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How We’re Transforming Employee Engagement with a Mobile App

  • Culture
  • Employee Engagement
by Rachelle Henderson, Communications Specialist | Oct 13, 2020

In the manufacturing sector, low levels of employee engagement can be par for the course, leading to high turnover, low employee morale and poor communication. At Wabash National, we’re working hard not to be like everyone else. As we sought to transform our culture, we understood we could only do that by transforming how we work. We started by focusing on a single, powerful principle: put people first. We asked ourselves tough, but necessary, questions, such as How do we transform Wabash National to be a place where people want to work? Answer: we must excel at employee engagement.

Employee engagement refers to the extent to which we feel emotionally invested in the success of our company. Or, perhaps a better way to frame engagement is the degree to which we not only care about our work as a means to survive, but also the degree to which we feel genuinely enthusiastic about moving our company forward (think complacency versus passion). In less than a year, we’ve already improved employee engagement by leveraging technology to increase two-way communication and access to information. 

Finding the Right Tool for Our People

Email continues to reign as the primary tool for communication in the workplace. However, with our dispersed workforce of nearly 7,000 people in three countries, and nearly 80 percent of employees without company email, we were missing significant opportunities for clear communication with our teams. That’s why we turned to a mobile app solution – so employees could access leadership messages and important information anytime, anywhere.

Our app enables us to engage directly with every employee. We can deliver news about the business, send timely safety and quality alerts, provide direct access to HR and, importantly, have some fun! Our app allows us to celebrate our people every day—which is core to employees feeling connected to our purpose and engaged at work.

“We have a kudos feature in our app, which allows employees to send private messages of appreciation to one another. It was an immediate success. It confirmed the need for, and value of, an app-based approach for employee recognition and engagement,” said Wabash Management System Enterprise Leader Claire Haggard.

Listening to Employees’ Needs

One of the most critical things we’ve done with our mobile app is to listen to our employees and follow through with meaningful action. Based on employee feedback, we customized our mobile app with a feature enabling employees to check their schedules and vacation time, and connect with an HR representative, directly via the app.

“Employees can use the Ask HR app feature as a direct line to the HR department,” Claire explained. “This allows HR to respond quickly to employee questions and efficiently alert employees to important, last-minute updates. Last spring, one of our plants experienced severe weather damage, so we needed to alert employees their shifts were cancelled. We were able to use the app to notify employees with critical information about their shifts on a fairly short notice.”    

These are some of our biggest wins, and still, they don’t capture the most valuable element of having an employee mobile app – the things that are harder to measure: community, a sense of belonging, job satisfaction, teamwork and, of course, engagement.

Winning Together

Two of the most immediate and rewarding outcomes we’ve seen have been enhanced employee morale and improved communication efficiency. Our success was recognized in April when the Wabash@Work app implementation team won the Limelight Rookie of the Year award at the Limeade Engage conference, an event for customers of our mobile app software developer, Limeade.

Our company mobile app has transformed how we connect with employees and how employees connect with us. It’s what sets us apart from others in our industry, and it’s how we’re winning at employee engagement. 

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