"Bulletin Board First!" "Chain of Command First!"
Recognize these terms? Probably not. No one does, becuase they don't exist. The actual catch phrase (or, slightly less charitably, buzz word) that has most recently begun to pop up throughout the innovation and technology entrepreneurial landscape is: “Mobile First." Mobile First means think mobile, think often, think small screen. Think few words, icon navigation, and fingertip access. It is a phrase that means data should be available anytime, anywhere, and by everyone. Do it on mobile means do it now.
In some ways, people are like robots – we live life by making a series of yes or no choices. The robots in all of us wish to do one of two things: on the one hand, we could go all in on the consumer side of mobile by giving in to a whole new type of experience that is unique only to mobile technology. On the other hand, we could take the enterprise route to extend the desktop experience to our mobile devices, thus giving more of a sense of continuity to our relationship with technology.
The Mobile First mantra is multi-faceted. It should speak to consumer focused companies. It should speak to enterprise IT professionals. It should especially speak to entrepenurs and start-ups alike.
Mobile First is, before anything else, an education. Lesson number one is that mobile is different. The way we interact with mobile is constantly changing. Mobile technology behaves differently, the way in which we access mobile data is different, the way we read on mobile is different. It figures, then, that the way we can make an impact and create engagement with mobile is different as well.
The main area that we robots often overlook in applying technology to communication and engagement (a term that is slowly becoming hip again) is the way we engage and enable our employee populations. Employers should be more concerned with efficient employee communication. Not only does it make things more efficient, thus saving time and money, but it also streamlines a variety of tasks that must be completed. Imagine a world where employees can get their schedule, trade shifts, talk to bosses, ask questions, and receive praise and criticism all in one place – and that place can be held in the palm of their hand.
It's important for employers to accept the fact that the U.S. workforce is changing dramatically. Old norms are giving way to the new normal. Workers are now looking for more from their employers. They want flexible hours, better training, stronger alignment to company objectives and the respect and acknowledgement of the vital role they play in extending their brand promise.
Of course there will always be the employees who lick your taco shells, exclaim from the roof tops that they hate customers, and generally do not fit in to the company's culture. But these should not be the employees who control corporate policies. For the most part, a workforce should be trusted, engaged, enabled and communicated to.
For all these reasons, apps that can be utilized by a company and used by its employees on their mobile devices are the wave of the future for corporate America. These apps make all organizational systems stronger, more timely, and more efficient.
Additionally, these apps have the ability to extend a hand to hourly and mobile workers by sending push notifications and instant messages to their mobile phone. By streamlining communications between employers and their employees, mobile technology boasts the ability to save all kinds of time and energy for anyone from the founder of a fledgling startup to the manager of a successful gastropub to the vice president of a huge corporation.
With easy access to company information, scheduling, training and for the first time ever an actual voice, a mobile first mindset can allow you to speak to your workforce, gather their input, and solicit ideas. This is not just the future of business – it's happening now.
About The Author - Jonathan Erwin is the CEO and Founder of Red e App.