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Three Things You Need to Know before Investing in Mobile HCM

Written By: Raluca Druta
Published On: August 5 2013

Mobile technology has reshaped the functioning of human resources and talent management departments due to its ability to reach people in real time and at any location. Time and expenses can be tracked and shifts scheduled via mobile devices, and training content can be delivered to employees working remotely. In addition, organizations can maintain real-time communication with job applicants, as candidates are now in a position to check their email, social, and text notifications frequently. I am currently conducting a study aimed at capturing the voice of organizations using mobile human capital management (HCM).

A few months ago I wrote a blog post underlining that human capital management (HCM) technology may not be for everyone. Similarly, whether mobile HCM is a must-have technology for certain companies depends on the size of the company, the number of employees who rely on mobile devices extensively (sales, nurses, doctors, field service workers, etc.) and the human resources (HR) strategy of each company.

A closer look at your organization’s HCM needs and expectations can aid in making the decision of whether or not to invest in mobile HCM technology, and can help ensure that the maximum benefit is obtained from this technology if purchased. Here are three suggestions to consider before adding mobile HCM functionality to your overall HCM strategy:

1)  Identify the mobile HCM areas that your organization can benefit the most  from.

Human resources (HR)

From a personnel management perspective, employee self-service functionality can benefit from mobile support. For example, employees will probably appreciate the opportunity to access their HR portal from anywhere and be able to perform changes to their personal information at their convenience. In addition, they likely value being able to access information about the benefits programs that they are enrolled in as well as pay information remotely. Benefits can also be administered and viewed via mobile devices. For example, having a clear picture of who is eligible for benefits and being able to easily enroll an employee in a company’s benefits program from anywhere can come in handy, especially for HR professionals who work across multiple locations. Similarly, HR staff in charge of payroll may require creating, modifying, and submitting payroll information on the go. Another useful functionality is the ability to do bank deposits or perform data verification and preview payroll information.

Workforce management

Mobility allows employees to report on time and attendance, absences, and scheduling tasks as the need arises. For example, they can view changes in their schedules or submit requests and punches as needed. In addition, employees can track and perform labor activities via mobile devices (one example is the ability to scan bar codes by utilizing the phone’s camera). Managers can attend to approvals, monitor their team’s activity, and track the location of punches, all thanks to GPS technology.

Talent management

Talent acquisition benefits extensively from mobile technology. From a candidate’s perspective, receiving real-time alerts from employers or staffing agencies as well as following the status of an application are often time-sensitive aspects that are well-suited to being dealt with on the go. It is generally recommended that individuals looking for work visit potential employers in person or engage with employment support groups. In this case, mobile technology comes in handy, as candidates don’t have to stay home glued to their PCs while waiting to hear from potential employers. And it works the other way around too; employers can stay connected with candidates, in real time. Mobility is very useful in situations where organizations are competing for high profile candidates and the negotiation process and availability of candidates can be influenced by latencies.

Career development and training together with learning management and performance and compensation management functionality are practically requirements for mobile HCM solutions, to accommodate the new generation of employees. Younger workers are influencing the way work unfolds—i.e. mostly remotely and around flexible schedules.

2)  Consider: native apps vs. browser-based.

Depending on a company’s mobile device management strategy, deciding whether mobile apps are more appropriate then browser-based mobile technology is essential. If a company offers mobile devices to its employees then it can benefit from the native apps’ speed and suitability to the particular device being used. However, if an organization prefers to adopt a BYOD policy, browser-based mobility is definitely the best choice, as upgrades would be difficult to roll out for multiple apps, on multiple devices.

3)  Understand organization-wide expectations with respect to mobile HCM adoption.

Companies are generally interested in accomplishing goals or plans as fast as possible, but at the same time they want to maintain or improve product/service quality. Some companies see mobility as a tremendous aid in making the recruitment process faster; as communication occurs in real time, researching and finding the right candidates is expected to be less time consuming. Also, mobility serves to support the faster execution of HR workflows and processes.

Another benefit that organizations may envision is improved employee retention, as mobile apps keep employees engaged and updated. For instance, alerts and notifications, and invitations to company events can be sent on mobile devices. Or, employees can react and present opinions vis-à-vis work routines and conditions in real time.

Also, HR professionals see mobility as a way to offer real-time access to learning materials for their employees. This is becoming increasingly important for field service employees who have very little time to attend brick and mortar learning programs.

TEC is currently conducting a research study on organizations’ current usage and need for mobile HCM for an in-depth report on the subject due out later this year. We would like to hear your thoughts on the type of mobile HCM solutions that you are currently using or would like to use. Unveiling the mobile HCM preferences of TEC’s end user community can help the HCM vendor community better adapt to the real-life needs of their customers.
 
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