There is no question that mobile technology is the future of work.
From iphones to droids, ipads to kindle fires – mobile technology is changing the way we function as a society. This hyper-connected lifestyle is changing how we interact with our friends, family and even strangers. With close to half (46%) of American’s over 18 owning some type of smart phone – its also changing how we recruit, retain & manage a workforce.
Like social, Mobile has been a constant theme in briefings, conferences and user group meetings I’ve been a part of over the last 12 months. Vendors want help with a strategy for developing it, Corporate HR wants to know if they should be building their own and everyone wants to know “how far behind” they were.
The theory that everyone else was doing it, made, well, everyone else do it. In most cases, poorly.
To most, mobile strategy seemed to mean “build pretty apps” not actually develop a long term strategy that would be in the best interest of the stakeholders – C-Suite, HR Departments, Candidates, Managers, Employees, etc. The fear of being left behind the mobile trend, or not being first to market in HR Tech resulted in the release of some shockingly poor apps that existed purely for superficial PR and really didn’t do anything functional for their clients. (Not naming names but, An ipad app that lets you review *some* things from the system, but nothing that actually needs action or approvals taken? So basically, you can’t work. Awesome. Who actually thought that was a good idea?)
Bad apps make smart phones dumb and your business less productive.
In fact, the race to market with mobile for most HR Tech vendors and corporate HR teams resulting in a total lack of true mobile strategy – the integration between mobile product, how organizations actually function with their solution and people’s relationships with their mobile phone. While the 46% of smart phone users is an amazing number, the reality check we often miss is that 54% of adults in the US don’t have a smart phone. They have a standard mobile. It doesn’t do apps. It doesn’t browse the web.
With 25 billion apps being downloaded from the Apple store alone, no one is down playing the importance and future that is the app world. But with the reality of who the workforce still currently is – smart organizations and vendors will continue to be inclusive of all workers as they set a mobile strategy.
For HR Buyers, a truly strategic mobile strategy (and vendors, your road map) should include more than superficial apps. Eventually, It should include solutions for 3 groups you may employ:
- Smartphone User – Building apps that mimic functionality already being offered, not just the easy basic things. It should allow you to complete your work via your mobile or tablet (ipad), should you choose too.
- Web access User – It should have a plan on how to address those that are simply web-ready mobile vs smart phone users. The product should have a mobile-ready interface that allows you to access everything you could have on their “full site” but in a simpler to use interface.
- Standard mobile/phone User – Depending on the type of solution and the end user – an option that allows people to access key features is really attractive. Think about the candidates or employees in roles that typically don’t have smartphones due to age or other demographics that have lower access to them.
Each of these groups should be considered when talking about mobile strategy in the workforce – with some of the new (and highly successful) entrants into the HR Tech market, they are. Last week, two vendors set the bar high for vendors in the hr technology marketplace. In Salt Lake City, HireVue video interviewing solution launched a mobile app that allows interactivity from both candidate and manager, not just manager. Allowing people with iphones or ipads to completely manage the interview process remotely – with no computer needed. In Charleston at PeopleMatter’s launch of Schedule, CEO Nate Depore conducted a live (always scary in a room full of 100+ clients, press & analyst) launch of “D” an iphone Siri type of product designed to allow employee’s access and manage schedules through smart, interactive conversations. The ohh’s and ahh’s of everyone in the room, was more than telling to the success anticipated. With both vendors, while the solutions and target focus were different, the total mobile strategy was a consideration from the beginning.
A mobile strategy (especially apps) need to raise the level of engagement and adoption within our company. Employees, managers and leadership expect us to anticipate needs and provide value through the technology selected and implemented (ROI anyone). The fact that less than half the adult population has a smart phone is a reminder that just because everyone on your floor does, it doesn’t mean the rest of the workforce does. The solutions we purchase, integrate and execute should reflect the market & people we represent – not live in.
And remember, just because its an App, doesn’t mean its good.