The short answer may be that “you will probably be fine without one”. And you should not get a workforce app “because everyone is doing it” – not even to “to improve engagement” or “to digitize your operations”.
But there are a couple of good reasons for actually looking into digital solutions for managing your staff at a small business.
Keeping your team data safe
There are both internal and external aspects of data safety that can cost you a lot if something goes wrong.
Who is at work at any given time is quite private information – and keeping this information in the family should be your priority. But printed schedules on the office door are really easy for anyone to check out.
Scheduling details isn’t something you’d want a stranger to read. Who’s working the late night shift on a Friday? Is there just a single person closing the store? You’ll get additional penalty points if you’re printing employee contacts on the schedule page.
While workforce apps don’t 100% prevent your internal data from leaking, it’s still a place where schedules are away from clients, partners, and that one creepy ex-boyfriend who just showed up at the loading dock for a chat.
A good workforce app will also keep your people safe from each other. Not everyone wants to share their phone number or full name with their colleagues. But by adding everyone to the same group chat, you’re creating an easy listing for possible friend requests, some of them unsolicited.
Avoiding information overload
Digital communication channels are not equal. Everyone’s email overflows. Chat apps create an endless scroll of messages if you don’t check the conversation for a few days. They will also send you constant notifications until you unsubscribe and disengage.
A good workforce app will alert relevant people about relevant information. Not everyone needs to get the urgent memo about a broken fridge – this should go only to the employees whose work routines are affected. Looking for shift replacement shouldn’t address anyone from another department, or with a different position.
Your employees cannot perform their best when keeping track of what’s up at work becomes a job itself. But you can make a major difference in your team productivity by making communication clarity a top priority; and by choosing appropriate communication tools to support this.
It’s just better for your business
There are also many nice side effects to having a functional communication tool for your team.
- Easier onboarding: new employees will have much less to learn about scheduling and communication processes when they can just log in to the app.
- Better feedback: getting employee insights can be difficult in a hectic work environment. With an employee app you can give them an easy way to unload all work-related issues.
- Personal networking: a digital space can bring you closer to your employees if you’re not on location with them every day.
A workforce app doesn’t have to be an expensive service that only large corporations can afford. There are many apps out there that let you use the basic functions for free, and pay a small monthly fee for additional features.
To make sure your employees are comfortable with the app you choose, pay attention to safety issues (read our blog post about the possible issues of asking employees to download an app) and the availability of support. You will be thankful for the ability to ask for advice from the app developers even when you’re using it for free!
How we can help
If you’re currently looking for a workforce app for your team, take a look at our favorite shortlists: 4 free apps for self-scheduling and 5 free apps for managing mobile workforce.
Or jump directly to the Zelos page and check out our super simple scheduling and communication app and get started with a free project.