How to develop the business case for an Employee Communication App

For organisations that have completed a Digital Discovery, leaders will have all they need for a detailed recommendation and aligned approach for their organisation. This forms the foundation for the business case. Here are some of the insights that we have gathered over the last 18 months as we prepare client’s Digital Discovery presentations:

  • Internal Communication leaders are the driving force to procure an Employee Communication App. However, in 2023, we also find that HR leaders, Operations leaders, CEOs, and CIOs are instigating conversations or (as a minimum) are key influencers in the buying process. It is critical, therefore, that Communication leaders build relationships and alliances with the Executive Team.
  • When developing a business case for an Employee Communication App, some Communication leaders focus on communication metrics alone and find that they have limited data (if any). Some organisations have survey data, polls and comments from employee feedback that suggest that engagement is poor, without further detail. Others have specific data from one channel, but this is hardly a compelling basis for a business case. 
  • On occasion, I have observed Communication leaders articulate a future state vision such as, `the employee experience defines the customer experience and business growth – and that impactful communication is key to both!” This is a vision that I believe in and sits proudly on my website, but I acknowledge that this articulates the topflight of the staircase and for many organisations they are at the bottom of the staircase and about to take the first step.

The optimum approach is for Communication leaders to work with the Executive Team to develop a business case that meets business goals beyond the primary need for better Corporate Communications. Here are three examples that we observe consistently with our clients:

  • Improving retention is a metric that we consistently find in a business case for Employee Communication Apps. We know that the App will drive engagement and belonging of all employees but especially those hard-to-engage frontline workers. Improving retention of frontline workers by only 1% can pay for the App 10x over in a large enterprise.
  • Productivity improvements by simplifying the digital employee experience is another metric that we consistently find in business case submissions. Through the Digital Discovery, we can quantify the impact (by employee) of transforming the cluttered tech environment into a single integrated multi-channel experience. The impact of introducing an Employee Communication App can unlock up to $10m of savings for large enterprise simply by enabling employees to find and access what they need when they need it. In addition to the challenges facing the broader workforce, Internal Communication teams waste hundreds of hours working in a fragmented approach and an App creates a cohesive and unified work environment that drives operational effectiveness and quantifiable savings.
  • Channel simplification is the third metric we find in business case submissions. If we introduce an Employee Communication App, which channels can be decommissioned? If we no longer require 2 x intranets, an Event App, one survey tool, one HR Platform etc. (because the App has this functionality), we find that procuring an App often costs less than maintaining the current channels.

Finally, when building the Business Case, don’t forget ongoing Opex costs. All leaders consider the Capex investment for the App itself but don’t forget the costs to implement the App brilliantly and the ongoing cost to sustain it. Do you have internal resources, or do you need to bring in external partners?