In this guest column, Jimmy Franzone, vice president of corporate development for TriNet in San Leandro, Calif., describes the growing importance of mobile HR technology to employers of all sizes.
There’s no doubt we live in a mobile world. A report by ComScore finds that mobile business users make up 65 percent of all digital media consumption, which includes voice, video and messaging. That beats traditional personal computers and desk phones by a good margin.
Why Mobile Matters
Now consider this: One of the biggest challenges HR managers and business leaders face is employee engagement. In our experience, we know an engaged workforce is more productive, has a more positive impact on the company’s brand and is easier to retain. Importantly, studies by the likes of Gallup have shown that employee engagement directly affects a company’s bottom line.
The generation poised to take over the workforce, the Millennials, crave the type of accessibility that mobile HR provides. When you connect with your employees and empower them to take control of their HR information in a way that’s convenient and familiar, you actively contribute to a culture of engagement.
Mobile’s Top Functions
Surprisingly, even today not all employers are aware of the positive impact they can have on engagement by mobile-enabling their HR functions. Simply by making basic HR features like benefits, payroll and time off accessible through smartphones. Employers can deepen their relationships with employees.
Here are the most effective areas in which we’ve seen companies with 50 to 500 employees use mobile technology to help their business.
- Employee benefits. Who doesn’t want to simplify the benefits process? No one, and the ability to access benefits on a smartphone is a real convenience. Employees who are able to access their benefits information by smartphone can save hours of calls or emails back and forth to Human Resources. And who doesn’t want to carry one less card in their wallet?
- It should come as no surprise that being able to stay on top of everything surrounding their paycheck is important to employees. Workers who can quickly and easily view and compare paychecks from various periods are able to spend less time worrying about their money and more time engaged in their core job duties.
- Time off. One of the biggest challenges for companies employing blue-collar workers is tracking requests for time off. After all, these workers don’t sit in front of a computer all day, so how much do you gain by offering paid time off if your administrative process makes taking it a hassle? Mobile HR minimizes the pain by allowing employees to quickly view their accrued hours, sync their calendar to paid holidays and request their time off. Managers receive immediate notice of the requests and can respond to them on the go.
Finding the Right Mobile Fit
Business owners experimenting with mobile HR may ask themselves, “How do I know if my mobile investments are providing their intended value?” I recommend a mix of objective and subjective measures for assessing the health and success of your mobile HR efforts:
- Objective measures: Have the majority of your employees adopted your mobile technology? How frequently are employees using mobile HR? Are your mobile applications more popular than comparable desktop versions?
- Subjective measures: What are your employees saying about the app? Are survey responses positive? What metrics —such as increased retention, decreased clerical errors and improved productivity—have improved since you adopted mobile HR?
Spreading the Word
And be sure to remember this: It’s too easy to dismiss your mobile HR efforts as a failure when adoption is low. The real reason may be lack of awareness and education. Any technological investments in mobile HR need to be accompanied by a cohesive plan to build organizational awareness about the new capabilities and how to integrate them into daily workflows.
Mobile technology is a big part of our lives, helping us to live more efficiently and productively. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that 77 percent of Americans currently own a smartphone, a big jump from just 35 percent in 2011. And it’s not just young Americans who have gone mobile. The Pew study also found that 88 percent of 30–49-year-olds have a smartphone.
The bottom line is simple: Ignoring the effectiveness of smartphones as part of your engagement strategy—making your business more efficient and productive—is short-sighted. It could mean the difference between a business that thrives against the competition and one that struggles to compete in a mobile world. Examining your options with mobile HR technology is well worth the time and effort of any business leader.
Jimmy Franzone is vice president of corporate development for San Leandro, Calif.-based TriNet, an HR services provider for small and medium-sized businesses.
Feature Image Copyright: nd3000 / 123RF Stock Photo