WhatsApp for employee communication? 6 reasons why that’s a bad idea

Sara Ana Cemazar
May 30, 2023
min read

With over 2 billion users, WhatsApp appears to be an easy way to get in touch with anyone, including your co-workers. However, using WhatsApp for employee communication can come with a host of security threats to your organization and the lack of appropriate features for workplace collaboration and performance tracking.

For example, accessing an employee’s phone and stealing sensitive organization data is fairly easy, as WhatsApp does not have essential features for secure business collaboration. To add to the woe, there are some instances where WhatsApp's privacy and security capabilities have come into question despite its end-to-end encryption. 

In this blog, we explain the reasons why it is not advisable to use WhatsApp for employee communication.

6 reasons why you shouldn’t use WhatsApp for internal communication

Most employees started using WhatsApp as an easy alternative to emails for connecting with co-workers for important updates. However, for several reasons, WhatsApp for employee communication is not an ideal option. For example:

1. WhatsApp for business communication lacks comprehensive security measures

Using WhatsApp for employee communication is not advisable since, according to some, the platform is not GDPR compliant. It is also unclear what information from WhatsApp's database is shared with its sister organization — Facebook. Long story short, WhatsApp cannot guarantee your employee’s safety or prevent the company’s sensitive data from leaking.

Moreover, if employees leave the organization, they will have important business data regarding the company, including photos, documents, and customer data shared earlier during their tenure. WhatsApp for internal communication does not have a smooth deboarding process that ensures ex-employees do not possess the company data. 

whatsapp for employee communication

2. Absence of user management features

Remote work communication dictates simple and fast communication, usually found in tools such as team chat apps. But, an organization needs to exert some form of control over how its employees communicate with each other to prevent data breaches, manage the employees, maintain a professional environment, and encourage productivity. It can be difficult to manage people if you don’t have the right communication tools.

For example, one has to manually add each phone number to their contact list while using WhatsApp for internal communication, which is time-consuming and impractical for organizations with hundreds of employees.

3. Inefficient communication for business purposes

There are only two ways to use WhatsApp for employee communication — direct (or one-on-one) and group chats — both of which can be inefficient. People working together on a project require more than these basic modes of communication.

For example, there are no features for reminders, threads for project-based communication, etc., which can make internal communication harder than it needs to be in a crisis situation.

whatsapp for employee communication

Additionally, your employees may miss important messages, especially if they are not tagged, amidst the storm of messages they receive

Using WhatsApp for business communication can also make it unnecessarily difficult for your employees to manage and browse shared files and relevant documents.

4. Lack of integrations with other workplace tools

WhatsApp is a straightforward communication tool designed for connecting friends and family. It does not allow organizations to enable important integrations such as Human Resource management systems (HRMS) and data integration tools. This may lead to a lack of oversight and mismanagement of human resources. 

Using WhatsApp for employee communication makes it difficult to have a streamlined workflow, and disjointed communication can hurt overall productivity.

whatsapp for employee communication

5. Juxtaposing work and private communication

Most employees use WhatsApp for their private conversations, and generally, people use a single phone number for official and personal purposes. This can cause unwanted mixups between work and private conversations and impact employee productivity.

For example, you don’t want your employee to mistakenly share customer details on their friends’ WhatsApp groups. Similarly, you won’t appreciate a personal message intended for someone in the employee’s life to overtake the morning meeting agenda.

Most employees may also find the numerous work messages their colleagues share on WhatsApp annoying. Some employees often set the office chats on mute for the night or even perpetually. 

Also, it is difficult for employees to set clear boundaries between their professional and personal lives, especially with remote work. Compelling them to use their personal communication apps — like WhatsApp — for business communication can make it more difficult, cause stress, and impact their performance.

6. Breaching internal communication policies

Since it does not have basic safety features such as two-factor authentication, using WhatsApp for business communication is not recommended. You cannot prevent the employee from using the app and a portion of office hours for personal use if your main organizational communication channel is WhatsApp. 

Also, your company's sensitive information may leak if their phone gets lost or stolen. Furthermore, there are industry-specific government laws and regulations that WhatsApp may or may not comply with.

Additionally, research revealed that applications such as WhatsApp for employee communication are informally introduced in many hospitals, raising concerns for data security. The study revealed that most doctors who were sharing sensitive patient information without the patient’s consent were worried about doing so. 

This indicates that employees require an easy-to-use communication channel that does not compromise the organization's or its customers' data security.

What’s the alternative to using WhatsApp for employee communication?

There are numerous tools available on the market that are a better choice for internal communication yet don’t resemble outdated tools like email or intranet. 

You can evaluate choices as per the following features to choose a suitable chat platform for your organization.

Advanced security features

WhatsApp for employee communication does not have enough security features to protect the critical data of your business and customers. If you are in a highly-regulated industry, such as finance or medicine, you must use a communication channel that complies with data security laws, including GDPR

The communication channel should ideally have ISO270001 certification and features like on-premise deployment, end-to-end encryption, and two-factor authentication.

whatsapp for employee communication

Effective user management

Appointing administrators at different levels to control the environment of the business communication app is a great feature. Using a controlled channel for employee communication can also help you monitor your employees' activity and prevent data theft. 

You can add or remove users easily with admin controls and limit access to certain levels of information for improved security.

Project-based team collaboration

WhatsApp for employee communication does not provide features such as project-based communication for easy team collaboration and seamless integration with other tools, which are essential in making the workflow smooth for your employees. 

A communication system that is difficult to navigate will inevitably cause employees to avoid using it. It also adds to the frustration of an employee and can negatively affect the organization’s work environment.

WhatsApp can make it harder for teams to apply best collaboration strategies as they usually have to juggle multiple official groups for a project.

Compatible with your organization’s tech stack

Many organizations prefer an open-source communication app that can fit well with the rest of their tech stack; this is especially true if it's legacy software. While looking for an ideal communication channel, you must consider the ease of integrating it into your organization’s already existing tech.

An open-source tool allows easy connection with project management and other important tools to smoothen out workflows across the organization.

User-friendly and platform-agnostic

It is possible that your employees don’t switch to a new secure instant messaging solution for business communication because they find it difficult to use or simply use WhatsApp out of habit.

Yes, WhatsApp is easy to use, but it lacks advanced security features for business communication. However, there are plenty instant messaging platforms built for businesses you can choose from to keep your employees engaged, and your critical data secure at the same time.

The communication channel you choose for your organization must be user-friendly and accessible through any device. Many employees check their work emails/messages at odd hours and on different devices. You have to make the tool well-liked so the employees are encouraged to use it for internal communication.

Rocket.Chat: a secure alternative to WhatsApp for employee communication

With a high focus on security, Rocket.Chat is an ideal alternative to WhatsApp for internal communication for privacy-conscious organizations. The open-source platform is used in highly regulated industries, including military, government, financial services, and healthcare. 

Whether you have a remote, hybrid, or in-office work culture, Rocket.Chat can help your employees connect and collaborate easily with different teams from within and from different organizations.

With features for real-time collaboration like audio & video calls, a ‘discussions’ space for short-term projects, file sharing, private and public channels for company-wide communication, custom workflows, and the ability to integrate with multiple tools and apps, Rocket.Chat can boost your team’s productivity and help them operate more efficiently. 

Click here to learn more about how Rocket.Chat helps teams collaborate securely.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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