If there’s an “App for That”, do we need an employee portal too?

With the rise of chat based team applications, why do portals still matter?

Many of us have the latest apps on our phones and desktops that allow a level of interactive communication with our teams like never before.  So when and why should we engage with content on a “traditional” employee portal?  Team apps are fantastic and part of any digital strategy, but let’s look at the importance of how we create content for these apps and surface the content in a variety of channels including browser based employee portals.

Business Process and Quality

The process for announcing a new President of your organization, as noted in the feature image above,  is much different than checking in with the team on where we should go for our weekly lunch.  Business process and quality of a major announcement requires a different level of authorship, approval and timing that a quick instant message of a few sentences and emojis.   The best solution for this type of content is a content management system that can be viewed on a variety of devices and channels but the authorship needs to follow a certain business process and quality control.  This can be as simple as the quality of the content or as complex as the regulatory need for governance, compliance and auditing of content per company or government mandates which is best controlled via a properly configured portal.

 

Change Management

I organize a weekly mountain bike ride, which has a simple schedule.  While there are any number of feature rich,  group based apps, sites and communication methods we still have many, many people who depend on a weekly email and some still who print the schedule out and put it on the refrigerator.  To try to get 100% adoption of the latest mobile app, however slick… just isn’t going to happen this season and mandating that everyone buy a “smart refrigerator” isn’t either.   A very simple use case of a schedule, but indicative of some of the challenges we face in the transformation to a fully digital workforce.

Next time you are at lunch or dinner with co-workers or friends as the question “what do you still print?”

This is more than multi-channel, it’s about how many roles and people within an organization just are not ready to be as digital as others.  This is true with my bike group, but also true with companies with field workers, warehouse workers, factory workers that are occasionally connected via technology.  A strategy that involves a website that can be viewed on any device, even printed and “taken in the truck”, works for these set of content consumers more than the latest chat based team app.

Finally most organizations should be doing roadmapping and planning for the adoption of the latest apps, portals and ways to engage employees.  Just because people don’t want to change, or that new technology may be hard to adopt is not reason to put off the process or evolution of how we work together. We work on more teams than ever, on more devices than ever and companies need both a portal and an application strategy to remain competitive, keep employees engaged and content fresh.

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