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Why is HR buzzing about mobile?

By Michael Heller Microfeedback

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Mobile technology in the workplace has been an up-and-coming topic for a few years now, but it seems that 2014 marked the ultimate “adoption breakthrough”. This was the year when the mobile internet usage overtook desktop internet usage. What’s more important, once that happened, there is no way back – 91% of adults admitted having their phone within arm’s reach 24/7. You might say that the cell phone itself will soon become a relic of the past, replaced by Google Glass or iWatch. Either way, the future will still unavoidably involve applications, and sharing information on the go. What’s the impact on the business? An enterprise aspiring to mobile immersing faces numerous challenges.

Do you allow employees to “bring their own device”? Research shows that BYOD policy impacts recruiting and retention. What are the risks and benefits of BYOD? Benefits include increased productivity, lower costs, and happier employees. There are, however, risks of increased demand on support, less control and security risks.

There are also some concerns about the emerging “always on” culture – there’s a risk of exploiting employees and a poor work-life balance. Alternative is a device provided by the employer, but either way one cannot avoid addressing the issue with the right policy. How is mobile impacting employee communication? The new connected workplace requires a number of adjustments. If you are still stuck with stuck with a link and text heavy intranet, designed with desktops in mind, it’s time for some serious changes. Employees now expect the site to load on their cell phones within 3 seconds.

However, in return for expecting a faster access to information, they are more willing to access it. For instance, mobile users access pay information at a 60% higher rate than stationary web users. Motivating workers to seek information independently can be a great way to save time for the HR department. In an increasingly competitive job market, there are two trends, which make mobile technologies simply priceless.

First is the rise of telecommuting – reportedly, the number of employees working remotely multiple days per week (not including self-employed), increased by 79% from 2005 to 2012. Consequently, the second trend is an increasing importance of demonstrating results, rather than just face time in the office. Mobile HR can support results-oriented work environment (known as ROWE) perfectly, by enabling instant communication and an on-going flow of feedback. Communicating via mobile motivates workers to stick to clear, focused information sharing.

The streamlined mobile app interface also helps to eliminate distractions and increase the quality of the information exchange between the team members. How to make the transition? The CEBS report suggests, that determining what are the most popular features of the intranet and creating (or finding a provider of) a streamlined mobile version can be a good first step. As usual, employee education is also crucial (but it won’t work if the system itself is not user-friendly and not engaging!). While adopting a new software can be intimidating, mobile technology perfectly aligns with HR core objectives and quickly demonstrates a direct impact with increased productivity and more effective communication.

Michael Heller

Posted By Michael Heller

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