The mobile employee experience: How personas improve enterprise apps

By Taylor Holland

When developing mobile apps, companies spend plenty of time thinking about the customer experience. But what about the employee experience?

Your employees are consumers, too, and they need a great mobile app that offers ease of use, a streamlined user interface, quick access to key information and a personalized, hyper-relevant user experience. When enterprise apps don’t offer these benefits, employees are likely to replace them with third-party apps that do.

Apps they’ll actually use

Mobile users don’t have much patience for unimpressive apps. In fact, one in four mobile apps are abandoned after a single use, according to Localytics’s annual report. While employees might stick with corporate apps longer, enterprise app abandonment rates are surprisingly high.

If your team members have to sort through data they don’t need or go through too many steps to access relevant information, they won’t get the productivity boost they have come to expect from mobile apps.

When it comes to mobile app development, how can your organization personalize and enhance the employee experience? Until recently, IT departments have relied on two strategies: create separate apps for each group of users or set complex rules dictating which parts of each app different users can access. Both options involve time-consuming work that could leave some departments waiting for years to access the tools they need, and those strategies also get expensive fast.

Thankfully, there’s a third option: Develop user personas for your team.

Personas go to work

Using application personas isn’t a new concept. Best-in-class consumer apps already utilize personas to ensure users only receive the information that interests them. Application personas can also take enterprise mobile apps to the next level by customizing the employee experience.

Not everyone needs — nor should they have — to access the same data or to receive push notifications that aren’t relevant to them. Rather than customizing permissions and alerts for each individual, IT can differentiate the information available to different groups of employees within the same app.

For consumer apps, personas are usually based on demographics, preferences, interests and user behavior. For enterprise apps, personas might take into account:

  • Department: Employees in human resources, sales, marketing, production and accounting all need easy access to very different types of information and communication streams. Rather than building or purchasing unique apps for every department, IT can provide different groups with access to different databases from one centralized app.

  • Job role: Even within the same department, employees have different roles and responsibilities. For example, inside sales reps and field reps might need access to the same customer databases and sales resources, but because each group has a different focus, they don’t always need the same messages or alerts. Likewise, HR professionals who handle payroll might not be the same people who oversee employee insurance plans or onboarding new hires.

  • Leadership responsibility: Team leaders, middle-management and executives all need easy ways to disseminate information to colleagues and their various direct reports. Mobile apps enable real-time sharing and collaboration with those who need to be involved.

  • Location: If your New York office has changed the location of this morning’s staff meeting, push notifications are a great way to make sure everyone knows where to go. But the team in your Atlanta office doesn’t care one bit, and your West Coast employees certainly don’t want their phones dinging before office hours have even begun. Personas that take location into account ensure no one gets annoyed.

Robust mobile apps are a great way to connect with your team and to provide your team with the information they need. But apps only work if employees actually use them. By leveraging what marketers and consumer app developers already know — that personalization is key — you can improve the employee experience and decrease the likelihood that workers will delete, silence or replace your apps.

Written By

Taylor Holland

Founder, Taylored Editorial, LLC

With 11 years experience writing about business and technology trends for both media outlets and companies, Taylor Mallory Holland understands how mobile technology can reshape industries and provide new opportunities to streamline workflows, improve employee collaboration, and reimagine…

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