Mobile HR: The Future is Now

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The ADP research Institute has just completed a study called Employee Self-Service and Mobile HR Applications[1] The introduction to the study succinctly states:

“Fourteen years after the first BlackBerry® smartphone was introduced, six years after the first iPhone®, and just three years after the first iPad®, mobile access has become the ‘new normal’ for a rapidly growing number of people and organizations worldwide. In 2012, global mobile data traffic grew by an estimated 70 percent and average smartphone usage grew globally by 81 percent.[2] By the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices is expected to exceed the number of people on earth.”

Mobile HR Makes Sense

Aside from the ubiquity of smartphone technology and the rise of “bring your own device” policies, there are a number of good reasons why it makes sense for companies to adopt mobile technology for HR (and other) business functions. Reasons cited in the study include:

Convenience: Mobile applications reduce the need to access a desktop computer, replace manual paperwork with convenient mobile applications and provide immediate access to information that previously meant calling or emailing HR with questions and then waiting for a response. With mobile access, employees can update HR information when and where they want.

Speed: Mobile applications enable real-time decision-making and rapid turnaround, without the need for time-consuming paperwork or access to a desktop computer.

Productivity: Increased convenience and speed means employees spend less time managing HR issues, and the HR department spends less time handling employee requests and questions. This allows everyone to focus on value generating activity.

Accuracy: Interactive mobile HR applications, such as time entry and vacation requests, are generally automated, step-by-step processes that help reduce the chance of human error.

Expectations/Engagement: Today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce appreciate and respect an organization that makes their job easier with mobile technology. Surveys have shown that mobile HR applications increase workforce satisfaction.[3]

New Employees Expect Mobile HR

While this study shows that mobile usage is higher in occupations where access to a desktop computer is less readily available (e.g. construction and transportation versus insurance and finance), it also shows that usage across all industries is growing. As new entrants to the workforce exert a growing influence, mobile HR applications will soon become an expectation for a generation that is increasingly more comfortable with a mobile device than a traditional computer.[4]

Current Employees Adopt Mobile HR

Aside from Mobile’s obvious importance to future employees, one of the most important findings that emerged from the research is the fact that mobile access to HR information garnered 60 percent more engagement than traditional web access among current employees[5]. When it comes to HR technology and employee self-service, adoption and engagement are critical to a successful implementation—and to achieving the productivity and quality improvements the technology investment was designed to deliver. HCM technology is a game changer for HR and, fast on its heels; mobile access is shaping up to be a clear game changer for HCM technology.


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