Employee engagement is a solution that’s also a problem. We all know that employee engagement can reduce staff turnover, improve productivity, and boost profits, but how to foster that engagement is anything but clear. 70% of US workers say they’re not engaged at work, and traditionally the fix has been some new version of the same old company intranet or productivity tools package. The issue, of course, is that same solution = same results. It’s relatively rare to see a company try something truly innovative like rolling out an employee app, but as we’ll illustrate below, sometimes the old fixes just don’t scale.
Take G-Suite, for example. For small startups who need a cheap and easy way to empower collaboration and ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s certainly sufficient. At some point, however, a growing company’s storage, sharing, email, and internal communications needs will outgrow the platform, and the internal comms team (assuming there even is one) will have to add other communication and collaboration programs to fill in the gaps. The larger the company becomes, the more disjointed internal and externals comms becomes. Employees spend more time logging into multiple platforms and less time engaging in actual work.
So how can you avoid a situation where your productivity applications start eating away at your company’s productivity? The answer might be to start fresh with an employee app like Blink that becomes an information rich home base for both remote and on-site staff. Read on to see why G-Suite may no longer be enough to keep your employees engaged and why replacing it with an employee app may be the best thing you can do for your business in 2019.
G-Suite Doesn’t Minimize Internal Administrative Tasks
It’s common knowledge that employees value compensation and flexibility, but they also value the ability to do what they were hired to do. Employees are more engaged when they can spend more of their time on purposeful tasks. Administrative work cuts into productivity more often than most of us would like to admit. How much time do your employees spend making PTO requests? Submitting time sheets and expense reports? Making updates to their benefits packages? Or doing anything else that’s associated with internal operations? Administrative work is necessary but when it’s sapping employee time and energy, something must change. G-Suite doesn’t have internal communications tools built in, whereas an employee app will — making it possible for employees to get administrative tasks out of the way quickly so they can get down to work.
G-Suite Doesn’t Bring Work to the Worker Like an Employee App
Can you use G-Suite for employee or project management? Yes, if you have no issue using basic spreadsheets, shared docs, and calendars to do it. Is it an ideal tool? Absolutely not. Whether to-dos are internal or external, employees shouldn’t have to hunt around for them. When work comes due, whether the deliverable is a yearly self-evaluation or a project update, an employee app can send a push notification into the responsible employee’s feed and (in the same post) give them the tools they need to accomplish both internal and external tasks.
G-Suite Is Fine for File Storage — Up to a Point
Have you ever been tasked with finding an old document in your Drive without knowing the file name? Someone else created it and archived it way back when, and now you have to try to get into their head to figure out how they saved it. It’s a task that can take the better part of a day! The problem is that using G-Suite as your primary storage method relies on employees manually keeping things organized, which can result in some major headaches. Will the staff follow your filing system or file naming conventions? Who knows! Can one employee with an itchy scrolling finger accidentally delete important data? Unfortunately, yes. When you use an employee app, on the other hand, you can have one organized point-person or department in charge of your data. The end result is that employees spend less time trying to find the information they need, and that information is more secure.
G-Suite Can’t Be Personalized the Way an Employee App Can
G-Suite has its uses, but it’s definitely a one-size-fits-all platform, and chances are you don’t have one-size-fits-all employees. You can change certain things about G-Suite, but in general making any changes will mean adding more gadgets and more interfaces. Even if you’re not utilizing all the possible functions of an employee app like Blink, there’s still value in the potential for customization. Each staffer’s feed can display the information that makes the most sense for them to see so they can find what they need to do faster and more efficiently. Even better, all of those resources, updates, notifications, and to-dos are in one place, so the employee experience is streamlined. Your staff members will spend less time poking around your company portal every day because what they need will always be front and center.
G-Suite Doesn’t Have Robust Communications Tools
In G-Suite, users are super users or simply users. There’s not a customizable employee onboarding path. And once you get the hang of adding users, there’s no easy way to add them to multiple groups without using other tools. Your employees, once they’re in the system, can use the tools, but it’s lacking when it comes to employee-facing and administrative communications. You’re still going to be using clunky email threads and face to face meetings to reach employees, even after investing in G-Suite. An employee app lets you reach staff members anywhere without interrupting their workflow. You can share project updates, to-dos, schedules, changes to benefits packages, and more with the employees who need that information in mobile-friendly personalized feeds. If a response is required, employees can give feedback, share their work, or simply let you know the message was received.
G-Suite’s Activity Tracking Is Limited
One way to tell if employees are engaged is to track how and when they’re using your productivity software or your employee app. Using an employee app with key analytics tracking built right in makes this a lot easier. The obvious metric you want to track is whether employees are actually using your software, company intranet, or app, but can you see what integrated tools are and aren’t being used? Can you see when there are unread messages or unopened files languishing behind the scenes? Are employees using the system to ask questions or give feedback? You can’t confidently assess whether your internal communications are working without this data. That’s why Blink doesn’t just track key metrics; it also provides stats for every post in every feed so you can easily measure the reach and the impact of updates and every piece of information you share with individual employees.
G-Suite Is a Desktop-First System
In today’s workplace, you need to reach employees on mobile or you can’t be sure you’re reaching them at all. G-Suite doesn’t support mobile users with the same robustness it supports desktop users, which means that it’s not promoting anytime/anywhere engagement. Scaling up your business is likely going to mean embracing remote employees and flexible scheduling options. You need to choose an employee app that lets your staffers interact with it when they want and where they want on whatever device they like best.
G-Suite Doesn’t Promote Employee Participation
If you give employees a platform from which they can give feedback, ask questions, voice concerns, celebrate success, and offer encouragement, they’ll use it. At its heart, G-Suite is a basic set of collaboration tools… not a social network. An employee app that operates like a social network, on the other hand, can become the seat of your company culture and a place where employees can feel heard.
G-Suite’s Integration Capabilities are Lacking
Will the programs and platforms you’re already using in your day to day business operations integrate with G-Suite? Maybe, though when you’re heading up a small company it doesn’t matter as much. As your company grows, you’ll find that employees are more productive when they don’t have to code switch over and over throughout the day to get work done. In addition to having its own built-in micro-apps, Blink can be integrated seamlessly with lots of other apps your company is already using so employees only have to log into a single portal to stay up to date and stay connected.
G-Suite Has Vague Permissions
One upside to using G-Suite is that Google’s tools make collaboration easier but a major downside is that users may forced into an admin role when it comes to keeping data secure. It’s way too easy to accidentally give someone access to a file, and there are no out of the box protections in place to stop disgruntled employees from sharing files with people outside of the company. Users can also permanently delete files without meaning to or accidentally allow malicious users into the system. The bottom line is that the potential for security issues is high when G-Suite is your only line of defense. A secure employee app makes it easier to stay on top of who has access to what data because there is a broader range of centralized security controls admins can tap into.
So should you abandon Google’s tools entirely? Absolutely not! A great employee app will integrate with popular business applications like Google Drive (not to mention Dropbox, JIRA, ServiceNow, Salesforce, and Zapier) so you can keep using the programs your employees are used to while moving access into one centralized, trackable, mobile-optimized feed. What could be more engaging than that?
Blink is not an intranet but does all the things you wish your company intranet could do - and more. Try it out today. Enter your email address here to get started.