SMARTPHONES, MOBILE APPS & CHANGING HR DYNAMICS

The extent to which smartphones are dictating our lives is becoming indescribable. Their popularity, driven by technological finesse and supercomputer-like processes, doesn’t just make them a piece of technology carried in our pockets but an essential tool for survival. From hailing rides, ordering food, tracking health, controlling cars, kitchens and navigating unknown routes, smartphones have a unique pervasive power that none of us can deny.

HR practitioners are increasingly aware of the significance of mobile apps and their role in their path to digital transformation. For one, enterprise mobile apps are extensively being relied on to create a shift in the nature of tasks HR teams have been doing. The rise of smartphones and state-of-the-art mobile apps that mimic most social media apps in function and appearance have now begun to eclipse traditional HR processes paving way for faster, instant and on-the-go service.

Like Pamela Nelson, president & CEO of Bracane Research Company (a project management solutions company) puts it – “Fish where there is fish, it’s easier to find what you are looking for because it will come to you.” This is particularly true for HR practitioners looking to engage their workforce beyond office hours. Since people won’t be at their desks all the time, HR must find a way to go to them where they are. And smartphones are the way to do this.

Connecting the workforce 24X7 is one of the features of agile work environments. People love to stay connected and know what’s happening around them. In a world that is fast redefining itself as an “on-the go” service platform with food-on-go, news-on-go and even healthcare-on-the-go, it’s easy to miss out what we are all really craving for: “data-on-the-go”.

Our constant need to access data about ourselves and the environments we live in is no surprise and HR practitioners know that just too well. That’s why companies are working overtime to build inhouse HR apps that are easy and simple to use as any app on social media. Whether it’s company news, achievements, team gatherings, access to payslips, tax forms, insurance or even connecting with teams based in offshore locations, apps have made it possible. Their availability on different operating systems across smartphone brands helps us stay connected with our workplace even when we are physically not around.

Performance reviews also have a great bearing on how technology improves the analytics. Rather than formulating a tedious questionnaire that often ends up in a quagmire, HR departments can employ enterprise apps to build better ways of gauging performance and feedback. The process which otherwise can take days and weeks by involving employee and supervisor inputs can take hardly any time if everyone fills in the review forms on their smartphones.

Accenture’s 2015 Mobility Research Survey centered on ‘Growing the Digital Business: Spotlight on Mobile Apps’ explores enterprise wide mobility scenarios in companies representing 15 countries. The survey points out while executives see mobile apps as the dominant interface of the future, security issues were seen as one of the overriding challenges of app development and management.

This challenge has forced many companies, especially those building fintech apps, to roll out applications that are thoroughly tested and firewalled. IT departments are also widened to incorporate immediate security risks, eliminate pain points, bugs and offer instant updates of these apps for maximum user experience, the survey noted.

Among the mobile apps that are being used by employees include business communication apps, team collaboration apps, email apps, payroll and banking apps. Payroll processing apps, in particular are ones that have huge role in the data supply chain, especially for the untethered workforce who operate out of different global cities.

The flexibility that this enterprise mobile app ensures through smartphones enables users to have access to their financial information in a secure and transparent way. It also allows employers further insight into employee contract details and their pay. HR’s role of a data tracker can be easily encompassed into an app that offers structured information not only on the talent’s profile but also on talent mobility, support services, appraisals, holidays, health insurance, employer contributions and connecting with co-workers.

Deloitte’s 2019 Mobile Employee Survey (Germany) carries an interesting takeaway for companies yet to maximise the enterprise mobility journey through apps: “Employees are people, full of passion & potential, enjoying digital lives enriched by mobile devices, but back at work, they leave the magic at home. It’s time to work the way we live, releasing the potential of our employees.”

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