Walk into a Starbucks on any day of the week and you will more than likely have trouble finding a free table. Laptops cover the table tops and suit jackets drape the chairs. Their owners, while sipping their lattes, are also hard at work. New technology and internet programs have allowed for an entirely new way of working, which presents many challenges for the HR world.
Why Some HR Pros Are Less than Enthusiastic About Mobile Technology
Business professionals are noticing the benefits of working on their own time, but this creates a headache for the HR person in charge of clocking that time. With smartphone and iPad capabilities, employees increasingly feel like they have the resources they need to do their work away from their desk. In addition to creating payroll headaches for hourly employees, this new demand to work remotely makes it difficult for HR managers to schedule training, implement workplace changes, and keep employees actively engaged.
There is also a huge amount of grey area around mobile technology uses at work – a main one being the definition of “work.” If an employee checks their email on their phone at home, are they working? What if they have a great idea on the drive home and record it on their iPad? Should they be compensated for that time?
HR managers are also faced with the difficult task of updating policies for technology use and keeping up with it as it evolves. They need to create guidelines for appropriate social media use, hiring practices, and communication methods. Some companies have faced legal action due to improper policies, but there’s not enough precedent yet to provide clarity to employers.
One Benefit of Mobile Technology in HR: The Performance Review
The above mentioned difficulties can’t be ignored. But there are benefits of the mobile movement that shouldn’t be overlooked either. By tapping into mobile and social tools, HR professionals have the potential to lighten their workload in some areas and engage employees in a new way.
One promising application of mobile/social technology is the performance review. Managers notoriously despise doing these, often not knowing what to say or getting irritated by the administrative burden involved. But what if a mobile application could allow managers to record feedback and track performance year round and on-the-go? What if it could measure the opinions of an employee’s peers and take into account intangible factors such as influence on others? Emerging tools like Salesforce’s Rypple and Worksimple are designed to do just that.
The Onboarding Process in A Social, Mobile World
Mobile and social technology can be also be a game changer in employee training. What most onboarding programs don't take into account is informal learning -- the kind that occurs in discussions over the water cooler and when the new employees start asking questions. This kind of on-the-job discovery is one of the most important parts of getting new talent ramped up.
By making inter-team dialogues more open and public in a social format, others can see and learn from the questions of others and search archives of discussions for the answer they may be looking for. The wealth of information that once lived in someone's head can be at the fingertips of all employees with the right tool in play.
A few examples of business-oriented social and mobile-friendly tools that accomplish this include things like:
· Open Atrium
· Internal wikis
· Internal blogs
If you have a mentoring program at your company, Lifetick Coach is another tool to consider allows for things like direct messaging, value setting, and career reflection.
The pace of change isn’t slowing…so keep up!
New innovations in technology are constantly emerging, and so are the issues in HR that come along with them. Keeping up with things like tracking time/compensation, social media policies, mobile training opportunities, engaging employees, developing your culture, and so on is a moving target.