DIGITALIzATION and corporate communications

Digitalization has an impact on all areas of working life - including the way companies communicate. 

What impact does digitalization have on corporate communications?

Digitalization has an impact on all areas of working life - including the way companies communicate. After the development of the first telephone at the end of the 19th century, nothing happened for a long time. Until about 100 years later the first mobile phones came up and then the smartphones. 

Since then, communication has not been restricted to direct conversations, but has been extended to texts, videos and images. The channels that are available for this purpose are diverse. In the private sphere, social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but also messenger systems such as WhatsApp have shaped the new forms of communication. Depending on requirements, we exchange information in news streams, direct messages or chat groups. And that often with a time lag: Everyone replies when they have the time to do so.

What has proven its worth in private life is increasingly finding its way into professional communication. Especially in health care and the hotel industry, time-shifted communication via smartphone offers many advantages. Here, employees rarely have a fixed stationary PC workstation and, for example, can only be reached to a limited extent via e-mail. Telephone accessibility is also not always guaranteed. Employees in the hotel industry who are talking to the customer, for example, will not react to the ringing of their telephone. Neither will the doctor who is treating a patient. If the callback is forgotten, important information threatens to be lost. Mistakes are more frequent and employee motivation decreases, which can have a negative impact on the working atmosphere.

It's better with a messenger system. This enables companies to exchange texts and images with their employees via smartphone apps. The advantage: a mobile phone is always in everyone's pocket and they can react when it fits into their schedule.

However, it should be noted that: 

  • Only systems that are tailored to the professional environment should be used.
  • Modern employee apps for professional exchange are modeled after apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook in their functions.
  • The difference is mainly in the areas of hosting, data protection and IT security.
  • An employee app ensures transparent and target-oriented communication at all times, but at the same time prevents communication overload, as private and professional matters do not mix.
  • Outside working hours, the app can be muted.

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The Importance of Digitalization for Company Culture

Opportunities of digital communication

A positive corporate culture contributes to the success of a company. This is well known. What is less well known, however, is how great the influence of digital communication is on a good climate. In healthcare, it may even decide life and death. Scientists at the Yale School of Public Health (article in German) came to a more remarkable conclusion. In healthcare, a good climate designed for cooperation and teamwork also increases patients' chances of survival. Factors such as appreciative leadership and good communication are decisive for a good team structure - both are promoted by an employee app, and much more!

 

Cooperation and Team work in the healthcare industry

 

Application scenarios of digital communication

  • Digital communication promotes good corporate culture:
    An employee app can be used to display information for all employees in a stream. This ensures the greatest possible transparency, a good and continuous exchange, which in turn strengthens the cohesion and the team structure. Because nobody ever feels outside. For a more private exchange, it is possible to chat with one or more selected employees at the same time. So, colleagues always have a short line to each other. All this has a positive effect on the corporate culture.
  • Continuous communication ensures smooth processes:
    Particularly in heterogeneous environments such as the hotel and healthcare industries, it is a challenge to communicate with colleagues during ongoing operations. Employees are constantly on the move and yet they have to work hand in hand with each other. If this does not happen, there is a great risk that mistakes will happen. Guests receive the wrong service or patient diagnoses are made incorrectly because important information is missing. This can be avoided by providing adequate communication tools. This allows all relevant data and facts to be shared in real time as soon as they become available. This ensures seamless and correct processes and makes all parties more satisfied.
  • Better flow of information from employees to management:
    The digital communication via employee app also promotes the exchange of information between employees and management. Because everyone is networked with everyone. The possibility of active and transparent communication "from top to bottom and from bottom to top" not only improves mutual understanding but it also helps to draw attention to existing problems and complaints and to react immediately to them. At the same time, innovative ideas can be shared more easily with management, which in classic communication might get stuck and not go beyond the team leader level.
  • Retention of young employees:
    The use of a modern communication tool such as an employee app also has an effect on the attractiveness of the employer. Millennials in particular have grown in the age of digitalization. They are used to a world in which everything is done digitally by app. Young employee’s complete transactions via their smartphone, surf to their next job and swipe to their next life partner via a dating app. They also expect similar applications from their working environment.  Whether in the healthcare or hotel sectors, employers can use an employee app to show that they are technically up to date. In this way, they set themselves apart from their competitors who have not yet opened the window to digitization so far.

Repercussions

In working environments such as hotels and healthcare, communication tools are needed that allow messages to be transmitted without delay. This ensures smooth team collaboration even in dynamic work environments. The result: motivated and committed employees and a good corporate culture.

Digitalization in the hotel and healthcare industry in the reality check

The status quo? Neither in the health care nor in the hotel industry has digitization sufficiently arrived. There is still considerable potential here and there. The use of digital technologies could save up to 34 billion euros a year in the German healthcare sector alone. This corresponds to around 12 percent of the total annual health and care costs of the last 290 billion euros. These are the central results of a new study (in German) by McKinsey entitled "Digitalization in Health Care: the Opportunities for Germany". For the study, McKinsey analyzed the improvement potential of 26 digital health technologies on the basis of more than 500 international research documents and examined them in expert interviews.

 

34 billion euros saving

 

  • Potential benefits in healthcare

Electronic patient files and electronic prescriptions as well as web-based interactions between doctor and patient offer the greatest benefit Potential in healthcare.
If the electronic patient file had been introduced across the board at least once, nursing staff and physicians would have full access to patient information at anytime and anywhere via an employee app and could document findings on the move. This would ensure efficient, continuous care and monitoring of patients in outpatient care.

The hotel business doesn't look any better. This is confirmed by the study "Digitization in the tourism industry: trends and consequences - experiences from the hotel industry and tour operators" commissioned by the United Services Union (ver.di) and the Food and Catering Union (NGG). Guido Zeitler, Deputy Chairman of the NGG, says in an official statement: "Colleagues must be prepared for the fact that mastering digital applications in almost all areas of the hotel will become a key qualification".

  • Potential benefits in the hotel industry

The tourism of the future will depend on "whether people, with their personal advice and services based on individual contacts, will continue to be important and valued by customers and guests". Here it is up to the companies to decide, for example, whether they want to invest in transparent communication via the apps of their employees. An application scenario: A guest has a special wish, or a high-ranking guest arrives at the hotel earlier than planned. Thanks to an employee app, such situations can be handled easily: Messages reach immediately the correct places - whether Facility management, room service, kitchen, HR or Reception. Thus, a fast and seamless service is guaranteed, with which hotels can stand out from the competition.

The dangers of current digital communication

The employees themselves have long since recognized the advantages of greater digitization. However, due to a lack of suitable offers from employers, they often make do with their own hardware and software, for example to digitize their communication. Instead of using a secure corporate app, they use WhatsApp and Co to communicate in real time. This entails considerable risks. 

  • Employees who frequently deal with sensitive or confidential information on a daily basis, for example in the hotel and healthcare industries, risk data protection violations.
  • WhatsApp and Co. are not compliant with the legal requirements in the professional context. Personal data can easily be stolen.
  • Private Messenger services are problematic because they send messages to contacts stored on the phone's hard drive.
  • If a contact changes its number without notifying the sender, highly sensitive data can be accidentally sent to the wrong recipient as soon as the number is reassigned.
  • If critical photos, such as contracts, are transmitted, there is a risk that they will be automatically stored in the recipient's personal cloud environment.
  • WhatsApp has a default setting, and not everyone disables it.
  • This data may then be accessed by unauthorized third parties from the recipient's private environment.
  • This is a clear violation of the basic data protection regulation.

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The Solution: Digital Communication via App

It doesn't have to be. Digital communication with a special employee app for the professional sector is not only completely harmless in terms of data protection and IT security. 

  • The app is DSGVO compliant.
  • The data is hosted in accordance with the globally tested ISO standard 27001.
  • he data transfer takes place via end-to-end encryption.
  • Transmitted data cannot be downloaded or shared on a smartphone and thus fall into unauthorized hands.
  • Only employees who are currently employed in a company have access to the employee app.
  • If an employee leaves the company, his access to the app is deactivated.

An employee app also creates the necessary transparency in areas such as hotels and healthcare. Information via e-mails or company newsletters has long ceased to do justice to the mobile working style of employees in these industries.

An employee app, on the other hand, promotes the agile exchange in teams with decentralized working methods simply and efficiently:

  • All employees are connected to each other - be it on a smartphone, computer or tablet.
  • They access information at any time and exchange information via chat.
  • In addition to work meetings, management can contact employees as a whole or in a target group-specific manner at any time and from any location by means of direct communication.
  • Thus, important issues do not pass by individual employees because they do not have a shift or are in an important official position.

At the same time, an employee app prevents an unwanted flood of information. The news stream does not interfere with private and business affairs. So, everything always remains clearly arranged. An employee app is only intended to share important and professionally relevant information.

With an employee app, communication is guaranteed to take a structured course:

  • The chat program integrates seamlessly into the lives of employees and enables you to reach the desired contacts at any time.
  • The flow of information is improved and the targeted internal exchange at eye level is promoted.