protection. Personal protective equipment and fall protection is essential, but in the Information Age, more companies are looking at digital tools that can help prevent accidents before they happen.

Digital workplace software can help you manage the safety hazards in your workplace where your EHS department can’t quite reach. Digital workplace software allows for better internal communication and promotes a better culture of safety. Consider the following ways digital workplace software can reduce occupational injuries.

Improved Information Distribution

According to a study by the Center for Construction Research and Training, up to 27% of construction workers who sustained an occupational injury didn’t report their injury. Failing to report important safety information because your office is still relying on paperwork can increase hazards in your workplace.

Digital workplace software improves information distribution by providing automated alerts to workers, allowing follow-ups and updates, and ensuring routine communication, all on mobile. What’s more, it’s easier to send out alerts and notifications from a single software platform, thereby improving your manager’s leadership and the accountability of your workers.

Improved Data Analysis

Searching for correlations in data via paper records and spreadsheets is not only tiresome, but it’s not cost efficient for any company. However, the analytics dashboard of a mobile collaboration platform can help users find correlations between data far more efficiently. This saves time, company money, and helps you as a business find the areas in safety culture where you need to improve.

Improved safety culture

It’s easy for a workplace not to take safety seriously until a fatal workplace accident occurs. Therefore, it’s essential that, as a leader, you make safety culture a priority. When the leader of the company sees safety culture as important, the rest of the workforce will also.

A digital workplace app can help make safety culture as important to your workers as it is to you. For instance, your workers will know how to handle the safety issues in the workplace should you utilize safety observation reporting via your digital workplace software.

Accidents happen in the construction industry. However, many of these accidents can be avoided by implementing a mobile tool to promote communication, workplace data analysis, and safety culture.

By shifting to a digital workplace, you can monitor safety regulations, notify workers of safety concerns or issues, and help your workers stay accountable for their own safety, as well as others’. Through improved employee communication, you can reduce the number of both fatal and non-fatal workplace accidents.

To see a demo of Beekeeper’s digital workplace app used for employee communication and safety, fill out the form below to speak to one of our app experts.
bee school sessions 3&4 QA

Bee School Sessions 3&4: “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” Q&A

We had to skip a Q&A post for Thanksgiving, but we are back on track! The last two Tuesdays we hosted the third and fourth sessions of our educational series, Bee School. Thank you to those of you who joined or plan on joining us for the final two classes.

The topics for the last two lectures were “Professional Culture” and “Organizational Culture” where Dr. Linda Herkenhoff discussed the differences between the two, how to measure them, and ways to ensure your organization is strong in both. She delved into how these cultural values increase commitment and provide a sense of identity for employees, allowing for a more productive workplace.

You had some great questions and we appreciate you taking the time to send them to us. Below are the questions from other managers and you can read Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions about the class content or Bee School in general, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

Q&A with the Professor

1. What are the main differences between professional and organizational culture? Should the emphasis be placed more on one than the other?

Organizational culture is a pattern of basic assumptions that are considered valid and are taught to new members as the way to perceive, think, and feel in an organization. Organizational cultures are learned over short periods of time since people have to adapt to the new organization they’re entering quickly.

Alternatively, professional cultures are learned over long periods and are more inherent. In fact, most professional culture is learned even before employees start a new job. Since organizational culture is more difficult to learn, the focus for a manager should primarily be placed in this arena. That’s how you’ll get new hires to become familiar with the team and corporate culture so they feel comfortable and aligned. Those qualities poise them to be a more successful contributing member.

2. What are some immediate steps I can take to start enhancing our organizational culture?

Through role modeling, teaching, and coaching, leaders can reinforce the values that support organizational culture. Here are six guidelines to help establish corporate culture:

  1. Create a clear and simple mission statement.
  2. Create systems that ensure an effective flow of information.
  3. Create “matrix minds” among managers. In other words, broaden their minds to allow them to think globally.
  4. Develop career paths that allow employees to rotate between offices.
  5. Use cultural differences as a major asset.
  6. Implement management education and team development programs.

Since every company is different, you’ll need to tailor each one of these to fit your business needs. Start by assessing your current status in these areas and finding where there’s room for improvement.

3. How should culture be a part of the onboarding process?

Newcomers learn culture through organizational socialization. This is the process by which newcomers are transformed from outsiders to participating, effective members of the organization. There are three stages of socialization:

1) Anticipatory socialization
This first stage encompasses all of the learnings that take place on the first day on the job. On the first day, storytelling is a great way to set the right tone.

Here are a few ideas of different stories to weave into the content of your first day:

  • Tell new employees something about how their bosses are human and espoused one of your corporate values during a stressful time.
  • Everyone is worried about not making the grade on the first day.
  • Recounting a story about the company’s hiring and firing history will be better coming from you and put your newcomer’s concerns to rest about job security.
  • If applicable, you can tell stories about how the company deals with relocation or other major life changes that happen in an employee’s personal life.
  • Stories about how lower level employees rise to the top are always motivating.
  • Explaining how leadership dealt with a crisis situation will often speak volumes about that company’s culture. It starts at the top!
  • Stories about how status considerations work when rules are broken. For example, when one of the former CEO’s of IBM wasn’t wearing his badge, a dutiful security guard confronted him and required the correct credentials before allowing him to pass!

2) Encounter
The second stage of socialization is when newcomers learn the tasks associated with the job, clarity in their roles, and establish new relationships at work. In this stage, be sure to set firm expectations to avoid ambiguity for the newcomer and, possibly more importantly, existing employees.

3) Change and Acquisition
Here, newcomers that are successfully socialized begin to master their domain and should be exhibiting good performance, high job satisfaction, and intend to stay with the organization.

Don’t miss Tuesday’s lecture, “Emotional Intelligence,” where you’ll find out how to look beyond basic emotional intelligence and fine-tune your approach by taking all three types of culture into account.

First time hearing about Bee School? It’s not too late to sign up! Reserve your spot below for this free educational series and we can email you the sessions you missed.
Technology's Impact on Non-Desk Employee Productivity

Technology’s Impact on Non-Desk Employee Productivity

Non-desk employees, also referred to as frontline employees, significantly impact a company’s success. Especially since they are the people that interact with your customers most frequently.

At many companies, however, these employees are often recognized or prioritized less than their office counterparts. Even if not intentional, non-desk employees can feel out of the loop when not at least somewhat integrated with the rest of the company.

Luckily, there are ways to efficiently integrate non-desk employees with the rest of the workforce, and this is how things should be. Not only is this more respectful for everyone involved, but we’ve also found that integration improves employee productivity, due to improvements in communication, employee satisfaction, and overall efficiency.

Improvements in Communication

Communication should encompass more than “email threads” and one-on-one meetings. For one, neither of these forms of communication prove all that useful for non-desk employees. Often out and about or otherwise distanced from other workers, these employees can be more difficult to reach with traditional forms of workplace communication.

This “distance” between employees in the same company can be significantly reduced with peer-to-peer and group messaging with the proper internal communication platform.

Peer-to-Peer Communication

Peer-to-peer communication — which conveniently doesn’t require exchanging details or phone number swapping — gives all of your employees the ability to quickly and easily message anyone in the company. In addition to text-based messages, employees can also share links, documents, images, and videos.

Quicker response times and increased availability directly translate to improved efficiency (and fewer headaches).

Group Messaging

When it comes to group messaging, you have the option to create dedicated channels. This enables you to engage and share information with specific groups of employees in a way that is more specific and personal than other forms of communication.

Say goodbye to the days of annoying email chains which never fail to include either too many or too few relevant employees. Instead, messages and updates can be shared with only those who need them.

You can also engage with the company as a whole and include non-desk employees in the sharing of company updates, news, and events. This isn’t only good for keeping everyone on the same page — it’s also good for morale.

Improvements in Employee Satisfaction

Working at a company that doesn’t communicate with you very often, or that doesn’t communicate on a somewhat personal level, can cause feelings of exclusion. Nothing says “you aren’t a vital member of this team” like receiving zero communication from the rest of the organization.

Include all your employees with the utilization of company-wide notifications regarding policy changes, workplace incidents, and anything else that could benefit all employees.

Plus, giving your non-desk employees access to the same sources of information and avenues of communication as other employees can keep them feeling respected and included. Providing all employees with the same platform works towards creating the team atmosphere that leads to a company’s success.

It goes without saying that most employees also want to have a voice. Instant incident reporting and safety feedback give everyone the ability to voice concerns and ask questions effortlessly and at their own convenience.

Naturally, employees that feel like valuable members of a company will be more productive than employees that feel excluded or inferior.

Improvements in Efficiency

With improvements to communication and employee satisfaction, an improvement in efficiency will naturally result.

Employees will be able to contact anyone they need to instantly, which can, in turn, make all the difference between a satisfied and unsatisfied customer, or between a job done well and a poorly done job.

Improvements to communication and morale reach further than your employees. After all, your employees interact with other employees, as well as customers, in many instances. A satisfied, well-connected employee is better equipped to positively interact with customers and other employees than an unsatisfied, disconnected employee.

Non-desk employees can have a significant impression on others (and especially on customers), so it only makes sense to consider their productivity and well-being as being as important as that of other employees. Doing so gives your company an advantage, compared to competitors content on using outdated, fragmented technology.

To find out more about integrating your non-desk employees with the rest of the organization to improve employee productivity, fill out the form below for a free personal demo of Beekeeper’s mobile-first internal communication app.
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.
internal communication trends

Internal Communication Trends in 2018

This year, we had the privilege of attending CEB/Gartner’s Internal Communications Summit in London, where business leaders across many industries gathered from around the globe to share internal communication trends to pave the future of workplace correspondence. Over the course of two days, high-level delegates convened to take a dive deep into the various ways in which internal communications will technologically evolve starting in 2018.

ceb internal communications summit

Prevalent throughout the conference was the changing attitude towards the strategic importance of internal communication, with a strong focus on providing outcomes instead of output. This consensus mirrors comments made by research scientists Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner in their 2015 MIT Sloan Management Review feature in which they observed, “Most of the productivity increase seen in organizations nowadays originates – directly or indirectly – from digitization and big data analytics. […] the future of internal communication should be determined by the needs of future employees.”

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear to executives that investing in a centralized digital workspace is a core pillar of fostering employee engagement. When the backbone of an organization is rooted in a rich sense of purpose and positive company spirit, a workforce will be far more likely to perform at their peak to execute upon any deliverables at hand.

2018 Trends With the Biggest Potential Long-Term Impact

Many trends were discussed that will help organizations run smoother and more productive operations.

Mass Digital Migration with Mobile Apps

It is reported that 80% of our time on our mobile devices is spent using an app. With this metric in mind, CEB Summit attendees hypothesize an increasingly widespread adoption of mobile workplace tools that give employees instant access to company news, operations tools, workflows, communication channels, media sharing, and beyond.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Programs

With the rise of mobile communication apps for the workplace comes the expectation that messages will be responded to in real time, or at the very least, in a timely manner. While it is up to your company to establish rules of engagement so that employees don’t burn out or rack up overtime while dealing with off-the-clock internal communications, it’s also important to make the digital workplace app as accessible to all employees as possible. For many, this means using whatever mobile phone is in their possession. It is of critical importance, then, to ensure that the digital workplace provider you find can function on a wide variety of devices.

The Importance of Engagement

Throughout the Summit, the critical importance of fostering high levels of workforce engagement came up again and again. Employee engagement leads to rich company culture, a vested commitment to the success of colleagues, and a sense of pride working for a brand that cares about its people. Summit attendees observed that just as managers value the ability to provide timely and productive performance feedback to their teams in real time, more junior employees value the ability to give bottom-up feedback to the company leaders.

The consensus among conference-goers was that feeling heard helps workers remain connected to their colleagues, and that digital workplace platforms allow workers to meaningfully connect with colleagues that they may not interact with otherwise. Hosting digital interconnectedness within in a robust, well-design multimedia forum is a surefire path to employee satisfaction.

Anticipated Budget Trends for 2018

Throughout the event, many budget trend forecasts for 2018 were brought to light. Despite all the noise around what we may or may not be able to expect to see next year, the four anticipated trends below are certainly ones to watch:

anticipated budget increases

Social Media

Strategic social spend is a great way to stay on top of digital marketing trends. Allocating resources to explore the current roster of popular social apps allows companies to constantly put their best creative foot forward. Thinking long and hard about your company’s public persona will help you further define your key verticals and customer cohorts, ensuring that all digital marketing efforts going forward are supported by hard and fast data.

Employee Communications

As mentioned above, the importance of carving out time and resources to perfect employee communications processes was a common and emphatic sentiment we heard throughout our time at the CEB Summit. Apart from budgeting in resources to procure and onboard the tool itself, it is important to assign a core internal stakeholder to all digital workplace management, troubleshooting, integrations, and useage trainings.

Corporate Website

As SEO and SEM technology continues to iterate quite rapidly, spending time and resources to refresh and perfect web copy, meta tags, and backlinks will likely prove to be a worthy arena of spend for most organizations who rely on e-commerce or digital word-of-mouth in any way. Building a strong visual and written corporate identity will encourage both employees and customers to feel proud of their association with your brand.

Corporate Intranet

Whereas digital experience platforms will become an increasingly important fixture for ensuring employee engagement, maintaining a traditional CMS or intranet hub will continue to be a tried and true method to host more static company assets.

As Maya Angelou noted, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This sentiment echoed throughout all the remarks made by our esteemed colleagues about the communities and cultures they aim to foster within their organizations. We walked away from the Summit feeling more optimistic than ever about the future of internal communications.

At every turn, attendees across the board made it clear that companies must start thinking about how they can expand company correspondence programs and technologies to encourage productivity, community, and mutual respect among their entire workforce population. Budgeting resources and time to onboard new digital tools and analytics will help ensure that employees feel a fundamental connection to the company mission, and to each other.

Since you’re interested in internal communication, download our white paper to learn how to craft a successful internal communication strategy.