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Tech Bytes: Three reasons why mobile employee engagement isn’t for everyone


There is no doubt that employee-driven mobility programs are moving the dial on engagement, productivity and other business opportunities. However, too many companies are not asking the right questions when considering deployments.

Most retailers are attracted to mobile’s obvious benefits. The devices support one-on-one interaction between management and associates, and give employees the ability to manage shifts, request time off, and “punch” in and out. Many brands like that their employees can personally access human capital management (HCM) tools, including payroll and benefit options. And of course, “mobility offers employees options in how they complete daily tasks and job functions — a factor that drives productivity,” Mollie Lombardi, co-founder and CEO, Aptitude Research Partners, said at KronosWorks 2016 User Conference.

Mobile devices can even help companies attract and retain talent. Besides illustrating the level of a brand’s innovation-savvy, 59% of companies believe their employee-facing technology, including mobility, is a significant influencer that attracts candidates, according to Aptitude Research Partners.

Truth be told however, an employee mobile strategy isn’t for everyone. In fact, success is only possible if your company is truly ready.

How can you tell if mobility fits into your corporate culture? If the following sounds familiar, then chances are, it doesn’t:

• There is no established communications policy. Most companies are attracted to the “cool factor” associated with mobility. It delivers an intimate, one-on-one conduit that connects managers and employees in real-time, right in the palm of their hand. However, any device that is used to manage sensitive internal information requires guidelines, or a communications policy that benchmarks information consistency within the organization. It is so important that companies without a policy in place are three times as likely to lose talent, Aptitude Research Partners reported.

• Personal device usage distracts sales floor associates. Fact: employees are more productive when they are not distracted. Yet, allowing employees to bring personal devices onto the sales floor can easily gum up the works. While many employees often download internal apps onto their personal device to monitor tasks, conduct transactions, even log into the company’s workforce management (WFM) system to check schedules or request shifts, more often than not, they are surfing social media and texting friends.

Unless employees need their personal devices to carry out their retail responsibilities, create a new policy: personal phones stay in the break room.

• Trust is non-existent. Companies that want to engage with employees through mobility need to set a professional tone. That said, all communications and interactions should be useful — not “creepy.” For example, while using LinkedIn or corporate apps to communicate with associates is appropriate, trolling an employee’s social media accounts to see what they are up to— and commenting on it — is not.

By keeping these points — and your specific corporate culture — top of mind, retailers will not only create a successful mobile experience, but retain talent.

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