WhatsApp is a popular tool for managers to engage staff in the restaurant and retail industry. It has many benefits: it’s easy to use, it can work on any smart phone and it’s free.
But there are significant challenges that arise from using WhatsApp to communicate with your employees.
Employees don’t want work apps on their own phones
WhatsApp may be a simple messaging app but when you ask an employee to install the app on their own phone it’s a work app. Employees hate installing work apps on their own phone - they don’t want to do it when they pay for their own phones. A quick look around Reddit will show you workers hate work apps on their phones, they don't like WhatsApp group chats for work and some on Quora are even arguing it’s unethical and maybe illegal if they don’t pay for your phone.
Engagement is low and diminishes over time
Employees in WhatsApp groups tune out and stop replying. Many don’t even sign up to begin with. In our case study we were able to increase engagement by over 3 times increate engagement 3x using texting at McDonalds. Many people complain that work WhatsApp groups get spammed with memes and jokes, reducing the ability to get attention on important work messages.
Constant notifications are distracting
The high number of notifications in a WhatsApp group leads employees to turn off notifications and tune out completely. It’s so bad that WhatsApp added a feature so people can leave silently! Notifications that are happening when employees are not working are also quickly becoming considered unethical, and many governments, like Ontario, Canada are drafting “right to disconnect” legislation so that workers can unplug from work when off the clock.
Disgruntled employees can cause issues
Having an open conversation is a risk where disgruntled or exiting employees can fire shots at managers and owners on their way out the door. Some employees build other group chat’s to complain about managers and some workers have even been using their own WhatsApp groups to organize.
You could put Intellectual Property at Risk
WhatsApp isn’t a secure medium for sharing valuable information. While a work group chat may not seem like a place where important information is shared - mistakes can still happen. For example: sharing a work schedule into a group chat could put someone at risk or release valuable information. A more professional and secure system would be preferable.
Limited functionality: integrations and auditing
WhatsApp has a limited ability to integrate with corporate information systems and it’s not easy to monitor and back up. This leaves companies with a formal channel that they have little control over.
We recommend that employers consider using text messaging with a professional text messaging system like TxtSquad.