How to Use WhatsApp for Internal Communication

Now more than ever before, the success of a company replies heavily on employee experience, and if communication with employees isn't hitting the mark it can have negative consequences for retention, engagement and ultimately the bottom-line.

While many companies have leveraged the benefits of using instant messaging for managing client relationships, using social messaging for internal communications is still relatively new. Let's take a look how using WhatsApp for internal communications can help drive employee satisfaction and improve seamless communication with employees at every level.

The Importance of Effective Employee Communication

Every company is concerned about ensuring that they are able to effectively communicate with their employees. Many studies have been done to show the link between customer and employee happiness, as well as how ineffective or poor communication can directly impact demotivation in the workplace. Effective communication is an essential part of creating a motivated workforce that in turn delivers the best service to their clients.

When you think about "employee communications" thing like emails, internal memos, company newsletters, complicated intranets and even digital noticeboards or a lot of meetings are usually some of the things that spring to mind. Many of those may be essential tools for a company to communicate, but it doesn't always come with a positive association. Even with all the new tools and technologies available, it can often feel a little overwhelming for any Internal Communications Manager or HR department.

Many companies have invested in fancy employee engagement tools or developed specialized intranets, only to discover that many of their employees don't really ever use it. That's because people are likely to avoid tools or channels that they aren't familiar with or are comfortable using, no matter how much training you offer. This can be a huge obstacle for companies as it can adversely effect employee satisfaction and slow down processes or workflows.

Employees are no longer bound by traditional desktops and heavily reliant on email. They're using mobile devices and smartphones that enable them to do more work 'on-the-go' and the apps and tools they use have created an expectation of accessibility, ease of use and immediacy.

Something that traditional employee business communication channels just don't seem to tick all the boxes. Even emails seem like an archaic way to communicate to the younger generation and don't have the reach for employee who aren't desk-bound.

WhatsApp Makes Adoption Easy

Where does that leave companies and the future of internal communications? In the chat space, of course! Why not use a tool that employees are already comfortable with using and helps to liberate internal communications from static desktops.

WhatsApp is a tool that almost everyone is already familiar with, making adoption a simpler process as employees don't need to adapt or learn how to use a new channel because they already use it every day.

You read right! According to Statista, WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly users as on 2021. It's the most popular social messaging app ever, with people using the app several times over the course of a day. That means that they are already intimately familiar with the interface. By using WhatsApp for internal communications, it makes it easier for employee to adapt instead of them needing to learn how to use a system that is unfamiliar to them.

When WhatsApp released the official Business API, businesses in various sectors, including hospitality, retail and education, and those with off-site employees or distribution networks focused on using WhatsApp for internal communications instead of offering the service to their customers. By doing this they were able to streamline processes, widely share information, encourage employee recognition and create a positive organizational culture based of inclusive and consistent communication.

Using WhatsApp for Internal Communications

Each organization will have different needs when it comes to internal communication based on what they are trying to achieve according to their specific goals, identifying possible gaps or with new projects they would like to implement. Here are some use cases that we've identified to see how using WhatsApp for communication to employees can make a positive and lasting impact.

Support for Onboarding

When a new employee is starting, there is often a lot of administration and communication that needs to take place before the employee starts and for the first few weeks while they settle in. This can make effective onboarding challenging, especially in fast-paced work environments or when many new hires are starting all at once. Making the effort to ensure an engaging and holistic onboarding process can help the new employee to form positive relationships and stay motivated right from the start.

There is a lot of information that needs to be communicated to new employees and the onboarding process should engage, ensure compliance and educate. Most onboarding processes include many emails, meetings and links to a company intranet or file sharing site where they're expected to navigate and understand with little training. This can often be quite overwhelming for anyone who has just joined the company, and it's unlikely that most of the information they'll be receiving probably won't stick.

Imagine a tool where the HR or Internal Communications team can send information, videos and attachments directly through WhatsApp to help make the new employee feel welcome and easily find everything they need as they settle into their new role.

Examples of onboarding information that you could send:

  • Welcome message before they start letting them know the logistics for the day. Where to park, who will meet them and who they can contact.
  • Sending HR documentation with advice and support on how to complete the forms and any additional explanations they may need regarding specific policies or contract clauses they need to be familiar with.
  • Videos and pictures to help share information on the Vision, Mission and company culture
  • Links to employee portals or online resources that they will need to access or can use for additional support



Sharing Company News and Information

Keeping employees informed about what's happening in a company is an important part of creating an inclusive environment and breaking down the hierarchical barriers between management and lower-level employees. Many employees can feel excluded when it comes to the sharing of information if the only way they are kept informed is either from their direct manager or through an email they received long after the news has been gossiped about around the water cooler.

WhatsApp can help to ensure information gets to everyone in the company, quickly and seamlessly by avoiding the sometimes slow and passive use of email in the changing culture of instant and interactive communication that employees use in their lives outside the office.

Examples of company news and information you could share:

  • Promotions and new hires
  • Company goals and objectives
  • Overview of business strategy
  • New products or services the company may be launching
  • Sharing achievements and successes
  • Keeping employees informed about the performance of the company

Creating specific contact lists can also be used to shared information that's department specific.




Get Feedback From Employees

Feedback goes a long way in ensuring employee satisfaction, as well as giving the company an opportunity to identify and solve any issues before they become more serious problems. By consistently getting feedback from your employees it can help you to improve the company culture and attract the kind of talent you want to employ.

Actually getting feedback can be challenging, especially if the employees aren't deskbound or work in a warehouse or distribution environment. WhatsApp makes it easy to send out links to online surveys or use the Quick Reply function to get immediate responses for simple requests.




Promote Training, Workshops and Job Openings

We all know that getting employees to attend works and training can be difficult, especially if it's a voluntary program. WhatsApp is great for promoting events and creating excitement over upcoming workshops or training. Use WhatsApp for career education and job opportunities as looking for talent within your own ranks is a great way to retain employees and decrease turnover. It makes it easy to share information and easily collect registrations and applications.

Emails often get forgotten or overlooked, or even opened too late because they may be seen as less important that the other emails in their inboxes. Most people check their instant messages frequently throughout the day, which means they'll get company notifications within in minutes of you sending them.




Create a Positive Company Culture

Using WhatsApp for your internal communication doesn't just have to be for sharing all the serious business related information. It's an amazing tool to help you create a positive company culture by not only listening to and collecting employee feedback but also to make your employees feel appreciated, cared for and inspire them to do their best.

You can use WhatsApp to:

  • Send motivational and positive messages that fosters teamwork and collaboration
  • Share rewards and recognition for good work
  • Promote and encourage social events and other non-work related events
  • Drive employee engagement through competitions, contests and quizzes



Digitize Human Resources

WhatsApp has a lot of capabilities when it comes o digitizing some processes and helping to move things along quicker as a channel to help streamline paperwork. A good example is if there's a form that needs to be completed by everyone in the company, HR can send a copy of the form and send reminders to employees that haven't responded or completed the form by the deadline.

HR can also use WhatsApp to:

  • Send payslips
  • Send reminders for available leave days
  • Send copies of contracts or amendments
  • Send updated policies or links to online documents
  • Send links to Exit Interviews



Share Shift Schedules or Project Calendars

Keeping employees organized and planning effectively is important to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This can be exceedingly challenging in an environment with shift or rotational employees. You can share the calendar or schedule promptly with everyone on the team and ensure that they are aware of any last minute changes.


Send Notifications and Alerts

One of the most obvious uses for WhatsApp in effective communications is the ability to send notifications and alerts. No matter what the industry-specific communication goals are of the company, there will always be important or urgent information that needs to be sent. Using WhatsApp to send messages quickly to all employees means that they receive the communication, in real-time, wherever they are. It can also save money and time by developing custom internal communication systems or apps or spending time needing to teach your employees how to use it.

Examples of the types of alerts and notifications you could send:

  • Office closure notifications
  • Safety-check reminders
  • Updates on employee changes
  • Maintenance notices
  • Inventory or shipment announcements



Concerns About Using WhatsApp for Internal Communications

A primary feature of WhatsApp is that it has end-to-end conversation encryption which ensures that your companies communications remain private. However, due to the fact that WhatsApp is used in the employees personal lives, it can have an informal feel and lead to a possible source of conflict if not managed effectively.

Having a messaging policy in place can help companies iterate what acceptable usage of the platform is, and clearly note what isn't. A policy of this nature can include clauses that address things like harassment or bullying. Companies don't have to necessarily create an entire new policy, but can include WhatsApp in other policies that address email, internet and social network communications.

Employees should be aware that any breach of these policies has serious implications, whether they're using these tools in the office or for company communications outside of office hours, any breach could result in disciplinary action.

In addition to the formal policies and guidelines, Managers, Human Resources and the Internal Communications team should have a clear understanding of appropriate usage of WhatsApp. Stick to the rule of whether the information you are sharing should be one-to-one or sent out to a whole department or the entire company. For example, addressing or making mention of a particular employees subpar performance in a message to a team or department would not be appropriate and could harm the morale of the individual or the overall team.

Getting Started Using WhatsApp for Internal Communications

There's a world of possibilities with the WhatsApp Business API for your internal communications, but we understand if it may feel a little overwhelming to get started. Get in touch with us to find out how Sweesh can help you kick your communications into high gear without needing to develop any complicated tools.

The Sweesh platform offers an all-in-one WhatsApp messaging tool to help you achieve your communication goals!