Mobile technologies have made HR and operations tools more accessible than ever. At the intersection of smart phone proliferation – now topping 1 billion worldwide – and the demand for B2B mobile solutions – fueled by a total anticipated spend of $106 million by 2014, according to Forrester – is an inordinate amount of talent management mobile apps, sites and tools.
While the early adopters in any industry can be dazzled by generous free trials and eye-popping wow factor, it takes much more to convince an entire industry to collectively traverse the learning curve of new technology. For HR and operations practitioners, it takes getting beyond the buzz around mobile, and instead, tracing a clear line of sight from mobile adoption to bottom-line impact.
By breaking down mobile talent management solutions into the following core benefits, you'll get a better idea about how – and if – this technology can transform your business.
The way in which you manage your workforce's schedule, review applications online and perform other tasks on your desktop or laptop use different interfaces than what you encounter via the same software provider's mobile Web or app – in an ideal world, that is. The best of the best mobile technology is optimized for the smart phone, taking into account everything from reduced screen size to reduced (or inconsistent) connection speeds to the realization that you probably have a very limited window of time to accomplish your tasks, all-the-while accommodating all popular Web platforms (According to Nielsen, of the 37 percent of Americans who own smart phones, the breakdown is as follows: Android – 36 percent; iPhone – 26 percent; and Blackberry – 23 percent). The upshot of smart, simple and streamlined mobile design is measurable time savings. The average mobile app session length is 6.6 minutes, according to Flurry analytics. When shopping and test-driving the mobile products of HR software companies, apply this standard to your purchasing decision and make sure you can actually use the mobile offering to solve your problems.
Whether you're a hiring manager out in the field or you're making decisions regarding the technological resources these folks have to do their jobs, you'll want your company to be able to make decisions related to hiring, scheduling and training in real time. The right mobile apps allow local managers who have an extra shift open due to an absent employee to schedule approvals on-the-go to avoid being stuck in the same situation tomorrow. Mobile HR apps incorporating location-based capabilities take this one step further, syncing up your physical presence with your virtual one. By the end of 2011, more than 75 percent of the mobile devices shipped to mature markets will include GPS, according to Gartner research. This growth is driving the number of novel ways in which apps are being engineered to meet HR needs impacted by location and allowing for features that aren't possible in a traditional web environment.
If you had to update your Outlook, Google and smart phone calendars independently of each other, odds are you'd give up on at least two of these tools. Similarly, while mobile apps are physically untethered from your fixed home system, they need to virtually and instantaneously sync up to eliminate redundant data input. There is another way to think about integration in terms of mobile technology: integration of multiple communication touch points. Ideal mobile solutions act as a portable office in your pocket. For example, at the touch of a button, you should be able to schedule an interview with a desirable candidate via email, calendar request, text message and even a phone call. This is a smart phone, remember.
Finally, it's important to consider the hourly workforce at the other end of a virtual, on-the-go interface when making decisions about mobile solutions. According to Snagajob research, the most important factor job seekers consider when looking for a job – more important than wage or workplace location – is the speed at which they're hired. Weighing the relative benefits of mobile apps and Web-based tools requires vetting the true utility they bring to your people in the corner office, backroom office and front lines – and ultimately – how these solutions directly impact your ability to achieve business objectives.