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Going mobile

Wed 29 Jul 2015

Staff are increasingly offered devices to stay mobile but what are the implications to the employer?

The rise in consumer mobile technology has led to an increase in demand from employees who expect the same level of accessibility in their working lives as they do at home. Technology is moving fast and it is up to businesses to be proactive in accommodating for customer’s needs. 90% of bids and tenders that have come into Equiniti in the last year have included a requirement for HR and Payroll-related software that can be accessed on a mobile device anytime, anywhere.

There are several reasons behind this recent trend towards mobile accessibility, including the widespread availability of mobile technology.

In 2015, it is estimated that the UK will have 38 million smartphone owners – that is 58% of the UK population.  Furthermore, 51% of households will also have a tablet in their home.

Flexible working and the prevalence of Wi-Fi has enabled adaptability within businesses. The ‘Cloud’ has also allowed many organisations to overcome internal technical challenges. The need for real-time accessibility to virtually everything. The Internet of Things. These factors are all influencing employer and employee behaviours both outside and inside the workplace.

Whether through employer-issued devices or an employee’s own technology, (e.g. Bring Your Own Device), there are a host of benefits in going mobile.  

For the HR industry, technology could revolutionise the way employers engage with employees. Clearly, there are some HR and Payroll-related tasks that would need very careful consideration before they are moved to a mobile environment due to the sensitivity of the data, but there are also palpable benefits in terms of cost and efficiency.

Equiniti analysis reveals that the functionality which is typically accessed via mobile includes expenses, timesheet information and holiday requests; absence notifications; appraisals; and employee queries.

One of the key benefits to mobile accessibility is instant access to data to aid decision-making and the ability to access information about direct reports on the go.  Holiday requests, training records and personal development plans could be reviewed on the go, a decision swiftly made and approved or denied through the device. Before software became accessible on mobile devices, such a simple task would have depended on the manager being at their desk, or logged on to the company network, and would have resulted in a delay in responding to the request until this could be achieved.

Elimination of duplicate processes can also cut costs.  In all of the examples of functionality accessed via mobile technology provided, data is entered only once and then used in different ways by different parts of the organisation.  This improves the efficiency of internal processes, reduces the chance for error and reduces cost.

  Another key benefit is a reduction in employee queries. Employees are empowered to take control of their own information and can access this information at any time, even if they aren’t at work.  This reduces the level of queries that go through to HR or line managers and increases employee satisfaction.

There are also significant implications with regard to compliance. With mobile devices on hand employers can publish documentation, such as policies, to all workers and require that they tick a box to confirm that the policy has been read and understood.  There is no longer a reason for mobile and other non-office based workers not to view such documentation. 
Despite falling costs, the financial investment in mobile technology can still be substantial, so organisations considering the rollout of mobile devices need to ensure that they get a return on their investment.

Organisations investing in mobile solutions for their workforce need to ensure that software solutions are aligned to their chosen technology; ideally, software should be device- and browser- agnostic to ensure that the solution remains future-proofed and doesn’t require unnecessary I.T. intervention.

Security and HR policies are required for company-issued technology to protect the organisation from loss; of both devices and sensitive company data.

Policies need to cover the return of devices upon leaving employment. Robust information and security policies around passwords, encryption and the loading of non-work related software onto the device should also be detailed. As long as such issues are considered, there is nothing to stop us from going mobile.

 


Author: Rachel Daly, Consultant, Equiniti