5 Stages to Launching an Employee App Your Employees Will Actually Use

Learn the 5 secrets to launching an employee app your employees will actually use and love. From building anticipation to keeping users engaged, this guide will transform your app into a thriving online community that boosts communication, collaboration, and productivity.

People are creatures of habit & breaking habits is a difficult thing to do. Whether it's a morning coffee routine or a nightly scroll through social media, these deeply ingrained behaviors can be tough to change. You might be wondering why we are talking about habits when it comes to launching an employee app. Well, if you think of it - getting your team to consistently use the app is essentially like learning to build a new habit. It's about integrating the app into their daily work life, as a result making it the go-to resource for communication & collaboration.

If you’re about to roll out an employee comms app for your teams, or you’re stuck on getting employees to use an app you already have) - you’ve landed on the right blog. In this blog, we’ll focus on five main stages of making it a success.

5-stage plan to make your employee app a success

Launching a new employee app is like building a new habit for your workforce. Here's a 5-stage plan to make it a success and a habit that sticks:

    1. Plan for adoption
    2. Prepare for launch
    3. Launch with a bang
    4. Ensure high active users
    5. Keep employees coming back

Ready to dive in?

Stage 1. Plan for high adoption

When launching a new employee comms app, it is obvious that choosing the right software is paramount to success. However, the biggest part of making it a success is ensuring that each employee genuinely wants to use it.  Here’s a few things to consider.

Set clear goals that align with the needs of your business

Does your organization struggle with siloed information? Aim to improve knowledge sharing. Is one of your priorities to ensure clear communication internally? Then the employee app can be a central platform you use for announcements about, for example, policy changes that directly impact the frontline workforce.

After you set the goals you want to achieve with the app, it’s time to identify what are the main challenges your frontline employees face on a daily basis. Challenges the employee app can solve. Do associates working in retail struggle to quickly and easily find the latest product info or return policy updates? A mobile employee app can be the go-to source to find this information, just a few taps away. Perhaps the knowledge of common customer concerns varies by location? Built-in chat functionalities in the app can help bridge this gap and enable staff to share best practices across branches directly.


💡Expert tip: Set an activation goal you want to achieve in the first 3 months

“Here's another key step: setting an activation goal. Why ? Because a high activation rate tells a powerful story. It means your frontline workforce is finding the app valuable. They're using it to communicate, access information, and ultimately, do their jobs better.  And it allows you to measure the success of your initiatives in rolling out the app to the workforce!”

Anne-Catherine Smit, Customer Success Manager at Speakap

Create a catchy name and brand identity

Create a name for the app that is unique, communicates the culture of your company, and indicates the benefits the app will bring to employees.  Consider alternatives to "WorkStuff Phone App" and aim for creating an app name that is memorable and inviting.  Create a logo and other design components that convey the purpose of the app in a visual way and resonate with your staff. 

P.S. Did you know that Speakap makes it possible to create a white-labeled, completely branded employee app that your staff will like and recognise right away? 😉 See how we help you create an employee app your employees will love.

Stage 2. Prepare for the launch

Tease and grab attention with a pre-launch marketing. Don't just declare the app's arrival; create anticipation!  Create a teaser campaign using unique images, brief video samples demonstrating app functionalities, or even entertaining puzzles implying the program's potential. One of our customers, for example, placed teasers such as street interview clips on their platform prior to the app's formal debut to build anticipation and spark conversation.

Friendly competition is an effective way to generate buzz.  Carry out pre-launch competitions on the company's social media channels or via email.  Ask employees to submit creative ideas for potential app features they'd like to see, design logo elements, or encourage them to come up with an imaginative app name.  Offer incentives like coupons, additional days off, or even the option to be a beta tester for the application itself.  This not only increases enthusiasm, but also gives crucial customer input before debut.  This not only generates excitement, but also provides valuable user feedback prior to launch.

💡Expert tip: involve the team in the naming process

“One impactful tactic is to involve your people in the naming process.  Hold an internal vote to choose the official app name. This simple act of participation gets people invested in the app's success even before it launches. It creates a sense of community and ownership, which goes a long way in driving adoption once the app is available.”

Anne-Catherine Smit, Customer Success Manager at Speakap

Important: don't launch with a blank canvas

Create content in advance to ensure that the platform is loaded with useful resources upon launch. Users will receive value right away from this, which will motivate them to come back for more.

Formulate a plan centered on producing relevant, educational, and captivating content that meets the needs & interests of your frontline workforce.  Workers won't use an app that has out-of-date paperwork or unrelated news on it.  Make it simple for a busy cashier to locate a quick video on handling challenging customer interactions or for a factory worker to quickly access the most recent safety protocols by prioritizing and organizing content for user-friendliness. 

[Free Template] Download our Content Strategy template to get started!Content Strategy TemplateWith a clear purpose, targeted content that addresses frontline challenges, and an emphasis on a user-friendly mobile experience, your employee app can grow into a thriving online community that promotes communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing within your organization.  

💡Expert tip: encourage managers to write a personalized welcome message for their teams

“Here at Speakap, we recommend encouraging managers to write a personalized welcome message for their teams within the app. This simple step goes a long way. It shows employees this is a space designed specifically for them, fostering a sense of ownership and community.  Plus, it gets managers comfortable using the app for communication – a key habit for sustained user engagement.”

Anne-Catherine Smit, Customer Success Manager at Speakap

Stage 3. Launch with a bang

Consider having a company-wide event or meeting to announce the app.  Demonstrate its value proposition with live demos, emphasize important features that solve frequent employee concerns, and illustrate how the app will improve collaboration and productivity. For example, this could consist of a  "How To Use the App" video by HR for a quick and easy walkthrough & encourage employees to make their first post on the employee app with a screenshot showing they downloaded the app. You could also ask them to in the post include their answer to “What are you most excited about using the app for?".

💡Expert tip: posters with QR codes to encourage app downloads

“For example, consider placing eye-catching posters around the workplace with a catchy slogan,  something like  'Are you in?,  alongside a QR code for easy download.  Some of our customers have even thrown launch parties complete with cakes featuring the app logo.”

Anne-Catherine Smit, Customer Success Manager at Speakap

Stage 4. Ensure high active user rate post-launch

A fantastic employee app is no good use if nobody uses it. Do you want to turn passive scrollers into engaged app users?  Here’s a few tips to ensure high adoption post-launch. 

Integrate the app into the onboarding process from the start.  Demonstrate how the software simplifies work, gives access to training resources, and facilitates collaboration among colleagues.  Pre-load the app with useful materials such as a digital staff handbook, safety regulations, and department-specific recommendations. 

JourneysSpeakap allows to create, automate and launch tailored content for specific groups, regions and departments.  As well as take your workforce through multi-step information flows, and bring them up to speed with Employee Journeys around Onboarding, Training, and Organizational Change.

Make it simple for a busy frontline workforce.  Prioritize clear, simple content and an easy-to-use categorization.  Focus on "quick win" features, such as brief video lectures on how to handle challenging client contacts, easily accessible shift schedules, or a simplified communication route with management.

PagesSpeakap allows for easy creation of pages with information for onboarding, training videos, employee benefits, safety & security details and so on.

Look into offering small incentives to promote early downloads and engagement, such as digital coffee vouchers or points redeemable for other corporate goods. This will encourage employees to explore the app and find its worth.  This push may help transform app usage into a good habit that benefits both your staff and your company.

Employee testimonials might assist to illustrate the app's positive influence. Highlight how front-line employees are using the app to improve their work lives, such as a cashier quickly addressing a customer issue or a factory worker accessing safety requirements in their native language.  Social proof builds trust and encourages widespread adoption.

Stage 5. Keep employees coming back

A successful employee app is not a one-time launch, which goes without saying. It is about keeping users coming back, which leads to higher employee engagement over time. So, how can you make using your employee app a habit for your employees? Speakap has helped numerous enterprises across the world develop effective employee applications. Over the last decade, we've witnessed firsthand what keeps people interested and returning for more. Here's a few best practices:

  1. Make it fun & heartwarming. One of our customers took inspiration from the heartwarming show "All You Need is Love” and  created their own - “All You Need is Luck”. This initiative encourages employees to nominate coworkers that are in need of a bit of extra luck. Whether it be needing some support when going through tough times, or they have a wish they’d really like to come true. Initiatives like these create a feel-good community, driving user engagement through acts of kindness and personalized support.
  2. The core value of the app needs to be clear. For example, almost all of the customers we work with use the employee app as a central hub for employees to easily access important documents like shift schedules, training materials, and even the digital versions of employee  handbooks. How does that correlate with people coming back? Because the app becomes an integral part of their workday.
  3. A small reward may go a long way toward developing a habit.  Consider providing small incentives for accomplishing activities within the app, such as points redeemable for business goods or the chance to win a gift card.  Recognize employees who actively contribute to the app's content or discussions, creating a sense of achievement and motivating others to join in.
  4. Healthy competition may be an effective motivator.  For example, you might establish leaderboards for completing training modules, or you could organize team contests to meet certain app goals, such as receiving a certain amount of kudos or completing a corporate challenge. 
  5. A one-size-fits-all solution will not work.  Use the app's features to tailor the user experience.  This may include personalizing news feeds to specific departments, offering appropriate training courses based on individual responsibilities, or allowing workers to customize their notification settings.  Catering to unique requirements and interests increases the app's relevance and engagement for each user.
  6. The app should serve as a platform for open and transparent communication, rather than a top-down messaging tool.  This in particular sets modern employee communication apps, such as Speakap,  apart from intranets as they encourage two-way communication. Encourage leadership to actively participate in conversations, respond to employee input, and resolve any problems made via the app.  This two-way communication illustrates that the firm appreciates employee feedback and builds a sense of trust and belonging inside the organization, eventually making the app more useful and engaging.
  7. Don't underestimate the strength of employee voices!  Encourage employee-generated content by allowing (and encouraging) them to share success stories, best practices, and even images from their day to day life.  For example, you could set up a channel where workers can discuss their accomplishments, big or small. This stimulates others and reinforces positive conduct. You might also set up a channel or topic where workers may discuss the most bizarre questions they've heard at work. 
  8. Leadership engagement is so vital. It's tough to get anything going without their involvement. Active involvement from leadership within the employee app fosters a culture of engagement and encourages participation from employees. For example, you might have the CEO post an end-of-year app update that highlights the previous year's accomplishments. 

Making your employee app a success doesn’t have to be hard..

Our experienced Customer Success and Support Professionals are passionate about equipping your leaders with the best practices, training and ongoing support that they need to be successful with their employee app.  Curious to see how we can help you launch an employee app your employees will love? You know where to find us