One of the most burning questions we get asked here at Thrive is 'what does success look like when it comes to internal communications and employee engagement?'
I am afraid to say that this isn't a simple question with a straightforward answer. Each business is unique, and therefore the problems each business encounters is unique. Anyone with practical experience in our field knows that when you stop and analyse comms and engagement problems for an organisation, there are significant variables and factors to consider when crafting any solution. Typically, there are no straightforward answers and obvious, go-to solutions.
However, there is one thing that we are all aware of, and one thing that occupies the category of 'essential starting point' when it comes to analysing success - that is the number of active employees (users) the app generates and sustains. So, quite simply, we asked ourselves, what could we do better when it comes to app usage, and how can we help alleviate the 'digital noise' for employees?
Over the past twelve months, we have examined a multitude of customer requests to dig deeper into some of the more critical problems associated with usage. As a result, and with the help of our customers, we are pleased to announce the impending arrival of one of our most powerful platform features to date - the Thrive Locker.
To better explain how we see Locker working over the longer term, it is worth taking a quick detour to explain its origins and how we got here.
Addressing the Challenge of Manual Processes and Paper-Based Communications
During a series of discovery and validation sessions to shape Locker, we dug into reports of how organisations were still using manual, paper-based communication methods to send personalised information to their hard-to-reach staff. This covered everything from converting what would be basic email correspondence to printed letters, e-payslips converted to paper-based payslips and everything in between.
We saw that without centralised account management facilities (for example, Active Directory) or desktop password managers giving employees seamless access to automated and networked systems, remote employees and teams were tasked with referencing and using many different systems, requiring separate logins and separate procedures. Clerical staff also had to effectively manage these variances. Other internal processes were then required to generate the paper-based documentation for these hard-to-reach employees, adding additional time and management pressures to office staff and financial implications for the business.
In addition, we saw how employees and teams without these facilities started to gravitate toward their own solutions - using different, 'unofficial' technologies to help them with their day-to-day routines. Tools like WhatsApp began to be used independently by localised teams to send out rotas, share health and safety documents and organise fast-changing working practices. Amplified by the conditions imposed by Covid-19, we saw how this type of communication fragmentation really started to hurt the operational side of our customers.
Streamlining and Centralising Communications with the Locker Feature
So, if we fast forward to now, the introduction of Locker will offer a totally new flexible and more direct, personalised aspect of Thrive. Over the coming development cycles planned for Locker, we see significant operational benefits materialising for both the employee and business. We see the functionality helping to reduce the communication fragmentation between localised teams and offices, provide customers with a centralised file and message delivery system for all employees, and reduce the headaches of managing 3rd party tools for the individual.
For the initial release of Locker, we have focused on giving employees access to personalised files (like e-payslips and HR documents). We have provided manual file uploads through the CMS, alongside secure email and API facilities for more automated system integrations. Using the variety of file receipt mechanics Locker offers, we hope that organisations can capitalise on reducing office paper waste, manual process intervention and include more employees in the existing automated processes.
Over the medium to longer term, we want to expand on the use cases of Locker. The Product Team are already working on designs and features to help managers set up and communicate with their own teams through Locker, add compliance options onto files, offer seamless integrations through Locker and explore forms of messaging within Locker.
Most importantly, with the introduction of Locker and the delivery of personalised files like payslips, employees will start to access their Locker habitually. This will organically drive more traffic through the app and, therefore, more traffic to your comms and engagement pieces. When it is released, adopting Locker and putting in place workflows to capitalise on Locker's reach will start to transform the efficacy of your content. For the employee, we see Locker becoming their personalised 'front-end tool' that provides them with a complete digital experience to help improve their job satisfaction and engagement with the business.
To find out more about Thrive App updates, including current features and future plans on our roadmap, check out our feature updates blog.