Does absence of mobile-first HR system mean zero engagement?

Technology cannot completely replace human interaction.

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The increasing number of smartphone users has changed the manner in which organisations choose and implement HR systems.

Our country has reached a state where people are using their smartphones day and night, and almost everywhere—in bed, at the dining table, and even inside the toilet. They are obsessed with their smartphones—addicted to them—and cannot seem to survive without them!

Statistics show that India currently has more than 400 million smartphone users. Another study has predicted that this number will cross 700 million by 2025.

With the price wars in the telecom industry, the cost of data has fallen tremendously, making it easier for people to obtain data at affordable prices.

Soon, the 5G revolution will sweep over India, leading to many more changes in all industries.

Ramesh Mitragotri

We look for technology, which is relevant to the audience and fulfils the purpose it is aimed at. If the focus audience commonly uses smartphones, then we do select technology that’s smartphone based.”

Human resources has not been spared either. Now HR professionals know that if they want to reach out to their people and engage with them, they have to reach out for mobile-first technology.

While people may not carry their desktops, laptops or tablets everywhere, smartphones can be carried anywhere with ease.

For instance, if an organisation wants to launch an internal messenger app for its employees, it makes sense for the employees to access the app through their smartphones.

“There are HR products in market like chatbots which help in driving user experience and adoption,” says Amit Sharma, VP-HR, Zee Entertainment.

“If we are adopting an HR technology, it should be simple and the user experience should be high enough for people to find it compelling,” adds Sharma.

But does this mean that an HR system which is not mobile-first is useless?

Adoption of a technology will not depend only on the mobile-first feature in that HR system. It should simply cater to the needs of the employees.

Amit Sharma

“If we are adopting an HR technology, it should be simple and the user experience should be high enough for people to find it compelling”

“We look for technology, which is relevant to the audience and fulfils the purpose it is aimed at. If the focus audience commonly uses smartphones, then we do select technology that’s smartphone based,” shares Ramesh Mitragotri, CHRO, Ultratech Cement.

“We also look for quick compatibility across systems in case of multiple audiences and scalability to smartphones for systems of frequent and continuous use,” adds Mitragotri.

There is no doubt that people of all ages use smartphones today. All white-collared employees will have smartphones, but there may be some changes when it comes to engaging with blue-collared employees.

“For blue-collared workmen, we may use SMS texts for reach instead of a smartphone app. As a supplementary or as an alternative to this, we may set up kiosks for their use,” reveals Mitragotri.

While blue-collared employees may possess smartphones, the organisations may have to launch some learning programmes to teach them how to use the new technology to interact with the HR system.

But can we say that if a technology is not mobile-first, it is completely useless?

“I would not say that it is completely useless. Somewhere you need to have human interaction and not completely depend on technology, because HR technology cannot replace HR. It will only automate certain administrative tasks,” clarifies Sharma.

A lot depends on the audiences you are engaging with, their needs and preferences. But with the increasing number of smartphones the engagement level will definitely go up with mobile-first HR system.

With the changing demographics and manner of interaction and engagement, we can conclude that if we do not update ourselves with the changing world, outdated technology and traditional approaches will be rendered useless.

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