Frontline Workers Frequently Turn to Unapproved Messaging Apps for Work-Related Communications, Unbeknownst to HR

Frontline Workers Frequently Turn to Unapproved Messaging Apps for Work-Related Communications, Unbeknownst to HR

PR Newswire

NEW YORK and LONDON, January 24, 2019

NEW YORK and LONDON, January 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --

Speakap Study Reveals 53 Percent of Global Frontline Workers Use Messaging Apps Up to Six Times Daily, While 16 Percent Said HR Departments Are Unaware of Such Usage

Internal communications is a tough nut to crack, especially when companies employ a globally dispersed workforce of deskless employees. The need to stay informed, cut out irrelevant messages and empower staff to be more efficient is greater than ever. But according to the "Bridging the Internal Communications Gap: What Frontline Employees Really Want & Need" research study released by Speakap, frontline workers in the retail, hospitality and entertainment industries are turning to unapproved messaging apps for work-related communications, without HR's knowledge.

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In particular, over half (53 percent) of global frontline workers said they use messaging apps up to six times daily for work-related communications. Yet, 16 percent said their HR departments are unaware of such usage.

According to Patrick Van Der Mijl, co-founder of Speakap, "Just because these tools are popular or preferred doesn't mean they are the right choice. There are three serious problems with using tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for employee communications - digital wellbeing, data security and regulatory compliance. This is reinforced by the data from our study, with 30 percent of the respondents saying that the 24/7 nature of messaging apps and social media sites makes it difficult to maintain a work/personal life balance and 12 percent expressing concerns that sensitive data could be left exposed and susceptible to data breaches. Worse yet, the unapproved use of these tools could potentially cause a company to fail an audit without ever causing a data breach, especially in highly regulated industries."

With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) going into effect as of May 25, 2018, many businesses are now banning the use of messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat in order to comply with EU GDPR. Deutsche Bank, for example, has banned the use of SMS, WhatsApp and other messenger services as of January 2017 due to the stringent documentation obligations that fall on banks for regulatory compliance.

Key findings from the study include: 

Interestingly, 68 percent of the respondents said they would stop using messaging apps and social media sites if their companies provided an internal communications platform. This finding signals two things: first, a disillusionment with the current processes and flaws of consumer-focused messaging apps and social media sites and second, a willingness to embrace and use a smarter alternative.

Patrick Van Der Mijl concluded, "One key to solving these problems is implementing a single technology platform that can replace all of the unapproved messaging apps and social media sites used by deskless workers. Essentially, an internal communications platform that acts as a one-stop shop and can integrate with hundreds of CRM, HR, payroll and workforce management tools will make things run a lot smoother within your organization - and make it easier to minimize this huge gap between what HR believes is occurring and what actually is occurring among your employees."

Survey Methodology

We surveyed over 1,000 deskless employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain and Germany to understand their existing internal communications practices as well as their needs, frustrations and preferences for employee engagement. The survey was fielded in December 2018 and targeted deskless employees (i.e. retail store associates, front of house staff, customer service staff, etc.) across a variety of business categories, including retail, hospitality and entertainment.

About Speakap

Founded in 2011 by co-founders, Patrick Van Der Mijl and Erwin Van Der Vlist, Speakap is a secure, private enterprise social network that enables organizations in the retail, hospitality & restaurants, entertainment, travel, auto, manufacturing and logistics industries to reach, support and engage their deskless employees. By doing so, both frontline employees and businesses are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including higher productivity levels, increased job satisfaction, stronger knowledge of products and promotions/offers, better job performance, reduced absenteeism, higher employee retention rates and more sales.

On the shop floor, in the kitchen or on the production line, Speakap is available 24/7 and enables communication and collaboration from any internet-connected device. The company currently has over 350 customers in 27 countries around the world, including iconic and trusted brands such as McDonald's, IKEA, Hudson's Bay and Rituals. The company is headquartered in New York, with additional offices in Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Koln and Diegem.

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