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Reasons Why Using WhatsApp for Corporate Communications is Dangerous

Posted by Andy G. Schmidt on Oct 1, 2020 5:56:00 PM

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Isn't the overall goal of Internal Communication to turn strategy into action?

Whenever I ask organizations how they communicate with and get their message across to their entire workforce - including their non-desk workforce that performs their work on-the-go - I often hear, “Oh, internal communication with our mobile workforce? We have it covered. Everyone is on WhatsApp.”

This makes me very concerned and uneasy. 

Have you ever asked yourself the question, "What could be so wrong with using a consumer tool for internal corporate communications?"

Well, ...

  1. It is wrong because you don’t have a proper user administration that is linked to your HRMS. What about colleagues leaving your organization and joining the competition? Who is ensuring that they are removed from all of your chat groups and can no longer “spy” on you?

  2. It is wrong because you don’t have knowledge or control of who else has access to your information. Facebook, (the owner of WhatsApp) can use your data for their business purposes. It is no longer yours!

  3. It is wrong because it is simply inefficient once your workforce is larger than about 50 people.

  4. It is wrong because WhatsApp was never meant to be used in corporations. It is a consumer tool that merely meets basic consumer requirements.

  5. It is wrong because you permit (or even instruct) your employees to perhaps violate your own policies on information security, BYOD, or other company policies.

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  6. It is wrong because it is non-inclusive. If you don’t know someone’s phone number, you cannot invite them into a chat group. What if employees do not want to disclose their personal number to you?

  7. It is wrong because the mix of private and business communication enables plain security breaches and direct theft of corporate data by users! What about those who choose to invite outsiders into the Company Chat Group? Can you avoid that from happening? 

  8. It is wrong because what happens if an employee loses their phone? You have no access to a dashboard or any other tool to remotely control the damage. Rather, you are left with trying to reach out to WhatsApp. Time is of essence in case of an incident.
  9. It is wrong because WhatsApp - Group chats are with phone numbers, not people. As a result of the above, professional group chats can quickly descend into a chaos of unknown digits and faceless profiles. Beyond simply being timewasting, this limits the crucially interpersonal nature of a professional network.

  10. It is wrong because WhatsApp doesn’t fulfill the core needs of corporate communicators. That would require a dedicated enterprise mobile messaging app that allows for top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer-communication with everyone in the organization and not just those whose HP-number we know. Giving an organization its own communication platform increases productivity, allows for inclusivity (with automatic inline translation), enhances work culture, and reduces staff turnover.

 

Seeing as how WhatsApp is little more than a data-farm for advertisements, companies owe it to their people to roll-out a solution that is designed for the purpose of enhancing internal corporate communication with the mobile workforce.

There are certainly better alternatives to WhatsApp for businesses who want to stay compliant.

 

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Internal Communications, Employee Experience, Best Practice, Operational Efficiency, Tool

The goal of Internal Communications is to turn strategy into action

An open and inclusive communication tool with a feedback loop is key.

Consumer tools like WhatsApp are sub-optimal for achieving that goal.

 

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