4 min leesduur

WhatsApp for internal communication? Think again!

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

WhatsApp is one of the most popular forms of communication for years. There are currently more than 2 billion WhatsApp users, which makes WhatsApp the world’s most popular messenger app. This is no surprise since WhatsApp is super user-friendly. You can easily stay in touch with everybody by using your smartphone. You can send messages and also rich content such as photos, GIFs, videos, and other files. In short, most of us cannot picture life without WhatsApp.

However, this might not be the case when you use WhatsApp for internal communications. Many companies within the retail and hospitality industry are still using WhatsApp as the main tool for internal communications. Most of the time, WhatsApp unintentionally became the main internal communication tool for your organization, besides other channels such as SMS, bulletin boards, intranet, and Facebook. 

Don’t use WhatsApp for internal communication. If you are using WhatsApp for business communications, try to find another communication tool. Today, rather than tomorrow. 

Why you should not use WhatsApp for internal communication? I explain in this blog post why you should stop using WhatsApp. You can read 6 reasons. Luckily we have an alternative for you in place. If you want to read more about this: you will find more information at the bottom of this blog post.

6 Reasons why you should stop using WhatsApp for internal communication:

1. Whatsapp is not compliant with GDPR 

Are you still sending WhatsApp messages to your staff on their private phone? You could get fined 20 million euros

Why is that? WhatsApp is not compliant with GDPR. WhatsApp for internal communications has been forbidden since 2018. WhatsApp is an American company, so they have different rules and regulations for the protection of personal data.

Therefore, WhatsApp cannot fully guarantee the privacy of your employees. There is a risk that sensitive data goes public.

This is especially a challenge when your employees are leaving your organization. They still will have access to all data (including photos, customer data, and chat history) that has been shared before.

Curious to learn more about the best way to communicate with your employees? Request the Frontline Employee Experience Guide and get started right away.

2. User management is an impossible task for managers

Are you an employer with more than 100 employees? That alone is a reason to stop using WhatsApp for internal communication. WhatsApp is not the right communication channel for groups with more than 100 people. Managing those groups is an impossible task for HR- or IT-managers.

You are using private phone numbers for internal communications. It is time-consuming to add those private numbers manually to your contact list.

Not only that, what about the user management of former employees? You have to remove those numbers from the contact lists. But how to manage this? They might be part of both ‘team stock boys’ and ‘team frontdesk’. Without you knowing they might keep receiving private and sensitive company information. 

3. Your employees don’t like using WhatsApp for work 

We all know how this works. It’s weekend, you are enjoying a drink out in the sun. You check WhatsApp to see if your friends are available. What happens when you open the app? You find that there are 80 new messages in your company’s WhatsApp group. This is when you feel you are missing out and you almost feel obligated to go through all the messages.

But, when you open the group chat and go through all the messages you find out it’s about a new bike one of your colleagues bought. Almost all colleagues left an emoji or message. How annoying! You are not waiting to read these type of messages during your time off.

You are not alone. Tele2 conducted a research amongst frontline workers who are using WhatsApp for internal communications. And guess what:

  •   41% of those respondents find it disturbing that their colleagues share so many messages in the group chat ‘of the clock’.
  •   33% wished they could set the office chats to ‘do not disturb’.
  •   42% blocks all incoming messages in business WhatsApp groups.

In short, your employees don’t want to receive work-related messages via this private communication tool. It is disturbing and leads to less engaged employees. It is very important to maintain a healthy work-life balance for your employees.

4. WhatsApp is not the right tool for communication in times of crisis

Organizations within the retail and hospitality industry have to communicate numerous changes. You’ll have to keep your employees informed about new products, assortment changes and discounts. You also have to give them updates about new measures, especially now during the Covid-19 crisis.

For managers within your organization it is of the utmost importance that messages reach the right employees immediately. Additionally, you want to be able to quickly answer your employee’s questions. 

WhatsApp is not designed for crisis communications. You cannot monitor the performance of your messages. Therefore, you’ll never know whether or not messages have been received and read.

Nor do you have clear statistics on the reach of your messaging. Yes, you can see whom checked a message but this is limited. With crisis communication having the right statistics is crucial.

5. Two-way communication is important, but don’t use WhatsApp for it

Research shows that frontline workers want to respond to each other’s messages. They need interaction. Therefore, two-way communication is very important to make your employees more engaged.

At the same time, employees find it annoying to receive many notifications. Especially when they have to screen the chat for the right information.

One more reason why WhatsApp is not the right channel for internal communications: people cannot comment on one specific message. For Linkedin or Facebook, this is possible for example. You receive a message in your timeline. When people comment on this message, those comments appear as threats under the original message. This is not possible with WhatsApp.

Your employees could miss important information when you use WhatsApp for internal communications. Your staff does not want to filter out each important message from all messages they receive. Besides being irritated, your workforce feels stressed too. They have the fear of missing out on important information.

A great alternative would be a timeline where your employees could receive only relevant messages. They can comment on those messages, but they will only receive a notification of the main message.

6. You cannot integrate WhatsApp with your existing systems

Important integrations in the retail and hospitality industry are shift changes and real-time schedules. If you, for example, use WhatsApp for internal communications you cannot connect those data. WhatsApp is not designed for connecting your systems, like HR-systems or WFM (Work Force Management)-systems.

WhatsApp: the perfect messenger app but not for internal communications

It may be clear: WhatsApp is a no-go for internal communications. WhatsApp does not meet your organization’s requirements:


✔️ User management should not be an issue: instead, you want to have a tool in place without private numbers

✔️ A communication platform that allows you to add channels, such as an ‘informal chat channel’ and work-related channels: it is easier to separate ‘fun work chats’ and ‘work-related messages’.

✔️ You have to reach all your employees within one click: you want to monitor the performance of your messages. Do all employees read your message? Also, you must be able to send them reminders.

✔️ A communication tool that works the same as a social platform: employees receive only relevant messages in their timeline. They can decide if they want to receive push notifications on the comments of their peers. 

✔️ You want to connect your communication tool with WFM- and HR systems: all data like real time scheduling, are synchronized.

Is there an alternative for WhatsApp as an internal communication tool?

Is there an alternative tool that offers the abovementioned features for internal communications? Sure, the alternative is the employee experience platform. This is a platform where all internal communication is unified for non-desk workers. This is combined with e-learning, onboarding, and WFM systems into one employee experience platform. 

Discover Oneteam

Oneteam is the mobile-first employee experience platform for internal communication, onboarding, eLearning, and surveys. Would you like to learn how Oneteam helps similar organizations to make their frontline workforce successful?

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