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How an Employee App Amplifies Your Culture


Image of three smart phones for a blog about employee apps and how they encourage better culture.

A lot of employees, including myself, can be distracted by daily corporate communication. Between HR sending information out, leadership sharing news, colleagues updating them, it can be overwhelming. Multiply this by several systems (email, text messaging, slack, intranets, etc.) and it can get to a point where employees ignore the noise and ‘check out’.  

An employee mobile app for a company is a great way to streamline communication while embracing the culture. Employee apps can organize all of this communication in one place, allowing your team to consume this information on their own time, while freeing up space in their minds.

One of SPARK’s first projects was an employee mobile app for CSM Group, a construction management firm with employees spread across 26 states. A mobile app made sense for them to streamline communication, and reach their teams where they were; on the road. The ROI was easy to calculate…(time saved per week) x (# of employees) x (52 weeks) = yearly savings. The leadership team supported the investment and the team at SPARK was off to the races.

csm app

The app was an instant hit, transforming how the company communicates while embracing their culture. It was a perfect intersection of function (forms, workflow, directories) with culture (birthday announcements, anniversary reminders, new employee spotlights).

We received a lot of buzz about this app. It was the runner-up for a large industry award that year. It drove a lot of interest and I proceeded to go on a roadshow for several months showcasing the possibilities to executives at companies around the US and abroad.

What amazed me when speaking to other executive teams was:

Even though there was a clear benefit, many companies would not invest in an employee app.

It was amazing. I couldn’t understand it. The employees wanted it, the management wanted it, but leadership wouldn’t commit. Why was this?

It took me a while to figure it out, but what I came up with was that a corporate app for your company magnifies your culture and shines a bright light on what your company cares about.

If your company cares about efficiency, your employee’s time, your culture, and making continuous progress, then you’re like CSM Group. Their mobile app started with 5 sections (Time Entry, News, Employee Directory, KPIs, Safety) and now has many other uses. The employees embraced the app, continually made suggestions for new features, logged in daily and embraced the innovation.

CSM App Mockup2

However, not all companies are like this.

Other executives I’ve spoken are too afraid of the change because: 

  • Their employees will not adopt it
  • Their teams will not keep the content updated
  • Their departments will not collaborate to launch the app
  • Employees will leave negative comments on the app

Those fears may be rational on the surface, but since an app is going to magnify your culture and expose what you value as a company…the underlying reason may be that they know there are some hard culture challenges this change will force them to address.

SPARK has built dozens of employee apps since CSM Group’s. They have all been successful because our clients followed the same approach. Project leaders get buy-in from leadership by painting the vision. They got departmental support and designed the app as more than a technology tool, it was a culture and efficiency tool. Lastly, they started small.

Each successful client launched a small version with a few features to ‘test the waters’. Once their employees caught on, they began to continually add new features, integrations, and modules that improved the employee’s work environment.
One surprising thing that has happened over time is that each of these apps has become a competitive advantage for these clients. They show the app to prospective employees, customers and partners. Our customers are proud of their app and proud of their companies. If you work for a company with a great culture, you know what I’m talking about.

If you or your company want to learn more about how an employee app can change your business, please reach out! We’d love to tell your success story next (or maybe your own team will tell it for you…)

More from the author

Bob Armbrister
President and CEO Bob has led SPARK to serve hundreds of clients providing custom software and digital marketing services. He’s passionate about helping his team implement “The SPARK Way” – an approach of practical innovation that helps business leaders build tech that gets adopted and delivers ROI. connect on Linkedin

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