12 Major Pitfalls When Relying on Whatsapp for Internal Communication

Is WhatsApp your company's key internal communication tool? While WhatsApp may appear to be a convenient and free solution, relying only on it might lead to a myriad of issues in the long run. 

This article will look at the 12 primary problems of utilizing WhatsApp for internal communication and present an all-in-one solution to solve these challenges. 

12 major pitfalls when relying on WhatsApp for internal communication

Here's a breakdown of the 12 pitfalls of relying on WhatsApp for internal communication, along with some research to solidify the dangers:

#1 Higher likelihood of security breaches and putting sensitive information at risk

One of the most significant risks of making use of WhatsApp for business communication is the inherent security risk. When workers use WhatsApp for internal communication, important corporate information is saved on their personal phones, which might be lost, stolen, or hacked. Meaning there is a risk that sensitive data goes public. This is especially a challenge when your employees are leaving your organization. They still will have access to all data (including photos, customer data, and chat history) that has been shared before.

A study by Verizon actually found that 43% of data breaches in 2023 involved stolen credentials, highlighting the risk of unauthorized access on personal devices. WhatsApp also lacks the robust security features found in other dedicated business communication platforms. 

#2 Absence of user management features

Have you ever been stuck adding a handful of newcomers to a WhatsApp group, only to discover that you unintentionally added John (or Jane) to the incorrect team chat?

When you read their name, you know you have to explain the error, remove them, and hope they never saw any classified information.  Then comes the embarrassing announcement in the group chat for everyone to see: "John (or Jane] has been removed from the group" 😰

Adding new staff members to WhatsApp groups, assigning them to the correct group chats, and then deleting them when they leave the organization may be a logistical headache, particularly for bigger organizations with high turnover. This manual procedure is inefficient and error-prone, wasting significant time and resources. 

#3 The fast-paced nature of WhatsApp group chats can lead to important messages getting lost in the information overload

Important messages can quickly be lost in fast-paced group conversations without sufficient organizing capabilities such as threading or search functionality resulting in information overload. There's no way to tell if everyone saw it, let alone fully understood it. Crucial information is lost in the shuffle of messages and memes.LI carousel B - template keynote.001And that's not all. A University of California Irvine study estimated that communication breakdowns cost U.S. businesses $1.1 trillion annually. Can you afford to take that risk with your company's critical information?

#4 WhatsApp simply isn't equipped to handle the complexities of workplace communication

WhatsApp lacks options for archiving or conveniently retrieving previous chats, making it difficult to revisit crucial choices or information. Without effective record keeping, critical information can be lost as fast as it was delivered.  Isn't it time to stop scrolling and make sure your staff has easy access to critical information?

#5 Limited features hinder workflow & reduce employee productivity

Another key disadvantage of WhatsApp for corporate communication is the absence of integration capabilities. Employees must navigate between various applications while doing tasks, scheduling, and file sharing, which leads to confusion and disconnected workflows. It affects not just staff productivity but also the efficiency with which you can do your duties. Need to delegate a task? You're going to another platform. Have a file to share? Yet another application. Employee CommunicationThis constant app switching is a productivity killer. A study by Microsoft found that employees waste an average of 2.5 hours per week searching for information due to fragmented tools. Not only does it disrupt your workflow, but it also increases the risk of errors. Who wants to be the one accidentally sending a critical document to the wrong chat because of app overload?

#6 WhatsApp notifications constantly pinging on employees' personal phones can blur the lines between work hours and personal time

Sure, WhatsApp keeps everyone in the loop, but at what cost?

The constant connectivity facilitated by Whatsapp notifications on personal phones can blur the lines between work hours and personal time. There is no actual "off" switch, resulting in feelings of burnout and, ultimately, lower employee satisfaction.

And it's not just a feeling. A Rand Corporation study found a clear link between chronic work stress and health problems, including absenteeism. When employees can't disconnect and recharge, it takes a toll on their overall well-being and performance.  Isn't it time to prioritize your team's well-being and create a healthier work-life balance?

#7 The lack of training associated with Whatsapp use can exacerbate communication issues

Yes, adding, sharing customized stickers and other “meme-able” moments is fun. Yet, this very informal nature of Whatsapp can also lead to communication problems. The lack of training associated with Whatsapp use can exacerbate these issues. Misinterpretations due to unclear language, misuse of features, and an overall casual tone can create a communication minefield.  For example, sarcasm or humor can be easily misinterpreted in text-based messages.

#8 For a diverse workforce, Whatsapp's limitations become even more apparent

WhatsApp does not always serve a diverse workforce. WhatsApp's translation options are severely limited, leaving some employees feeling alienated and unable to fully engage as a result. The problem extends beyond linguistic boundaries.  

For employees with visual impairments, relying solely on text-based communication can be isolating.  WhatsApp lacks features that convert messages to audio or provide alternative ways to access information.  This may limit their capacity to stay informed and participate effectively. Isn't it time to adopt a communication platform that promotes inclusivity and makes everyone feel appreciated on the team?

#9 Whatsapp group chats can become breeding grounds for gossip and misinformation

A message pops up claiming a major competitor just slashed prices.  Before anyone can verify the information, panic sets in, leading to frantic calls and potentially risky decisions. 

The informal nature of group chats makes it difficult to control the spread of misinformation or rumors.  This can damage team morale, productivity, and foster a negative work environment. A PwC report found that trust is the most important factor for employee engagement. When misinformation runs rampant, it can erode trust within teams and hinder collaboration.

#10 WhatsApp specifically prohibits "non personal use" and could result in termination of the service

There’s one thing we’d like to clarify - WhatsApp does offer a business solution (for communications between employees and customers), most companies utilize WhatsApp Messenger for personal use. And from WhatsApp's own Terms of Service:

"You will not use (or assist others in using) our Services in ways that...involve any non-personal use of our Services unless otherwise authorized by us."

While this possibility may seem remote or highly improbable, should WhatsApp suspend access for this reason, every employee's account may also be suspended indefinitely. Imagine the detrimental impact if suddenly your employees can't use WhatsApp for personal reasons because the company violated the terms of use.

#11 The constant data exchange between work and personal phone usage on WhatsApp can drain battery life

The constant data exchange between work and personal phone usage on WhatsApp can drain battery life. This impacts employees' ability to use their phones for personal needs and can lead to frustration.

#12 You have no way to track  the effectiveness of internal communication or identify areas for improvement

WhatsApp offers limited, if any, analytics capabilities. This means managers have no way to track the effectiveness of internal communication strategies or identify areas for improvement.  

For instance, a manager might craft a detailed message outlining a new company policy. They send it to the team via WhatsApp, but with no way to track if everyone saw it or understood it, the message could be lost in the shuffle. This lack of insight makes it difficult to optimize communication and ensure employees are receiving the information they need to be successful.

What’s the alternative to using WhatsApp for internal communication?

These 12 pitfalls clearly demonstrate the limitations of Whatsapp for internal communication. Companies  need a robust, secure, and feature-rich platform designed specifically for the workplace.

With Speakap,  your  employees stay connected, informed, and productive,  regardless of location or device. Here's how:

  • Secure communication: Speakap guarantees safe and secure data storage - now and in the future. Keeping your information safe, at all times.
  • Simplified team management:  Integrated with your HR system, it enables employees to swiftly join the social intranet community, enhancing employee communication and collaboration.
  • Organized conversations: Equip your employees with essential content tailored to their roles. Deliver precise updates on their personal timelines based on team, department, or location.
  • Accessible information: Speakap goes beyond just chat messages. You can store and share files, documents, and other resources, making them readily accessible to everyone who needs them. This eliminates the need to search through emails or external drives for important information.
  • Enhance the productivity of your frontline workforce: With Speakap, there are two ways to create your own employee hub: 1) with our built-in features like task management, and 2) our API marketplace to integrate all your employee tools. These integrations are embedded into your desktop and mobile apps, enabling single sign-on.
  • Work-life balance control: Provides notification control, allowing employees to disconnect and recharge during personal time, unlike the constant ping of WhatsApp notifications blurring work-life boundaries.
  • Message formatting options: Speakap may offer features like bolding, italics, and bullet points for emphasis, allowing users to highlight key points and improve message clarity.
  • Inclusive features: Nothing gets lost in translation. What’s our secret? An employee communication app that lets employees instantly translate your content. Break language barriers in the workplace, and reach everyone in their own language.
  • Automated user management: Automates adding, removing, and assigning employees to groups, reducing the administrative burden of managing WhatsApp groups.
  • Context preservation: Unlike the fleeting nature of WhatsApp messages, Speakap might allow pinning important messages or discussions to the top of a conversation for easy reference. This ensures everyone stays on the same page and avoids confusion about past decisions or instructions.
  • Separate work & personal communication: Keeps work conversations separate, extending battery life on employees' devices compared to the constant data exchange of WhatsApp.
  • Data-driven communication analytics: Allows to track communication effectiveness through a dedicated workforce analytics dashboard, allowing for identifying areas for improvement, a feature absent in WhatsApp.Home hero light bg

Speakap is the most user-friendly technology for internal communication with your frontline employees - named the Easiest to Use Frontline Worker Communication Platform in the G2 Spring 2024 Report.

Ready to experience the transformative power of effective internal communication? Book a free demo of our employee communication app now!