Apps Are For More Than Socializing – Why HR Needs to Go Mobile
With 6 billion text messages sent and received every day in the US, you can imagine how reliant on our phones we have become. We’re all a part of an ongoing technology evolution that is dependent more upon our mobile devices than our desktop computers. The rise of mobile use has also spurned an increase in mobile applications designed to make communication, transactions, and a variety of other tasks seamless and transforming the way we function.
The rise of mobile has gone far beyond a personal preference. Mobile devices are, for some people, the primary way they access the internet and communicate with others. The message for organizations is clear: If you’re hoping to engage your employees, providing access to company information, transactions, and functions via mobile devices will become critical in the very near future. HR leaders tasked with improving the employer brand will want to pay close attention to the usability of HR tech platforms on mobile for themselves and for employee-facing software platforms.
Mobile technology and the HR function
The use of mobile for HR functions begins with the first touch. Candidates that become familiar with a prospective employer may begin to engage with that organization via their mobile devices to research the company on the internet.
Already, some companies leverage mobile technology to communicate en masse to employees about company announcements or updates. For example, an office closure notice may be sent to the entire company during a storm or other natural disaster, and employees can opt to communicate back to the employer by marking themselves as “safe.” Organizations employ these types of methods to project an “employee first” image and to ease the ability to communicate at a personal level with team members who want to know that their company cares about them.
HR tasks are even subsidized by human capital systems via mobile applications, elevating our increased expectation for mobile app functionality. Already on the market, HR applications like Expensify make it easier for the online tracking of business expenses and allows HR leaders to show ROI on their outplacement investment.
If you’re looking for ways to move your HR function from purely administrative to a strategic partnership with other executives in your organization and you’re searching for ways to improve productivity, increase engagement, and heighten the employer brand, start by modernizing processes through mobile apps.
Here are 3 reasons why HR leaders need to focus on mobile technology for their organizations:
#1: Less administrative work, more strategy
HR currently spends much of its time on low-value, administrative tasks. Human capital and ATS systems are already streamlining processes through automation – but does this necessarily make handling our tasks quicker and easier? What HR leaders really need is the simplification of tools, so tasks are more connected to the work at hand – and this is where having instantaneous mobile functionality comes into play.
We carry our devices everywhere, and sometimes simple reminders throughout the day can keep us on track. For example, email reminders about approving employees’ time-off requests are great when we’ve, perhaps, gotten sidetracked – but not having full-time access to the HR system on your mobile device can actually backtrack efficiency. What’s the point of a mobile reminder when you have to revert back to your desktop to complete the task?
According to Bersin & Associates Talent Challenges Survey, 65 percent of HR executives said they wanted to play a more strategic role in their organizations. Yet time and time again, HR executives state “administrative tasks” as something standing in their way. While we can’t completely eliminate that part of the HR role (filing the appropriate paper work will never go out of style!), mobile apps can help to alleviate some of the administrative burden, which allows for more time to spend on strategic thinking and priorities.
When it comes down to it, there are some run-of-business advantages for the entire business when HR leverages mobile technology. It often eliminates more tedious elements of a job and can even expedite the onboarding process for employees. And most importantly, all of these savings allow managers and employees to focus on what they do best – more efficiently and strategically.
#2: Empowerment through real-time communication with employees
Businesses need easy and efficient ways to communicate with employees quickly. HR mobile tech allows HR departments and employees to handle things relevant to their jobs in the moment. This type of communication takes engagement further, demonstrating to employees that the company cares about their wellbeing.
Showing empathy for employees through better communication practices can actually increase talent retention and create a happier workforce. In a recent , we discovered that when employers do not communicate openly with all members of their workforce, they risk employee alienation. Many mobile applications allow for polling and real-time engagement with employees at a more personal level, and with this comes the feeling of empowerment, as well as reassurance that they are an integral part of the organization.
When mobile application usage is strategically aligned with key company objectives, it should naturally help employees feel more engaged. Mobile apps often fill in as additional mediums to build comradery or communicate more effectively across the organization. People feel better when they interact with each other, and most HR folks would agree that they struggle with engagement cross-functionally at their organizations. Day in and day out, we carry our mobile devices with us, for better or for worse, so HR should begin to consider mobile as a way to foster connection and engagement with employees. Plus, it’s important to note that nearly everyone has a smartphone, but not everyone has their own computer. Mobile applications are more inclusive of all types of employees, and not just the ones sitting in front of a computer screen.
#3: Helps employees through career transition
We’ve been focused on the broader benefits of mobile for HR during the development of the RiseSmart mobile app. We realized that building a mobile app isn’t just a way to ease usage for employees and HR leaders—it ensures everyone has the information they need at their fingertips. We now offer functionality for job seekers that includes viewing open jobs, workshops, and content, and staying in contact with their career coaches on the mobile app, making life even easier for employees who are going through career transitions. We’ve already observed the engagement of employees accessing the mobile app skyrocket as early as 2-4 weeks after they first login. Meanwhile, satisfaction of employees, even following a major company transition, improves more quickly as the employee gains access to coaching and is able to make a smooth transition. In fact, we found that our mobile app significantly increased engagement with participants by 130 percent, as compared to those with desktop-only access.
There’s no slowing down for HR mobile technology. For HR leaders looking to make a difference at their organizations, looking for HR solutions that offer a mobile version of their technology interfaces will ensure all employees have access to information and services and stay up to date on their HR-related requests. By doing so, HR leaders will continue to play a critical role in the organization, as they strategically build culture and maintain a positive employee experience for all.