Communication apps

Best apps to communicate with your casual workforce

Many of our clients manage large casual workforces who operate in different locations and/or departments every shift, which means communication can become easily fragmented across multiple channels.

This can make communicating timely information–ie; security risks or last-minute roster changes–challenging for many businesses.

Understanding the role that technology plays in improving the way we communicate today (84% of Australian’s use a smartphone) there are a plethora of tools and apps available to solve these problems.

These tools and apps may not only assist with impromptu communication but can also help build a community and culture that often cannot be achieved with a large fragmented workforce.

Here are what we believe are some the best apps in the market for you to communicate with your casual workforce:

1. Slack

Slack is a collaboration and messaging tool where employees can communicate via chat, either one to one or in ‘group ‘channels.

Pros:

  • Slack is available to download on desktop and mobile– supporting office, remote and on-site communications.
  • It keeps messages archived so you can easily find and search for information.
  • Has a video-chat function to host company-wide meetings if teams are in separate locations.
  • It has a number of integrations to help improve employee engagement and culture, which is sometimes a challenge for large casual workforces. Check them out here.

Cons:

  • The mobile app requires mobile data connection, meaning that teams out on a remote site, ie; a festival ground, staff may struggle to receive communications
  • Slack may seem overwhelming for your casuals who are not overly tech savvy as it’s more complex than a simple messaging app. It might be worth running a pilot trial with a small group of casuals before rolling out to the wider team.
  • Slack does not have a free version

How much does it cost?

Pricing plans for Slack start at US $6.67 per person. An email address is required to create a Slack profile.

2. Workplace by Facebook

Workplace by Facebook is a platform very similar to Facebook, however, it only features information about your business. It has a company-dedicated News Feed and a chat messaging function for one to one or group conversations.

Pros:

  • News Feed creates a great opportunity to build an online culture–share company information including new hires, birthdays, or general news.
  • There is a free version available.
  • It does not require your employees to have a personal Facebook account.

Cons:

  • To access Workplace on your mobile, you will need to download 2 separate apps (Messenger and Workplace), which may confuse staff as to what the core communication channel is.
  • It is not designed for file-sharing and project collaboration.

How much does it cost?

Workplace has a free version and a paid version. The paid version starts at US$3 per person. Paid features include top tier support, administrative controls, monitoring tools and integrations with tools such as Google. You do not need a personal Facebook profile to use Workspace.

3. Facebook groups

Facebook groups have been a core feature of Facebook for many years. As an organisation, you can create a private group, only accessible to your employees upon invite, whereyou and your employees can post on a wall and hold discussions in a thread.

Pros:

  • News Feed creates a great opportunity to build an online culture–share company information including new hires, birthdays, or general news.
  • There is a free version available.
  • It does not require your employees to have a personal Facebook account.

Cons:

  • An employee must have a personal Facebook account to access a Facebook group which may raise concerns about linking a personal platform to a professional environment.
  • Information may become easily lost if staff are part of more than 1 group.
  • No one-to-one private messaging.
  • The interface is not designed for collaboration, file sharing or information search.

What does it cost?

Facebook groups are free as part of Facebook’s regular service.

4. What’s App

What’s App is a simple messaging app that you can download on a smartphone that allows you to send secure messages to your staff. It requires a personal mobile number.

Pros:

  • Easily create group chats and facilitate 1:1 conversations.
  • Great for impromptu communications such as roster changes.

Cons

  • If you are looking for a communication tool to better work with your casuals, What’s App only facilitates instant messaging via a smartphone, which may be difficult if your employees do not own one.
  • The interface is not designed for collaboration, file sharing or information search.

How much does it cost?

What’s App is free to download and free to use.

5. Zoho Cliq

Zoho’s Cliq is a similar collaboration tool to Slack, where employees can communicate via chat, either one to one or in group channels.

Pros:

  • Zoho is also available to download on a desktop and mobile.
  • It can facilitate both instant-messaging for quick communication like roster changes and also has a video option for remote team meetings.
  • The key difference is that it is cheaper than Slack

Cons:

  • Zoho Cliq may seem overwhelming for your casuals who are not overly tech savvy. Similar to Slack, it also requires mobile data connection, meaning that teams out on a remote site, ie; a festival ground, staff may struggle to receive communications.
  • Reviews have alluded to it having a lengthy setup process, which may not be scalable for a large casual workforce.

How much does it cost?

Pricing plans for Zoho Cliq start at US $1.43 per person. An email address is required to create a Zoho profile.


In Summary

There are countless collaboration tools and messaging apps available in the market to better streamline communications with your casual works.

Understanding what is best for your business is going to be unique to the profile and demographics of your workforce.

It’s important to take into account how technologically savvy and enabled your workforce is and think deeply about how you would roll out new tools.

Comments are closed.