By Santiago Jaramillo, CEO and founder of Bluebridge
Today’s business leaders still haven’t figured out how to solve for the employee engagement problem. Yet engagement matters more than ever before. Companies who are engaging their employees see 50% less turnover, 22% better productivity, and ultimately 3x the profitability than those with disengaged employees.
As a 25-year-old entrepreneur with ambitious goals to see my startup, Bluebridge, grow 100% year over year, building a company culture that inspires employees and keeps them engaged has remained a top priority. Yet solving the engagement problem doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly takes more than the CEO to drive a solution.
A recent Gallup study of 190 organizations found that executive leaders influence front-line employee engagement indirectly and directly. It turns out that when managers are highly engaged, employees are 59% more likely to engaged. I believe in the power of nurturing our culture and empowering our managers, and know these strategies lead to success. But it was when I truly leaned in to our own value proposition, and trusted our internal staff, that I discovered the value of a mobile-first employee engagement strategy.
At Bluebridge, we have an internal team called “Bridgelife”. Started as a grass-roots effort, this group is collectively responsible for cultivating our company culture by reinforcing our core values and coming up with ideas the whole team can rally behind. While most internal teams tasked with such a job would plan a team outing or group activity, ours came up with the idea to launch an internal mobile application. It only now seems ironic that we hadn’t thought of the idea sooner—Bluebridge has 600+ apps all built to help organizations communicate and engage with their audiences, but we had never used it to communicate with our most important audience: our people.
In just a few short months since launching our own internal mobile app for employee use, the benefits are endless. Here’s four ways we’re using mobile to increase engagement and productivity:
1. Steady pulse.
We’re able to quickly measure employee engagement levels through pulse surveys so we can deal with issues that arise and get ahead of churn and disengagement. I believe this is solving a big problem emerging in today’s workplace— as many as 7 in 10 employees are not engaged but employers typically don’t realize this or react until it’s too late and they’ve made up their mind to leave. By engaging employees with a mobile app, we keep a constant pulse on improvements we can make as a company.
2. Effective communication.
Our company offers many unique opportunities for training and growth, but unless they’re effectively communicated, employees don’t seize these opportunities. An internal mobile app allows us to communicate about continuing education as well as recognize employees when they’re doing a great job on something, reinforcing our core values and desired behaviors. Continued opportunity for learning and growth is one of the top reasons employees—especially millennials- stay engaged at work.
3. Home base.
Our mobile app creates a “home base” for employees. Most of us wake up in the morning and have a routine that involves checking what notifications came through on our mobile device overnight. (Think of Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Yet to date, most people don’t have an application that provides updates on their job, outside of email. Our mobile app has already made Bluebridge employees feel like they have a way to remain engaged and on top of inner-office activities.
4. Work on the most important things.
Our team creates departmental initiatives each quarter, but until we launched our internal mobile application we struggled to find ways to display, share, and update our goals transparently and securely. Now, the mobile app keeps employees working on the most important things, and when they work on the things that matter, engagement levels remain high.
People are the greatest sustainable differentiator an organization can attain, and keeping them engaged is an even more difficult challenge. To truly increase employee engagement, we must focus on creating a place where employees feel they can do meaningful work. I believe engaging employees by meeting them where they are, on their mobile device, will be key to employee engagement for years to come.
Santiago Jaramillo is the CEO and Founder of mobile app engagement platform Bluebridge, where he oversees the vision, strategy, and roadmap of the company’s product and brand. Santiago has grown Bluebridge from humble beginnings in a college dorm room to the industry’s premier platform for churches, tourism bureaus, employers, and other organizations to more deeply engage their audiences through mobile.