Imagine Every Company has a Work App, Would it Help Build Trust or Create Animosity?

Imagine every company has a work app. Will it to solve operational processes in the time of remote or hybrid work? Will it make employees’ lives easier? Will it foster trust among employers and employers, or will it be the cause of conflicts? 

Recently, Walmart launched a work app that allows employees to manage a work schedule, request time-off, swap shifts, take COVID-19 health assessment, troubleshoot daily tasks and more. It reportedly applies machine learning, augmented reality, camera vision and artificial intelligence to tackle problems.

Walmart’s reliance on such a new work setup could serve as a test case in terms of the role of technology in managing people’s work lives. In an HR Executive report, industry analyst John Sumser is confident that companies will use it. It’s where work software is headed.

If every company had a work app, how would one use it if not everyone one has a smartphone? Walmart will reportedly provide smartphones to more than 740,000 workers so they can access the app. 

The Walmart app comes as more companies rely on tech to better engage and help workers. Yes, the operative word is help, at a time when social media apps are taking the heat. Of course, it’s different for them. Many are regarded as intrusive, but will the work app be any different? If employees can have a separate a smartphone for their personal use, then it shouldn’t be a concern. Granted that it’s only for work use, will it be necessary for all?

So far, the Walmart app was reportedly designed to make work easier. Workers at the retail giant will reportedly be able to use an augmented-reality feature on the app that scans multiple boxes in stock backrooms, speeding up the process of getting products into store shelves. In this case, it makes sense. But in a corporate setting, what could be its use? 

So far, many companies have relied on project management tools such as Jira, Monday, Trello and Slack, among others to stay organized and productive, so there’s less urgency for such a tool such a scenario.

Global mobility specialists would do well to figure out if it’s for them, employers and recruited talents. Here are some consumer tips inspired by a Forbes piece for consumers but tweaked here for employees, as it’s a fairly new concept that could enjoy widespread use or become controversial if actually implemented by companies:

  1. Prioritize transparency. Companies should become more transparent about the ways they are storing information about employees as they intend to be with customers. In California, this means the California Consumer Privacy Act, part of an effort to make companies handle personal data with respect. Companies will need to be clear and open about how their data is collected, stored and kept private. This is crucial for companies to build trust with their talents. 
  1. Help talents understand company’s business goals. Just as companies need to be transparent about how they will use consumer data, so does how they will keep employee data protected as well. A work app is a fairly new concept that doesn’t have a clear set of rules yet but it needs to be more skewed toward meeting business goals than having data from employees.
  1. Inspire trust with marketing. It would not be surprising if employees also benefit from the marketing initiatives done by companies for their customers. If they have an app that offers discounts to customers, why not do the same for employees? It may have been hard to implement before but an app could make it happen easily.
  1. Make it easy to opt out. Companies need to make it easy for their employees to opt out of any requirements on the app, if it deviates from their role and responsibilities at work. 
  1. Be clear about privacy and security. Choosing the right data partners to handle sensitive information is critical in maintaining privacy and security. A dedicated internal privacy organization could be formed. If employees expect privacy and security from their employers, they could also learn how to do the same with customers, making it a winning policy as it helps the company build trust with customers. (Dennis Clemente