How Mobile Apps are Changing HR and Employee Engagement

Posted in Managing HR | by Jiehui Kwa on 13 November 2017

Last updated on 2 November 2018

On-premise software to streamline and improve access to various HR functions has been around for some time, but they suffer from serious issues. Mobile apps, however, have not only improved engagement, but essentially resolved the disadvantages of on-premise programs. In short, their beneficial impacts to general processes and employee engagement are undeniable.

 

Impact on Processes

According to a study by CedarCrestone, the use of mobile applications for various HR and administrative functions has been steadily increasing since 2012. There are many types of areas where these programs are implemented, but we’ll outline the most common ones.

 

Training

On-premise software is a common training tool. While innovative during its initial emergence, it has some key problems. Bill Goodwin of Computer Weekly explains that these programs suffer from slow adaptability, quick obsolescence and an inability to keep up with changing business needs.

 

Apps are the exact opposite. As Goodwin says, “Mobile learning tools, however, allow employees to share their expertise and learn from short videos that can be quickly updated.” This versatility makes learning fast, convenient and fun.

 

Payroll

Mobile access lets employees view payroll on their own time. On the management’s side, supervisors can also fix errors or make quick changes from anywhere, allowing for more efficient completion and faster addressing of errors.

 

Recruitment

Mobile apps have dramatically improved the efficiency of the recruitment process. Michelle Rafter of Workforce highlights how recruitment apps allow managers to actively seek potential candidates from public mediums, such as social media, rather than wait for resumes. They can then share this information with fellow recruiters.  Rafter also explains how mobile technology lets recruiters approve job offers and track feedback, while potential employees can analyze business data or obtain contact information.

 

Impact on Engagement

With Millennials replacing older generations in the workforce, we need to realize how much they value digital tools. In fact, Simon Berman of HR Technologist reveals that “42% of millennials say they would leave a company due to ‘substandard technology.’” Given this, it’s important to consider how mobile apps can maintain or improve engagement.

 

Familiarity

Simon Berman reveals that, “For millennials, it’s not acceptable to use desktop-only applications or complex mobile applications.” Therefore, it only makes sense for them to expect mobile programs to be available in the workplace.

 

According to Forbes, the technology used by a company named Bluebridge Digital allowed employees to nominate each other for performance rewards with the push of a button. They also used it as a means of recruitment, allowing employees to share job openings via the app, thereby bringing in massive amounts of potential new talent. Essentially, employees became more interested in helping the company and each other.

 

Accessibility

Because most people have access to smartphones, tablets or laptops, the foundations are already set for HR apps. Logistically speaking, no major preparation is required. Apps are faster and easier to design, and won’t require an employer to provide a mobile device to each employee.

 

According to Berman on-premise software is complicated and only accessible at work. It only makes sense do away with these cumbersome programs to make workers’ lives easier.

 

Efficiency

Simon Berman advises that when millennials (or frankly anyone) are unable to quickly deal with things like benefits or time off, they’ll approach HR. Unfortunately, this results in more work for HR that reduces efficiency. “By delivering a suite of mobile micro apps, Berman says,

 

Employees can more easily access the information they need. This is a subtle, yet effective way to keep employees feeling engaged.

 

Engagement surveys can also benefit from the increased efficiency provided by HR apps. Traditionally, these evaluations happen on an annual or semi-annual basis. Unfortunately, this means that issues aren’t addressed quickly. By the time senior management has the data to make changes, the damage will already have been done.

 

Future Impact on Engagement

It’s quite apparent how well these apps are working, as indicated by their growing popularity and proven efficacy.

 

Retention Trends

According to Forbes, young workers spend an average of approximately four years or less at any given job. If mobile apps can incentivize people to stay longer, organizations will spend less money on recruitment and training while making aspiring workers more appealing to recruiters.

 

Data Collection

Mobile apps allow for continuous employee feedback through “pulse surveys.” This ability to quickly gather data allows companies to immediately address engagement pitfalls before they cause irreparable damage.

 

Development

Mobile apps make learning easier than ever. This means they’ll likely become a critical tool, not just for training, but also for development. Individuals who want to be promoted to a management position, for instance, can take advantage of mobile resources in their spare time and familiarize themselves with new roles and responsibilities. In turn, these employees will already have some experience once they’re promoted.

 

Overall, mobile apps have revolutionized HR in unprecedented ways. Issues that affected organizations for decades could become a thing of the past. Once businesses see the enormous potential of this technology, they’ll enjoy the benefits of higher engagement, increased productivity and greater efficiency.

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