In today’s fast-paced, hyper-digital world, adopting a mobile-first technology strategy has been a high priority for many industries including retail, travel, financial services and insurance. In the last few years, the HR/benefits space has gotten onboard with this growing trend. One of the driving forces for mobile growth is the fact that over 80% of the US workforce now owns a smartphone. Good or bad, we live, work and play on our mobile devices.
HR departments face many of the same challenges that other industries face, ensuring their digital offerings are heard by the intended recipients and are relevant in a sea of incoming messages. How effective an employer is at attracting and retaining talented employees depends on how well they engage existing employees. That’s why developing a mobile-first strategy centered on creating a positive employee experience is an HR imperative.
Mobile Fosters Employee Engagement
HR faces several obstacles when it comes to connecting with their employees. Having a multi-generational workforce, being geographically dispersed and delivering complex and time sensitive messaging are some of the hurdles HR must overcome.
Companies that have adopted HR mobile strategies are benefiting from the fact that the majority of U.S. employees use a smartphone. The massive amount of emails most people sort through daily has made delivering impactful content virtually impossible. Mobile allows HR to interact with employees faster and more effectively. Another added bonus is the ability to deliver personalized messaging while helping position benefits and keeping the employer top of mind.
Security should always be the number one priority for any HR initiative due to the sensitive nature of the data being housed. However, this should not be a deterrent. Partnering with a firm that has invested in their security infrastructure to protect this data is critical for success. No one wants to be the next headline for a security breach that could have been prevented with some upfront due diligence.
Lots of tech companies build apps, but companies seeking mobile HR solutions must ensure these vendors understand compliance requirements and how to protect sensitive data. It is important to verify the chosen partner has a comprehensive security policy. Mobile strategies that leverage API integration where data is encrypted and stored outside of the device is important. Tying into an existing HR platform will help streamline the data vulnerability points and allow HR to leverage multi-channel aggregation.
How to Focus on Mobile-first
Mobile-first HR solutions should be developed based on feedback from customers and partners about their frustrations with the current state of employee benefits delivery. To address the challenges of rising costs and the demands of a multi-generational workforce, employers (and consultants) have been forced to deploy an increasingly diverse (and often complex) benefits strategy. In a world of “connectedness” and employee self-service, these complex strategies often lead to more employee disengagement, undermining the success of the overall benefit program. A mobile-first strategy allows companies to solve some of these challenges and help clients elevate the HR department while connecting with their workforce.
The first steps in building out a mobile strategy should center around data security and ensuring an exceptional user experience. Choosing a platform and identifying features are the easy parts. Companies should enlist clients and partners to help drive the roadmap and ensure the development team can execute the project and workflow, and meet the agreed upon organizational objectives.
Benefits of Mobile HR Solutions
Mobile has given HR a way to more effectively communicate with employees. It has also given HR a more personalized messaging platform that can be tied to data analytics. A true mobile strategy can allow HR to aggregate information to employees thus simplifying the complexity of benefit programs. Mobile is helping employees and employers “tame the benefits information beast” while getting the right message, at the right time, into the right hands.
Editor's note: This post was contributed by Kevin Andrews, President and CTO of Hodges-Mace LLC, an employee benefits technology and communications firm.