Catch the Wave of Mobile HR Technology for the SMB

BYOD. It wasn’t that long ago that such an acronym would be met with a furled brow and a roll of the eyes. Bring Your Own Device?!?! Surely, you jest. But, in today’s mobile technological world, a BYOD request is met with a smile and a nod of the head. In many respects, people these days expect to receive information and communication via a mobile device. It won’t be too long before communication that doesn’t flow through a mobile device will be met with the aforementioned furled brow and roll of the eyes. Over the last several years, there has been incredible growth of these increasingly powerful, capable, and for many of us, essential mobile devices. They have profoundly changed the way we communicate, consume information, socialize, and more and more, conduct business and get our work done. To help underscore these points and support your personal experiences with mobile technology, here are some data points to consider:

  • Market research firm IDC estimates 1.8 billion mobile phones will be shipped in 2012;
  • A recent Pew study reports 46% of Americans own a smartphone of some kind;
  • And finally in the US, ownership of tablets like the iPad has doubled from 10% to 19% in the last year.

With the above statistics in mind, it would be careless of an HR and IT Director to not put their heads together to determine how an organization would be able to capitalize on this wave of mobile technology adoption and utilization. As noted HR blogger Steve Boese notes, “For the HR leader, the question is no longer, ‘Should HR explore ways to exploit mobile devices and their always-on nature to better support and empower the modern workforce?’, but rather ‘How can HR best take advantage of smartphone and tablet capability to provide information, enable transactions, and enhance decision making?’”. The time is ripe. The time is now. This trend is reflected in the results that ADP and VDC Research reported in their survey of 400 midsized and large firms concerning their use of mobile HR applications. Moreover, employers are beginning to see real value in allowing their employees to access payroll and HR data through their mobile devices, not to mention time-saving applications such as online approval of work schedules and completing expense reports on the road. Keep in mind, however, that efficiency isn’t the only value being delivered – we also must focus on engaging the Millennial workforce. They want/desire/expect/need to be communicated with in this manner. See our previous blog post on this very topic. Here are some additional statistics from ADP and VCD’s survey – in 2011 smartphone use (deployed company-issued devices and support of employee-owned phones) reached 93% in large companies and 73% in midsized firms. In addition, 38% of large and 34% of midsized organizations indicated they either currently issue or support tablets or plan to do so in the future. Importantly, many surveyed companies are already seeing concrete results from their mobile investments. For example:

  • 81% of large and 76% of midsized organizations report improved workforce satisfaction;
  • 78% of large and 73% of midsized firms see improved real-time decision making; and
  • 75% of large and 71% of midsized companies observe improved workforce productivity.

The good news for HR in our SMB space is that many of our payroll, HR, HCM providers are ahead of the curve and are building some pretty slick mobile sites and/or mobile apps that will certainly engage the workforce. MillsonJames would be happy to educate you on the direction of our industry and which providers are leading the charge. By the way, I gathered most of the above statistics and information for this blog through my iPhone. When in Rome…..!

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